Amazon plans to enter the “recipe box” market in a bid to take on brands such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, filing a trademark to sell boxes of ingredients and cooking instructions online.
The ‘meal kits’ are popular with workers who enjoy cooking but are pressed for time. The boxes can contain anything from meat and seafood to vegetable and fruit-based dishes, as well as the seasoning and sauces.
In a July 6 trademark application, Amazon subsidiary Amazon Technologies Inc. revealed it’s planning “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and [sic] vegetables…ready for cooking and assembly as a meal,” as well as primarily grain-based offerings.
The filing bears the slogan: ‘We do the prep. You be the chef.’
Amazon already sells other companies’ meal kits, including Tyson Tastemakers. Martha Stewart is even offering meal kits on Amazon Fresh, the company’s grocery delivery service.
If Amazon were to launch the boxes in the UK, it would take on established brands such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron (in the US), alongside Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, which have also started offering the kits.
The move follows the online retail giant’s recent £10.7bn takeover of Whole Foods which is demonstrative of its continuation to diversify its offering to suit changing consumer needs.
In its most recent food and drink report, Waitrose said recipe boxes were a trend that would ‘run and run’. It added: ‘Gourmet meal kits with pre-measured, prepped ingredients and a recipe are having a moment right now.’
Commenting on the move, Rupal Karia, Managing Director – Retail and Hospitality, Fujitsu UK & Ireland, said: “This move by Amazon to enter the growing ‘recipe box’ market is just the latest in its ongoing diversification and push into the grocery space. In light of its acquisition of Wholefoods, this move will only strengthen its arsenal and solidify its place in the grocery sector. As a predominantly online first retailer, it is a shrewd move from Amazon to marry its online expertise with a fast-growing consumer desire for meal boxes.
“Although the retail landscape has never been more digital or mobile, the rise in meal box demands from customers demonstrates how their behaviours are constantly changing. This is especially in true in a world where consumers are increasingly flocking towards online shopping as they seek convenience and efficiency over value.
“Because of this, it is imperative that retailers ensure they are moving forward and adapting their offerings to match the ever-changing behaviours of consumers if they are to maintain and grow their customer base. With new players entering the market all the time, retailers need to find alternative ways to differentiate themselves optimise their services. With customers and competitors poised to move forward, those standing still face a worrying truth – being the next generation of retailers to be pushed out for good.”