Albertsons shifts emphasis in-store for meal kits

Stewart Samuel
Program Director - Canada

Date : 13 November 2019

Albertsons is terminating the subscription service for its Plated meal kits range. As part of its future plans for the brand, it will aim to build a stronger in-store presence.

Expanded Plated offer over the last two years

Albertsons acquired Plated in a deal reported to be worth $200m in 2017, at the height of the industry’s interest in subscription-based meal kit programmes. Over the last two years, the retailer has expanded the offer and made the ranges available online through its core ecommerce offer. Selected products have also been tested within its Safeway stores in Northern California, driving higher basket spend among customers purchasing the products.

Source: IGD Research

Increasing store distribution

Following the success of this programme, the retailer will shift the brand from its subscription focus to be an in-house culinary brand as part of its private label portfolio. The range will be expanded, and distribution extended to additional stores. Commenting on the plans, Geoff White, chief merchandising officer, stated,

“Our vision for Plated includes an expanded set of products that goes far beyond a dinner-based solution and into a comprehensive in-house culinary brand. With a broader scope of offerings, we see Plated solving customer demands around convenience, lifestyle, and cooking experience, while adding yet another layer of interest to our in-store journey.”

Potential to expand scope of Plated brand

Albertsons continues to see solid growth with its private label portfolio. Penetration increased to 25.3% in the latest quarter, with over 1,100 new products launched last year. Much of the growth has come from the launch of the former Safeway suite of private labels into the wider Albertsons network. To facilitate this, many of the brands were relaunched as part of a family of ‘Signature’ brands, with the Safeway name removed. With the Plated brand being integrated into the private label portfolio, there is scope to expand the brand into relevant categories including ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook ranges.

Retailer ranges challenging the subscription model

This move by Albertsons will inevitably lead to further debate around the long-term viability of subscription-based meal kit programmes. Several companies in North America have exited the market. With several retailers having developed their own ranges, the flexibility and convenience of store-based products presents a challenge to the traditional subscription model.

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