Blue Apron flexes its model with Costco partnership

Date : 07 May 2018

Costco is partnering with Blue Apron to offer a range of meal kits at its clubs in the Pacific Northwest and San Francisco Bay area.

New range of meals developed for Costco

This is the first time that Blue Apron is making its meal kits available in retail stores, having built its business on a subscription-based model. The company is providing Costco with a range of specific meals which rotate monthly and are designed to complement the retailer’s existing convenient dinner solutions. The two companies have previously worked together on the distribution of Blue Apron gift cards.

Source: Blue Apron

Further retail partnerships expected

This marks a new strategy for Blue Apron but aligns with the multi-channel approach that several other meal kit companies are adopting. For Blue Apron, the strategy is around broadening its customer base beyond those who are engaged with its weekly meal planning process. This will significantly extend its reach, and in addition to national operators such as Costco, Blue Apron is also expected to work with regional retailers. The company is identifying partners where there is a good fit with its existing customer base.

Online meal kits making an appearance in-store

Several subscription-based meal kit brands are moving into the retail space. Having acquired the meal kit company, Plated, last year, Albertsons is rolling out the products to hundreds of stores national as part of a multi-channel offering. Customers can interact with the Plated range through a traditional subscription-based service, purchasing them through Albertsons’ grocery ecommerce service or directly in-store. Metro in Canada is also piloting a similar program with Miss Fresh, a meal kit company it made a strategic investment in last year.

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Stewart Samuel, Program Director, IGD Canada: based in Canada, Stewart heads up all of IGD's research and coverage on Costco. He is also responsible for shaping IGD's research program across North America. Contact Stewart at [email protected] for further insight on the region's markets, channels and retailers. Follow Stewart on Twitter: @Stewart_IGD