Based just on trademark filings and reported plans, Amazon’s potential entry into the prepared meal kit market has had a significant impact on freshly-IPO’d Blue Apron’s stock price. Now, however, we know that Amazon is actually already testing its own “Amazon Meal Kits,” thanks to a customer in Seattle who has already ordered and prepared one.
Seattle resident Josh Chadd told GeekWire (via Business Insider) about his experience with the service, which involved ordering a pre-portioned Steak Au Poivre box that ships with prepared ingredients and an easy to follow recipe. The meal was one of a number of options that showed up on Amazon’s website, including Tacos Al Pastor, about a week or two ago for Chadd, who is an AmazonFresh customer. The limited trial seems to have begun around the end of June, judging by user reviews posted to the ecommerce site.[gallery ids="1515818,1515816"]
For select users able to participate in the trial, there are approximately 17 different meals on offer, and they range in price, starting at $14.99 and going up to $18.99. Chadd compared them favorably to other similar offerings from Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Sun Basket and Home Chef.
This is the clearest indication yet that Amazon intends to offer meal kits as a proper service. The ecommerce giant often spins up a business in a limited market first, as it has done with grocery pick up and delivery service and AmazonFresh prior to this, as well as its cashier-less retail shopping experience.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the U.S. can expect to see Meal Kits rolled out locally anytime soon, however; AmazonFresh rolled out very gradually over time, and still has relatively limited availability vs. its general ecommerce services. Still, it’s got to be troubling news for Blue Apron, especially now that Whole Foods will provide Amazon with a broader distribution footprint for further expansion of the model.
We reached out to Amazon for comment, but they had not replied as of publication time.