EMeals on Tuesday announced that it's adding AmazonFresh to its list of grocery delivery and pickup service options, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
With one click, subscribers can now send their shopping list — automatically generated for all meals selected each week — to AmazonFresh, Walmart Grocery, Kroger ClickList or Instacart. Through the service customers can schedule home delivery or curbside pickup, depending on their preference and local availability.
The decade-old meal kit service differs from most in working with local grocers rather than building its own food buying and prepping infrastructure. Each week eMeals provides recipes and a shopping list that allows a connection to its online grocery pickup and delivery partners.
Meal kit sales have "mushroomed" to $5 billion, according to a report from MarketResearch.com’s Packaged Facts unit, thanks to entry from traditional grocers as well as disruptive delivery players like Blue Apron. Unlike the many new entrants in the space, eMeals enjoys some established longevity and has presumably figured out a lot of the logistics.
The company has amassed a database of tens of thousands of recipes over the past decade. The service says that it has gained traction. A survey of early eMeals meal kit customers using its service via Walmart Grocery found that more than 90% plan to continue the service, with more than half stating that they "can’t imagine life without it." The service is also driving online grocery adoption, with more than half (55%) of those surveyed saying they used Walmart Grocery for the first time thanks to eMeals’ online grocery fulfillment option.
"Meal kits and online grocery programs are reshaping the grocery market, and we are the first company to combine those two trends," eMeals CEO Forrest Collier said in a statement. "Adding AmazonFresh to our fulfillment lineup expands our reach to most of the top players in online grocery and advances our mission of giving customers more choice, flexibility and affordability than any other meal kit service."
The partnership is presumably made possible (or at least enabled significantly) by Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods this past summer. But eMeals isn't Amazon's only foray into the space. The e-commerce giant, via its Amazon Technologies unit, filed a trademark application for prepared food kits on July 6, following a similar filing in April, according to a listing from legal information site Justia.
In March, Amazon also launched Martha Stewart’s "Martha & Marley Spoon through AmazonFresh," where AmazonFresh customers in New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia can purchase a Martha & Marley Spoon meal kit that includes the ingredients for a two-person meal.
There's a lot of jockeying for position in the meal kit space these days. Last month Albertsons bought meal kit company Plated for an undisclosed amount, and Walmart will reportedly offer meal kits on its website beginning in December. It's all a bit of a blow to Blue Apron, which even after its June initial public offering has been marketing furiously to acquire new customers. Blue Apron’s stock has fallen precipitously since its IPO despite the company’s slashing of its initial share price, a development widely blamed on Amazon’s Whole Foods announcement and entry into the meal kit space.