March 22, 2018

Walmart moves into meal kit category

08 March 2018, 01:41 | Lionel James

Walmart pushes its meal kit business with plans to roll out to 2000 stores this year

Walmart to offer prepared meals at its stores

Now offered in 250-plus stores, the meals were developed and tested in the company's Culinary and Innovation Center, and are made and assembled fresh in-store daily.

The goal is to offer the kits at more than 2,000 stores by the end of the year.

The pre-portioned kits include all necessary ingredients, already measured and pre-cut for meals such as basil garlic chicken and steak Dijon. Customers can also order a meal kit online and arrange for pickup by dinnertime.

Overall, the report states, 9 per cent of Americans say they've purchased a meal kit in the last six months and 25 per cent of consumers say they would consider trying a meal kit in the next six months. Thai Curry Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice dishes are in the rotisserie chicken lineup.

The new meal options serve two people and range between $8 and $15.

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"We've looked at these meal solutions before, but we haven't been happy with the quality that's been in the marketplace", said Tyler Lehr, Walmart senior vice president and general merchandise manager of deli services.

The one-step heat-and-eat meal kits come in 10 varieties: chicken alfredo, cheesy ravioli bake, meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Parmesan, pulled beef, chicken marsala, curry chicken, pot roast and chicken enchiladas.

"It's a market that is consistent with growing food consumer preferences for fresh and healthy foods that require minimal preparation", Shea said in an email.

The company also is looking to ward off competitors on multiple fronts, including, German discounter Aldi and meal-kit purveyor Blue Apron Holdings.

Walmart the latest big box retailer to join the meal kit movement, following in the footsteps of such companies as Kroger and SuperValu. Walmart shares are down 0.4% in premarket trading, but up 26.8% for the past year. "So these are products we're very comfortable with".

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