- Plated meal kits have returned to Albertsons' store shelves in its hometown of Boise, Idaho, the retailer confirmed to Grocery Dive in an email — the latest step in a broader store rollout this year following a reset of the meal kit business back in November. Local business site BoiseDev first spotted the meal kits at a local store.
- The meal kits include new recipes with pre-cut and pre-portioned ingredients, and a new "starter kit" offering that requires shoppers to add a main ingredient, like chicken. A photo taken by BoiseDev also shows updated packaging along with a new tagline, "Meals Worth Making."
- In a statement emailed to Grocery Dive, an Albertsons spokesperson said this is one of the first steps toward growing Plated into a "comprehensive in-house culinary brand."
Late last year, Albertsons discontinued Plated's online subscription business and scaled back its store availability to a selection of northern California stores. The company said it would reposition the brand under its private label portfolio not as a meal kit, but as a culinary brand.
Now, Albertsons is making another push into stores, this time with some notable updates like the new "starter kit." Requiring customers to purchase ingredients outside the kit for a complete meal promises to incorporate other store items — like a roasted chicken, which is part of a tortilla soup kit spotted by BoiseDev. That dish has a total of eight ingredients including pre-chopped cilantro, pico de gallo salsa and cotija cheese.
The packaging photographed by BoiseDev and featured on Plated's website, meantime, shows a varied color palette and copy promoting faster prep with pre-cut ingredients. The "Meals Worth Making" tagline emphasizes the brand's culinary roots while keeping it open to both dinner and lunch selections.
BoiseDev reported both full meal and starter kits for two are currently priced at $14.99.
The company spokesperson did not indicate where Plated kits will show up next. On the brand's site, Grocery Dive counted more than 60 Safeway stores in California as having kits available in-store and for delivery. At one point, Albertsons said it planned to put Plated kits in 650 stores nationwide.
Since acquiring Plated for $200 million in 2017, Albertsons has seemed unsure of what to do with the once-soaring meal kit name, making multiple attempts to test new ideas and scale Plated up and back both in-store and through home delivery.
Meal kit sales have soared in recent years, leading grocers to bring selections into their stores. But the trend hasn't accelerated, and companies like Blue Apron and Purple Carrot have struggled to stay afloat. Kroger has rolled out kits from Home Chef, which it acquired in 2018, to hundreds of stores, while HelloFresh, which sells its kits in grocery stores on the East Coast, recently announced its first quarterly profit.