- Blue Apron has partnered with award-winning Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Tim Hollingsworth to create exclusive recipes for the meal kit company that are inspired by his famous cooking style, according to a press release. Customers will be able to purchase the meal kits from June 29 through July 20.
- The recipes will feature summer staples using Hollingsworth’s flavors and memories from cookouts in Texas in combination with California cuisine and his wife’s Lebanese cooking traditions.
- Choices will include chicken with walnut mahammara, couscous and labneh; salmon with tamarind sauce, aromatic rice and crispy onions; and salsa chicken tacos with snap pea elote.
Throughout the years, Blue Apron has enlisted services from a variety of high-profile guest chefs, including Chrissy Teigen and Christian Petroni, in an effort to appeal to its younger shoppers. With sales surging during the pandemic, the meal kit company sees an opportunity to further build customer engagement through its next chef collaboration.
Blue Apron’s stock has surged over the past three months as at-home cooking has increased due to stay-at-home orders. Prior to COVID-19, Blue Apron had struggled to retain shoppers and turn a profit. Its Q4 net revenue was down 33%, and it considered exploring a potential sale or merger, or raising public or private capital.
CEO Linda Kowalski told Marketwatch the company has faced challenges, but said the outbreak has given the company’s growth strategy momentum. Blue Apron started to see increased demand at the end of March, and sales were up 27% during the first few weeks of April. Adding recipes from an award-winning chef to the mix, which has become a common tactic among meal kit companies, should help attract more customers.
Throughout his career, Hollingsworth has collected a number of accolades including awards and a winner of the popular Netflix cooking competition "The Final Table."
Other meal kit companies have added famous chef recipes to their meal-kit lineups. In July, Whole Foods partnered with Ayesha Curry to launch a line of meal kits. HelloFresh and Jessica Alba collaborated to create a date night box in August.
Blue Apron had a short-lived integration with Walmart's now-defunct Jet.com that ended last summer. Meal kit companies have gradually added selections to retail stores and online shopping platforms, and experts believe that could accelerate as grocers seek new packaged meal selections during the pandemic.
"With everything going on right now, everyone’s stressed about how to make dinner more often in the home," NPD analyst Darren Seifer recently told Grocery Dive. "Perhaps this is an opportunity for them to prove their value." Seifer said.