- Meal kit company Home Chef is relocating its West Coast production facility to a 200,000-square-foot space in San Bernardino, California, according to a company press release.
- The move will nearly triple the size of Home Chef’s current operations in the area, where the company has had a presence since 2015. The new space will serve both the e-commerce and retail divisions of its business.
- Home Chef, which is headquartered in Chicago and is a subsidiary of Kroger, said the move would accommodate its increasing customer base.
Since Kroger acquired Home Chef a little over a year ago, the meal kit company has been committed to testing and creating new offerings to keep customers interested in meal kits both in-store and online. Its move to a substantially larger space could mean that its efforts are paying off, particularly in the Western U.S.
While Home Chef didn’t point to Kroger specifically as a reason for its relocation, the company has been given all responsibility for Kroger’s in-store meal solutions since it was acquired. Home Chef could be making room for more production related to the grocer’s West Coast banners, including Ralphs, Fry’s and Smith’s.
As of now, Home Chef’s meal kits are available at 1,000 Kroger stores, but expansion could be imminent as the two companies refine their working relationship and better identify the needs of Kroger customers. In a previous interview with Grocery Dive, Home Chef’s vice president of retail Brian Irwin said the two companies were working through the "finer points of merchandising," including where to place products and how to rotate meals.
Home Chef recently unveiled plans to pilot three new styles of meal kits, including a heat-and-eat option, oven-ready meals and lunch kits. The kits are currently available at select Mariano’s in Illinois and Kroger stores in Ohio.
Despite its relationship with Kroger, Home Chef continues to operate as an independent subsidiary and maintains its direct-to-consumer e-commerce business alongside retail operations. The company currently delivers to customers nationwide.
The meal kit industry is starting to reshape after the original model began failing many companies. In addition to more retail meal kits in stores, companies are partnering with celebrities and chefs to craft new meal ideas, launching new menus and creating unique promotions to try to retain customers.