Is Amazon considering a fresh meal delivery division?
- Amazon recently posted a job listing for a team leader to oversee a fresh meal delivery business that the company called “a new perishable food platform.” The posting, first reported by TJI Research, has been taken down. Grocery Dive has reached out to Amazon for comment but has not received a response.
- The listing reads: “Amazon is looking for somebody with your enthusiasm and skills to build and lead the team that delivers world-class meal solutions for time-starved customers. We are looking for an entrepreneurial, analytical, operationally-minded category leader to deliver a new perishable food platform.”
- Amazon began testing its own meal kit line in 2017 in Seattle and currently offers selections for delivery to AmazonFresh customers in the city and at Amazon Go stores.
Now that Amazon has a cold-chain infrastructure in place with Whole Foods stores and distribution centers, a delivery-focused fresh meals division makes a lot of sense.
As TJI Research notes, the company would go head-to-head here not just with other grocers but restaurants, too, which increasingly have the upper hand with quick, inventive meals for easy delivery. Amazon could effectively promote the service through its website and its Prime Now delivery network. Fresh meals for delivery could also be promoted inside Whole Foods stores, bundling with online orders through the grocer and even appearing on store shelves.
After Amazon began testing meal kits around Seattle last year, speculation swirled that the company would dive into the fast-growing category — perhaps even acquiring a top brand. And meal kits still clearly have a place in Amazon’s grocery lineup. A recent trip to an Amazon Go location in downtown Seattle revealed several options advertising “Dinner for 2 in 30 minutes,” including steak romesco and blue cheese chicken burgers.
But meal kits remain a niche market despite their rapid growth, and leading brands like Blue Apron have struggled to sell online and in grocery stores. Meal kits could be part of Amazon’s “new perishable food platform,” but they don't seem to be the focus, because the segment's staying power is not assured. What is clear is the need for meal solutions.
Because Amazon is so new to prepared meals, it could lean on Whole Foods’ expertise in culinary development, packaging and marketing. It could also partner with our even acquire a company that could help it build new solutions. Startups like Freshly and Icon Meals offer healthy, artisan meals that don’t require any prep.
Prepared meals would also boost Amazon’s grocery private label lineup, which has been fairly anemic to this point. While the company has a strong presence in categories like electronics and home goods, it has built out snack and beverage brands with mixed success. That seems poised to change as Amazon moves further into groceries, with prepared meals serving as a notable example.
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