- Meal kit service Home Chef has a new partnership with NBCUniversal's Peacock, offering $60 off meals and a free month of the streaming service's premium option to shoppers who sign up in the month of November.
- The meal kit service also recently announced two new product lines, Heat & Eat Soups and Sicilian-Style Pizzas, now offered at approximately 2,000 Kroger stores nationwide.
- Both of the product lines from Home Chef can be warmed up within minutes, a further expansion of the company’s prepared meals offerings as more consumers look for convenient solutions during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Chicago-based Home Chef is looking to make inroads in the prepared meals market with its latest announcements. The provider, which was acquired by Kroger in 2018 for $200 million, has enjoyed “near triple-digit growth over last year's numbers” and higher retention than usual, Chief Revenue Officer Rich DeNardis told FoodNavigator-USA.
After meal kits sagged last year, the novel coronavirus pandemic quickly turned sales around to doubling year-on-year growth across the space. Home Chef even began using Kroger-run facilities ordinarily used to supply airline meals, according to a Wall Street Journal article this spring.
Like other meal kit companies, Home Chef has moved well beyond the traditional cook-by-numbers format into a wide range of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat options for in-store and online purchase. In a September earnings call, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen indicated that the grocer views Home Chef's accelerating demand as a "structural change" and is making investments in its digital team to innovate with the meal kit service in mind.
Home Chef, which offers a range of options including a traditional meal kit that requires full preparation, as well as oven-ready and ready-to-heat lines, saw a dip in interest in the early summer when restaurants and bars in much of the U.S. began to reopen again. DeNardis told Grocery Dive that the meal kit company’s marketing strategy relies significantly on in-store visibility, so a consumer base turned more heavily toward delivery would require a broader range of strategies to cultivate brand recognition.
New meal kit offerings such as the new soup and pizza lines and the Impossible Burger — added to Home Chef’s meal customization options in July — aim to keep diners’ meal choices fresh. The company is eyeing the upcoming holiday season, when many Americans will be hosting more scaled-down events than past years and may look to prepared dishes to round out the main meal.