- Home Chef has struck a deal with Impossible Foods that will allow customers of the meal kit company to replace traditional proteins with the plant-based Impossible Burger, according to a press release.
- Consumers will be able to choose the Impossible Burger through a Home Chef customization feature that lets people adjust the type and amount of protein they want as part of a meal.
- The Impossible Burger will be available as a choice for selected Home Chef recipes, including basil pesto ground beef lettuce wraps with red peppers, mushroom and Swiss beef cavatappi with bacon and green onions, and pork tacos and chili lime slaw.
Kroger-owned Home Chef is adding the Impossible Burger at a time when plant-based foods are quickly increasing their profile in front of American consumers.
Impossible Foods reported Tuesday that it has expanded the number of grocery stores where its products are sold by a factor of 30 since the pandemic began, and is now reaching customers at more than 5,000 supermarkets across the country, including Kroger stores. The company hopes to add thousands of additional retail locations to its portfolio by the end of the year.
In June, Impossible Foods began selling its products directly to consumers online, a development that could pose a competitive threat to meal kit suppliers, which depend on people’s desire for convenience and choice to drive interest in their products.
Blue Apron, a Home Chef competitor in the meal kit space, began offering plant-based products from Impossible Foods rival Beyond Meat last August.
Home Chef got a boost as the COVID-19 crisis forced restaurants to close and encouraged people to look for ways to enliven their at-home food choices, but that growth tapered off as in-store traffic slowed, Rich DeNardis, the company’s chief revenue officer, told Grocery Dive several weeks ago.
Consumer interest in ready-to-prepare meals has more recently started bouncing back. Meal kit sales grew 4.7% between June 11 and June 17, the third one-week period in a row that the growth rate exceeded 4%, according to data from Cardlytics.
Foot traffic at grocery stores is also moving in a positive direction. Visits to a group of 10 grocery chains that included Kroger collectively increased in June, although traffic at most stores is still below where it was a year ago, according to data from Placer.ai.
Top officials at Kroger — which acquired Home Chef in May 2018 for $200 million — are paying attention to developments at the meal kit operation.
‘The thing that I get most hopeful about is, when we talk to customers, customers tell us they like eating at home as a family and eating together and having meals together at home … that trend is something that we focus on a lot and try to make sure we're supportive of,” Kroger senior vice president and chief financial officer Gary Millerchip said during a May 23 earnings conference call with financial analysts.