The grocery store wars have been heating up with big box stores getting in on the action, and now Walmart has opened up another front by jumping into the meal kit service. The retail chain announced that it is offering meal kits for in store and online grocery pickup.
The Walmart meal kits are already in 250 stores and will be rolled out to around 2,000 stores over the course of this year. The kits cost between $8 to $15 and serve two people.
Tyler Lehr, senior vice president and general merchandise manager, Deli Services, Walmart U.S. said, "Customers are busier than ever and we know getting a delicious dinner on the table can be a chore. We're here to help."
Meal kit services and grocery store delivery services are a hot item right now. Customers are looking for ways to cook more at home, but spend less time in stores and prepping ingredients. The $5 billion industry is growing from specialized providers like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh to more main stream and discount stores like Albertsons, which recently acquired meal kit company Plated.
And of course, there's Amazon. Their acquisition of Whole Foods means that Amazon's customers have access to Amazon Prime delivery in some cities.
Walmart already offers third party meal kit options for delivery, but the retail giant is hoping to attract new customers to their underused prepared food and deli sections with these in-house prepared kits. The existing infrastructure gives them an advantage over other meal kit delivery services who don't have a brick and mortar presence to support distribution.
In addition, Walmart meal kits don't require a subscription service like much of the rest of the meal kit industry. Customers don't need to sign up for anything; they simply stop by the store and pick up a meal for dinner. It's an option that many busy home cooks are likely to be a fan of.
The Walmart meal kits come in three types. The first is a ready-made, one-step meal and includes meals like meatloaf and Cheesy Ravioli Bake. The second is designed to be paired with Walmart's rotisserie chicken and includes Thai Curry Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice.
The third option is more like traditional meal kits with pre-chopped and pre-measured ingredients designed to be prepared at home. Some of the meal options include Steak Dijon and Pork Florentine.
Walmart developed the meal kits at the company's culinary innovation center. They have a shelf life of three days, meaning you can pick up dinner for a few days in a row in one trip.