Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM) already torpedoed Blue Apron Holdings Inc.'s (APRN) IPO. Now, Amazon is making inroads in Blue Apron's main territory: meal kits.
In a July 6 trademark application, Amazon subsidiary Amazon Technologies Inc. revealed it's planning "prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and [sic] vegetables...ready for cooking and assembly as a meal," as well as primarily grain-based offerings.
The product's tagline: "We do the prep. You be the chef."
Amazon already sells other companies' meal kits, including Tyson Foods Inc.'s (TSN) Tyson Tastemakers. Martha Stewart is even offering meal kits on Amazon Fresh, the company's grocery delivery service.
Blue Apron went public shortly after the Whole Foods acquisition was announced, pricing at the bottom of an already slashed valuation. Shares closed Friday at $7.36, or 26.4% below the IPO price. The company's shares fell 10% by Monday's close.
A German Blue Apron competitor, HelloFresh, is also reportedly mulling an IPO.
Major food companies are scrambling to partner with meal kit companies as their popularity grows. In May, Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) invested $10 million in meal kit maker Chef'd LLC and Unilever NV (UN) backed Sun Basket Inc. Conagra Brands Inc. (CAG) sells meal kits through online grocer Peapod.com, while Hershey Co. (HSY) partnered with Chef'd on dessert meal kits. Whole Foods itself has some experience with meal kits: last year it began selling Purple Carrot meal kits in its stores.
Amazon representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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