Walmart and Kroger Embrace Digital Drink Orders

eMeals taps wine and spirits brands to offer online pairings
Photograph courtesy of eMeals

Digital meal planning service eMeals has partnered with Bacardi, Jackson Family Wines and Francis Ford Coppola Winery to offer menu pairings that place branded wine, beer and spirits recommendations as options on the weekly eMeals shopping list.

eMeals subscribers can send their food and beverage selections for the week to Walmart, Kroger, Amazon, Instacart or Shipt for online grocery fulfillment or use the list for in-store shopping.

The partnerships are executed through Birmingham, Ala.-based eMeals’ BrandBuilder program, which seeks to grow online and in-store sales for participating food and beverage brands through a combination of recipe discovery on the service’s 15 weekly meal plans, shoppable recipe content with brand placement on eMeals shopping lists, and related promotional campaigns.

Tests of specific meal ingredients indicate the program can double a food brand’s sales in online grocery carts, according to eMeals officials, despite the fact that consumers have the option to either accept the branded recommendation or choose an alternative product.

For adult beverage brands, the program also serves as a neutral multiretailer platform that helps raise awareness of a brand’s availability within grocery pickup and delivery—a factor that eMeals hopes will offset the low online penetration of wine beer and spirits compared to food products.

Brick-and-mortar dominates when it comes to adult drinks. eMeals points to a recent Rabobank report, which estimates that U.S. online alcohol sales increased 22% from 2018 to 2019, including 115% in online grocery and 60% in online marketplaces. The same report calculated that alcohol’s share of online food and beverage spending remains 88% lower than its wallet share in brick-and-mortar stores.

Hoping to close the gap on lagging e-commerce adult beverage sales, eMeals is poised to influence and facilitate the path to purchase through weekly and special occasion menu pairings along with automatic placement on associated shopping lists.

“The digital environment is critical to alcohol sales growth, both directly from e-commerce sales and indirectly from the role that online visibility plays in building brand awareness and generating demand," said Lorran Brown Cosby, VP of digital commerce for Bacardi North America. “eMeals’ BrandBuilder program offers a unique platform for alcohol brands to fuel growth from the top to the bottom of the funnel, including coupling drink recommendations with special occasion menus to drive awareness of online alcohol delivery and availability.”

eMeals provides curated meal plans designed to connect consumers and food brands to the online grocery pickup and delivery services of Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Shipt and Instacart.

Subscribers have access to 15 food meal plans, each with new weekly dinner ideas that can be mixed and matched from plan to plan. Based on the selected meal choices, the eMeals app automatically generates a grocery list that can be shopped in-store, online or sent for pickup or delivery.



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