Blue Apron, which built its business on the notion of consumers home-cooking meals from ingredient kits, is now diving into the competitive prepared meals business.
Heat & Eat is the company’s first-ever prepared, single-serving meal offering, ready in five minutes or less. Heat & Eat meals were designed to give customers additional flexibility to enjoy Blue Apron at different occasions throughout the week without sacrificing quality or flavor for convenience, says the company.
“A core pillar of our growth strategy is product innovation and efficient menu expansion with a goal of better integrating into our customers’ lives,” said Blue Apron President and CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski, in a statement. “The addition of Heat & Eat meals to our product portfolio is our first entry into the growing ready-made food category and now allows us to offer 50 weekly menu options, the highest number since the company’s founding in 2012.”
During the company's second quarter earnings call last month, Kozlowski noted the promise of the company’s premium offerings and continued product innovation, but did not reveal that the new Heat & Eat meals were forthcoming at that time.
Meal-kit rival HelloFresh US also charged further into prepared meals by way of its acquisition of Factor last year.
Blue Apron said the new offering would “seamlessly complement” its signature recipe kit offerings by giving its customers flexibility.
Heat & Eat meals are based on some of the company’s most ordered and top-rated dishes and are designed to be warmed in a microwave. Currently on Blue Apron’s Two-Serving and Four-Serving Signature menu are Cheesy Guajillo Chicken & Rice with Corn, Black Beans and Peppers; Soy-Miso Chicken and Udon Noodles with Bok Choy and Mushrooms; and Calabrian Chile Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans & Lemon-Caper Butter.
“When our culinary team set out to develop Heat & Eat, we wanted to make sure we created meals that remained true to the experience our customers have come to expect from Blue Apron,” said John Adler, Blue Apron’s VP of culinary. “When our customers enjoy Heat & Eat, they can trust that the same ingredient standards and unique flavors in our Signature recipes are applied to our ready-made meals.”