“The right tool for the right job” and “one more tool for my toolbox,” as the sayings go, and for Albertsons Cos., it’s the same when it comes to meal planning.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons on Thursday spotlighted an upgrade to its Meal Plans and Recipes digital tool, offered via its retail banner apps and websites. The expanded feature set now includes a budget tracker, an extended library of more than 8,000 exclusive recipes, shoppable ingredient lists and a hands-free cooking mode with a step-by-step timer.
Meal Plans serves up thousands of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert, and users of the tool can filter their recipe searches by dietary preference, food restrictions and serving size, as well as sift out unwanted ingredients, according to Albertsons. New recipes are added monthly to give customers more seasonal variety in meals, with fall dishes such as pear and pecan ricotta toast; parsnip apple soup with grilled prosciutto and blue cheese sandwich; and grilled pork quinoa bowl with apple, grapes and goat cheese, the retailer noted.
The digital Meal Plans and Recipes tool is available through Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb and other Albertsons Cos. banners.
“This all-in-one tool empowers the everyday home cook to plan, shop and prepare inspiring recipes without the added expense or commitment of a meal delivery service,” according to Jill Pavlovich, senior vice president of digital customer experience at Albertsons Cos. “Our Meal Plans tool offers greater versatility, as price-conscious families can plan a week’s worth of flavorful meals based on their budget. Best of all, it’s free to use on our grocery app and website.”
Specifically, the Meal Plans budget tracker lets customers set a total weekly budget, a total number of meals and total number of servings before making recipe selections. The cost of ingredients then is deducted from the overall budget as recipes are added to the tool, which allows shoppers to see the total meal price and cost per serving.
After shoppers pick one or more recipes, they can consolidate all of the ingredients to their “My List” shopping list in one click, Albertsons said. The list can be modified to include other household essentials, and users can see available deals or clip digital coupons for items in their cart before checkout. Customers can pick up their order at a local Albertsons Cos. store or have it delivered to their home in as soon as 30 minutes, the retailer reported. Those going to the store can sort their digital shopping lists by aisle number or product category to locate the needed ingredients more easily.
The preparation side of the equation, meanwhile, is simplified with the cooking mode feature. Once the groceries are home and meal prep begins, users wave their hand over each step of the recipe to advance to the next page—without dirtying their smartphone or tablet screen, according to Albertsons. Cooking mode also includes a built-in timer to keep the cook on track.
“We designed the Meal Plans tool to also help our customers reduce food waste by choosing the right amount of food they need each week,” added Pavlovich. “We introduced this innovative feature to our recipe search engine so it will automatically optimize ingredients across multiple meals. For example, if two recipes call for half of an onion, only one onion will be added to your shopping list.”
Albertsons introduced Meal Plans back in December 2021 along with another tool called Schedule & Save. Both were designed to enable members of the grocer’s Just for U loyalty program to blend menu planning with shopping list creation and auto-replenishment of staple products on their lists, at a discount.
Meal Plans integrated the meal planning app Mealime with Albertsons Cos. retail banners’ online grocery shopping services so customers could create a personalized meal plan and receive step-by-step instructions on cooking recipes. The Schedule & Save feature allowed shoppers to automatically replenish their more frequently purchased items across categories, with products scheduled for purchase offered at a significant savings off the average shelf price and available for pickup or delivery.
Albertsons offers a similar digital resource for nutrition, health and wellness with its enhanced Sincerely Health platform. Launched in February, the science-backed Sincerely Health portal links consumers to education and services to help them make more informed decisions across elements of well-being, such as food and diet, exercise, sleep, medical care, medications and immunizations. Most recently, the retailer added a nutrition insight tool to Sincerely Health.