The Gray Lady's latest revenue experiment looks delicious.
Everyone wants in on the meal delivery service boom. From do-it-yourself models like Blue Apron and Plated, to pre-made sellers like Munchery and the David Chang-backed Maple, these services have become a massively profitable pie that companies are dying to get a slice of. The latest company to get into the meal kit biz? The New York Times.
This summer, the iconic newspaper will begin a custom ingredient delivery service that works in correlation with their NYT Cooking section. In partnership with meal delivery startup Chef'd, the Times' will make it easier on readers to try out their catalogue of recipes. Essentially, if you're dying to try their Marinated Celery Salad recipe, they'll make it easy on you, delivering the ingredients and instructions you need to your door in 48 hours. The company's Cooking section has a large active readership—nearly 7 million users a month—and an expansive recipe archive, with more than 17,000 in the collection. This makes for plenty of potential consumers, and tons of recipes to work with.
This move is the latest in the Times' efforts to find new streams of revenue to offset the gradual decline in print sales. The company, which was founded in 1851, has recently explored such money-making alternatives as live conferences, trips hosted by foreign correspondents, a wine club, and an online store selling commemorative Times shirts, hats, and other trinkets.
However, Alice Ting, the vice president of brand development, licensing, and syndication for the Times has high hopes that the meal delivery service will be one of their most profitable side businesses yet. "Our audience spends a lot of time cooking at home, so for us it was a natural area to investigate," Ting told Bloomberg.
The Times will split the profits from the meal kit with partner company Chef'd, who already has exclusive deals with numerous companies, brands, and well-known chefs, including magazines like Men's Health. Typically, Chef'd-produced meal kits for two range from $19-39 on their website.
"These meal kits we're offering are just another tool to help our users become more comfortable in the kitchen," said NYT Cooking director Amanda Rottier. And while circulation and advertising still accounts for 94 percent of the Times' revenue, perhaps one day soon it will be readers' one-stop shop for all the news that's fit to print and all the food that's fit to eat.