HelloFresh. Purple Carrot. Sun Basket.
These days, there are tons of options to choose from when it comes to meal kits, with new and niche companies springing up all the time. (Yes, there's even a dessert meal kit now for at-home bakers.)
- Your Next Blue Apron Meal Could Be Concocted by a Kid
- What Happens When a Home Cook Experiments with Blue Apron and Other Meal Kits
- Blue Apron Gets a Meat Upgrade with Bill Niman Ranch Acquisition
But there's one brand name that most readily comes to mind: Blue Apron. The five-year-old company paved the way for future start-ups to provide customers with home-delivered, semi-prepped ingredients and instructions on how to use those ingredients to make a what they say are restaurant-quality dishes. And now, it's paving the way once again as it files papers to go public under the symbol "APRN."
The start-up's public offering comes at a time of relative uncertainty. Its revenue has been steadling growing—the company enjoyed a 10-fold rise in sales between 2014 and 2016—but so have its costs and losses. While it boasted $795.4 million in 2016 sales, its net loss for the same year grew 16 percent from 2015, capping at $54.8 million—mainly due to increased ingredient costs and marketing expenditures.
As it vies with emerging competitors, the company has displayed less-than-sure footing in other ways, too. In 2017, the number of orders per customer as well as the average customer revenue fell, as compared to figures from the same quarter last year. It's hard, then, not to draw comparisons between this listing and the recent disastrous listing of Snapchat's parent company, Snap.
As reported by The New York Times, "Going public does not mean that Blue Apron’s management is intent on giving up control of the company. The start-up will have three classes of stock: Class A shares that will be sold to the public and will carry one vote per share; Class B shares, which the founders and early investors own, which carry 10 votes per share; and Class C shares, which come with no voting rights and will be used for purposes like acquisitions."
We're interested to see how this one pans out. In the meantime, we'll be enjoying that dessert meal kit.