The brand integration continues.
No one really expected Whole Foods to remain totally unchanged after the supermarket chain was bought out by Amazon in 2017. So far the merger has resulted in some pretty significant shifts, from in-store Prime deals and Amazon delivery of Whole Foods groceries to Whole Foods selling Amazon products like the Echo and Kindle. A recent Wall Street Journal article even suggested that Amazon is looking to expand Whole Foods' presence in far-flung locations (the company is reportedly looking at Idaho, Wyoming, and southern Utah), in the name of getting as many shoppers as possible in the range of its Prime Now two-hour delivery service. And now, in the latest act of Whole-Foods-Amazon brand integration, the grocer is selling Amazon meal kits in select locations.
Similar to meal kits offered by companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, each box contains all of the ingredients to make a meal for two in about 30 minutes, and costs between $16 and $20 (or $8 to $10 per serving). Some sample dinners: Seared Salmon with Fennel and Pea Risotto, Butternut Squash and Sage Baked Rigatoni with Spicy Green Beans, and Mushroom Congee with Lemongrass Chicken and Sweet Potatoes. The meal kits link with Alexa-enabled devices to provide instructions and cooking tips, which actually sounds pretty helpful—who wants to fumble with a recipe print-out while their hands are covered in cooking goo?
"I suspect this is something Amazon has been working on for some time, largely in response to increasing demand for meal kits," Neil Saunders, Managing Director at data analytics and media company GlobalData told Grocery Dive. "It is interesting in a number of respects. First, because it underlines the fact that Amazon is increasingly willing to use Whole Foods to showcase its own brands. Secondly, because it shows Amazon is getting far more serious about developing a full line grocery proposition." It's also worth noting that while Whole Foods has carried meal kits by other brands in the past, the supermarket doesn't have its own offering in the category. So, Amazon's meal kits fill a void.
For now, you can find the kits at Amazon Go stores and Whole Foods locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. And, AmazonFresh and Prime Now customers in Seattle, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California and the Northeast can order them to be delivered.