Looking in the rear view mirror only works if an industry sector is behind you, following you, or catching up to you. When Kroger announcement that they are now entering the Meal Kit business my in box filled-up with questions about Kroger’s overall business strategy related to grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh food. Our view it’s yesterday’s tactic lacking a customer relevant strategy today.
Most of our regular readers of Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® Steven Johnson’s blog know that The Kroger Co. announced an initiative to compete with meal kit delivery services such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. One thing that was clear from the company’s PR release is that Kroger does not understand today’s grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat fresh prepared customers. We say that having completed 100’s of Grocerant ScoreCards at branded Kroger outlets including Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, QFC, Mariano’s, and Kroger Stores.
Kroger’s Meal Kit program is “Dubbed Prep + Pared”. Ok, I will admit that our staff did laugh at the name first thing knowing it came out of a 1980’s CPG Category Managers play book. That was the first clue they might be off base.
Kroger was not stuck in the 1980’s as they did improve as the Prep + Pared line of meal kits comes with the ingredients necessary to prepare a meal for two in about 20 minutes. The meals offered include “Moroccan Inspired Spring Vegetables, Creamy Chicken + Bacon Alfredo, Japanese Inspired Beef Bowl and Chimchurri Steak” to start. Kroger has priced the Prep + Pared meal kits at” around $14” clearly trying to undercut Hello Fresh, Plated, and Blue Apron.
The Kroger Meal Kits are currently available only in four Cincinnati stores to start (Hyde Park, Oakley, Harpers Point and Sharonville). Interestingly the meal kits can't be delivered at this time, but customers can order them online via the grocer's ClickList service and pick them up at the Oakley and Sharonville stores clearly another clue as to how Kroger is misfiring within the grocerant niche with fresh prepared food.
While Meal kits are a big business a $1.5 billion business today our friend Dr. Bill Bishop Chief Architect of Brick Meets Click reminds us that $1.5 billion is just a minnow in the sea of grocery retail. The team at Foodservice Solutions® based on our Grocerant ScoreCards does not think Kroger will fare any better with meal kits than did Wal-Mart, Publix, Giant Food Stores, Coborn's, or Whole Foods.
Do your marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow? Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®. Since 1991 www.FoodserviceSolutions.us of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us or 253-759-7869