Walmart Rolls Out Meal Kit Options

Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has rolled out a new meal kit option for its grocery pickup and delivery service. The kits are meant to help customers prepare a quick meal by removing many of the cooking steps like having to chop vegetables or measure seasonings. The meal kits are now available at over 250 stores and can be ordered via Walmart’s Online Grocery Pickup service.

The kits were developed by Walmart’s Culinary and Innovation Center and include pre-chopped and measured ingredients to create delicious, nutritious meals. The meal kits were tested over several weeks in stores in Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Louisiana. The option will be available at over 2,000 Walmart locations by the end of the year.

Walmart’s meal kits are prepared fresh daily in the store and are sold in the deli. Selections will include Steak Dijon, Basil Garlic Chicken, Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry and Pork Florentine. The meals are designed to serve two people and range from $8 to $15.

With online ordering, customers who place a grocery order by lunchtime can pick up their kit from Walmart’s Curbside Grocery service before dinnertime. Online grocery customers can also opt for delivery of the meal kits in some markets. This is not the company’s first foray into the meal kit space. Last year, Walmart launched a meal kits and speciality foods site featuring kits, snack boxes, and food crates from third parties.

The idea of getting pre-prepped ingredients dropped off at one’s doorstep has gone mainstream. Meal kits are now a $1.5 billion business in the U.S. and the industry is growing at a rate of 20 percent per year. Walmart’s new option will compete directly with established meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Plated, and Home Chef.

The move comes on the heels of Amazon’s launch of Whole Foods grocery delivery through Amazon Prime Now. Amazon also has meal kits from partners available on Walmart doesn’t operate its own grocery delivery service, however delivery is currently available in 6 markets through contracts with third parties like Uber.

Walmart is also introducing One Step Meals, ready-to-eat meals that just need to be heated up. The One Step Meals options include Cheesy Ravioli Bake, Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Marsala, Chicken Parmesan, Curry Chicken, Meatloaf, Pulled Beef, Pot Roast, and Spaghetti and Meatballs. The meals have a shelf life of three days.

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