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Albertsons to acquire Plated meal kit service

Deal to put kits in stores; expand personalization

In a move the company said would “reinvent the way consumers discover, purchase, and experience food,” Albertsons Cos. said Wednesday it would acquire New York-based meal-kit company Plated.

Terms were not disclosed of the deal that is expected to close later this month. Albertsons said Plated would operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Albertsons under its own leadership team led by its co-founder and CEO Josh Hix.

The deal will allow Plated — which had annual sales of more than $100 million, according to reports — to become the first omnichannel meal kit offering with national scale. The partnership would allow the company to expand beyond its subscription model with new distribution points including Albertsons store locations. Plated’s marketing and acquisition efforts will also benefit by gaining exposure to Albertson 35 million customers per week.

For Albertsons, Plated will provide an avenue toward more personalized and versatile shopping experiences, CEO Bob Miller said.

 “Today’s consumer is looking for a variety of personalized shopping alternatives, and this transaction is the latest example of Albertsons Cos. meeting our customers wherever and however they like to shop,” Miller said in a statement. “With Plated, we’ve found a partner who shares our commitment to delicious, affordable food; superior technology and innovation; and world class customer service. Plated knows its customers better than anyone, and together we will accelerate our ability to serve them. We are excited to offer our customers more online options and fresh, quality ingredients along with distinctive recipes at their doorstep or through traditional shopping trips.”

“Joining Albertsons presents an amazing opportunity to accelerate our positive impact on the future of food in America by making fresh, delicious food more widely available,” Hix added. “Albertsons Cos. is at the forefront of the changing food and grocery landscape with their customer obsession, their large national store footprint, and their exciting plans for the future of the grocery store.”

Plated, which was founded in 2012, is one of the largest U.S. meal kit companies and is noted for a high-profile boost when its founders won investment funding on the “Shark Tank” television program.

The service, which plays to consumer trends toward convenience, e-commerce and customization, offers customers pre-portioned ingredient packets that can be used to prepare easy meals at home.

While demand has grown quickly for such services, they have also been money losers. Blue Apron, which over the summer completed an initial public offering of stock, revealed its customer acquisition costs were eclipsing profits.

Meal kits in the meantime are thought to account for at least some element of the declining fortunes of grocery stores like Albertsons, which reported that sales increased by 0.4% during its most recent fiscal quarter, while comparable-store sales were down by 2.1%.

Earlier this year, Montreal-based grocery Metro Inc. acquired Miss Fresh, a meal-kit delivery company based there.



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