Vitamins and supplements retailer GNC has delved into the prepared meals market via a partnership with meal service RealEats.
Plans call for GNC to offer RealEats’ meal bundles through GNC.com starting later this year, Geneva, N.Y.-based RealEats said Monday. GNC also has made an undisclosed strategic investment in RealEats, which said GNC’s digital and store footprint will extend the meal company’s geographical reach.
“We’ve teamed with RealEats to mark our entry into the fresh food business because of the high quality of their product and our shared dedication to helping people achieve their health and wellness goals,” GNC Chief Financial Officer Cam Lawrence said in a statement. “This exciting partnership was a natural fit for our business that expands our product line to include diverse and delicious meal options and give GNC consumers access to fresh, healthy meals across multiple channels.”
Founded in 2017, RealEats is a weekly subscription meal delivery service offering a range of heat-and-eat, seasonal dishes using fresh, local ingredients that are clean, sustainable and nutritionally dense. The company, based in New York’s Finger Lakes agricultural region, sources many of its ingredients locally, and its vacuum-sealed packaging is designed to maintain each meal’s flavor, nutrition and freshness.
“Consumers are increasingly looking for healthy and convenient wellness solutions, and by making these products more accessible than ever through GNC, this unique partnership provides an entirely new avenue to drive growth for our business,” according to Lawrence. “This marks an important step for GNC as we look to new holistic and innovative approaches to help our customer achieve their goals.”
The RealEats meal-kit bundles sold via GNC also will include options for consumers with dietary preferences, such as meat-free or lower-calorie offerings.
“It is our mutual goal to make it easier to live a healthy lifestyle, and this relationship will help us make a positive impact on the nutritional health of millions more people by providing this as a cost-effective yet high-quality option through GNC,” commented Rachel Jones, chief nutrition officer at GNC.
All of the chef-prepared meals, including an entree with side dishes, are made using high-quality ingredients free of additives, preservatives or “junk of any kind,” RealEats noted.
“We are thrilled to partner with GNC and join their eight-decade commitment to helping people live mighty, live fit, and live well,” RealEast founder and CEO Dan Wise stated. “I started RealEats as a busy, single dad who wanted to provide fresh, nutritious dinners for my two young boys but didn’t have the time to do grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning. Through this new partnership with GNC, we will be able to deliver our nutritious and delicious meals to a whole lot more people.”
For GNC, the agreement with RealEats comes just over a month after a partnership with Walmart to roll out curated vitamins and supplements assortments to more than 4,000 Walmart stores and on Walmart.com.
Pittsburgh-based GNC has been working to branch out its offerings to help re-energize its business. In late October, GNC completed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in which substantially all of the company’s assets were sold to China-based Harbin Pharmaceutical Group Holding Co. Ltd., which already held an equity interest in the retail chain. GNC had announced in June 2020 that it planned to file for Chapter 11 under a reorganization plan that included the closing of at least 800 to 1,200 stores. At the time, the company had 7,300 stores globally and 5,200 in the United States, including about 1,600 Rite Aid locations. GNC now has more than 2,300 corporate and franchised stores globally.