More than three years after being acquired by The Kroger Co., meal kit brand Home Chef has reached sales of $1 billion.
Kroger announced the milestone on Monday, as the Cincinnati-based supermarket giant noted the ongoing food-at-home trend, with more customers seeking convenient mealtime solutions such as meal kits and heat-and-eat meals. To that end, the company said its Home Chef business is gauging consumer feedback and expanding its product selection to help customers reduce cooking time without a trade-off in quality or flavor.
“At Home Chef, we're on a mission to make mealtime easier with fresh ingredients and simple instructions,” Erik Jensen, president of Home Chef, said in a statement. Jensen was promoted to Home Chef president in June. “By offering time-saving meal solutions at Kroger Family of Stores, we’re able to simplify the cooking process, provide a wide variety of options and allow customers to enjoy a delicious homemade experience. We’re excited to continue scaling the brand and creating new products that are accessible to customers nationwide.”
Currently, Home Chef offers more than 500 products across a range of meal categories, such as meal kits, heat-and-eat meals, ready-to-eat products and seasonal meals. Kroger said the brand will continue to expand its menu to provide shoppers with more “fresh mealtime shortcuts.” Home Chef meal kits and meal are sold at more than 2,200 locations in the Kroger Family of Stores, both in-store and online, as well as through a home delivery subscription from HomeChef.com.
“Kroger's commitment to being Fresh for Everyone is underscored by our Home Chef products, which help us bring families together in the kitchen with meal options for any occasion,” commented Dan De La Rosa, group vice president of fresh merchandising at Kroger. “We continue to strategically expand Home Chef offerings across our family of companies. Whether it’s meal kits or heat-and-eat and ready-to-cook solutions — which are available via subscription, in-store, pickup or delivery — it’s safe to say that Home Chef has mealtime covered.”
Launched by founder and current CEO Pat Vihtelic in 2013, Home Chef was acquired by Kroger in mid-2018. The meal kit provider has since expanded its footprint into over 75% of Kroger Co. stores nationwide and entered new categories over the past year. Home Chef brand sales jumped 118% in 2020 as consumers shifted toward online food orders during the pandemic.
“Home Chef finished the year with record sales, capturing additional share of stomach from restaurants and grocery retailers,” Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a March conference call with analysts on Kroger’s fiscal 2020 results.
Kroger began rolling out Home Chef meal kits to its family of supermarkets in October 2018 and then in May 2019 launched a pilot of Home Chef oven-ready, heat-and-eat and lunch kit meals at selected stores. Kroger also has tested Home Chef Express meals in its grocery departments at Walgreens stores under its partnership with the drug chain.
“Home Chef was founded on the idea to simplify mealtime with easy-to-make, delicious recipes,” Vihtelic stated. “Since 2013, we’ve grown from delivering meals with a rented truck to becoming a leading brand for Kroger. With Kroger’s support, our two brands offer a collective passion to make mealtime easy and bring people together over a meal.”