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Williams-Sonoma Hops on the Meal Kit Bandwagon

The meal kit market welcomes another, higher end competitor

Williams-Sonoma/Sun Basket

It’s time to add another name to the bubble that is meal kit delivery services: Williams-Sonoma — the high-end kitchen-supply store — is the latest company to start slinging boxes of pre-measured and packaged raw foods ready for cooking. The company has announced a partnership with Sun Basket, a company that specializes in organic and non-GMO meal kits, on a line of co-branded boxed kits.

Starting today, Williams-Sonoma will offer Sun Basket subscriptions and gift packages (of one- to four-week subscriptions), all of which may be personalized with paleo, gluten-free, vegetarian, and breakfast meal options. Each week, one of the top-rated recipes from Williams-Sonoma’s website will be offered on the Sun Basket menu. The kits will not be available in Williams-Sonoma stores.

Meals cost $11.49 per person and pricing ranges from $68.94 per week (for a two-person plan) to $206.82 per week (for a six-person plan). As a comparison, industry leader Blue Apron advertises meals that cost under $10 per person; their box for four people comes to $8.74 per person, per meal.

Subscribers who order via Williams-Sonoma will get a package of tools along with their first delivery, including items like a microplane zester, lemon press juicer, garlic press, and stainless steel tongs.In a press release, Sun Basket CEO Adam Zbar said the partnership would allow the company to introduce its meal kit "to a whole new audience of home chefs." It’s an audience that’s being inundated with meal kits lately, with everyone from The New York Times to Ayesha Curry to Martha Stewart offering their own versions.

It’s not a reach to say the meal kit space may be saturated, especially because the burgeoning sector is also facing a major obstacle: Namely, consumers don’t tend to remain loyal to subscription-based companies. According to a report by Fast Company, research shows that, six months into their subscriptions, some 90 percent of Blue Apron subscribers left the program.

Some companies are trying to work around the subscription model. Purple Carrot, a vegetarian meal kit, is now offering its kits at a Whole Foods store in Massachusetts, allowing shoppers to buy the kits off the shelf and without a subscription.

Luckily for Williams-Sonoma, if the subscription model doesn’t work out, the company has some 228 brick-and-mortar stores at which it could potentially sell this new line of meal kits.

All Meal Kits Coverage [E]
Is Blue Apron the Future of Home Cooking in America [E]

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