Soon, the New York Times will be delivering more than just "all the news that's fit to print." This summer, the Times will beef up the capabilities of its cooking website by teaming up with the meal-delivery startup Chef'd to offer recipe kit packages, Bloomberg reports.
This new partnership will allow users to order food kits a la carte or through a subscription service. Orders packed with the necessary ingredients will be delivered within 48 hours, and Chef'd and the Times will split the revenue from the venture.
Between grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh and a handful of other meal-kit delivery services like Blue Apron, the New York Times is hardly alone in taking this route to increase profits in a competitive print publishing environment. Chef'd has partnerships with Clarkson Potter and Ten Speed Press as well, and some in the food media world have even jumped ship to partake in this growing startup food industry.
The New York Times' own food columnist Mark Bittman left the paper last year for a plant-based meal kit startup called Purple Carrot, and food editor Dawn Perry left Bon Appétit for Marley Spoon, a Blue Apron competitor.
One such service, Plated, has even teamed up with Clarkson Potter to publish a cookbook, due this May, marking the first time a cook-at-home kit delivery service has produced a cookbook. These startups aim to ease the work of home cooks, and for the Times, getting involved in this growing trend could mean more money in the bank.
Meanwhile, consumers continue to raise concerns about the waste produced by meal delivery kits. Like K-cups and Nespresso pods, however, sales of the kits only seem to be increasing, proving consumers value convenience over sustainability, basic economics, and what the Times itself, in a recent review, called "the essence of what it means to cook." Laura Shapiro, a culinary historian who writes about modern cooking in the United States told the paper last month: "Eating the food cooked by your own hand from your own family and traditions are the things that constitute our emotional life with food," she said. "I can't imagine we are going to look back and say, ‘Oh remember that Blue Apron Burmese curry we used to have on Thursdays?' It's not the same. It's not ours. It doesn't have our family sentiments behind it."