Amazon signals that it wants in the meal-kits business

Amazon is entering the meal kit business.

The Seattle-based Internet giant is trying to trademark the slogan, "We do the prep. You be the chef," according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,

In the July 6 filing, Amazon says its tag line is for "prepared food kits," composed of meat, poultry, seafood, produce, sauce and seasonings" as well as "frozen, prepared, and packaged meals," which also includes salads, soups, grains, rice, noodles, pasta and bakery products

Amazon has already made a huge play in the food industry with its June 16 offer to buy organic foods giant Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.

The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

Amazon is gearing up to snag a chunk of the $2.2 billion-and-growing meal kits business.

This type of food prep -- pre-measured, fresh ingredients delivered fresh to one's home -- will see annual growth will be 25% to 30% over the next half-decade, says Chicago-based food industry consulting firm Pentallect

Growing home meal kit phenomenon is stirring up food industry, stressing out supermarkets

Despite their growing popularity, only an estimated 5% of U.S. households use them, according the research firm NPD Group. 

Part of the problem has been the price, but with Amazon coming on the scene, that could change. The online retailer is known for offering low prices. Once the Whole Foods deal goes through, it'll have a strong grocery backbone to plant a stake. Throw in a well-established logistics and delivery systems and Amazon is poised to be a real meal-kits player.

“It makes perfect sense that as online grocery shopping grows it will drive the adoption of meal kits,” said Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Online grocery shoppers can save time by not having to search through multiple Web sites and they both work hand-in-hand in meeting the consumer’s need for convenience with the delivery of a fresh meal they can prepare at home.”

Whole Foods spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan declined to comment.

But Wall Street isn't as gaga over meal kits. Blue Apron went public on June 29 with an opening price of $10 per share, down from the $15 to $17 per share it had initially sought.

Blue Apron stock was at $6.75, down 61 cents or 8.3%, in mid-morning trading Monday.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Zlati Meyer on Twitter: @ZlatiMeyer

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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