Albertsons announced plans on Thursday to roll out its Plated meal kits to hundreds of its stores this year.
The grocer, which acquired Plated last summer, will also make the meal kits available through Instacart delivery for same-day online ordering and home delivery.
“This was the reason to do the deal,” Plated co-founder and CEO Josh Hix said. “From day one, we wanted to use their stores and their assets to build this omnichannel experience.”
Plated and Albertsons expect to further strengthen their partnership beyond selling the kits in stores. Expect more “solutions,” Hix said, declining to further specify what those solutions may be.
The grocer already offers Plated in 20 Safeway stores in Northern California and 20 Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicago. It plans to have meal kits in store brands that include Albertsons, Safeway, Vons and Jewel-Osco.
It did not specify the number of Albertsons stores that would carry the meal kits beyond saying “hundreds.”
As Plated ramps up its partnership with Albertsons, so too do other meal kit and brick and mortar pairings. Walmart expects to roll out meal kits to 2,000 stores this year. Blue Apron says it will start selling meal kits in stores in 2018, in hopes of using a store base to alleviate its costs.
Hix said the meal kit business is big and broad enough to leave room for multiple players.
Plated also seeks to distinguish itself in part by its culinary team, led by a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef. Meal options in Albertsons stores will include crunchy chicken Milanese with honey mustard and arugula, and roasted chicken au jus with orzo and peas
Meantime, Albertsons has been building out its digital platform, including expanding its partnership with delivery service Instacart. Earlier this year, it launched Albertsons Performance Media, a platform to help brands better target their digital ads.
The grocer in February announced plans to acquire Rite Aid. The company would not comment on whether Rite Aid stores would eventually sell Plated meal kits.