Amazon is very serious about groceries if its $13.7 billion acquisition of US retailer Whole Foods is anything to go by. Now, it has started selling Amazon-branded ready-to-eat meal kits in select markets, including its Seattle headquarters, AP reported. These packages contain ingredients like raw vegetables, sauces, patties, etc. with which a meal can be cooked up in half-an-hour. Amazon has reportedly applied for US trademark protection for the line: “We do the prep. You be the chef.” Also Read - Amazon Fab Phones Fest 2021: Up to 40% discount on OnePlus 8T, iPhone 12 mini, Redmi Note 9 Pro, moreAlso Read - Amazon 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiative: Device manufacturing starting with Fire TV Stick to begin in India
The kits are priced between $16 and $20 and might be more expensive than buying the ingredients separately. But it allows Amazon to bridge the gap between raw groceries and quick-service food that can be ordered online. Reports suggest that Amazon could be utilizing Whole Foods’ 400 stores-strong network to sell these meal kits offline too. “I’m not sure any of this will work, but that’s where they are headed,” an analyst was quoted as saying. ALSO READ: Paytm might be investing in BigBasket to take on Amazon in online grocery Also Read - Amazon Apple Days sale: iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 11 Pro, and more discounted
Amazon meal kits are available only through the AmazonFresh grocery-delivery programme, which costs $15 a month and requires a separate $99-a-year Prime membership in the US. Delivery costs an additional $10 on orders of $40 or less; free pickup options are available only in Seattle. Amazon’s US competitor in grocery, Blue Apron, recorded a dip in shares since the meal kits went on sale in June. ALSO READ: Amazon India invests $500 million to expand local grocery business
In India too, the e-retailer is making steady strides in the grocery segment. It recently got government approval for its proposed $500 million investment in the sector. Amazon will now stock food items and sell them directly to consumers. It was also looking to invest in India’s biggest grocery startup BigBasket that would have given Amazon access to existing network of grocers. However, talks fell through on grounds of undervaluation. India is one of the fastest-growing e-grocery markets in Asia-Pacific, according to Euromonitor research, and Amazon’s entry will only spice things up.