(Bloomberg)—Blue Apron Holdings Inc. CEO Matt Salzberg said the company is keeping its focus on home cooking and related products, a narrow purview that will help shelter it from competitive threats like Amazon.com Inc.
The meal-kit company, which at one point suggested it could become an alternative to or even eventually replace grocery stores, is now concentrating on providing all the tools for cooking at home, from ingredients to cookware to recipe books. It’s a strategy that aims to stay out of the way as e-commerce giant Amazon threatens to swallow up the grocery and fresh food-delivery market. There are “a lot of other opportunities to do additional add-ons around different cooking occasions,” Salzberg added.
“Fundamentally, Amazon wants to solve a lot of things to a lot of people,” Salzberg said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Sooner Than You Think conference at Cornell Tech in New York.
While most of its products are sold directly to consumers through the Blue Apron website and mobile app, the New York-based company is considering other avenues for sales growth. In fact, it currently sells its branded cookbooks on Amazon, Salzberg said.
“We see our brand potentially existing in other places as well,” including Amazon and retailers, he said. “We look at partnerships all the time.”
Blue Apron, No. 197 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, has endured mounting setbacks this year, starting with a disappointing June initial public offering that was hurt by Amazon’s bid to buy natural grocery chain Whole Foods Market Inc. Blue Apron then shook up its management team, faced delays with its new fulfillment center, instituted a temporary hiring freeze and has continued to slash its marketing budget—a key driver for customer and revenue growth. The company also reduced its sales forecast and warned that other expenses would be higher than expected.
The drumbeat of bad news has eroded investor confidence in Blue Apron’s long-term growth potential and ability to survive Amazon’s push into fresh food. Amazon (No. 1) has shown interest in creating its own meal-kit product and has billions of dollars to invest in its grocery-related ambitions.
Blue Apron, meanwhile, only has a war chest in the hundreds of millions. Shares have fallen 46% since Blue Apron went public, and the company’s second-largest holder has already exited its position.Favorite