Amazon’s newly-discovered desire to begin offering pre-packaged ingredients for home-cooked meals is already a real thing as a selection of Amazon Meal Kits are available on the company’s website. And one user reached out to GeekWire Monday to share his experience with the service.
It’s the latest move by the Seattle-based tech giant to reimagine how its customers get food items, coming on the heels of Amazon’s bid to acquire the grocery chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion. Reports of the service sent shares of Blue Apron, the leading meal-kit delivery company that just went public, down more than 11 percent.
Josh Chadd said that the Meal Kits starting showing up in his AmazonFresh search results about a week or two ago; user reviews indicate that the service has been available since late June. The 34-year-old systems engineer in Seattle has been a user of other services such as HelloFresh and Sun Basket, as well as Blue Apron and Home Chef.
On Sunday night he prepared the Steak Au Poivre, which serves two and is listed at $18.99 on the Amazon site. Amazon bills the meal as an “easy-to-follow, chef-designed recipe” that “includes perfectly portioned fresh ingredients.”
“The steak was an 8-oz. serving packaged by Corfini and was at least of USDA choice quality,” Chadd told GeekWire. “It was not an odd or awkward cut which is often the case with other services. The peas were very fresh with no blotches and tasted very sweet. The onion came pre-diced. It also came with fresh green peppercorns which I’ve never seen in another service even with a similarly named recipe. Overall the finished meal was a 9 out of 10 for any meal I’ve made at home even with my own ingredients.”
Chadd, who uses the new Fresh Pickup location in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood frequently, said the Meal Kit was not available there so he had it delivered. Amazon charges $14.99 per month for Amazon Fresh grocery deliveries, on top of the yearly Prime membership fee. Prime members in Seattle also can pick up their groceries at the new Fresh Pickup locations without paying the $14.99 fee.
The link for the meal on Amazon’s site says it can go “from box to table in about 30 minutes” and Chadd made it for himself and his wife.
“Everything about the meal was good, but the parmesan fries and the pepper cream sauce were the highlight for me,” Chadd said.
The Meal Kits site currently shows 17 different meals, including Roast Chicken with Tarragon-Mushroom Sauce; Tacos al Pastor with Pork; Veggie Burger with Harissa Aioli & Smoked Eggplant; Wagyu Beef Burger with Bacon Jam & Sweet Potato Fries; and more. Vegetarian options are the cheapest at $15.99 each.
Chadd said he thinks the box that everything came in seemed a little smaller than similar services, and everything was pretty easily recyclable except for a couple plastic bags.
As for whether he’ll try it again and what else is on the menu this week, Chadd has already ordered another meal.
“I already purchased one of their quinoa veggie versions and will definitely be trying out more of their options as the prices are the same or slightly lower per serving than other services,” Chadd said. “I also like that I don’t have to subscribe, at least right now.”
On top of the pending Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon’s other food-related ambitions include a lunch delivery service called Daily Dish; a restaurant delivery service for Prime members; a new cashier-less grocery store concept called Amazon Go; a private food label business; and the original AmazonFresh grocery delivery service that launched in Seattle nine years ago.
GeekWire has reached out to Amazon for further details about the new Meal Kits service and we’ll update this post when we hear back.