Walmart launches meal kits

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Walmart has revealed plans to roll out its new meal kits to more than 2,000 stores this year.

The battle to lure grocery store shoppers is heating up between the world's largest retailers, Walmart and Amazon, which announced major moves within a day of each other. The meals also will be available through the company's online grocery pickup service.

"More than 80 percent of Americans don't know what they will have for dinner tonight", said Tyler Lehr, a Walmart senior vice president. Albertsons acquired meal kit service Plated in September 2017 and is introducing the product into Albertsons stores; and Kroger is testing and producing new meal kit recipes through its recently launched Culinary Innovation Center.

The meals have been divided into three categories. Options include pre-portioned cooking kits, kits to accompany Walmart rotisserie chicken and kits that may be heated up and served in less than 15 minutes. The "one step meals" include options for meatloaf, pot roast and cheesy ravioli bake.

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The selections are available in about 50 Walmart locations in Arkansas, according to a company spokesman. "But we definitely have room for more options". The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up almost 17% for the past year.

Ken Shea, Bloomberg Intelligence's senior food and beverage analyst, said a growing number of US food manufacturers and food retailers are pursuing the at-home food preparation market as well. Unlike Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, Walmart's kits do not require a subscription.

Although several other retailers have tried the meal kit option, majority haven't succeeded in this business venture.

Walmart, the biggest grocer in the United States, is expanding its meal-kit business. The retailer has also lost 15% of its share last year, compared to the year before that. Scrambling to find a meal "puts pressure on a family", he said.