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Amazon could be making a meal-kit service to rival Blue Apron

Amazon could be exploring meal kits and a refrigeration-free food option

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Image used with permission by copyright holder
Hot off the heels of the revelation that Amazon might be unveiling a new messaging app, the online retail giant is making headlines yet again. This time, it’s with food. The Seattle-based company proved that you can never have your hand in too many cookie jars by filing a trademark application for “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables” that would come ready for you to cook and serve as a meal. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s another meal-kit service.

Clearly, Amazon’s potential entrance into the already crowded space has made waves throughout the market. Following the announcement, Blue Apron’s shares dropped by 11 percent, underscoring just how powerful Amazon has become in the food industry. After all, this is the same company behind grocery delivery service AmazonFresh, which launched in 2013, restaurant delivery service Amazon Restaurants, which launched in 2014, and its recently announced Whole Foods acquisition (which could help with meal kit preparation).

Amazon’s description for the service is rather straightforward. These prepared food kits are said to include “sauces or seasonings, ready for cooking and assembly as a meal; frozen, prepared, and packaged meals consisting of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or vegetables; fruit salads and vegetable salads; soups and preparations for making soups.” While it’s not a novel idea, it aims to cut a slice out of a very large pie. In March, Bloomberg reported that the grocery market is worth $800 billion.

And now, it would appear that Amazon has another plan for entering the grocery market. In addition to the meal kit service, new reports suggest that Amazon is looking into a technology originally developed for the U.S. military to produce meals that don’t require refrigeration. So instead of a meal kit, you’ll just get a meal. From beef stew to vegetable frittata, these meals could be a real game changer. They would be easy to both store and ship as they don’t require a specific temperature to stay safe.

So how do you create such a meal? According to 915 Labs, the company behind the new meal format, you simply place a sealed package of food within pressurized water, and then heat it up in a microwave for several minutes. This, the company promises, allows dishes to “retain their natural flavor and texture,” all while being safe to eat for up to a year.

Update: Added information on Amazon’s latest plan for entering the grocery market, which avoids the needs for refrigeration. 

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Lulu Chang
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