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Lo-res_CD272035-SOnce praised as a game changer in the eat-at-home market, Blue Apron recently has struggled to stay afloat, as subscribers to its meal-delivery service experiment with other options. Once the only name in diet and weight-loss services, WW has recently shifted its focus in an attempt to position itself as a more comprehensive source of good health. By joining forces, the two companies hope to re-solidify their respective positions while also gaining ground by developing a market offering with unique appeal to consumers.

When Blue Apron first emerged, it was among the first of what is now a highly competitive, crowded market of home delivery dinner kits. With pre-portioned servings, easy-to-follow recipes, and timely deliveries, the service gave busy families access to an alternative and appealing dinner option. But its success, along with projections of its massive growth potential, rapidly attracted competitive offers in this market. Scores of competitors now grab niche positions, marketing to vegetarian, gluten-free, or paleo diners, stealing market share from the more broad-based Blue Apron. As a result, its membership roles and stock prices both have plummeted.

Looking for a new path to success, it has entered into a partnership with WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), to be a source of meal options for the wellness company’s approximately 4 million subscribers. If that access leads to additional subscriptions to Blue Apron, the company will pay WW an undisclosed fee per user.

The agreement provides benefits for both partners. Blue Apron gains access to millions of potential customers, at no added advertising or development cost. In turn, WW adds a wide range of menu options to appeal to its subscribers, increasing the value of its service by expanding their choices. Furthermore, it helps WW continue its push (as we discussed in a previous abstract) to move beyond its reputation as a dieting company and establish itself as a full-scale wellness provider.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is this partnership enough to set Blue Apron apart from other meal-delivery services and thus enable it to succeed?
  2. How should WW and Blue Apron brand their joint offerings? Should one brand take prominence over the other, or should they appear as equal partners in marketing communications?



Source: Heather Haddon, “Blue Apron Links with Dieters in Comeback Effort,” The Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2018