Blue Apron, Buzz, ecommerce, Food, HelloFresh, meal kits, Startups, Wine

HelloFresh is launching a wine club, taking a page from the Blue Apron playbook

As competition among them heats up, meal kit startups are expanding their repertoire, including by selling their dinner kits at groceries, and adding new products to their catalogs.

Today, early meal kit player HelloFresh announced the availability of wines on their site beginning on May 17th. HelloFresh Wine subscribers will get six bottles of red, white or mixed varietals shipped to their door for $89 per month plus taxes. Along with their monthly shipments, Hello Fresh will also provide pairing suggestions, tasting notes and a flavor profile for each wine.

One major Hello Fresh competitor, Blue Apron, began selling wine back in 2015. The addition of wines to Hello Fresh makes the two even more directly competitive.

Unlike Blue Apron, HelloFresh offers meals for different “dayparts,” not just dinner. They started selling breakfast recipes and ingredients in March this year.

Unlike Hello Fresh, Blue Apron sells food prep tools, cookware, culinary gifts and cookbooks a la carte. And Blue Apron’s wine subscription costs less than the new Hello Fresh offering, $65.99 per month including shipping and taxes. However, Blue Apron gives users just one option–they get three bottles of red, and three white each month.

Both companies pose competition to vineyards that sell direct to customers, and to alcohol specific e-commerce companies from to Naked Wines, Vivino, Winc, and delivery apps like Drizly.

The companies are tapping into a shift in the way people buy and discover wines. Restaurant sales of wine have declined in recent years, but growth in direct-to-consumer wine sales have been ramping up since 2012. Direct to consumer now represents 59% of an average winery’s overall sales, according to the Silicon Valley Bank 2017 Wine Report.

Most importantly for meal kit companies, expanding into wines may help them improve margins. Managing a supply chain of perishable goods is exceedingly costly. Wines, of course, age well as long as they’re properly stored.

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