Metro buys into meal kit company

The grocer acquires a majority stake in Montreal's MissFresh, getting into an emerging category.
METRO INC--METRO Reaches a Partnership Agreement with MissFresh

Metro has acquired a majority interest in Montreal meal kit company MissFresh, getting in on what it says is an emerging category and consumer demand for healthy eating-focused options.

MissFresh’s three co-founders will keep 30% of the capital and an active management role in the business, which was founded in 2015 and delivers ingredients and recipes for “ready-to-cook” meals.

While it’s too early for Metro to divulge specifics, company spokesperson Genevieve Grégoire says there will be “synergies” in how MissFresh fits into Metro’s current in-store and digital experience and marketing plans.

The major grocery retailers in Canada like Loblaws and Walmart, along with niche players such as M&M Food Market, are working on improving their omnichannel strategies through both click-and-collect and delivery services. Walmart, for example, announced today that it’s eliminating its pickup fee for online grocery orders. For its part, Metro launched online grocery shopping last October.

The MissFresh deal comes following news that Amazon had filed a meal kit trademark in the U.S., threatening players like Blue Apron and German company HelloFresh, the latter of which also operates in Canada. Amazon already has some meal kit offerings through Amazon Fresh.

In Canada, the meal kits category had lagged behind the U.S., U.K. and Europe in terms of number of options and adoption but that’s shifted over the past couple of years, with brands like Chef’s Plate and HelloFresh expanding their delivery zones and marketing.