Miramar, Florida-based iGrabit, an artificial intelligence-powered personal grocery shopping assistant, is launching a meal kit program as part of its ongoing efforts to better help its independent grocer partners compete online.
“Meal kits, which started out as a direct-to-consumer subscription business, have migrated to the retail grocery channel in a big way, with food retailing giants like Walmart, Kroger and others introducing meal kit programs or offering third-party products for sale both in-store and online,” the company says. “The independent grocer however has with a few exceptions been left out of the meal kit category thus far, which according to research firm Packaged Facts, currently has sales of $1.5 to $3 billion in the U.S.”
Packaged Facts estimates that meal kit category sales will roughly double in five years.
iGrabit founder and CEO Prem Balwani, says his mission is to help independent grocers join the digital e-commerce revolution. As part of that goal, iGrabit is adding a meal kit program to its suite of features on the igrab.it platform and app.
“We not only want to help independent grocers compete with the e-commerce grocery giants in general, we also want to find ways to assist them in getting into new, potentially cutting-edge categories like meal kits,” Balwani says.
The program initially is being rolled out in Florida and Georgia in partnership with meal kit maker and distributor Strong Foods, which will offer a selection of meal kits that grocers can feature and offer for sale on their iGrabit digital storefront and in-store.
The meal-kits, like all the other products iGrabit partner-grocers make available to shoppers to be ordered online and picked up in-store, can be ordered via the igrab.it app.
In addition to its initial partnership with Strong Foods in Florida, iGrabit says it is in the process of bringing on various chefs and others who will create meal kits and make them available to independent grocers through the new program.
“We plan to take a targeted, regional approach, using chefs and purveyors from local markets to create meal kits that serve the needs of independent grocers’ specific market regions,” Balwani says. “In talking with independents about the program, we concluded this approach will provide a real competitive advantage to our grocer-partners.
“We’re excited about the initial rollout of the meal-kit program in Florida and look forward to its expansion both in scope and geographically in 2018. We have some real innovation up our sleeve when it comes to 2018.”
The igrab.it app allows shoppers to order groceries online for pickup at their local supermarket. It also includes features like home refrigerator and pantry tracking and grocery list-sharing.