Blue Apron's kitchen nightmare: Amazon reportedly in the house

Blue Apron struggles with IPO

"You be the chef", according to The Times.

In a July 6 trademark application, Amazon subsidiary Amazon Technologies Inc. revealed it's planning "prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and [sic] vegetables.ready for cooking and assembly as a meal", as well as primarily grain-based offerings.

Since its IPO, Blue Apron stock has fallen almost 30%. Amazon's interest in meal kits directly undermines that pitch.

The service sounds similar to meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, which regularly mail groceries to a customer's doorstep so that they can cook dishes without any extra trips to the store. That left some thinking it could be a good partner for Whole Foods Markets - until Amazon moved, two weeks after Blue Apron filed its prospectus, to buy the retail chain, limiting Blue Apron's options. A request for comment to Amazon wasn't immediately returned.

Meal Delivery Service Blue Apron
Meal Delivery Service Blue Apron

Today, news of e-commerce juggernaut Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) filing for a prepared food kit trademark application was enough to send shares of Blue Apron down 10% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT. And while the meal kit category is fraught with problems-including reports of high churn rates as consumers wrestle with food quality, high prices and the reality that even a meal kit requires some preparation-Amazon's announcement is an indication that it could grow beyond its tiny niche among Millennials. Amazon can blunt this marketing edge with its Prime membership and Whole Foods' brand recognition. The stock fell as low as $6.51, Blue Apron's worst performance since it made its debut June 29. Just last week, the stock closed at a new low after an analyst slapped Blue Apron with a $2 price target, citing difficulty with the business ever becoming profitable.

Amazon shares rose almost 1 percent to $1010.93 on Monday, up 4.4 percent for the month, while Blue Apron shares were off about 30 percent for July.

Amazon rallied 1.1% to $1,012.95 in recent trading.

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