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Blue Apron shares hit as Amazon files for meal-kit trademark

17 July, 2017, 19:55 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • APRN stock price

The Seattle-based Internet giant is trying to trademark the slogan, "We do the prep". And Martha Stewart partnered with Marley Spoon, a subscription meal delivery service, to convert Stewart's 18,000 recipes into meal kits called Martha & Marley Spoon.

Neither Amazon nor Blue Apron responded to requests for comment from CNNMoney. "You be the chef" - makes it sound an very bad lot like 5-year-old Blue Apron, and similar meal-kit delivery services. The trademark application was made precisely a week after Blue Apron's market debut. Amazon's long track record of disrupting traditional business with ruthless price cuts and smarter delivery technology sent a wave of panic through traditional grocery stocks.

The mere possibility of Amazon entering the meal kit delivery space has kept Blue Apron's stock notably below its $10 offering price. Smaller rivals include HelloFresh, Plated and Sun Basket, to name a few.

Following a report this morning that Amazon.com Inc.

Just 5 percent of households use meal kits, according to NPD Group, but the group says the number will grow as online grocers get into the game.

Last month, Fast Company's Ruth Reader asked whether Blue Apron would even exist in five years.

Blue Apron initially aimed to go public with a valuation of as much as $3.2 billion, but investors weren't willing to pay up as concerns about competition from a combined Amazon-Whole Foods seeped into the market.

As Ruth pointed out, Blue Apron's customer acquisition costs are already out of control: "Blue Apron's marketing department is spending an exorbitant $94 per customer to get people to sign up for its service-and in the past year, its customer growth rate has actually slowed". That's less than what the company was worth when it operated as a private "unicorn" in 2015.

"Increased competition presents an ongoing threat to the success of our business", Blue Apron warned in its S-1 filing on June 28.

The big problem is customer acquisition costs.

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