Subscription schemes that take the hassle out of deciding what to cook on a week night have been booming in recent years – what began with simple veggie boxes has now moved on to ‘prepared food kits’, with companies like Blue Apron in the US and HelloFresh in the UK delivering recipes – and all the ingredients you need to make them – straight to your door. The model for these businesses is pay as you go, and pick the plan that suits you – and it seems that Amazon are now keen to get a slice of the action.

A significant move

The retail giant has just filed a trade mark for the slogan ‘We Prep. You Cook’ with the UK Intellectual Property Office – a variation on the tagline they’ve already used to promote their prepared meal kits in the US. It looks like Amazon will take the concept to the next logical stage – where veggie boxes offered a seasonal selection of veg, and operators like HelloFresh added menus and specific ingredients, it seems that Amazon will now be offering customers prepared ingredients as their USP. So how will they fare against the more established suppliers?

Huge leverage

Well, unsurprisingly, it’s highly likely that Amazon will take an aggressive approach to rivals like HelloFresh here in the UK. Amazon have a huge advantage over their competition because they already have enormous existing customer base that they can draw on – as they launch their new service in the UK they’re likely to heavily target their Prime customers in particular. Millions of customers are already very familiar with the whole Amazon shopping experience, and this will be a big advantage for the US company – it’s likely that the convenience of putting everything you need in one basket (including groceries) will be too much for many to resist. Recruiting new subscribers is also an area in which they will be able to really exert some pressure on other players in the sector because many of the competition already find this a challenge.

One area where existing operators might be able to enjoy an initial advantage over Amazon is around local sourcing – something that has been a big priority for the kind of customers who have signed up to these services in the past.

However, it’s likely that once again Amazon will ultimately be able to leverage their huge advantage in terms of customer service and fulfilment to make up any shortfall in this area.