Coinstar’s Meals.com e-services subsidiary, which includes branded and private-label versions of the Meals.com Web site, along with the in-store Shopper kiosk, is off to a strong start in the first quarter of 2000.
“Meals.com is pleased with the many accomplishments we’ve achieved since our carve-out from Coinstar in early February,” said Jens Molbak, CEO of Meals.com. “Record numbers of consumers are using the site, retailers are adding private label versions of the site, and consumer packaged goods manufacturers are excited by the site’s ability to deliver targeted advertising.”
Visitors to Meals.com can search a 10,000 recipe database and use personalized tools to save favorite recipes and automatically generate convenient shopping lists. With each use, Meals.com learns consumer preferences and then makes intelligent meal recommendations via the “What’s for Dinner?” tool. So far, site traffic is up 500% for the quarter ended March 31, bringing the number of page views to more than two million per month.
Meals.com Inc. has signed agreements to create several private label Web sites with leading U.S. retailers. These new sites are in addition to the two private label Web sites Meals.com has already created for Ukrop’s Super Markets and Gerland’s Food Fair. Those sites are now available at www.ukrops.com and www.gerlands.com.
“With the strong financial backing from outside Internet and wireless investors and Coinstar, our parent, we are exceptionally well positioned to provide a ‘bricks and clicks’ solution to the supermarket industry,” said Molbak. “We are working with some of the most innovative retailers in the country to unite to power of the Internet with the reach of their frequent shopper programs.”
Interest from consumer packaged goods manufacturers is also strong. So far, Meals.com Inc. has advertising agreements with nine companies. The most recent agreement is with Lawry’s, a division of Unilever. Under the agreement, Lawry’s will advertise its marinades, seasoning blends, and spice blends on all versions of the Meals.com Web site and on the Meals.com Shopper kiosks.
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Presently, the Shopper kiosks are part of a 27-store pilot with Ukrop’s Super Markets Inc. The Shopper units have a full-time Internet connection and serve up customized information to consumers when they swipe their Ukrop’s Valued Customer card. Ukrop’s customers are able to retrieve personal shopping lists built on the Ukrop’s Super Market private label version of Meals.com, and receive targeted messages and discounts. Results from the pilot are tracking well.
“We believe one of the reasons the Meals.com Web sites and Shopper kiosks are receiving such a good response from consumers is because we provide relevant and compelling information,” said Meals.com’s Molbak. “The targeting engine is working beautifully.”
“The market opportunity for our services is massive and we are excited to be building a business that unites the power of the Internet with the reach of frequent shopper programs,” said Molbak.