Amazon Building New Perishable Meal Platform for “Time-Starved Customers”

Speculation has been growing about Amazon’s recent grocery efforts. On the one hand, Amazon has built out its first few Amazon Go automated food stores in urban centers and is likely to roll the concept out much more broadly. On the other hand, Amazon has been leveraging its Whole Foods Markets real estate as mini Prime Now food distribution centers, and could build out more Whole Foods stores to be able to broaden its geographic reach and shorten delivery times in more cities and suburban areas.

But what will Amazon’s product strategy be?

An important part of what Amazon is currently thinking appears to be ready-made meals. According to a recent Amazon job posting (which has been taken down), Amazon is planning to build a “new perishable food platform” to deliver “world class meal solutions for time-starved customers.” The listing reads:

Are you interested in changing how customers solve the “what’s for dinner?” dilemma? If yes, Amazon is looking for somebody with your enthusiasm and skills to build and lead the team that delivers world class meal solutions for time-starved customers. We are looking for an entrepreneurial, analytical, operationally-minded category leader to deliver a new perishable food platform. This role will require the ability to set a vision and drive the end-to-end strategy that will fuel the growth and long term profitability of this critical assortment. The right person for this role will have deep experience developing and commercializing a portfolio of perishable packaged foods, communicating effectively to stakeholders and closely with the cross-functional teams as well as owning the P&L.

Ready-made meals is an interesting strategy because it leverages two major competitive advantages Amazon has been investing in heavily: 1) its Prime Now network of last mile delivery solutions, and 2) its growing network of Amazon Go and Whole Foods food distribution centers, er, grocery stores. Ready meals are a logical application to run on top of this infrastructure.

By focusing on ready meals, Amazon is apparently choosing a different strategy than the “mail-order ingredients you prepare yourself” meal kit companies like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated, and many more. Instead, Amazon is focusing on the “time-starved” segment of the population. We think that makes sense. (Note, however, that Amazon does offer its own selection of non-perishable meal kits, but they appear to be sparsely reviewed. There is also a single perishable meal from Tyson available via AmazonFresh in our spot check.) Amazon does also offer perishable foods at Whole Foods and Amazon Go currently.

By ramping up its ready meal efforts, Amazon will also be competing more broadly with restaurants that offer takeout or delivery, and the logistics networks like Uber Eats that are virtualizing them. (Amazon is also building its own food delivery service, Amazon Restaurants, that is available in about 20 cities.) Just as Amazon has built out its own portfolio of private label brands across multiple retail categories, including non-perishable food, we could see Amazon creating its own “restaurant-like” private label brands for different types of ready meals (pizza, Thai, etc).

Given the investments Amazon has made in grocery and logistics thus far, we expect perishable meals and related new food products to be an area that Amazon is prepared to invest in and grind it out over a period of time.

The TJI Amazon Brand Report – October 2018 Edition

TJI Amazon Brand Database – The Independent Global List of Amazon Private Label and Exclusive Brands

As one of the largest internet retailers and e-commerce platforms in a growing number of markets around the world, Amazon holds a unique position in an increasing number of retail product categories. Over the last decade, Amazon has introduced a number of private label and exclusive brands, and recently it has accelerated its efforts by bringing to market both many new brands and an increasing number of products offered under them.

But, while Amazon labels these brands in different ways in different places, there’s no singular comprehensive reference for manufacturers, brand owners, or retailers to find all of Amazon’s private label and exclusive brands in one place. That’s why we have created the TJI Amazon Brand Database — the independent global list of Amazon private label and exclusive brands.


275+ Private Label and Exclusive Brands

Some brands, like AmazonBasics, are in use by Amazon globally. Others, like Vedaka (Amazon’s spice brand in India) or Kid Nation (one of Amazon’s children’s clothing brands in the US) are only in use in one of Amazon’s country stores.

All told, we’ve identified 120+ Amazon private label brands and 150+ Amazon exclusive brands from Amazon’s retail sites around the world as of today, for a total of 275+ private label and exclusive brands combined. That represents a much larger number than has previously been identified in any reports we’ve seen.

As a few examples, some Amazon private label brands that you may not have seen before include Common District, Dayana, Denim Crush, Filgate, Smitten, Sprout Star, The Casual Grey, The Portland Plaid Co, Toes In A Blanket, and OWN PWR.

And the number is growing.

From Suits to Nuts, Furniture to Dryer Sheets, and Everything in Between

While Amazon’s brand portfolio is largest in clothing — there are over 125 private label and exclusive clothing, shoes, accessories brands in the US alone — Amazon brands run the gamut of consumer product categories.

For example, we count 16 food and grocery brands, 25 healthcare and beauty brands, and 14 household goods brands in the US alone. From Austin Mill suits to Sol nuts, Rivet mid-century accent chairs to Breezeo dryer sheets, Amazon’s thousands of private label and exclusive brand items cover a greater number of retail categories than you may think.

A Global Footprint

While the greatest number of Amazon private label brands are marketed in the US, Amazon has made efforts to build its brand portfolio around the world as well.

For example, in the UK and EU, Amazon has many private label clothing brands that don’t exist in other Amazon markets. And in India, Amazon has a spectrum of private label and exclusive clothing brands ranging from the traditional to the modern.

Dive In

We continue to find new brands on an ongoing basis, and we predict the number of brands is only going to grow.

The TJI Amazon Brand Database is a starting point for researchers and analysts to navigate the breadth and depth of Amazon’s private label and exclusive brands.

For professionals serious about tracking Amazon’s private brand efforts on an ongoing basis, subscribe to TJI Briefing, which covers the latest developments across Amazon’s brand portfolio.

Amazon Launches Solimo Brand Private Label Toilet Paper

Continuing its expansion into private label household supplies, Amazon has launched a new toilet paper product under its Solimo brand.

Solimo is the fourth private label toilet paper brand in the Amazon portfolio. Previously, Amazon has launched Presto! brand toilet paper for consumers, AmazonBasics Professional toilet paper for businesses, and 365 Everyday Value brand toilet paper at Whole Foods.

Vine reviews for Solimo toilet paper are dated since early September. Amazon also recently launched Solimo brand paper towels in August.

At $0.19 per 100 sheets for this 30-roll pack, Amazon is positioning the Solimo brand at a lower price point than its Presto line. For example, this 24-pack of Presto Ultra-Soft toilet paper is priced at $0.28 per 100 sheets. By comparison, this AmazonBasics Professional toilet paper is priced at $0.12 per 100 sheets.

For reference, Amazon’s two best sellers in its toilet paper category sell for much higher prices than its new Solimo brand. Those are this 24-pack of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Toilet Paper ($0.32 per 100 sheets) and this 36-pack of Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare Toilet Paper ($0.28 per 100 sheets).

Other top brands in Amazon US toilet paper search results include Charmin, Angel Soft, Scott, and Georgia Pacific. Top sponsors in our check were Quilted Northern and Cottonelle taking the sponsored product placements and Clorox ToiletWand taking the headline search placement, with Amazon applying the “Amazon’s Choice” ribbon to its Presto 24-count pack.

 

Is Whole Foods Driving Prime Membership Growth?

When Amazon bought Whole Foods a year ago, a common theory behind the rationale was that Prime could drive traffic to Whole Foods through membership deals. But are long-time Whole Foods shoppers who are not Prime members also more likely to join Prime because of those deals?

Per a survey from consumer research firm InfoScout, it appears that for many, the answer is yes.

InfoScout notes:

In addition to analyzing purchase data from Prime member shoppers, we fielded an InfoScout survey to understand how 1,006 long-time Whole Foods shoppers (people who had made Whole Foods purchases both pre- and post-Amazon acquisition) perceived the changes taking place in-store.

Of the surveyed shoppers, 11.2% claimed not to be Prime members, but 64.6% of those non-Prime members said they were considering Prime membership. The top reason for considering Prime? Access to in-store Whole Foods discounts (68.5%), followed by ease of shopping on Amazon (63%), and ability to get Prime shipping on Amazon (61.6%). The in-store discounts are clearly working toward Amazon’s ultimate goal – driving more Prime memberships.