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Continued: General Mills gets into the delivery business

  • Article by: MIKE HUGHLETT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 11, 2013 - 6:23 AM

The service isn’t just for seniors returning from a hospital stay. It’s aimed at people who may have less mobility and desire to cook — say a senior whose spouse has died recently. And of course, consumers of any age can order the Betty Crocker Kitchen meals and have them delivered through Coborn’s.

St. Cloud-based Coborn’s, which operates 30 namesake supermarkets, got into the delivery business in 2008 when it bought the failed but pioneering grocery shopping service Simon Delivers.

Simon suffered the same fate of California-based online grocery wunderkind Webvan, which shut down in 2001.

CobornsDelivers, which carries about 12,000 items, declined to provide sales or customer data for its delivery service. “We’re working every day to build our customer base, and we have been pleased with our performance,” said Emily Coborn, a company spokeswoman. Coborn’s is “very excited about the collaboration with General Mills,” she said.

Jon Seltzer, an instructor and retailing specialist in St. Thomas University’s Opus College of Business, said the General Mills-Coborn’s venture makes “makes perfect sense.”

General Mills is not well-known in the frozen meal space. So, with the Betty Crocker meal pilot program, it’s creating a new product with minimal inventory demands, he said.

And it has potential to be a winner with consumers. “I see all sorts of appeal,” Seltzer said. “It will be a question of how does it taste?”

 

Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003



 

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  • The 25 frozen meals under the Betty Crocker Kitchens banner include “homestyle favorites” such as beef stew, right, meatloaf, chicken dishes and pasta.

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