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Blue Apron Maintains Edge in Recipe for Growth, but Competition Looms

Among the surprises in Blue Apron’s IPO filing last week was that at first blush, it looked worse off than its biggest competitor in meal delivery services, HelloFresh. But a closer look suggests that Blue Apron is positioned to be worth more than HelloFresh in the long run. 

In the first three months of this year, Blue Apron posted a loss of $52 million on revenue of $245 million, while HelloFresh had a loss of 34 million euros ($38 million) on 205 million euros in revenue. HelloFresh, which is privately held but files financial statements with European authorities, also grew faster than Blue Apron and burned far less cash.

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Blue Apron’s gross margins are crucial to proving that the business can be profitable at scale, and also enable it to plow more money into other investments.