Blue Apron plans to sell meal kits in stores in 2018

March 15 (Reuters) - Blue Apron Holdings Inc said on Thursday it plans to sell meal kits in stores this year, as it attempts to spur growth by attracting more people to its subscription-based service.

Blue Apron pioneered the meal-kit market, selling subscriptions for pre-portioned ingredients paired with recipes for restaurant-style meals like tilapia piccata and miso-glazed barramundi, but has faced new rivals including Inc.

Blue Apron said in an emailed statement to Reuters that the new multichannel offering will make the brand more accessible to homes across the country.

The company did not disclose when it would start selling the kits or which stores it was targeting.

Blue Apron Chief Executive Officer Brad Dickerson in an interview with the Wall Street Journal said he believes the company can find more customers for both that model and à-la-carte meals sold in stores and through its website.

"The access to consumers is much broader in this avenue than the avenue we've been operating in the past," he said in an interview to the Journal.

Last week, Walmart Inc said it would launch meal kits priced between $8 and $15 that would be rolled out to more than 2,000 stores in 2018, sending Blue Apron's shares down as much as 5.8 percent.

Shares of Blue Apron were up nearly 2 percent in early trading on Thursday.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)