Schwarz Group Lidl Trials Cook Bags From Kochzauber

Matthias Queck (Research Director)
28 June 2017

Discounter Lidl is trying to create synergies from its start-up, Lebensmittel Zeitung writes. In 20 selected Berlin stores, so-called Kochtüten (cook bags) are being offered for EUR9.99, which contain changing recipes and all of the ingredients to prepare the meal at home. 

The offer allows the two Schwarz Group-owned companies to “amalgamate” better, the retailer told Lebensmittel Zeitung. The “respective strengths of each partner” can be transferred to one another. Kochzauber was founded in 2012, and acquired by Lidl in 2015.

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Matthias Queck (Research Director)
Matthias Queck (Research Director)

Opinion Lidl's Cooking Lessons

28 June 2017

Let's seize the opportunity, and see what we can make of it: Lidl bought Kochzauber in 2015, rescuing the Berlin-based start-up from imminent insolvency. This was not the first time Lidl has acquired a company that was in deep trouble, presumably at a Lidl-adequate discounted price: MEG, a water bottler, was once taken over by its key client Lidl (perhaps simply out of necessity to maintain supply) - and turned into the foundation stone of what later became Lidl’s own food production division. 

The success of Kochzauber, it seems, has so far been less impressive. Less visible, at least. Now and then, full-page ads have appeared in Lidl’s weekly leaflets. However, products in the cook boxes weren’t Lidl products, so it is safe to assume that synergies were extremely limited, if not non-existent. Kochzauber isn’t even interlinked with Lidl’s online shop for (dry) groceries – a place where it could make some sense. 

Why this change has happened now, after so long, is unclear. Furthermore, the first offers aren’t really convincing. True, the bags now include Lidl products – box ticked for synergies. But the first recipes and ingredients couldn’t be further away from Kochzauber’s philosophy: “Our mission: Good food from the freshest ingredients” – implying food that is cooked from scratch and focused on healthy eating. Pre-cooked pasta with cheap gratin cheese isn’t exactly that. To be fair, there is a salad to go with it, with an instant dressing. 

This ‘deal’ sells for EUR9.99. Not a price tag a Lidl shopper is used to, outside the non-food department. Cut the price to EUR3.99 and it will sell. Impossible? Then don’t do it. 

The move adds to Lidl’s ever-growing convenience offer. At the same time, it looks like a great way to drive Kochzauber’s volume. But is this true? There is actually little from Kochzauber in this product other than the brand – both the content and the logistics are from Lidl (Kochzauber boxes are a mail-order business). So, why not offer weekly changing recipe leaflets instore, with the ingredients grouped around them? There would still be various opportunities for beating the Kochzauber drum, even if the 'return on investment' for this acquisition is harder to find than for MEG.

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