Just a week ago, meal kit company Blue Apron was a stock investors seemed to think was worth pocket change. Fears that the coronavirus will keep millions of Americans indoors — and cooking — seem to have changed that, at least for now.
Once valued at nearly $2 billion, Blue Apron paved the way for meal kit services when it first launched in 2012. But it was all downhill after it went public in June 2017 at $150. Plagued by unfortunate marketing decisions, new competitors, and an Amazon purchase of Whole Foods, Blue Apron had fallen $60 by the end of 2017 and hit $2.28 on Friday, March 13th.
As coronavirus fears raised the prospect of millions of Americans spending weeks staying away from bars and restaurants, the stock jumped all the way to $16.25 on Wednesday, before falling back somewhat. It was trading at about $12.50 mid-morning Thursday.
Blue Apron’s market value — about $165 million — remains a small fraction of its nearly $2 billion valuation in 2017. Blue Apron’s sudden jump provides a bright spot at a time when the stock market has lost roughly a third of its value since its mid-February peak.
In a statement to MONEY, the company said orders were up, but didn’t say how that would affect revenue or profits, adding that “the situation remains very fluid.”
For 2019, Blue Apron posted a loss of $61 million, as revenue slid to $455 million from $668 million.