What happened

Shares of Blue Apron Holdings Inc (NYSE:APRN) were sliding again today ahead of the meal-kit provider's earnings report next week. Though there was no specific news out on the stock, a combination of factors seemed to rattle it, including a sell-off in growth stocks, concerns about next week's earnings report, and recent woes in the meal-kit industry. The stock closed down 10.4%.

So what

The only news that came out today that could have directly hit Blue Apron was a report from The Wall Street Journal outlining the struggles and challenges that meal-kit companies face. As the report makes clear, dealing with perishable foods is fraught with its own special set of risks, especially when shipping them, including spoilage or running out of stock. The industry is also highly fragmented with a large number of competitors fighting over the same pie, and industry growth is slowing. Consolidation is likely ahead as a number of companies like Plated, Home Chef, and Green Chef have already been acquired, and Chef'd said earlier this month it would suspend operations. That company was bought by a California food consultancy that is interested in its retail operations rather than e-commerce.

The contents of Blue Apron meal kit including various vegetables and a steak.

Image source: Blue Apron.

The article also details the challenges Blue Apron faced in its transition to its new automated facility as resulting operational errors caused sales growth to suddenly dive last year.

Now what

Blue Apron is set to report earnings before the market opens on Thursday, Aug. 2. New CEO Brad Dickerson has said he will focus on profitability, rather than growth, and is aiming for the company to operate at breakeven by next year.

Analysts see the company's bottom-line loss in the quarter narrowing from -$0.47 a share to -$0.18, but also expects a 21% decline in revenue to $188.4 million. Until its slide over the last two weeks, shares had been on a roll in recent months due to optimism over Dickerson's turnaround plan and a new partnership with Costco.

A lot is riding on the upcoming earnings report. Expect the stock to move sharply one way or the other.

Jeremy Bowman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.