Originally posted on FoodBev.com
Campbell’s has invested $10 million in US meal kit upstart Chef’d, less than two weeks after Unilever led investment in a similar kind of business.
The soup company will become Chef’d’s largest strategic investor and receive a seat on the company’s board of directors. The deal will help grow Campbell’s e-commerce capabilities, with Chef’d offering an online platform through which consumers can order meal kits from various different brands.
Unlike other meal kit delivery companies, which focus on a singular product line, Chef’d brings together various different offerings from the likes of Atkins and Weightwatchers.
Chef’d has also developed its own range of meal kits covering different meal times and cuisines.
Campbell Soup president and chief executive officer Denise Morrison said: “E-commerce will transform the food industry in similar ways to how it transformed entertainment and apparel. It is a game changer for consumers, food makers and retailers alike. The movement is irrevocable and irreversible. In the future, shopping for and preparing meals will be flexible, fully automated and even anticipatory. Chef’d will help Campbell connect with our consumers where they are today and, more importantly, where they’re headed.”
Campbell’s expects e-commerce food and drink sales to reach $66 billion by 2021, and its latest investment will be a vote of confidence in the overall meal kit concept.
Chef’d CEO Kyle Ransford added: “We are actively looking to add strategic partners and Campbell’s outlook on the future of food and e-commerce aligns perfectly with the Chef’d vision of the future of online grocery. Both Campbell and Chef’d believe in continuing to drive innovation in the new food economy, particularly around consumer customisation and e-commerce solutions.”
Campbell’s is joined in investing in Chef’d by Fresh Direct, which is making a follow-on investment to their Series A investment.
It comes less than two weeks after Unilever led investment in Sun Basket, the US organic meal delivery service, as part of a $9.2 million funding round.
The company offers consumers meal kits delivered to their door weekly, consisting of organic and non-GMO ingredients alongside an easy-to-prepare recipe.
Sun Basket grew sales by 1,300% in 2016 and has added $124 million in new annual revenue run rate since last September alone, underscoring the potential in this nascent market.
The meal box format has experienced strong growth in recent years, inspired by Scandinavian retail and buoyed by the addition of many new companies in markets around the world.
As the sector evolves, many find themselves offering a specific point of difference – like ethical or organic ingredients – or, as Chef’d has done, bringing a large number of services together in one place.
The Giannuzzi Group acted as legal counsel to Chef’d.