Recent filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicate startup meal kit service Chef’d has received $35.2 million in investments from pork producer Smithfield Foods, Campbell Soup, and online grocery service Fresh Direct, CNBC reported Wednesday.
The diverse firms backing Chef’d speak to the level of interest generated by meal kits across the food industry, attracting longstanding firms and newcomers alike. CNBC’s examination of the SEC documents reveal that Smithfield Foods is investing some $25 million in the meal kit business and $200,000 was contributed by Fresh Direct. Campbell Soup publically announced its intention to invest in Chef’d in May, pledging about $10 million to the startup.
“E-commerce and direct-to-consumer is an evolving space,” the chief executive officer of Chef’d, Kyle Ransford, told CNBC. “The strategics are ahead of the financial players in terms of understanding where the market is and what it’s doing.”
Established food and beverage brands like Campbell Soup like General Mills and PepsiCo are increasingly investing in new startups as consumer preferences continue to evolve and the internet reshapes the way people learn about and purchase food and drinks.
“The goal here is to make bold moves and to do so at a rapid pace,” the chief executive officer of Campbell said an event last month, FoodDive reported. “It’s the early days for grocery e-commerce, but we see a larger opportunity to generate more topline growth for Campbell by accelerating our digital marketing and e-commerce efforts – but we must be bold in our strategy and choices, and we must move fast.”