The Campbell Soup Co. has invested $10 million in Chef’d, an on-line meal kit delivery service, forming a strategic partnership that will help grow Campbell Soup’s e-commerce capabilities, the company said.
“E-commerce will transform the food industry in similar ways to how it transformed entertainment and apparel,” said Denise Morrison, president and chief executive officer of Campbell Soup. “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.”
Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Chef’d will help with infrastructure and distribution of meal solutions through the Campbell’s Kitchen site. Additionally, Campbell Soup will gain access to Chef’d’s insights on e-commerce business models, data analytics and insights on shopper behaviors. The two companies also will test capabilities around product innovation and fulfillment, Campbell Soup said.
“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 on-line grocery,” said Kyle Ransford, CEO of Chef’d. “Both Campbell and Chef’d believe in continuing to drive innovation in the new food economy, particularly around consumer customization and e-commerce solutions.”
Campbell Soup projects e-commerce sales of food and beverages to reach $66 billion between 2016 and 2021, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38%, the company said.
“We are fully committed to growing our e-commerce business with an emphasis on bold moves and rapid pace,” said Mark Alexander, president of Americas Simple Meals and Beverages at Campbell Soup. “We are firm believers in building relationships with partners that share our vision while enabling us to rapidly learn, evolve and test new capabilities.”
With the investment, Campbell Soup will become Chef’d’s largest strategic investor and will receive a seat on the company’s board of directors.
This investment follows a series of investments Campbell Soup has made. In October 2016, the company became the sole investor in Habit, a San Francisco-based personalized nutrition meal delivery start-up. In February 2016, Campbell Soup committed $125 million to Acre Venture Partners, a venture capital fund that invests in food start-ups.
Campbell Soup’s investment is part of the Series B round of funding for Chef’d. Other investors in Chef’d’s Series B round include Fresh Direct, which is making a follow-on investment to their Series A investment.Chef’d has teamed up with a number of companies within the past year to offer co-branded meal kits. The company partnered with Hershey in September 2016, Atkins in October 2016 and Quaker in December 2016.