Campbell is the lead investor in the online food ordering service’s $10 million funding round announced Thursday. Campbell does not sell directly to consumers through its own site, but it operates a website called CampbellsKitchen.com, which gives visitors recipe ideas and then links to online retailers where shoppers can then buy select ingredients.
Chef’d, No. 838 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000, has established itself as a fast-growing online retailer. Launched in 2015, the company generated $12 million in sales last year, up from $1 million in its first year. Unlike with similar meal-prep retailers, such as Blue Apron Inc. (No. 197) and Green Chef Corp. (No. 683), shoppers on Chef’d can choose specific meals they want, rather than simply telling the company what kind of diet that they eat and then having the company select meals for them.
“We are fully committed to growing our e-commerce business with an emphasis on bold moves and rapid pace,” said Mark Alexander, president, Americas Simple Meals and Beverages at Campbell. “We are firm believers in building relationships with partners that share our vision while enabling us to rapidly learn, evolve and test new capabilities.” Between 2016 and 2021, Campbell said it projects e-commerce sales of food and beverages to reach $66 billion, a compound annual growth rate of 38% percent.
“In the future, shopping for and preparing meals will be flexible, fully automated and even anticipatory,” Campbell CEO Denise Morrison said. “Chef’d will help Campbell connect with our consumers where they are today and, more importantly, where they’re headed.”
Chef’d is going to have significant influence on the CampbellsKitchen.com site, and both sides will work together to “test various capabilities around product innovation and fulfilment.”
Campbell is at least the second major food brand that Chef’d has partnered with. In November 2015, Weight Watchers (No. 121) announced it would be working with Chef’d to create meals that fit in with its weight loss program. According to Crunchbase, Chef’d has raised $27.5 million over three rounds of funding to date.
Other consumer goods giants continue to venture into e-commerce. Unilever last year bought Dollar Shave Club (No. 179), an online-only subscription service for shaving products, for a reported $1 billion. Procter & Gamble last summer began testing whether consumers will embrace a Dollar Shave Club approach to buying Tide detergent by launching the Tide Wash Club.