Meal-kit companies, which deliver boxes of pre-portioned ingredients and instructions on how to cook meals at home, have been some of the fastest-growing online food retailers that last couple years. But is the industry showing signs of slowing down? For one, there’s been increased consolidation in the market, indicating that there can only be a few winners in the category: Albertsons acquired Plated.com last year, and in 2018 HelloFresh acquired Green Chef and Kroger acquired Home Chef.
What’s more indicative is that many of these startups raised money to get their businesses going, and that cash may be running out. The 12 largest online meal-kit companies raising $1 billion in the last few years. Chef’d, which raised $40 million, including rounds from Smithfield Foods Inc. and Campbell Soup last year. The company suddenly laid off all its employees this week and is no longer accepting orders. In an email to its employees, CEO Kyle Ransford said: “We have had some unexpected circumstances with the funding for the business. Due to setbacks with financing, unfortunately, we are ceasing operations for all employees, effective today, July 16, 2018,” the email continues. If we had been successful with these funding efforts, this difficult decision would have been avoided.” (The email was obtained by the Wall Street Journal and Business Insider.)Favorite