Campbell Soup Co. has become a shareholder in Chef’d, the US online meal-kit business.

The soup-to-biscuits group today (24 May) announced “a strategic partnership and investment” of US$10m in Chef’d.

Campbell, which said it would become the “largest strategic investor” in Chef’d, explained the move would help it grow its “e-commerce capabilities”.

Chef’d is to help Campbell distribute “meal solutions” through the group’s Campbell’s Kitchen site. Under the three-year deal, the two companies are to test “various capabilities” on product innovation and fulfillment.

Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and CEO, 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.”

Between 2016 and 2021, Campbell projects e-commerce sales of food and beverages in the US will rise to $66bn, a compound annual growth rate of 38%.

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“We are fully committed to growing our e-commerce business with an emphasis on bold moves and rapid pace,” Mark Alexander, the president, of Campbell’s simple meals and beverages business in the Americas, said. “We are firm believers in building relationships with partners that share our vision while enabling us to rapidly learn, evolve and test new capabilities.”

Chef’d, formed in 2015, is one of a number of meal-kit services to have emerged in the US. In recent months, Chef’d has worked with packaged food groups PepsiCo and Hershey to launch products on its service sold under brands like Quaker and Scharffen Berger.

Reflecting on Campbell’s investment, Chef’d CEO Kyle Ransford 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 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.”