SimplyCook - Nestles latest D2C purchase

SimplyCook - Nestle's latest D2C purchase

Global food giant Nestlé has continued with its push to build its position in e-commerce with the acquisition of UK recipe kit company SimplyCook.

The move for London-based SimplyCook follows Nestlé's purchase of a majority stake in UK recipe-box firm Mindful Chef and outright acquisition of US meals-delivery firm Freshly last autumn.

Nestlé said the newly-announced deal – struck for an undisclosed sum – underlines its focus on investing in businesses with "attractive growth prospects".

SimplyCook was launched by Oli Ashness in 2014 to offer pre-portioned blends of "authentic flavours combined with easy to follow recipes". The business said that since its launch it has helped households across the UK to cook more than 20 million recipes. The firm will continue to be led by its founding team.

Nestlé said the deal reflects the increasing interest of consumers in food as well as subscription services and offers "significant growth opportunities".

Stefano Agostini, the CEO of Nestlé's operations in the UK and Ireland, said: "We share an ambition to make cooking more accessible by offering delicious, nutritious and convenient solutions. This is an ideal partnership for both parties as Nestlé continues to transform its portfolio and SimplyCook accelerates its growth.

"There is a growing demand for great tasting, nutritionally-balanced food and this move underlines our focus on investing in businesses with attractive growth prospects and acting on current trends." 

Ashness, the CEO of SimplyCook, said: "At SimplyCook we've always been focused on our long-standing mission to bring joy to tens of millions of meal times around the world through fantastic flavour and our simple recipes.  

"The more we got talking to Nestlé the more we realised that our ambitions and vision for the business aligned with what Nestlé sees as the right path for the SimplyCook business. Nestlé's experience, operational expertise, and international know-how gives us the opportunity to expand further in the UK and beyond, making cooking more accessible for millions more consumers in far less time than we previously imagined."

In a tweet to highlight the transaction, SimplyCook said the deal had come "after a year of looking for the right investor".

Nestlé already has its own direct-to-consumer services in the UK, with its Nepresso coffee business offering delivery and through tails.com, the pet-food business in which the Swiss giant acquired a majority share in 2018. Lily's Kitchen, a UK pet-food supplier Nestlé bought in 2019, also sells directly to consumers.

just-food analysis, November 2020: Data may trump D2C debate as Nestle swoops for Freshly