Smithfield Foods, the US meat processor owned by China’s WH Group, has invested in Chef’d, the US meal-kit business.
Chef’d CEO Kyle Ransford this week disclosed the company had raised US$35.2m in funding, with $25m coming from pork giant Smithfield.
The Campbell Soup Company contributed $10m of the financing, a deal the soup-to-biscuits maker disclosed in May. The other $200,000 came from US online grocer FreshDirect, CNBC reported.
Approached by just-food, Smithfield Foods declined to comment beyond Ransford’s interview with CNBC.
Packaged food manufacturers are eyeing the US meal-kit market with interest. In June, Nestle acquired a minority stake in US online meal-kit service Freshly, one of a series of investments packaged food majors have made in the category.
Unilever, meanwhile, in May led a $9m investment in US meal-kit start-up Sun Basket.
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“E-commerce and direct-to-consumer is an evolving space,” Ransford, who founded Chef’d in 2013, told CNBC. “The strategics are ahead of the financial players in terms of understanding where the market is and what it’s doing.”
This week, another US meal-kit business, Blue Apron, saw its shares tumble after publishing its first earnings report as a publicly-listed company. Blue Apron, which floated in June, reported its operating costs had jumped by a third year-on-year.