Smithfield Foods Inc. announced Aug. 14 a strategic partnership with an investment of $25 million in Chef'd, an e-commerce meal marketplace. The investment, which is part of a Series B round of funding, makes Smithfield the brand's largest strategic investor and provides Smithfield a seat on the company's board of directors.
With this investment, the companies will leverage Smithfield's portfolio of brands for meal kit solutions across a variety of occasions. Chef'd will gain access to Smithfield's product development and sourcing capabilities, and Smithfield will be able to innovate and learn using Chef'd's direct-to-consumer model by tapping into real-time consumer insights and sales data. Chef'd will be able to leverage Smithfield's national distribution network and facilities to expand its ability to serve consumers with next-day delivery services.
"This strategic partnership reflects our continued commitment to innovation — both in our products and how they are delivered to consumers," said Kenneth Sullivan, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods. "We're able to expand our e-commerce capabilities and reach consumers looking for high-quality, stress-free meals."
Chef'd offers customers the opportunity to choose and reorder from more than a thousand meals at any given time, without the hassle and cost of subscriptions or membership fees. Chef'd partners with notable chefs, culinary personalities and more than 125 trusted brands in food, fitness and health and wellness to provide convenient meal solutions spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
"Leveraging the collective knowledge and capabilities of both companies, our partnership will open up opportunities for innovation and access to first-in-class national manufacturing and distribution facilities as we rapidly scale," Chef'd CEO Kyle Ransford said. "Smithfield is a well-recognized leader in the food industry and shares our vision of meal kits and e-commerce playing an increasingly important role in consumers' food choices."
Additional details will be announced in the coming months. Other investors in the Chef'd Series B round include Campbell Soup Co. and Fresh Direct, which is making a follow-on investment to the Series A investment. D.A. Davidson & Co. acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Chef'd.