More than a week after suspending operations, citing funding and expense issues, meal kit seller Chef’d has found a buyer. True Food Innovations, a food technology, CPG and manufacturing company, has acquired all assets of Chef’d, including plant, property, equipment, brand and intangible assets, for an undisclosed amount. The purchaser plans to consolidate these assets into the existing businesses of True Food Innovations.
True Food will continue to sell Chef’d meal kits in grocery stores and other retail outlets, but will suspend its sprawling e-Commerce offerings while it works to become profitable, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The meal kit industry had grown to as much as $5 billion in 2017, according to Packaged Facts, and could exceed $10 billion by 2020. But the space has had a relatively easy entry point for new companies, so competition has been fierce. Major retailers like Kroger and Walmart now offer their own meal kits, and in 2017 Albertsons acquired meal kit service Plated to launch it in its stores. Even Chick-fil-A is piloting meal kits in 150 restaurants.
While the new company will retain the Chef’d name, it won’t keep the licensing deals and will try to renegotiate its retailer agreements, according to Robert Jones, President of True Food Innovators. Jones was a former Chef’d executive who negotiated many of the meal kit company’s deals to sell in retail stores.
“We have already developed and are in market with long shelf-life retail meal kits under the brand of True Chef, so we seized the opportunity to acquire the assets and brand of Chef'd as the transaction will be accretive to our business from day one,” said Jones in a statement. “We believe the retail channel will continue to grow and we will concentrate our efforts on that portion of the Chef'd business.”
True Food Innovations provides manufacturing services, product development, high pressure processing (HPP) packaging solutions and customer partnerships that introduce private label meal kits and retail-ready HPP products both domestically and internationally.