Chef'd is an online meal kit delivery service.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Smithfield Foods became a major investor in El Segundo, California-based meal kit company Chef’d. The pork processor’s $25 million investment comes with a seat on the Chef’d board of directors.

The strategic partnership will leverage Smithfield’s portfolio of brands for meal kit solutions across a variety of occasions. Chef’d will benefit from Smithfield’s product development and sourcing capabilities while leveraging Smithfield’s national distribution network and facilities to expand its ability to serve consumers with next-day delivery services. Additionally, Chef’d’s direct-to-consumer model, real-time consumer insights and sales data will enable Smithfield to innovate and learn.

Kenneth M. Sullivan, president and CEO, Smithfield Foods
Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO, Smithfield Foods

“This strategic partnership reflects our continued commitment to innovation – both in our products and how they are delivered to consumers,” Smithfield President and CEO Kenneth M. Sullivan said. “We’re able to expand our e-commerce capabilities and reach consumers looking for high-quality, stress-free meals.”

Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show Chef’d secured $35,211,000. Smithfield Foods contributed $25 million, while online grocer Fresh Direct contributed $200,000.

“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,” said Kyle Ransford, CEO of Chef’d. “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.”

Campbell Soup contributed $10 million in a deal announced in May. Under the terms of that three-year agreement, Chef’d will help with infrastructure and distribution of meal kits through the Campbell’s Kitchen site. Campbell Soup will gain access to Chef’d’s insights on e-commerce business models, data analytics and insights on shopper behaviors. The two companies also will test capabilities around product innovation and fulfillment.

Denise Morrison, Campbell
Denise Morrison, president and CEO, Campbell Soup

“E-commerce will transform the food industry in similar ways to how it transformed entertainment and apparel,” Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup said at the time. “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.”

Chef’d is a meal kit delivery service, but the company doesn’t require a subscription. Customers can re-order their favorite meal kits from a selection of more than 300 meals. Chef’d also provides vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.