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Chef’d, the meal kit company that said the other day that it was ceasing operations because of expense and financing issues, has been acquired by True Food Innovations, which describes itself as developing, commercializing, and selling food products for domestic and international channels.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The announcement says that “True Food Innovations acquired all Chef'd assets, including plant, property, equipment, brand and intangible assets for an undisclosed amount, and plans to consolidate these assets into the existing businesses of True Food Innovations.”

Robert T. Jones, president of True Food Innovations, says that his company has “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. We believe the retail channel will continue to grow and we will concentrate our efforts on that portion of the Chef'd business.”

The Los Angeles Times coverage of the deal notes that “Chef’d, which was backed by big food companies including Campbell Soup Co., sold meal kits through grocery stores and also offered online ordering and home delivery, similar to better-known meal kit companies Blue Apron and Hello Fresh.”

The expectation is that True Food will focus on the supermarket distribution side of the business, not the direct-to-consumer delivery side.

The Times writes that “Chef’d and other companies have struggled to be profitable amid the costs and complications of shipping fresh meat and produce directly to customers. That has led some meal kit companies to try to sell their goods through retail locations. Blue Apron meal kits went on sale at some Costco locations in May.”
KC's View:
The notion that meal kits may only be a strong performer when taken out of the pure-play e-commerce world seems to be gaining currency. The question will be if retailers decide to partner/acquire existing meal kit companies, or develop their own.