Now we know why Chef'd shut down
One of the top meal kit services in the country has found a buyer only a week after the company shut down.
The buyer? A packaged-food consultancy known as True Food Innovations. The company said that it bought Chef’d’s assets and that the firm will continue to sell Chef'd meal kits in grocery stores and other retail outlets. The company’s acquired assets include a plant, property, equipment, brand and more, as True Food Innovations plans to integrate the assets with its existing business.
“We are looking forward to working with brands and former customers as we restructure and operate the Chef’d assets,” Robert Jones, President of True Food Innovations and a former Senior Vice President of Business Development for Chef’d, said. “We have already developed and are in the 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 company abruptly shut down in July and laid off its employees, Business Insider has reported. The service had begun its physical distribution agreements last year with Gelson’s Markets and Northeastern food retailer Tops Markets. It followed by expanding availability to a number of other brick-and-mortar grocers, including Costco, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee and Weis Markets.
"We have had some unexpected circumstances with the funding for the business," said founder and CEO Kyle Ransford in an email to employees obtained by Business Insider. It added that "due to setbacks with financing, unfortunately, we are ceasing operations for all employees, effective today."
The news comes as a surprise to many, given Chef'd's early adoption of a partnership model. Recent research from Schaumburg, Ill.-based market researcher Nielsen revealed that while services such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh might make up the majority of meal kits purchased, kits offered through brick-and-mortar food retailers have experienced impressive gains. In-store meal kits saw a 26.5 percent rise in sales over the past year, reaching $154.6 million.
“Our unique position as a leader in the HPP processor field enables us to service a large capacity of retail customers,” Alan True, Founder and CEO of True HPP and parent company True Family Enterprises. “Additionally, our team of food scientists and culinary experts are constantly innovating ways to utilize our HPP technology, which has allowed us to create longer-lasting meal kits and other food products that carry a fresh, clean label and longer shelf life, which will perform well within the retail marketplace.”