Smithfield Foods Inc. has announced a strategic partnership with an investment of $25 million in Chef'd, a best-in-class e-commerce meal marketplace. Part of the Series B round of funding for Chef'd, this investment 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 M. 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," 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."
Smithfield also announced the full acquisition of Kansas City Sausage Company, LLC, the leading U.S. pre-rigor sausage producer and processor. In 2013, Smithfield formed a 50/50 joint venture with the company.
"This latest acquisition will build on the success of our growing packaged meats business and brands. It simultaneously enhances our vertically integrated supply chain, further harmonizing our live production and processing capabilities," said Sullivan. "With this transaction, we will strengthen our focus on branded pre-rigor pork products and leverage Smithfield's expansive sales and distribution network to bring these premium offerings to more consumers."
"This full acquisition further supports the growth of several key packaged meats categories, including breakfast and fresh dinner sausage, as well as Italian style meal solutions like meatballs," said Joseph B. Sebring, president, packaged meats division of Smithfield Foods. "Kansas City Sausage produces some of Smithfield Foods' fastest growing products including Smithfield Breakfast Sausage, Smithfield Craft Collection Seasonal Brats, and Carando Meatballs. In fact, Carando currently boasts the fastest selling fresh meatball in the U.S."
KC Sausage has operations in Des Moines, Iowa and Kansas City, Missouri. In Des Moines, the company produces premium raw materials for sausage, as well as value-added products, including boneless hams. The Kansas City plant is the newest and most modern sausage processing facility in the U.S. and is designed for optimum efficiency to provide retail and foodservice customers with the highest quality products.
Source: Smithfield Foods Inc.