Interest, Investments in Meal Delivery Firms

June 5, 2017
Blue Apron to hold IPO; Campbell and Unilever invest in others; Sprig shuts down.

There continues to be rabid interest in home delivery meal kit companies, both from Big Food companies and from Wall Street. Some news from the past month:

Blue Apron, the apparent leader in the category, on June 1 filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. According to the filing, the IPO is valued at up to $100 million; a date was not specified. The company wants to use the proceeds to pay off debt.

Blue Apron was founded in 2012 and has been growing quickly – in both sales and red ink. Last year it reportedly doubled revenue to nearly $800 million but also lost $55 million. Competition is growing fast, too. We couldn’t find any food & beverage companies invested in Blue Apron, although they’re buying into competitors.

Campbell Soup Co. in May unveiled a strategic partnership and investment of $10 million in Chef’d, an e-commerce meal marketplace that Campbell says will help grow its e-commerce capabilities. Campbell also is the sole, $32 million investor in Habit, a San Francisco-based personalized nutrition and meal-delivery company led by Plum Organics founder Neil Grimmer.

The same month, Unilever’s venture capital arm took a stake in Sun Basket Inc., another meal-kit delivery company rumored to be readying an initial public offering, Bloomberg Markets reports. Unilever Ventures, along with Baseline Ventures and Founders Circle Capital, are investing a combined $9.2 million.

Meanwhile, Sprig, a San Francisco-based meal delivery company, closed down. The startup had acquired more than $56 million in funding, according to reports.

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