Campbell Soup invests $10M in online meal-kit firm

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Campbell Soup Co. invested $10 million in Chef’d, an online meal kit firm.

Campbell Soup Co. said Wednesday that it has invested $10 million in Chef’d, an online meal-kit vendor, in a bid to sharpen the Camden company’s e-commerce capabilities.

Chef’d, based in El Segundo, Calif., differs from competitors such as the better-known Blue Apron in that it forms partnerships with more than 125 brands, such as Men’s Health and Good Housekeeping magazines, that have their own recipes. Chef’d then makes those recipes available in meal kits. The company says it offers more than “1,000 meal solutions spanning breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.”

Under the arrangement with Campbell, Chef’d, which was launched in April 2015, will help “with infrastructure and distribution of meal solutions” through the Campbell’s Kitchen website, Campbell said.

Campbell, which reported disappointing financial results last week, estimated that online sales of food and beverages would increase 38 percent annually between last year and 2021, reaching $66 billion.

“Ecommerce will transform the food industry in similar ways to how it transformed entertainment and apparel. It is a game changer for consumers, food makers, and retailers alike,” said Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and chief executive.

The investment in Chef’d was made directly by Campbell, not by Acre Venture Partners LP, a fund to which Campbell committed $125 million in early 2016, a company spokeswoman said.