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Chef’d Aims For Meal Kit To Be Standard Amenity In Office Space

Meal kit company Chef’d has inked a deal with Byte Foods to put Chef'd meal kits in 100 of Byte’s smart refrigerators in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, including such workplaces as Tesla, Cisco, Chevron, Sutter Health hospitals and Stanford University. 

The meal kits will be offered starting at once at the 100 locations, with plans to expand into all of Byte Foods' roughly 500 locations over the next six months.

A Chef'd Fridge

“Our goal is to provide a rotating assortment of high-quality meal kits to more consumers in more places,” Chef’d CEO Kyle Ransford said. “By partnering with Byte Foods, we are able to bring our meal kits to a new channel."

Previously, Byte Foods' smart refrigerators sold salads, sandwiches, snacks and drinks. Now they will have Chef'd meal kits for customers either to prepare at work or home.

Each kit contains two or more servings of ready-to-cook, pre-portioned ingredients, including leafy greens, herbs and proteins.

The move is the latest in the rise of meal kits, which were created to bypass brick-and-mortar stores just as online grocers do.

Last year, Campbell Soup bet big on meal kits when it invested $10M in Chef'd.

“We believe that digital and e-commerce is going to transform [the food] industry,” Campbell Americas Simple Meals and Beverages President Mark Alexander told Fortune.

Smithfield Foods bet even bigger last year, putting $25M into Chef'd. 

The primary model for Chef'd is an online platform to choose and order from more than 1,000 meals at any given time, without subscriptions or membership fees.

Chef'd partners with chefs, culinary personalities and more than 125 brands in food, fitness and health and wellness to its create meal kits, which are for next-day delivery.

The Chef'd partnership with Byte Foods comes at a time when the meal-kit industry is looking to sell more boxes offline, Bloomberg reports. Retail sales of meal kits were up 26% in 2017 to more than $150M, according to Nielsen data.

Albertson's got into the game last year to sell meal kits in its stores, acquiring meal-kit subscription service Plated for between $175M and $200M. That deal marked the first acquisition of a prepared-meals company by a national grocer.

Chef’d meal offerings at Byte Foods will for now include Smoky Maple Pork Loin with Swiss Chard and Mashed Sweet Potatoes; Weeknight Chicken Pad Thai with Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas; and 20 Clove Garlic Chicken with Mashed Purple Potatoes and Spinach. 

Customers purchase food with credit cards directly from the fridge at any time, with Byte automatically keeping track of what was purchased and charging accordingly.

“At 4 p.m., 80% of people don’t know what they’re having for dinner that night," Byte Foods CEO Megan Mokri said. "By offering meal kits available for purchase in the office, Byte and Chef’d meet that last-minute delivery need while still allowing people to cook at home."