Chef'd Continues Physical Partnerships by Bringing Meal Kits to Offices
As grocers find ways to ease consumers’ process of figuring out what’s for dinner while commuting home from work, one meal-kit service is thinking outside the box – and inside the office.
Chef’d, which has made a name for itself as one of the first meal-kit services to recognize the importance of partnerships, especially with physical retailers, for survival, has partnered with Byte Foods, which supplies patented smart refrigerators to sell fresh food via unattended storefronts in workplaces, hospitals and apartments. Customers can purchase Chef’d kits – along with the usual fresh salads, sandwiches, beverages and more – at any time of the day, any day of the week, and the fridge technology will automatically know what was purchased and charge accordingly. Customers swipe their card, grab a product and just walk away.
Kits are now available in 100 of Byte’s 500-plus unattended retail locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, Calif. Varieties 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, each containing two or more servings of ready-to-cook, pre-portioned ingredients, including leafy greens and herbs, and USDA Choice proteins.
“By partnering with Byte Foods, we are able to bring our meal kits to a new channel, beyond our current direct to consumer and traditional retail distribution and provide an innovative solution for grabbing dinner just before you leave work,” said Chef’d CEO Kyle Ransford.
Added Byte CEO and Cofounder Megan Mokri: “At 4 p.m., four in five people don’t know what they want for dinner the same evening. Byte and Chef’d directly meet that last-minute delivery need while still allowing people to cook at home.”
The kits are expected to expand to more than 500 storefronts over the next six months. The two companies also will partner to bring standalone, unattended Chef’d fridges to a select number of offices and residential apartment buildings throughout the Bay Area.
Bringing its kits to other brick-and-mortar locations outside the traditional store is just one way Chef’d has been working to increase access to, and ease in, preparing home-cooked meals for the time- and experience-starved. Last month, eating-technology company Innit, which claims to be the developer of the world’s first connected food platform, integrated with Chef’d to provide ingredients of select meals on Innit to be ordered as a meal kit through the service. The new partnership further enhances Innit’s experience in providing customizable meal recommendations, video-based guided cooking instructions and smart-appliance connectivity. It also allows consumers to order the exact ingredients for their meals in-app, taking them from meal discovery to planning, purchasing and cooking a meal, all on one platform.
And just last week, Chef'd widely expanded availability of products through a number of brick-and-mortar grocers, including Costco, Harris Teeter, Hy-Vee and Weis Markets, following distribution agreements with upscale Southern California grocer Gelson’s Markets and Northeastern food retailer Tops Markets.