Fresh Prep, a Vancouver, Canada-based meal kit company, has raised $3.3 million ($2.47 USD) led by First West Capital, according to Betakit. This is the first round of funding for Fresh Prep.
The deal caught our eye for a couple of reasons. First, Fresh Prep is a traditional meal kit company, delivering boxes of pre-measured ingredients to your door. Even in Canada, where meal kits generate $120 million in sales, these companies face the same issues with customer retention and making a profit as they do in the U.S.. To fend off these challenges, most meal kit companies at this point are migrating from mail order to retail outlets. Fresh Prep, it seems, is bucking this trend, and raising fresh capital while they’re at it.
Fresh Prep is also raising money in the face of a much bigger competitor in Canada. In October, HelloFresh, the biggest meal kit player in the U.S., acquired Toronto-based meal kit company, Chefs Plate, which also has a fulfillment center in Vancouver.
Meal kits are a tough business, and Fresh Prep aside, VC money isn’t flowing into the sector anymore. Just Add Cooking, a Boston-based meal kit company shut down last month. In the scramble to find a sustainable business, meal kit companies are experimenting with new sales channels, like selling in drug stores. Meal kit companies are also now facing added pressure from CPG companies like Stouffer’s, which are coming out with their own frozen meal kits sold in grocery stores.
Despite all these headwinds, Fresh Prep still found investors. Now the company needs to show that it can scale up.