Chef’d, the meal kit company that came back from the dead, is available once again at retail. Supermartket News reports that Gelson’s will be stocking Chef’d meal kits at its 27 California locations.

True Foods had announced its return to retail back in January of this year, and to be honest, we kind of expected its first foray back to be a little more… non-traditional. In 2018, The Spoon had named Chef’d to our Food Tech 25 list of companies because of its innovative approach to selling meal kits, which included using drug stores and smart fridges as sales channels and partnering with big CPG names for branded meal kits. The company abruptly shut down soon thereafter, and its assets were purchased by True Food Innovation, which said it would drop the mail order business and offer meal kits only through retail.

But this news marks a bit of a homecoming for Chef’d which, in its first incarnation, launched at Gelson’s in 2017. In this go ’round, Gelson’s will carry all 8 menu options from both the Chef’d and True Chef brands.

Unlike the last time Chef’d launched, however, retail is lousy with meal kit providers. Kroger bought Home Chef and Albertsons owns Plated, both of which have been rolling out their own meal kits nationwide. But as my colleague, Jenn Marston, wrote in January, True Foods believes it has a product differentiator:

Under True Food, Chef’d kits will return to stores, this time with a 55-day shelf life thanks to a patent-pending formula True Food has developed that uses high-pressure processing without the need for preservatives.

One of the drawbacks to mail order meal kits was the fact that they locked you into eating whatever arrived, regardless of whether you were in the mood for it or not (an admittedly first world problem). If true, the 55 day flexibility of Chef’d meal kits could be a nice way to add an attractive layer of convenience for consumers.

Gelson’s customers will get a chance to see if that claim holds true. Whether it does or doesn’t, drop us a line and let us know.

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