Unilever has invested in US meal delivery company Sun Basket, as the lead investor in a $9.2 million funding round.
The investment means that San Francisco-based Sun Basket has now raised $24.2 million in its Series C-2 investment round, as it attracted $15 million in the first quarter.
The company offers consumers meal kits delivered to their door weekly, consisting of organic and non-GMO ingredients alongside an easy-to-prepare recipe. Sun Basket grew sales by 1,300% in 2016 and has added $124 million in new annual revenue run rate since last September alone.
The meal box format has experienced strong growth in recent years, inspired by Scandinavian retail and buoyed by the addition of many new companies in markets around the world. It now has the backing of a major player in Unilever.
The funding coincides with the inauguration of a new facility in the midwest, which, combined with Sun Basket’s west coast and east coast plants, will allow Sun Basket to offer meal kits to 98% of Americans. It claimed that, with the new plant, it would be able to ‘reach more zip codes than any grocery store’ and create the largest distribution footprint of any direct-to-consumer organic food distributor in the US.
Olivier Garel, head of Unilever’s investment arm, Unilever Ventures, said: “Having reviewed a large number of meal kit players in the United States, we have been really impressed by Sun Basket’s extremely fast growth and category-leading customer retention rates. Over a relatively short period of time, Sun Basket has built a clear leadership position as the best healthy, organic meals service platform, addressing consumers’ growing demand for healthy, tasty, diet-specific but convenient solutions.
“That, coupled with Sun Basket’s values and commitment to sustainability, made it a natural fit into the Unilever Ventures family.”
Sun Basket CEO and co-founder Adam Zbar added: “We’re proud of the growth Sun Basket has achieved over the last year. This investment further validates that we’re on the right track. Being backed by a global venture firm, like Unilever Ventures, will help accelerate our product and user acquisition roadmap by leveraging their unrivaled expertise in CPG marketing, distribution, and logistics. We’re excited to partner with Unilever Ventures to realise our mission to fundamentally improve people’s health by providing an easier and more delicious way to cook.”
In total, Sun Basket has now raised $52 million across Series C-1 and Series C-2 investment rounds.
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