Plated, the NY-based company that delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes at your door each week, has today announced the close of a $35 million Series B round. Existing investors Greycroft Partners and Formation 8 participated in the financing.
Plated launched back in 2012 with a simple vision: reduce waste by delivering perfectly portioned meals (in the form of ingredients and recipes) to users’ homes for their own cooking pleasure. Users choose from a menu of meals for that week, and depending on how many meals are ordered, the price can range from $12/meal all the way up to $30/meal for high-end foods like scallops.
Though it may be more expensive than Blue Apron’s pricing (between $8.75 and $10), Plated offers the most choice of any meal-kit delivery service on the market. And going beyond choice, Plated is positioning itself to be the premium player in the market. Think Whole Foods vs. the grocery section of the Wal-Mart.
Plated has invested heavily in ensuring that, to the extent possible, the food that is delivered to your home is sustainably farmed and transported, with full transparency in the process.
“Did you know that 90 percent of the seafood sold in the United States is imported?” asked founder Nick Taranto. “It’s usually farmed using a bunch of chemicals, and I don’t want to eat that crap, and neither do millions of other Americans.”
Plated’s seafood, on the other hand, comes from a company called Sea To Table, which ensures 100 percent domestically and sustainably farmed seafood.
But it’s not just the food itself.
Plated is investing heavily in the shipping of its products as well. Through a new insulation method that uses 100 percent recycled liner, Plated was able to bring carbon emissions down by 95 percent, taking each box from 4.5 lbs of CO2 to .25 lbs of CO2.
But competition in the space is stiff to say the least. Blue Apron is shipping over 3 million meals per month, and recently raised $135 million at a $2 billion valuation. Meanwhile, European player HelloFresh is invading the U.S. and shipping over 4 million meals per month.
“We’re not looking to be the biggest,” said Taranto. “We just want to be the best.”
Unlike Blue Apron, which sources a portion of their revenue from a cooking equipment marketplace, Plated wants to stay focused on the food, according to Taranto.
That said, the company is investing not only in sustainability but technology. Plated has had an iOS app out in the market for the past five months (Blue Apron launched its app yesterday) because Taranto believes that a native mobile experience is crucial to any ecommerce experience.
Plated has more than 1,000 unique recipes, and will be investing more in ‘choice mechanics’, giving users even more options for their food, whether it be vegetarian options or harder-to-cook meals for chefs looking for a challenge.
Plated has raised a total of $56.4 million in funding to date, including the new money, and has 400 employees across the country.