Solving Problems Kim Lachance Shandrow  | December 7, 2017

How One Meal Kit Startup is Bringing Hershey’s To Your Front Door

Welcome to #BizUnited, a new series highlighting innovative partnerships between large corporations and small businesses across America. Check back periodically for new installments.

Raise a tall glass of chilled milk, chocolate lovers, because The Hershey Company is melting its chocolatey way into the sizzling hot meal kit market.

The legendary American sweets-maker recently joined forces with Chef’d to add its iconic chocolate-filled desserts to its meal kit offerings.

The new partnership marks the Derry Township, Penn.-based classic confectioner’s inaugural entry into the $5 billion-dollar online meal kit delivery market. The addition of a Hershey’s offering — no-bake toffee fudge bars, s’mores cookies and chocolate chip cookies meal kits deliciously included — also marks the launch of Chef’d’s desserts collection.

And it’s also the first time branded desserts break into the exploding online meal kit arena, enabling the El Segundo, Calif.-based meal kit startup’s customers to buy chocolate desserts from and, and, of course, from its popular site.

“With the home meal kit market growing approximately 300 percent annually and expected to grow to $36 billion over the next 10 years,” the companies said in a statement, “Chef’d provides a new and innovative distribution channel for The Hershey Company’s portfolio of brands that aligns with the shifting ways in which people shop and cook.”

In other words, this is a win-win sweet deal for both parties. Hershey’s and Chef’d’s hopping into the business kitchen and diversifying their revenue streams together online further signals that businesses of all kinds, regardless of their scope and size, are increasingly leaning on each other for support and innovation. And, in the bigger picture, it’s the symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationships between them that help move our economy forward.

“Hershey is taking a leadership position as the first confection brand to sell dessert kits on our site, and we are thrilled to be working with them to get the kits to consumers nationally,” said Kyle Ransford, founder and CEO of Chef’d. “We think they are trendsetting and others are going to follow.”

Chef’d equips Hershey’s portfolio of brands with a proven online distribution channel that keeps pace with the ways today’s convenience-driven busy people shop and cook. Meanwhile, the alliance also lends a youthful, modern edge to the legacy chocolate brand, which first debuted in 1894.

“We’re pleased to partner with Chef’d to be the first to bring branded desserts to the meal kit market, and Hershey is committed to offering our beloved brands every place where people shop,” said Carrie Lathrop, The Hershey Co. manager of e-commerce and emerging channels. “The rise of the meal-kit market is undeniable — boxes provide unprecedented convenience while maintaining the engaging experience of home baking.”

In cooking up a collaboration with Hershey’s, Chef’d receives the larger, much longer established company’s stamp of approval, so to speak, elevating its overall brand trust and reach. Launched in 2013, Chef’d has been quick to partner with established chef and trusted organizations, further setting itself apart from the growing competition through its ability to fulfill fresh ingredients direct to consumers across the U.S. for major brands — Hershey’s now among them.

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