AUSTRALIA – German-based meal kit company HelloFresh has agreed to acquire Australian ready-to-eat meal manufacturer Youfoodz to enhance its Australian brand portfolio and product offering. 

FoodBev reported that the US$93.3 million deal marks an important step in HelloFresh’s growth strategy and will strengthen its direct-to-consumer (D2C) ready-to-eat capabilities. 

Youfoodz provides and distributes fresh readymade meals, as well as snacks and drinks through both home delivery (D2C) and retail (B2B).  

The company operates three production facilities in Brisbane, which it claims produce more than 400,000 ready-made meals, 80,000 snacks, and 25,000 drinks per week. 

Since its establishment in 2012, the Australian firm says it has delivered over 60 million ready-to-eat meals to its home delivery, retail and corporate customers. 

“We are impressed by Youfoodz’ strong product and manufacturing capabilities and are looking forward to jointly delight Australians with delicious, healthy and convenient meals,“ said Tom Rutledge, CEO of HelloFresh Australia and New Zealand. 

Upon completion of the transaction, Youfoodz will continue to operate under its own brand but will be made increasingly available to its consumers through a subscription platform. 

According to HelloFresh, Australia has witnessed rapid growth in the ready-to-eat meal delivery service, and the Berlin company recently launched its value brand EveryPlate in the country. 

6W Research attributes this rising demand for ready-to-eat meals to rising obesity rates amongst the youth which is increasing the adoption of healthier lifestyles by consumers. 

Additionally, the market research firm notes that a rise in disposable income of the consumers coupled with increased investments by international Ready to Eat Food brands in the country’s local market has boosted sales of ready-to-eat meals. 

Dominik Richter, CEO of HelloFresh, added: “The popularity of ready-to-eat services in Australia in a well-established and growing sector offers us a good opportunity to further strengthen our position by offering further choice of meal solutions and price points to our customers.” 

Globally, the Ready to Eat Food Market size is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 12.78% during the forecast period 2020-2025, according to a recent report by Industry Arc. 

The market research firm attributes the global growth rate to the growing demand for quick food and presence of freshness and high nutritional value in these foods. 

To take advantage of the growing popularity of the market segment, Hello Fresh also recently acquired Factor75, a prepared meal delivery service in the US. 

“We are excited about the prospect of joining the HelloFresh group. This is a significant endorsement of our brand and the success we have enjoyed as a business in the ready-made meal sector,” Youfoodz CEO, Lance Gile added. 

Partnering with a global leader like HelloFresh will help us accelerate growth of our business and enhance our customer offering through new menu offerings, customer initiatives and enriched service levels.” 

The transaction – which is subject to customary conditions including shareholder and court approval – is expected to be finalised in October 2021. 

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE