Nestlé to acquire majority stake in UK meal kit firm, Mindful Chef

UK – Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate, Nestlé has agreed to acquire a majority stake in UK meal kit firm Mindful Chef.

The acquisition comes shortly after the Swiss firm recently acquired US meal subscription service Freshly in a deal that valued the company at US$950 million.

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Founded in 2015, Mindful Chef offers a range of nutritionally balanced meals through its recipe box service, with 16 options to choose from each week.

Mindful Chef’s portfolio of take away food products also includes a range of prepared frozen meals.

Acquiring Mindful Chef will thus help Nestlé strengthen its direct-to-consumer offerings in the UK and Ireland.

This is particularly important now when at-home consumption in tangentially increasing at the expense of in-restaurant eating due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a study by FMCG Gurus, Consumers during this pandemic period have shifted their food preferences and now want to maximise their health in order to boost their immunity and reduce vulnerability to disease and illness.

As a result of this, the study revealed that about 73 percent of consumers say that they plan to eat and drink healthier.

The healthier options that Mindful Kitchen offers puts it on a growth trajectory and the additional investment from Nestlé will prove beneficial in achieving this.

“Nestlé’s experience and support gives us the opportunity to build on this success in the UK and beyond, making healthy eating easy for more consumers,” said Tim Lee, CEO of Mindful Chef.

Mindful Chef’s three founders, who are part of its management team, will remain shareholders and continue to run the company with support from Nestlé.

Some existing shareholders will also retain their stake in the company while Piper, a private equity firm which last year invested £6 million (about US$7.9 million) into Mindful Chef, will exit the business.

“Giles, Myles and Rob have built a brand with a clear purpose, offering consumers a trustworthy proposition that makes healthy eating easy through a direct-to-consumer subscription model,” said Stefano Agostini, CEO of Nestlé UK & Ireland.

“Nestlé and Mindful Chef share an ambition to increase the availability and convenience of healthy food while paying close attention to how ingredients are sourced and reducing food waste,” Agostini added.

He further noted that the partnership between the two companies was ideal as Nestlé continues to transform its portfolio and Mindful Chef accelerates its growth plans.

Tim Lee, added: “We constantly challenge ourselves to be aware of our actions and the wider impact we have. The consumer response has been great and we expect to see sales of over £50 million this year.”

Through the acquisition, Nestlé continues to expand its portfolio of direct-to-consumer businesses, which also includes coffee brands Nespresso and Nescafé Dolce Gusto.

The financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the end of the year, have not been disclosed.

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