Nestlé takes a majority stake in Mindful Chef, a British supplier of healthy meal boxes and frozen meals. Waitrose also had an appetite for the meal supplier.
Investing in online growth
"Mindful" meals delivered to busy millennials at home, that's Mindful Chef. Founded in 2015 by school friends Giles Humphries, Myles Hopper and Robert Grieg-Gran, the company attracted some 800 crowdfund investors – including tennis champion Andy Murray – and a participation from professional FMCG investor Piper after two successful crowdfunding rounds.
Now Nestlé is grabbing the successful start-up away from Waitrose mother John Lewis. The heavily reorganised John Lewis Partnership hoped to buy Mindful Chef to help the retailer modernise and invest more in online growth. But Nestlé is focusing more and more on direct-to-consumer: last week the brand producer increased its interest in Freshly, an American supplier of meal boxes.
50 million pound turnover
Since its launch, Mindful Chef has delivered around 9.5 million meals to households across the UK. Consumers can choose from 16 specially formulated healthy recipes each week. Tim Lee, the CEO of Mindful Chef, expects sales in excess of 50 million pound this year: "Nestlé's experience and support gives us the opportunity to build on our success in the UK and beyond.”
The founders will remain minority shareholders and will continue to manage the company. Some existing shareholders will also retain their shares in the company, while investor Piper will step out of the capital. Financial details of the agreement, which is expected to be finalised before the end of the year, have not been disclosed.