Sun Basket, the meal kit startup company that is focused on healthy recipes and organic ingredients, raised $9 million in venture funding.
According to a report in TechCrunch, the round of funding was led by Unilever Ventures and included participation from Baseline Ventures and Founders Circle Capital. With the $9 million round of fundraising, the startup has raised $52 million.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Sun Basket Chief Executive Adam Zbar said the company opened a facility in the Midwest so that it can deliver meal kits to 98 percent of the market in the U.S., which the CEO said makes the company the largest direct-to-consumer organic food provider in the U.S.
Zbar said the new round of funding will help increase its marketing efforts and scale operations more. Sun Basket also plans to use the funding to invest in new packaging materials and a design change of some of its packaging.
In a statement, Unilever Ventures highlighted the loyalty among Sun Basket’s customers and its low turnover rate. “We believe we have up to three times the retention rate of other players in this space, looking at revenue over a period of 24 months,” the CEO said in the report.
The report noted that rivals in the meal kit market — including Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Purple Carrot and Good Eggs — have not provided details about their churn rate.
Last summer Freshly, an overnight delivery meal service similar in concept to Blue Apron, announced it secured $21 million in funding and plans to expand its business to all 50 states, as well as New York City, according to Crain’s New York Business. The funding comes in a Series B round from Insight Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners and Jason Finger, co-founder of the takeout ordering service Seamless, according to Crain’s.
Unlike Blue Apron, however, Freshly’s meals come fully prepared and pre-packaged by the company’s “team of chefs.” All you have to do is pop the meals in the microwave, and they are ready to eat in minutes. A box of six meals costs $69, or the equivalent of $11.50 per meal.