Food startup Thistle aims to be something different in the field of culinary businesses as it delivers thrice-weekly bags full of healthy meals to those who want to eat healthy food without spending a lot of time on meal prep.
The company is hoping for a boost from the $5.65 million Series A funding round it announced recently, according to reports. The round is led by investor PowerPlant Ventures. Dan Gluck of PowerPlant will join the company's board. PowerPlant has a history of funding other food-related startups like Beyond Meat, Thrive Market and Rebbl.
Thistle’s approach contrasts with many food services that deliver meal kits that can sometimes take up a lot of time to prepare. Other companies that have tried, like on-demand prepared food option Sprig, have gone out of business.
But Thistle is giving it a go. The California startup puts its deliveries out in the early morning hours, when traffic is less congested, and includes meat-optional, plant-based breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, sides and juices. The idea is to make sure customers have their food as quickly as possible for when they get hungry.
The menus rotate regularly, offering anything from a sunrise chia parfait in the morning hours to chicken tropical mango salad for lunch. For dinner, a subscriber can potentially have a microwaveable bugogi noodle dish alongside beet hummus and kale juice.
Thistle CEO Ashwin Cheriyan said the idea is to make healthy diets convenient, as opposed to a chore that saps willpower, comparing the service to the way Peloton revolutionized working out.
It isn't advertised as cheap — meals can be around $14 per offering (according to the company's website, plans start at $42 a week or $11.50 a meal). But the company hopes to compete with its comparative lack of delivery markups and service fees.
Based in San Francisco, the company delivers to the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Davis, Los Angeles, San Diego and Orange County, per its website, and also ships across California and to portions of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.
The company has other ideas in store, such as new product lines and distribution strategies. And it will be competing with a host of other retail meal kit startups, too.