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SimplyCook, the recipe kit service that focuses on flavour ingredients, has closed Â£4.5 million in Series A funding. The round is led by Octopus Investments.
Unlike other recipe or meal kits, such as HelloFresh, Gousto and Marley Spoon, U.K.-based SimplyCook doesnâ€™t send all of the fresh ingredients required to turn its recipes into food on your table. Instead, the subscription service consists of recipe cards and what SimplyCook calls â€œingredients kits,â€� which are herbs, spices, sauces and other extras needed to cook each meal.
It’s not only a product that potentially has better margins than fresh food recipe kits — by negating the need to manage such perishable goods — SimplyCook founder and CEO Oli Ashness argues that SimplyCook’s flavour kits have broader mass-market appeal, too.
“Flavour products are used by over 50 percent of consumers weekly,” he says. “Whereas fresh food delivery still caters for maybe 0.25-0.5 percent of evening meals in the UK. Flavour already works as a way to get people cooking. Fresh Meal Kits are fairly unproven”.
“I am actually a fan of how some fresh food players are run and their founders, however, I am still not convinced fresh food meal kits will ever be mass market like us due to the level of monthly commitment. Getting people to spend [less than] Â£10 per month is much easier than asking them to spend Â£120-Â£200 per month, in my opinion. It’s going to be much easier for us to build a big base in customer numbers”.
He also makes the valid point that SimplyCook builds on the success of traditional flavour brands, such as Old El paso, Dolmio, Knorr, and Schwartz, “[that] have got millions cooking”.
Related to this, as well as selling subscriptions online, the company has launched SimplyCook recipe kits in physical retail stores. This is seeing it pursue a hybrid online/offline model that Ashness likens to healthy snack company Graze. (Notably, HelloFresh tried selling into grocery stores in the U.K., before cooling on the idea).
Meanwhile, SimplyCook says its Series A funding will be used to invest in technology and sales & marketing, in order to drive continued growth across the U.K. and beyond.
“We also expect this funding round to fuel international launches,” adds the SimplyCook CEO, [and to] provide working capital for the retail business and allow us to invest in technology to aid our operations. These investments we’ll make over the next 2 years”.
Source: Techcrunch Disrupt
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