Getting kids to eat their vegetables can be a tricky proposition, even for venture capitalists. Recognizing this challenge, some investors are betting on brands, like Kidfresh, that help parents make mealtime a little easier.
Kidfresh announced Monday it’s taken in a roughly $10 million Series B equity round for its line of frozen foods with hidden vegetables. The lead investor in the round was Monogram Capital, with Emil Capital Partners and AccelFoods also contributing. Emil previously led Kidfresh’s series A round of funding in 2013.
Matt Cohen, Kidfresh CEO and Co-Founder, told NOSH that the and his co-founder, Goles Deloux, appreciated that many of their investors were parents themselves who could identify with the struggle surrounding mealtimes.
“We resonate with people who are innovative, visionary and who can see an idea and sort project in the future with confidence that it can succeed,” Cohen said “Monogram has this energy and vision and intellect to understand that what we are doing now is nothing compared to what it can become.”
Currently, Kidfresh is sold in over 9,000 retailers nationwide including Walmart, HEB, Kroger, Harris Teeter, ShopRite, Fresh Direct, Wegmans and Whole Foods Market. Cohen said the brand has seen 110 percent year-over-year growth, and has sold more than 12 million meals over its lifetime. He added that the brand has reached a point where it is selling about 500,000 meals per month, for anywhere from $2.99 for a single serve option to $7.99 for a value pack bag.
Cohen said the funding will go toward staffing and marketing, Cohen said, noting that 75 percent of the capital will benefit the brand’s marketing efforts, including demos, social media and promotions.
“Today, we are the best kept secret. Our distribution is broad, but our awareness is still limited. We know that eight out of 10 moms that try Kidfresh for the first time become repeat customers and [are] loyal,” Cohen said. “They stick, they don’t leave the brand and we have almost no attrition. So we know that we have built something that is connecting with consumers.”
Going forward, Cohen said there is a demand and desire for Kidfresh to enter other parts of the store, from prepared foods to center store, but for now, the company plans to focus on frozen.
Kidfresh has had robust experience with prepared foods since first launching in 2007 as a New York City-based, grab-and-go prepared foods retailer for children. It then offered prepacked, fresh options in select retailers like Whole Foods and venues like New York airports. It wasn’t until 2010 that the company officially decided to make the move into frozen foods.
Beyond its commitment to easily understood ingredient lists, Cohen and his team are passionate about continuing their focus on food access. Now that it’s fully a supermarket-focused brand, Kidfresh has purposely chosen to target the conventional channel as a means of reaching the most consumers.
“We want to be on the table of every family regardless of means and circumstances. Every child deserves a good meal, period, end of story. That’s core to who we are. Therefore, we go where these people shop,”Cohen said. “We’d all like our kids to eat green veggies and be adventurous, but if you have to sometimes give chicken nuggets and mac and cheese, you might as well pick Kidfresh.”