Sun Basket seals $30m Series E investment ramping up automation, personalization, and healthy meal offerings

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Sun Basket
Photo: Sun Basket

Related tags Sun basket Meal kits

Meal kit service Sun Basket has closed $30m in a Series E investment led by PivotNorth Capital to accelerate its direct-to-consumer business offering AI-powered meal personalization and meal plans from breakfast to dinner.

The latest investment round brings Sun Basket's overall funding to $125m, and included investments from Sapphire Ventures, August Capital, Founders Circle, Unilever Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Relevance Capital, Accolade Partners, and Correlation Ventures. 

Meal kit companies have typically been solving the dinner time dilemma for busy families and working professionals by taking care of the stress and time it takes to meal plan and grocery shop.

"Sun Basket is unique in the space as we offer all three ​[meals]; we plan to use our Series E to be the first company that becomes your everyday healthy eating platform across dinner, lunch, and breakfast: healthy, easy and personalized for your lifestyle,"​ Sun Basket CEO Adam Zbar told FoodNavigator-USA. 

Sun Basket also differentiates itself by offering customers diet- and health-specific meal plans from gluten-free and diabetes-friendly options to vegetarian and Mediterranean meal plans, which Zbar says has helped the company form "deeper and more personal"​ relationships.

According to Zbar, its data has revealed that its diet-specific meal plans resonate extremely well with consumers that deliver over two times the LTV (lifetime value) of those on non-diet specific plans. 

"The main difference of Sun Basket vs competitors is that we are a premium brand that delivers against our customers' three main needs: health, ease, and deliciousness, by targeting the 100 million Americans that are part of health tribes (i.e. carb conscious, paleo, gluten free, vegan)," ​said Zbar.

"This has allowed us to go after a huge total addressable market in a highly focused way. The strategy has allowed Sun Basket to earn higher margins, higher average order value, better retention rates, which in total generate the best unit economics."

Over the past three years, Sun Basket has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 80%, and as Zbar previously told this publication​, has ambitions of becoming a $1bn revenue business. 

'Just as Apple re-imagined retail...we have some exciting ideas for new distribution channels'

Zbar added that unlike other meal kits companies that have entered brick-and-mortar to diversify their channel mix, Sun Basket is completely focused on its direct-to-consumer business, having built strong customer loyalty with three times the customer retention rate of its competitors.

"By focusing on D2C only to start, this has allowed us to build much deeper and more personal relationships with our customers vs a 'brick and mortar' arms length relationship," ​said Zbar. "The result is that we’ve been able to use this incredibly rich data to make healthy eating products our customers crave and love," ​he said.

"Long-term, we believe there is a tremendous opportunity in omni-channel distribution. However, we believe no one has done 'bricks and mortar' right. Just as Apple re-imagined retail when they launched their stores, we have some exciting ideas for new distribution channels that are currently developing."

Becoming an automated and AI-powered business

A major part of the recent funding will go towards automating Sun Basket's operations from production and processing to material handling, as well as rolling out a highly-personal AI-powered digital user experience, according to Zbar.

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