Food Businesses

How This Meal-Kit Startup Differs From Blue Apron and Plated

How This Meal-Kit Startup Differs From Blue Apron and Plated
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Meal kit services are an increasingly popular way for people to learn to cook new recipes without much hassle. Instead of having to pick up groceries, subscribers get a box of ingredients delivered to their doorstep each week in just the right amounts for dinner.

Din is the latest startup to try its hand at meal kits, with a slightly different twist. Rather than sending basic everyday recipes, Din partners get recipes from well-known restaurants and chefs and then delivers the ingredients to customers so they can recreate the dishes at home.

The company, which was previously named Forage, debuted with a new name and funding on Thursday. Din is available in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Competitors include Blue Apron and Plated.

Din may put a kit together for chicken mole tacos inspired by the dish from local San Francisco favorite, Tacolicious. It then delivers just the right ingredients, but with the promise that any meal will take less than 20 minutes to prepare.

That means that Din will include pre-prepared sauces and pre-cooked meats in its packages so that would-be cooks only need to mix, assemble, and then heat them. Din says it gets all food locally, and even is trying to make packaging more sustainable by putting all ingredients in a reusable bag filled with dry ice that dissolves.

Founded by second­-time food and tech entrepreneurs Emily Olson LaFave and Rob LaFave, the company has raised $3 million in seed funding from Accel Partners, Collaborative Fund, Built By Girls Fund, Harrison Metal, Slow Ventures, and Lowercase Capital. The founders previously founded and sold online food marketplace Foodzie to video commerce company Joyus in 2012.

Din subscriptions start at $60 weekly for two meals, of two servings each, including delivery. They are left on the subscriber’s doorstep once a week.

Din has far to go in order to catch up to Blue Apron, which sells 3 million meals a month. There’s also the question of how many people could afford to spend $60 per week for food on top of the expenses for five other dinners. But the intersection of technology and food is drawing the attention of investors as more consumers look to their phones to order and buy food. Blue Apron was most recently valued at $2 billion in its last funding round. Munchery, which delivers professional chef-cooked meals to users’ doors, was valued at $300 million earlier this year.

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