Campbell Found a Meal-Kit Service That Will Unironically Deliver Its Cans

Campbell announced today that it’s investing $10 million in Chef’d, a meal-kit service — or a “leading online meal store,” if you prefer Campbell’s label. The maker of canned soups, Prego sauces, V8, Pepperidge Farm cookies, and Goldfish calls it a “strategic partnership” that gives the company a leg up in the newfangled e-commerce world, plus not to mention a permanent Chef’d board seat and a big financial stake in the start-up. In a statement to the press, CEO Denise Morrison argues that the internet’s seizure of retail food from brick-and-mortar stores is “irrevocable and irreversible,” but that this new partnership will fortunately make the declining foot traffic on stores’ soup and snack aisles irrelevant. In a somewhat alarming vision, Campbell now believes it’s moving toward a future where meal shopping is fully automated and “even anticipatory.”

Joining forces with Chef’d also gives the company a more captive audience. This particular start-up is still fairly new — it was only founded in 2015 — but its ostensible edge over a rival like Blue Apron or HelloFresh is that there are no weekly subscriptions; instead, customers just order however many kits they want all at once from a convenient list. What arrive in Chef’d’s boxes are dishes created by an honestly impressive number of “celebrated chefs” and “culinary influencers.” But Campbell tells Fortune what consumers can expect from kits in the near future might be a “dinner in a bowl” that includes “a recipe with Swanson broth.”

Campbell Found a Meal-Kit Service That Will Deliver Its Cans