Lauren Goode

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Fresh Meal Kit Company Blue Apron Raises $5 Million

With everything from socks to beauty supplies to doggie treats being shipped as part of monthly subscription services, it only makes sense that the subscription model would make its way to the most basic of needs: Food.

Or meal kits, to be specific. Blue Apron, one such foodie start-up, has just raised $5 million in a series B round of funding led by earlier investor Bessemer Venture Partners. Other previous investors, including First Round Capital, also participated in the round. The company has raised $8 million in funding to date.

The New York-based start-up is expanding to the West Coast, with facilities in Richmond, Calif., and plans to begin shipping to California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Arizona, among other states.

The premise of Blue Apron is pretty simple: For $10 per person per meal, Blue Apron will ship up to three preselected meal kits a week. These aren’t prepared meals; instead, the kits include the necessary ingredients — from a piece of fish to a pinch of salt — needed to make the meals at home.

Blue Apron isn’t the only company targeting working professionals too busy to drum up dinner ideas and shop for ingredients: There’s a whole crop (get it? crop?) of competing services out there, including HelloFresh, Plated and Fresh Dish.

But, as I wrote in a story about these services late last year, they each have their benefits and drawbacks. Blue Apron creator Matt Salzberg has said that the company sources only high-quality food; Fresh Dish is aimed at families; HelloFresh has been known to offer clear-cut recipes and generous servings.

On the flip side, some of the services don’t address all markets in the U.S. or offer veggie, vegan or gluten-free options. Most ship meals for two, four or six people only.

Blue Apron said it plans to use the funding to hire employees in operations, engineering and marketing, and will increase its overall spend on marketing campaigns to get the word out about the service.

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