Blue Apron's horrendous six weeks as a public company isn't killing off the meal-kit market.
Rival start-up Chef'd just raised $35.2 million, according to a filing this week with the SEC. Chef'd CEO Kyle Ransford confirmed exclusively to CNBC on Wednesday that pork producer Smithfield Foods invested $25 million.
Chef'd is skirting the venture capital path and is instead reeling in cash from strategic investors who are seeking to adapt to digital trends in the food industry. Corporate capital gives the company a different approach to a market that features 10 or more players all vying for consumers who want meals delivered directly to their door.
"E-commerce and direct-to-consumer is an evolving space," said Ransford, who founded the company in 2013 after a career in real estate and investing. "The strategics are ahead of the financial players in terms of understanding where the market is and what it's doing."
Research firm Packaged Facts estimated in mid-2016 that the market would hit close to $1.5 billion last year, and most forecasts show it expanding many times over in the next decade. That still represents a tiny fraction of the total grocery market, but all the growth is in online ordering.