By Amanda Weston
Plant-based meal kit company Purple Carrot officially closed a deal to be acquired by Tokyo-based Oisix ra daichi Inc. Friday morning. But the company assured customers their experience will not change.
"From a customer perspective, it's really going to stay almost exactly the same, if not better," Andy Levitt, founder and CEO of Purple Carrot, told Cheddar Friday. "Service levels will stay the same. We'll continue to innovate, and I think what this investment does and the acquisition is it allows us to continue to grow, continue to innovate with the same incredible meals that people have come to know and love us for as the plant-based meal kit company."
Purple Carrot announced the acquisition Wednesday. The total value of the deal is $30 million, with a $12.8 million upfront payment.
The acquisition comes in what Levitt said is a "tough category." Blue Apron ($APRN) said just days before Purple Carrot's announcement that it could be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.
The meal kit industry also faces the question of a relationship with brick and mortar stores. Purple Carrot briefly had its kits on shelves in Whole Foods ($WFM) in 2016, but Levitt said it was too early in the marketplace for the model.
"When you think about companies like Plated or Home Chef, both of which have been acquired by large grocers like Albertsons and Kroger, it probably makes even more sense to find those in a grocery store, but I don't expect ours to be in a grocery store here in the United States," Levitt said.
"You may, though, find Purple Carrot in Japan thanks to this partnership with Oisix."
Levitt said what sets Purple Carrot apart from others is creating a "differentiated product" as the first and only 100 percent plant-based meal kit.