US chilled prepared food market ripe for disruption, says FreshRealm after raising $32m to build national infrastructure for fresh

FreshRealm​ – which has just raised $32m to expand its nationwide fresh prepared meals operation – is bullish about the potential for ‘high quality, low effort’ ready to heat and ready to cook fresh prepared meals in the US market, but acknowledges the US market presents logistical challenges (the US has five times the population of the UK market but is 38 times bigger in terms of land mass).

“In the UK, which has one fifth of the US population, the fresh meal category is worth $6bn, so there is huge potential here, even though the markets are different,” ​CEO Michael Lippold told FoodNavigator-USA.

You can build an operation close to London and ship the entire country, whereas in the US, you can’t supply the whole country from New York or Florida​ [with short-shelf life products]. So we’ve really looked at how the fresh supply chain can work in the United States, and we have figured this out, so we are building a national solution that has consistent capabilities across all four of our regional facilities​ [in California, Indiana, Florida, and New Jersey].”

‘Horizontally integrated supply chain’

He added: “Over the last 18 months, we’ve done a really good job of building a team of not just fresh food experts but fresh meal experts, a lot of them coming from the UK market where fresh meals are a huge category.                                                                                         

Michael Lippold: ‘We are 100% focused on fresh meals…’ Picture credit: FreshRealm

“We’ve also built what I call a horizontally integrated supply chain, so we have close partnerships with a lot of ingredient experts instead of making every ingredient ourselves​.”

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