MenuAid, a cloud-based food technology platform that is solving the “What's for dinner?” dilemma has received a $1M investment from Sprout, New Zealand’s specialist AgriTech and FoodTech seed-stage investor.
MenuAid provides highly personalised recipes and smart shopping lists on subscription, tapping into global consumer preferences for healthy and convenient home cooked meals, that are affordable and reduce food waste and packaging.
Privately funded to date, the capital will be used to introduce personalisation through curated recipes and an understanding of dietary and brand preferences through the use of Artificial Intelligence, as well as expand supermarket partnerships. Full time staff numbers will double as technical and marketing skills are hired to further enhance the customer experience.
Launched in September 2021 as New Zealand’s first meal planning and food delivery platform, the start up’s user base has grown to 7000 through word of mouth, a number it plans to increase to 100,000 within 12 months. Australia is likely to become the company’s first international market.
The investment follows MenuAid’s participation in Sprout’s Accelerator in early 2022, a programme supporting early-stage New Zealand startups whose ideas could disrupt global agtech and foodtech markets.
Sprout represents investment partners who are experts in food tech; Finistere Ventures, Fonterra, and global venture investment platform OurCrowd.
“MenuAid is solving the “What's for dinner?” dilemma in a new and highly scalable way that has the potential to itself become a staple in every kitchen,” said Warren Bebb, Investment Manager at Sprout.
“We were impressed by the founders’ insights into consumer food trends and positioning of MenuAid as a strategic partner to supermarkets and other food suppliers. With the addition of AI, personalisation will be a key driver of growth.”
MenuAid customers receive five recipes weekly. Customised shopping lists reflect individual preferences for food items and brands and how often they are bought. Users can remove items they already have and swap out ingredients they don't like, before choosing to shop themselves or have the items delivered to their door.
“Our goal is to make mealtimes simple, more affordable and enjoyable for consumers who value convenience but want to reduce packaging waste,” noted Elise Hilliam, co-founder and CEO at MenuAid.
“The advice and industry connections received through Sprout’s specialist Accelerator, combined with the investment, will allow us to pursue our international growth plans with greater speed and confidence.”
Co-founded by Elise Hilliam and Toby Skilton, early shareholders also include Masterchef New Zealand winner Brett McGregor, and well-known food writer Helen Jackson.