Meal kit provider Home Chef, a subsidiary of The Kroger Co., has elevated chief product officer Erik Jensen to president.
Chicago-based Home Chef said Jensen will report directly to founder and Chief Executive Officer Pat Vihtelic. The company, which sells meal kits by subscription for home delivery as well as in retail stores, noted that Vihtelic will continue as CEO and support Jensen in his new role, while aligning long-term strategy with Kroger’s e-commerce growth plans.
With Home Chef for six years, Jensen (left) became chief product officer in 2017 and has played a key role in growing the brand’s retail business in Kroger stores, according to the meal kit company.
“I look forward to partnering closely with Pat to ensure Home Chef continues on its current high-growth trajectory,” Jensen said in a statement. “We have an unparalleled executive team and exceptional Home Chef associates, and I’m thrilled to be able to lead the team over this next phase.”
Launched by Vihtelic (left) in 2013, Home Chef was acquired by Kroger in mid-2018. The meal kit provider has since expanded its footprint into more than 2,100 Kroger stores nationwide and entered new categories over the past year. Home Chef brand sales jumped 118% in 2020 as consumers shifted toward online food orders during the pandemic.
“Home Chef finished the year with record sales, capturing additional share of stomach from restaurants and grocery retailers,” Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in a March conference call with analysts on Kroger’s fiscal 2020 results.
Currently, Home Chef delivers more than 3.5 million meals per month.
“Home Chef is a growing and thriving business for Kroger, and we believe having strong talent at the helm will enable us to continue that success and deliver even more value to our customers,” stated Dan De La Rosa, group vice president of fresh merchandising for Kroger. “As customers look for food inspiration, we are developing innovative products and experiences to meet their needs, including fresh meal solutions like Home Chef, which experienced record sales last year.”
Along with Jensen’s appointment, Home Chef this week also announced the hiring of Latasha Kempadoo as chief people officer and the promotion of David McCoy to vice president of finance.
Kempadoo brings over 20 years of human resources experience, most recently serving as VP of HR at XPO Logistics. She also has worked at leading consumer packaged goods companies, including Henkel/Sun Products, Colgate-Palmolive and PepsiCo. At Home Chef, McCoy previously served as senior director of finance, a role he has held since last year. He joined Home Chef from Crate & Barrel in 2018.
“I have been extremely proud of our team’s ability to not only be there for our customers throughout the pandemic, but also innovate throughout it,” Vihtelic commented. “These team changes strengthen our leadership team and position us well for continued innovation, ensuring we are able to continue scaling the Home Chef brand across channels.”