US-based meat processing company Smithfield Foods has entered a strategic partnership with e-commerce meal marketplace firm Chef'd by making a $25m investment.

Part of Series B round of funding for Chef'd, the investment makes Smithfield one of the major investors in the company and offers a seat on the company's board of directors.

The new partnership will enable Chef'd to access Smithfield's product development and sourcing capabilities, as well as allow Smithfield to learn the marketplace's direct-to-consumer model by using real-time consumer insights and sales data.

Chef'd will also have access to Smithfield's national distribution network and facilities in order to expand its next-day delivery services.

"Smithfield is a well-recognised leader in the food industry and shares our vision of meal kits and e-commerce playing an increasingly important role in consumers' food choices."

Smithfield Foods president and chief executive officer Kenneth Sullivan said: "This strategic partnership reflects our continued commitment to innovation, both in our products and how they are delivered to consumers.

"We're able to expand our e-commerce capabilities and reach consumers looking for high-quality, stress-free meals."

Chef'd works with chefs, culinary personalities and other brands to offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert options.

Chef'd CEO Kyle Ransford said: "Leveraging the collective knowledge and capabilities of both companies, our partnership will open up opportunities for innovation and access to first in class national manufacturing and distribution facilities as we rapidly scale.

"Smithfield is a well-recognised leader in the food industry and shares our vision of meal kits and e-commerce playing an increasingly important role in consumers' food choices."

Other investors in Chef'd's Series B round include Campbell Soup Company and Fresh Direct, which are making a follow-on investment to their Series A financing.