Tyson Foods just invested in Tovala, the futuristic all-in-one smart oven.

By Mike Pomranz
February 07, 2018
Courtesy of Tovala

Some of the biggest developments in the food world recently have been centered on one idea: People want fresh-cooked meals at home, but they don’t want to go through all the steps to actually do it themselves. From meal kits (people don’t feel like dealing with shopping for ingredients or finding recipes) to the massive growth in restaurant delivery (people don’t feel like dealing with anything), simplifying mealtimes has been a top priority for a lot of companies. It’s an issue Tovala has been working on since its founding in 2015, and now the smart steam oven and subscription meal brand has landed a big new investor, Tyson Foods.

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Tovala has been making waves in the food world with a lofty promise: a countertop appliance that combines a broiler, steamer, oven, microwave, and toaster. And it doesn’t stop there: The company also has its own branded meals that can be cooked to perfection simply by scanning the prepackaged dish’s barcode. This futuristic innovation has led some people to liken the Tovala to a “Keurig for Food.”

The concept as a whole has garnered plenty of interest from investors – including recently announced backing from Tyson Ventures, the corporate venture subsidiary of Tyson Foods. “Our venture capital fund was created to invest in promising entrepreneurs who are on the cutting edge of innovation in the food industry,” Tyson Foods chief sustainability officer Justin Whitmore said in a statement. “Our investment in Tovala gives us another opportunity to explore new ways of meeting consumer demand and shape the future of food. We look forward to our collaboration.”

For his part, David Rabie, co-founder and CEO at Tovala, implied that the deal with Tyson may be about more than just financial support too. “Our mission is to make it easier for busy people to eat better at home,” he said. “We’re excited to work with Tyson Foods to explore bringing a wider variety of meals to our customers' homes." However, the exact terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Tovala officially launched nationwide in May of last year. The oven sells for about $399 (but the cost comes down if the user commits to a meal plan) and they offer a 180-day trial.