The Fresh Diet sold to Innovative Food Holdings

The Fresh Diet, a homegrown national fresh-food delivery company, has been acquired by Innovative Food Holdings, a publicly traded specialty foods company based in Bonita Springs, Fla.

South Florida entrepreneur Zalmi Duchman founded The Fresh Diet in 2006. The then 25-year-old wanted to bring healthy, portion-controlled diet meals to people's doorsteps daily. To finance it, he put $500 on his Visa card.

Today, the company with about 350 employees is one of the largest U.S. food producers in the fresh cooked, daily delivered category, delivering healthy, gourmet meal plans daily to consumers in 12 states and 44 metropolitan areas across the country. In 2013, the company generated $26.9 million in revenue, and its three-year growth surge landed it on the Inc. 5000 list announced Wednesday.

The Fresh Diet will be operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Innovative Food Holdings, which provides specialty foods, healthcare foods and gluten free foods to the professional food service market. The company was purchased via 10 million shares of the Innovation Food’s common stock plus the assumption of debt. In addition, Innovative Food raised $1.4 million of equity capital that be targeted toward growth for The Fresh Diet, Innovative Food said. “We believe that the expansion of Innovative Food Holdings’ platform to include the capabilities of The Fresh Diet’s platform is an extraordinary opportunity for the company,” said Sam Klepfish, CEO of Innovative Food Holdings.

In addition to providing its parent company with fresh prepared foods, The Fresh Diet can expand into additional specialty food market categories such as non-diet daily specialty meals, meal kits, allergen specific meals and other specialty food opportunities, said Duchman. “I'm very excited about this. We believe Innovative Food Holdings and The Fresh Diet can use their synergies to expand both companies,” said Duchman, chairman of The Fresh Diet.

Duchman and The Fresh Diet's team will continue to operate out of its North Miami headquarters, Duchman said. He said as an entrepreneur, he is also looking forward to getting involved in two other branches of Innovative Food, its food-focused incubator called and, a retailer of specialty items for the home gourmet.