Soaring demand for meal-kit boxes during the pandemic has encouraged Gousto to recruit 1,000 more British workers after turning its maiden profit.
Last year Gousto delivered 53 million meals to households in the UK, leading to a doubling of sales to £189 million, compared with £83 million in 2019. People initially turned to recipe boxes as a way of guaranteeing food supplies during quarantine and later to relieve culinary boredom with meals such as Korean spicy buldak chicken and Thai green prawn and noodle soup.
The jump in sales pushed Gousto into the black for the first time since it started in 2012, reporting pre-tax profits of £1.1 million compared with a loss of £14.5 million the year before.
Timo Boldt, 36, founder and chief executive, said that while Gousto had benefited from the pandemic he expected growth to continue as there had been no slowdown in new customers even when restrictions were eased last year and restaurants and pubs reopened.
“We have grown rapidly, but even before the pandemic we were doubling the business every year,” Boldt said. He predicts the service will continue to expand because Gousto was catering to only 0.2 per cent of the 500 million evening meals that are eaten in the UK every week. “Restaurants are high end, more than three quarters of meals are eaten at home and we are only scratching the surface of what we can do, we can grow this business three times, ten times more,” he added.
Gousto’s recruitment drive will take the workforce to about 2,500 compared with 500 only two years ago. The business is also adding two more automated fulfilment centres in Essex and Cheshire.
Boldt added that the robotics and algorithms used in Gousto’s business to maximise speed and minimise food waste allow it to be more price competitive than its rivals, with meals from £2.98 including delivery.