The meal kit company Gousto is to take on 1,000 more staff after recording its first profit and more than doubling sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm, launched in 2012, doubled its workforce to 1,000 last year and aims to double it again by the end of 2022 as it opens additional fulfilment centres in Warrington, Cheshire, and Thurrock, Essex.
It is looking for more tech and marketing staff as well as workers to pack and prepare its food kits after recording underlying profits of £18.2m in the year to 31 December – following a £9.1m loss the year before – with sales rising 129% to £189m.
Timo Boldt, the founder and chief executive, said the company is “capitalising on the the biggest trends in grocery” – health convenience and sustainability – and taking market share from supermarkets.
“We have doubled the business every single year over the last couple of years. During the pandemic we have grown faster but we were growing fast before.”
Boldt said Gousto might consider a stock market float in the future but was debt-free and did not need to raise more funds. Last year, it announced a partnership with the influencer and self-styled “PE teacher to the nation”, Joe Wicks, who is also an investor in the company.
Meal kits have boomed during the pandemic, while restaurants have been closed, so working parents, and many others stuck working at home, have sought a way to get a broader variety of meals into their week without too much effort. However, Boldt believes growth will continue even as restaurants and cafes reopen because Gousto is a cheaper option than dining out.
“Customers are creating [something like] a supermarket shop in a much easier way. It feels unlikely people are going to go back to pushing trollies and queueing,” he said.
While there are concerns about the amount of packaging meal-kit services involve, including plastic, Boldt claims Gousto is more sustainable than visiting a supermarket because less food is wasted per meal. He said all Gousto own-brand packaging would be recyclable, reusable or compostable by the end of next year.