Recipe box provider reveals £20m EBITDA amid trial of world’s first edible packaging made from pea protein
Revenues rose 67% to £315 million at recipe box provider Gousto in 2021.
The London company sold more than 90 million meals in 2021, up from 53m in 2020, which amounts to three meals every second.
It says that despite sustained investment in technology, automation of operations and additional production capacity, the business delivered a 10% increase in underlying EBITDA to £20m – up from £18m in 2020 – and 136% growth in net cash generated from operations to £37m.
It has more than 60 different recipes to choose from each week, a third of which are customisable.
“2021 was a standout year for Gousto, as we grew headcount, invested significantly in automation, further improved the customer offer, raised capital and welcomed a number of new blue-chip investors onto our shareholder register,” said Timo Boldt, founder and CEO (below).
“We achieved all this whilst growing customer numbers and delivering a ninth consecutive year of strong revenue growth, cementing the gains we achieved in the prior year and fully capitalising on the embedded megatrends that are driving today’s grocery market.
“It is Gousto’s vision to become the UK’s most loved way to eat dinner. Gousto is reformulating parts of the UK food system, reducing food waste and carbon emissions per meal consumed. Simultaneously we are removing the friction points that obstruct healthy eating by providing a highly convenient, scratch-cooking solution, at value. Where we have influence, we aim to drive a long-term shift in the UK’s food culture – creating a healthier, more sustainable food system.”
In 2021, Gousto prioritised investment into nurturing its ‘tech squads’ and embedding data science into the company’s operations and the user interface. The firm created nearly 600 new jobs, increasing its workforce to 1,625 people by year end. 50% of the staff in its London HQ are now working in tech and data roles.
In addition, there was significant investment into a new production facility located in Cheshire which is expected to become fully operational in 2022. It claims its automated operations use data science algorithms to facilitate shorter lead-times, more recipe choice each week and the ability for subscribers to customise individual recipes.
In 2021, the company joined The UK Plastics Pact, which aims for 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable plastic by 2025. As a member, Gousto has committed to eliminate problematic plastics, stimulate innovation and help build a stronger recycling system in the UK.
In 2021, 58% of Gousto own-brand stock-keeping-units used recyclable packaging and all Gousto boxes are now made from 100% recycled material.
Further innovation occurred via the company’s partnership with natural packaging experts, Xampla. Together, Gousto and Xampla have created the world’s first edible packaging, made from pea protein – a zero waste alternative to the plastic sachets that contain vegetable stock powder.
The edible stock sachet is made from engineering and drying pea protein into sheets that have the same functionality as plastic, with the ability to protect food and preserve shelf life. They are completely edible, meaning you just stir it into your sauce and it will dissolve as you cook.