Back in 2012, an aspiring businessman at the age of 26, Timo Boldt, found himself always being too busy to cook himself a decent meal.
“Even if I did have the time to cook, some food would be wasted, and sometimes online recipes didn’t make sense,” says Boldt.
While looking into how he could overcome this challenge, he discovered that many other people with tight schedules were experiencing the same problem. He decided that the solution was pre-packaged meal kits that could be delivered to those in need. With appropriate portions of the necessary ingredients and simple recipes, the meal kits sounded like a great idea.
At the time, there weren’t many other companies taking this approach, so Boldt figured he would take a crack at a fairly untapped market. He left his job in the finance industry and put all his efforts into his meal kit venture.
Today, Boldt’s company, Gousto, is expected to bring in over £100 million in sales this year, and has already acquired an equal amount of investment. The company is now looking to nearly triple its workforce.
Seven years of hard work
“When I started, I was running it from my living room with no funding,” says Boldt, now at age 34. “I went from high salary to no salary. I tested recipes all day, and very quickly managed to get my friends and family to try the boxes.”
Having dedicated his own savings and most of his own energy into his growing business, Boldt struggled quite a bit in the first few years.
“I gave customers my personal phone number, which my wife hated,” Boldt expressed. “People would call at midnight asking where their delivery was. It gave me a good sense of learning how to scale yourself out.”
After gaining sufficient traction, Gousto went from being a small startup selling meal kits out of a stall at a market in east London, to having a head office in Hammersmith, west London, as well as its very own factory in Lincolnshire, which delivers around a quarter of a million meal kits every month.
According to Boldt, the company’s profits are vigorously being reinvested to further develop the business. The high quantity of packaging that comes with the meal kit deliveries is a factor that Boldt isn’t oblivious to.
“We are now leveraging technology to reduce plastic by 50 percent this year from an already lowered base point,” says Boldt. He also says they’ll soon be experimenting with new plastic alternatives.
The meal kits are a convenient solution for young families who have too much going on in their lives to find the time to prepare a proper meal each night. The typical Gousto customer is a 40-something-year-old who more often than not has their hands full dealing with young children.