Meal kit company Gousto has reported its first ever profit as sales more than doubled during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, which was established in 2012, also revealed that it aims to double its workforce after the health crisis. It plans to take on 1,000 more staff members by the end of 2022 after already doubling its workforce to 1,000 last year.
Underlying profits swung to £18.2m ($25.2m) in the year to 31 December, from a £9.1m loss the year before. This was on the back of £189m sales — a rise of 129% as restaurants have been closed and people have been stuck working at home.
The company, which capitalised “on the biggest trends in grocery”, plans to open additional fulfilment centres in Cheshire and Essex to cope with demand as it continues to win market share from supermarkets.
It doubled its capacity in 2020, investing in its existing fulfilment centre in Lincolnshire and adding a second automated factory in December.
Gousto sells boxes of ingredients with recipes to make one of around 50 options. It uses algorithms to predict supply needs at its manufacturing sites, which it claims reduces food waste to just 2%.
Influencer Joe Wicks is an investor in the company, which has also been driven by a trend for healthier eating with a focus on the environment.
“2020 was a transformational year, but we’re only scratching the surface of the huge opportunity ahead. 500 million evening meals are eaten each week in the UK and 76 per cent of people cook from scratch,” Timo Boldt, founder and chief executive, said.
“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.
He added: “Gousto is working to unbundle the evening meal from the traditional grocery supply chain. We use software to upgrade both the supply chain and the customer experience of cooking from scratch, while riding the permanent structural shift from offline to online.”
Boldt also claimed that the delivery start-up 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.
The company is said to be mulling a stock market float going forward, however, Boldt confirmed that there was nothing planned “imminently” but that it was debt-free and did not need to raise more funds.
It last lasted funds during the third quarter of last year, which valued the business at more than $1bn (£720m).
Gousto has had five previous funding rounds, raising over £155m in equity from investors including Perwyn Private Equity, Canaccord Genuity, Unilever Ventures, BGF and MMC Ventures.
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