Gousto Raises £18M From Unilever & Fitness Influencer Joe Wicks

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LONDON, United Kingdom — British meal kit service Gousto has completed an £18 million funding round with participation from fitness influencer Joe Wicks, as it prepares to magnify its focus on healthy eating.

Bringing the startup’s total funding to £75 million since its launch in 2012, the investment follows a previous £28.5 million round last year, which Gousto used to double factory capacity and launch a customer facing AI recipe recommendation tool. The latest funds, led by existing investors Unilever Ventures and BGF Ventures, will be used to bolster this technology and further accelerate business growth.

“Our customer is at the heart of Gousto – every aspect of our business is about them. Our new funding enables us to do more for them: from developing leading AI technologies that improve their shopping experience, to launching new product ranges that appeal to their needs,” commented CEO and Founder, Timo Boldt.

“In March, we said we’d win even more of the one billion meals eaten in the UK every week, by accelerating our proposition and giving customers the mealtimes they actually want. Nine months later and the proof is in the pudding – we’re making huge waves and delivering tremendous growth, by focusing on the areas the rest of the grocery market isn’t.”

Currently delivering over 1.5 million meals a month, Gousto is seeing 170 percent year-on-year growth, revealed Boldt in a recent call with TechCrunch. He accounts the brand’s ability to offer the right mixture of choice, personalisation and price as crucial to its success  it offers over 30 weekly recipes and delivers 7 days per week, with prices starting at £2.98 per meal.

However, with added support from Joe Wicks aka ‘The Body Coach’, the brand hopes to accelerate its target to help families serve 400 million balanced and nutritious home-cooked meals by 2025.

This month Gousto will launch a co-branded range of nutritious meal kits with the fitness influencer, consisting of a number of Wicks-branded recipes offered each week, such as Joe’s Veggie Spag Bol’ and Satay Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and Herby Crusted Fish, Root Veg Chips & Peas, in an attempt to cater to the new year health boom.

“It was clear from when I first approached Gousto that they were a purpose-driven business, with a passion for getting more people cooking and in turn improving the health of the nation,” commented Wicks on the partnership.

“As a customer before becoming an investor, I know that Gousto is having a lasting and hugely positive impact on the way families consume and eat food. I’m delighted to join forces and offer my knowledge to a company who has brought huge and much-needed innovation to an industry”.

According to research firm Technomic, the global meal kit market is set to be worth a staggering $10bn by 2020, and if the recent injection of capital in the segment proves anything, it’s that investors are willing to bet on its potential.

In the UK, competitor Mindful Chef has also secured a cool £6 million in funding, led by private equity firm Piper. The Investment will be used to continue to grow and expand its customer base, as it capitalises on the rapid growth of the market. Set up by friends Rob Grieg-Gran, Giles Humphries and Myles Hopper, since its launch in 2015 the brand has experienced rapid growth – including a 178% rise in sales in the past year – delivering nearly two million meals to UK consumers. 

According to Tim Lee, previously Head of Food and Online Strategy at Marks & Spencer, who joined Mindful Chef earlier this year as CEO,  the investment from Piper signifies the great confidence the firm has in the brand.

Rory Gibbs, Piper’s Investment Director who lead the deal, confirmed: “Mindful Chef is well placed to continue accelerating the growth of the recipe box market with its highly differentiated health-focused positioning. We are backing a young, dynamic team who are passionate about making healthy eating easier for their customers. We are excited to be joining them and helping them to realise their ambitions.”

Meanwhile, in the US Blue Apron is also leveraging demand from health-conscious consumers. The multi-million dollar brand recently announced a partnership with Weight Watchers, in which it will release a range of recipes inspired by the Weight Watcher Freestyle weight management programme.

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