An entrepreneur and former Dragon’s Den contender who launched his multi-million pound recipe kit business from the front room of his Oxford home is now giving a boost to the city’s food bank.
Self-confessed foodie Timo Boldt created Gousto four years ago when he found his busy life as a hedge fund manager prevented him from pursing one of his favourite hobbies – preparing healthy and delicious meals from scratch.
The concept has become so popular – boasting 170% growth per year for the last three years – Timo wants to share some of that success with Oxford Food Bank.
For every recipe box bought in Oxfordshire this month, Gousto will donate £1 to the food bank, which supports over 60 charities that help homeless people, mental health, children’s centres and women’s refuges.
And readers who use the code OXFORD8 can have £25 off their first box – paying just £9.99 for three meals for two people.
Timo, 31, says a shared goal to reduce food waste inspired him to help Oxford Food Bank.
“I love cooking, but like many people I work extremely long hours and don’t have time to shop for ingredients – and even when I do, I waste half of them,” he said.
“We’ve all done it – over ordering fresh meat and produce – only to watch it go off – or making something none of the family likes and being left with spices we’ll never use again.
“It’s wrong that so much food ends up in the bin – and that’s how the initial idea to create Gousto came about. By delivering all the ingredients to people in exact portion sizes there is little waste – last year we prevented 120 tonnes of food from being thrown away.
“Oxford is where I started this venture, so it’s nice to be able to give something back to the city. For every £1 we donate, Oxford Food Bank can distribute £20 of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and dairy products to charities around the city, so we see it as a win, win.”
David Cairns, co-founder and chairman of Oxford Food Bank, said: “We completely rely on donations and volunteers to distribute fresh and healthy food to people in need – so we’re more than happy to accept help from a company like Gousto that has the same aim as us: to reduce waste.”
Timo was living in Botley Road when he decided to launch Gousto with his then business partner James Carter.
Backed by their own savings and the goodwill of friends and relatives, they saw the venture as the perfect antidote to time-poor families and workers who love good food, but do not have the time to go shopping.
Instead, customers can select dishes from a changing weekly online menu of 12 dishes and ingredients, plus a recipe card, which are packaged and delivered directly to the door.
An average meal costs £4, which the company claims is 16% cheaper than from the supermarket – and checkout can take as little as 40 seconds via the web or through Gousto’s app, compared to an average of 40 minutes from an online store.
Timo and James were featured on the 2013 series of Dragon’s Den but despite Duncan Bannatyne helping to cook their smoked trout salad, they were unable to reach an agreement with the dragons.
Since then Gousto has attracted funding from leading venture firms and smaller angel investors, including TV presenter Andi Peters, and now delivers 360,000 recipe boxes a year across the UK, employs almost 200 people and doubles its revenue annually.
Timo was awarded 2014 Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, while Gousto was featured in the top 20 of the Startups 100 2014 index and voted the best UK recipe box service against her competitors.
To find out more about Gousto, visit the website: https://www.gousto.co.uk/