I have always loved cooking. I find the whole process relaxing and very rewarding. But throw a new baby into the mix and suddenly our fridge was looking rather sparse and the idea of heading down to the supermarket with an ever-so screamy little one was too anxiety-inducing to handle.

Then an off-hand comment from a friend one day lead us to Gousto – the recipe kit delivery service – and our evening meals have been transformed ever since.

This form of food shopping has taken the UK by storm. The two biggest players in the UK DIY meal kit market both launched in 2012 – “HelloFresh (founded in Berlin) is valued at about £2 billion, operates in nine countries and delivers almost nine million dinners per month globally, charging from £4 per meal; Gousto shifts 400,000 per month, from £2.98 per meal.” The Telegraph.

Some would say these kits are aimed at the lazy shopper, urging them to simply rely on the reviews of others to determine their meal choices each night, but I would argue that they allow time-poor consumers to remain passionate and excited by food (when this can’t take such a priority in their lives) and most importantly gives families the opportunity to try a good, diverse range of quality ingredients.

It feels like there is an exciting future for DIY recipe kits, with endless possibilities of where they could go – catering for specific diets or allergies (such as Mindful Chef), localising the content to the regions of the UK, greater levels of personalisation, partnering with restaurants and chefs (or as in Gousto’s case – Joe Wicks, The Body Coach) or maybe even boxes developed specifically for babies and younger children.

In case you’re still on the fence, I’ve summarised below what I see as the pros and cons:

The good:

  • Encourages less waste and better portion control
  • Retains the self-satisfaction from cooking a meal from scratch (unlike ready meals)
  • Can give brands the opportunity to get their products directly in the hands of consumers – proud to say that some of our clients (Tilda and Manilife!) feature in Gousto boxes
  • Enables you to easily expand your recipe repertoire including more vegetarian options
  • Great for those who can’t get out the house as often as they’d like to – would highly recommend for those with a new baby!
  • A lot of the businesses allow a non-subscription-based service offering real flexibility

The not so good:

  • Cost per portion can work out pretty pricey (Use my code if you fancy 60% off your first Gousto box: LAURA13979855)
  • Amount of packaging (although they are making moves to reduce packaging and make things recyclable)
  • Not great for large families (any more than 4 people)
  • Gousto is now getting so popular they actually ran out of one of our meal choices the other week #firstworldproblems

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