New insulation material sees Gousto on track to reduce plastic by 50%

Gousto has met its pledge to reduce plastic from its meal kit boxes by 50%. The recipe box company announced it removed over 100 tonnes of plastic – the equivalent of 238 million plastic straws – in 2019. This along with the further 74.5 tonnes of plastic which will be removed this year thanks to its new insulation material, will see Gousto reduce plastic from its packaging by 50%. 

Gousto has also committed to all of its own-branded packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable by the end of 2022.

Speaking to Essential Retail, CEO, Timo Boldt, said its move to become plastic-free is the next sustainable step on for the zero food waste mission he founded the company on.

Over the last year, Gousto has hired hundreds of people to work in its new London HQ in Shepherds Bush, with around 300 technology vacancies left to fill. Boldt said the company uses algorithms not only to recommend meals to customers, but to assess the minimum amount of packaging the meals require to be transported safely.

Gousto has spent over 3,200 hours over the last 18 months, to create the new temperature-controlled packaging, which is made out of recycled paper. “We’ve seen a lot of set-backs, not every test has gone well,” he explained, saying the business broke a lot of eggs in the process of finding a plastic-free container.

But there is still a way to go to become completely plastic free. “At this point we have not yet found a solution for meat and fish – it’s an extremely difficult problem to solve and we will work with large food companies and academia to find a solution.”

Boldt also said to keep food waste at 0% the company still relies on small plastic sachets for some ingredients such as olive oil and vinegar, but Gousto is in the process of rethinking this part of its kits as well.

Last month, Essential Retail revealed Gousto had appointed former Feelunique COO, Jim Buckle to the role of CFO. Gousto also secured an additional £30 million through its latest funding round, with plans to use it to ramp up its technology investment.