Gousto has delivered its first ever full-year profit as its chief executive backs the grocery home-delivery revolution to outlast the pandemic.

The recipe box subscription retailer delivered “record” sales in 2020 of £189m – up 129% – and full-year EBITDA of £18.2m, compared with a £9.1m loss in 2019. 

Gousto boss Timo Boldt said strong sales had continued into the first quarter of 2021 and he is confident that the customers who made the switch to shopping for food online during the pandemic would not go back.

“We sold over 25 million meals in the first quarter, so the strong trading has continued into the first part of this year,” he said.

“People all across the world shopped online for groceries for the first time last year and enjoyed the convenience, the choice, the value for money. Ultimately, it’s hard to see these people going back to queueing and pushing trolleys in a supermarket.” 

Boldt said that in 2021 the retailer would look to double its staff to 2,000 and would be adding two further distribution centres to extend its reach in Essex and Cheshire. 

“At the moment, about 80% of our customers live outside of London and we’ve been doing all of our prior distribution from two distribution centres in Lincolnshire,” said Boldt.

“It’ll be good for us to have more coverage in the north of England and another centre much closer to London. That will set us up very nicely for the future.”

Boldt said the pandemic had accelerated three key trends in customer behaviour – namely convenience, health and sustainability – and claimed Gousto’s data showed it had been taking market share from the big four supermarkets. 

On health, Gousto has partnered with celebrity fitness coach Joe Wicks on its Lean in 15 menu. It has also been bolstering its sustainability credentials, using algorithms to cut down on food waste through portion control, and has set itself a target of making all of its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2022. 

“I want to see Gousto become like the Spotify of food, helping customers discover a weekly list with our ingredients.

“It only takes 60 seconds to choose meals on our app; the food is seamlessly delivered. We just need to get people to try it once and then you get them hooked.”