There has been a major increase in e-commerce grocery startups over the last 3-4 months and I am delighted to see this. As a food manufacturer or retailer online offers a very compelling opportunity to create a brand that engages with one of the most important aspects of our lives – food!
The draw of multiple retailers (Tesco, Sainsbury’s etc) for a food manufacturer is linked heavily to the requirement for volume. Online retail is seen as a small niche activity – but this will change over the next 5-10 years and I am convinced that online grocery is an area that the UK has a very exciting opportunity in.
A bit of background – I am now old enough to remember that a few people have tried this in the physical world including Unilever Ventures in 2003 with Rocket, which was closed down after lack of scale and complexity, so I do feel a bit of Deja Vu.
I have received a box from Gousto so thought I would review this in two parts – one the experience and then my views on the business model.
The box was delivered in a temperature controlled box (using wool) by a standard courier. External experience was great – small box, simple packaging
Internally the box was well packed, simply designed and I really liked the idea of a few meals that can be made for 2 people quickly and simply. I like the idea of cooking but I am not sure that the complexity of the recipe will make the experience a little challenging for the average consumer.
The niche that seems to be addressed is the time poor, cash rich consumer, but I don’t quite get the concepts barriers to entry or differentiation. This is not specific to Gousto I have the same issue over Hello Fresh and in fact Rocket seemed to have the same issue. I do think that there needs to be more than this to the concept, perhaps a part work?
5 stars to Gousto for the presentation, concept and packaging the next post about this will try and cover the actual experience of the meals!