DNA-personalised dinner? Gousto matches ancestry findings with meal kit recommendations

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

Gousto has partnered with UK-based biotech Living DNA to launch the pilot service 'DNA Dishes'. Pic: GettyImages/AYDINOZON
Gousto has partnered with UK-based biotech Living DNA to launch the pilot service 'DNA Dishes'. Pic: GettyImages/AYDINOZON

Related tags: Meal kit, Dna, Personalisation

UK recipe box company Gousto is partnering with a biotech that specialises in DNA testing and analysis. The pilot service will match the findings of a person’s ancestry composition with a recipe.

Gousto has come a long way since its launch as a small start-up in London, 2012. Today, the recipe box company has raised over £130m (€142) and delivers more than five million meals a month across the country.

In 2019, the business achieved a 50% reduction in plastic use, and earlier this year pledged to make all its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by the end of 2022. The company has also committed to at least triple capacity in the same time frame.

Gousto’s latest announcement, revealed today (8 October 2020), suggests the business is keen to home in on the customisation element of its offering.

By partnering with UK-based biotech Living DNA, Gousto will launch a pilot service – ‘DNA Dishes’ – to “enable home cooks to make more meaningful connections with the meals they eat”.

Living DNA’s DNA kits, which include a cheek swap for testing, are priced at £99. Under the pilot service with Gousto, customers will receive the testing kit free of charge.

The results will then be matched up with recipes inspired by some of the regions or countries that show up in the customer’s ancestral make-up.

“If your DNA results discover you have predominantly French heritage, along with German and Irish, for example, the algorithm will automatically suggest recipes inspired by these countries, encouraging people to give them a go,”​ a Gousto spokesperson told FoodNavigator.

The idea is that home cooks feel a more ‘personal connection’ to their food. Gousto’s Chief Technology Officer, Shaun Pearce, said the learnings from the pilot will ‘help accelerate’ the company’s work in developing an ‘even more personalised product’ for its customers.

The service is an ‘add on’, we were told, rather than a service within the current Gousto offering. “It’s a transactional service at the moment, available to customers as well as non-customers. It is free for people in the initial stages of the trial,” ​said the spokesperson.

The initiative comes after a survey by Gousto revealed eight in 10 (84%) of 2,000 respondents said they were in the dark about their heritage. Half said they’d feel more excited to try new dishes if they could connect them with their heritage.

“We've always invested in personalisation and how we can utilise data insight to create a more personalised product,”​ the spokesperson told this publication.

“We were the first recipe box company to build an intelligent recommendation engine that suggests bespoke menus tailored to the individual customer. We've also been trialling meal customisation on our platform for many months which we'll roll out officially next year.

“Eating recipes according to your ancestry DNA can create a more meaningful cooking and eating experience for customers and we're also interested to find whether these discoveries will encourage people to try new flavours they may never have thought of before and how we can continue to use technology to drive more adventurous eating.”

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