Gousto development chefs have created seven recipes that, the company hopes, will get people cooking with iconic savoury spread brand Marmite. The new range includes veggie dishes like Marmite Teriyaki Popcorn Tofu and Marmite Mushroom Carbonara as well as Marmite Fried Chicken and Marmite & Peanut Butter Pork Udon.
“Now more than ever, our customers are looking for richer cooking and mealtime experiences and this partnership with Marmite will help provide just that. We’re making it easy for home cooks to master something a little different in the kitchen and we hope they’ll feel inspired by these new - and sometimes quirky - flavour combinations that are so delicious, they may even tempt the Marmite haters,” Kathryn Huxtable, Food Director at Gousto commented.
Loving (and hating) Marmite
Based on yeast extract, Marmite is well known for its distinctive Umami flavour that has proven divisive among UK consumers. Indeed, the brand’s most famous advertising slogan – ‘you either love it or hate it’ – recognises just how polarising the spread’s taste profile is.
Huxtable explained that Marmite’s iconic status was a key motivator for the tie-up. “Our mission is to become the UK's most-loved way to eat dinner, so something felt right to partner with one of the UK's most-loved (and hated) food brands.”
She told FoodNavigator that the proposition is a great fit for one of Gousto’s key customer profiles – adventurous foodies. “Our customers love trying new foods and are fairly experimental when it comes to cooking. So whilst we've pushed the boundaries with some of these recipes, we knew that would resonate well with our customers.”
As well as providing variety for existing customers, Gousto also believes the partnership will drive trial purchase. “The power of working with such an exciting household name is being able to engage with a whole new audience. Some of these people will be using Gousto for the very first time and we're seeing that they stick with us after being won over by the variety, convenience, and value of our offering. Whilst we're constantly creating new recipes to excite our customers as part of our offering of over 50 recipes that change each week, we love to really innovate when it comes to our menu offering with partnerships like this.”
The appeal for Unilever’s Marmite is similar. Through the tie-up, the brand is able to demonstrate new ways of utilising the spread in cooking – and challenge preconceptions.
“By partnering with Gousto, we’re really laying down the gauntlet to all the haters out there and giving the lovers a chance to cook up a storm in their kitchens,” Sophie Allan, Brand Manager at Marmite, commented. She said the new recipes are set to ‘stir up dinnertimes’, pointing to the ‘ultimate love/hate recipe’ – Marmite Pineapple Pizza.
Partnering for growth
This latest collaboration builds on the success of Gousto’s successful partnership with Wagamama last year that enabled recipe box customers to cook their favourite Japanese restaurant dishes at home.
Huxtable told us that a collaborative approach is really paying off for the meal kit maker, helping to drive excitement and boost its profile.
“These collaborations push our leading customer proposition further, by offering customers even more menu variety. Through these partnerships, we're able to give customers the confidence to cook with flavours and ingredients they might not have thought of otherwise and help them become more adventurous in the kitchen,” she explained.
“We love working with partners such as Marmite where there is real collaboration that brings a huge amount of value and excitement to our community.”
‘The recipe box has come of age’
In recent months ‘the recipe box industry has come of age’, Gousto said. The format is benefiting from a renewed appreciation of home cooking and, while COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have provided something of a boost, Huxtable believes that growth is also supported by more fundamental trends in the food sector.
“We've been growing rapidly for the last few years but it is safe to say that the lockdown accelerated our growth. Online's share of the grocery market has almost doubled in one year according to Kantar and we've seen no slowing down of demand with changes to lockdown restrictions.”
Retaining customers is central to Gousto’s mission – and Huxtable revealed that repeat purchase remained high even as the UK exited its first COVID lockdown this summer. “Customers tend to be won over by the variety, convenience, and value of our offering so they tend to stay on,” she noted.
Gousto’s upward growth trajectory means it expects to report its first annual profit this year. The company reported revenue of £86m in 2019 - a figure that it surpassed in the first six months of 2020.
It delivers 5m meals to people across the UK each month and is investing in expansion – it plans to triple capacity by 2022, an effort that will see it expand its workforce by an additional 1,000 people.
This weekend, the company unveiled a fresh investment of £25m from existing investors, news that saw Gousto gain 'unicorn' status with a valuation surpassing $1bn.