Meal kit business Gousto has more than doubled its sales for the past year after demand soared during the pandemic.
The rapidly growing firm said it gained market share from supermarkets in 2020 as shoppers sought food to be delivered directly to their doors.
Founder Timo Boldt told the PA news agency that Covid-19 restrictions had a positive impact on demand, and he does not expect this to reverse as restrictions ease.
“We had incredibly positive growth prior to the pandemic so can see that continuing even as things ease,” he said.
“Like anyone, we are really happy to see hospitality reopen and don’t expect a major shift – we are still looking at hundreds of millions of meals being eaten at home across the UK.
“There have been really strong signs with new customers over the past year sticking as well, recognising the convenience and value of Gousto.”
The company has reported that its revenues jumped by 129% to £189 million in 2020, representing around 53 million meals.
It also said it posted its first full-year profit, with underlying earnings of £18.2 million for the period.
Mr Boldt said the strong growth continued into the current year, with more than 25 million meals sold in the first three months of 2021.
The group said it believes demand has been bolstered by its value proposition, amid investment to keep its pricing below that of major rivals.
It has also pumped funding into boosting its capacity, launching a second fulfilment centre in December, and said it expects to double this delivery capacity again by 2022 with new distribution locations in Essex and Cheshire.
Gousto said it expects this will drive more recruitment, with plans to double its workforce of around 1,000 employees.
More than a fifth of these current workers are in technology roles and Mr Boldt said he believes this will be a major opportunity for the business.
He said the business is looking at the licensing potential for the automation technology it uses at its distribution sites.
“It is undoubtedly very early but it is easy to see that opportunity,” the company founder said.
“We are really proud of our technology platform and our focus is utilising that to ensure we have the best proposition possible for customers.
“But we know that if we are getting this completely right, then there might be licensing opportunities further down the line.”