Gousto Box: Time Saver or Money Waster?

It seems to be all the rage lately amongst the middle classes to pay a company to deliver meal ingredients to your house in a large refrigerated box for you to then cook at your leisure. One such company providing this service is Gousto delivering their “Gousto Box”

In the interest of providing you with the best information on money saving and frugality I decided to put one of these boxes to the test.

Gousto are currently rated as 8.9 on Trustpilot and  have been in business since June 2012. They are competing in the space with other companies such as Hellofresh and Blueapron.

Gousto

Gousto Box Review

As always, full disclosure; I was able to trial one of these boxes for free. The actual standard price of this box would have been £27.49 so that is what I will base my review on.

If you would like to trial a Gousto box yourself, click through the link here and enter the code Tornado to get £20 off your first and second box. Both boxes will then only cost £7.49

About The Gousto Box Service.

There are various formats for taking the service and each box can be calibrated for 2 or 4 people. We opted for the 2 person variety with 2 different meals contained within the box.

You choose your meals from a variety of meals that  make up that week’s selection.

I perused the meals and decided upon “Turkish Lamb and Dill Infused Bulgur” and a “Sicilian Chicken Linguine”

We cooked the meals over the course of two nights with Mrs Frugalfox cooking one meal (linguine) and I tackled the lamb bulgur.

Box Format

The ingredients are packaged within a large cardboard box containing a pack of wool based insulation and some ice packs to keep the ingredients cold. The company claim that the box will remain cold for up to 24 hours. As somebody working closely within the food production environment I wouldn’t bet my house on this staying cold enough for that long.

Within my box one of the ice packs had split and had leaked a significant amount of water within the box. This didn’t affect any of the ingredients but after a few more hours it may have caused an issue.

Recipe Instructions

The recipe instructions are very clear and easy to follow. They adequately describe the process for creating the meal, that being said I do feel some of the timings are slightly off. My key tip for using the instructions is ensuring all the ingredients are fully prepped in advance.

Ingredients

The quality of ingredients varied significantly. The lamb and chicken were of good quality with the herbs also showing no signs of deterioration. The cherry tomatoes were poor and had started to show signs of age or temperature abuse, we used these on the first night to prevent in extra degradation.

The ingredients listed on the Gousto website state 250g of both lamb and chicken. Unfortunately when delivered the individual pack’s state minimum of 200g. I spoke to customer service about this and they are planning to get back to me by email. I will update this review once confirmation is received.

Update: I have been told that the website is wrong and should state 200g not 250g. I am quite amazed that a company of this size has not managed to get their recipes correct on their site.

Extras

There is a variety of brochures, vouchers and other advertising paraphernalia contained within the box. There was one additional item that I did not expect when opening the box and that was a Gousto branded wooden spoon. I think this might have been Mrs Frugalfox’s favourite part of the box!

The meals

Gousto Review: Lamb Bulgur

Gousto-box-lamb-bulgur

Photo courtesy of Gousto

The lamb bulgur was an exceptionally flavoursome meal. It was quite heavy on cherry tomatoes and quite light on meat when split over two meals. As somebody frequenting the gym as often as possible 200g of uncooked lamb split between two people wouldn’t normally satisfy my inner carnivore. That being said I was fully satiated when the meal was finished. The meal had a nice aromatic warmth thanks to the Harissa without being overly spicy.

Gousto Review: Chicken Linguine

Gousto-box-Sicilian-Chicken-Linguine-

Photo courtesy of Gousto

This meal was cooked by Mrs frugalfox with a little help from myself. This meal was not as tasty as the lamb bulgur. The pea shoots served on top as a garnish were quite tough and was not a particularly nice texture. The capers and olives gave good flavour but once again the 200g of chicken was quite minimal when cooked and split over 2 plates.

Gousto Box: The Benefits

Healthy

The dishes themselves are “relatively” healthy. Most dishes currently include a good amount of vegetables or salads. They offer a “lighter” selection which comprises 3 dishes. As somebody who prefers not to eat carbs for my evening meals these dishes do not fit the bill with all three containing carbs. That being said they would probably make an excellent lunch.

Save time

No need to hunt around on the internet for recipes to cook so you don’t end up with lasagne every week. No need to put too much thought in whilst at the supermarket on what ingredients you need to buy. Just pick up your everyday essentials and forget the rest. If this saves you 30 minutes a week that equates to 25 hours a year. Not a huge time saving but having a whole extra day each year sounds good to me.

Save willpower on decisions

Willpower is a limited resource. As you progress throughout the day you begin to run out of willpower. It’s why it’s easier to eat a healthy breakfast than it is to skip dessert with your evening meal. The gousto box removes the need to use up some of your willpower deciding what to eat. Just grab the recipe card and start cooking.

Choice

Gousto currently have 300 meal choices with more being added on a regular basis. As somebody quite open minded to try new dishes there is plenty for me to choose from.

Downsides of Gousto

Cost

Well this had to come up at some point. As somebody obsessed with saving money and achieving financial independence spending additional hard earned income on food didn’t feel right.

Over the course of a year, utilising the service for two meals a week would cost £1455.48. For me this works out at around 70% of my yearly food spend.

In the long run you are essentially paying for somebody to research a recipe and deliver the food to your house. 25 years into the internet age finding a decent food recipe is not a difficult task. The difficult part may be sourcing the ingredients for a decent price. For instance you may want to use harissa paste but spending £2 on a jar when you only need it for one meal is not cost effective. I would look at ways around this including bulk meal prep and ingredient/recipe sharing with friends.

Limited Choice

There are 22 meals to choose from on a weekly basis. There should be enough choice to go round but i could imagine if you only liked one particular protein, say chicken. That would limit the choice quite heavily.
The recipes are reused on a periodic basis. I can imagine the more popular meals make an appearance more often. One of the recipes I saw had nearly 4000 reviews which probably shows its been used a few times.

Number of meals

Two meals per box is not a huge amount. You can order 4 meals per box but this ups the cost to £41.99. Even still this probably wouldn’t remove the need to do some kind of shopping (online/physical store) on a weekly basis. Personally I would need even more for this to be an efficient time saving tool. Cost would definitely prevent that being an option however.

Additional Ingredients

Each box requires some additional cupboard staples that vary from meal to meal. Olive oil, vegetable oil, butter, salt and pepper. When cooking up one of our meals we realised that we had run out of olive oil and had to scramble around for a replacement.

Gousto Box: The Conclusion

My thoughts are a little split having tried the Gousto box. On the one hand if you are time poor but money rich then it seems like you might get the best out of this box.

If like me you are pursuing financial independence then spending nearly £1500 a year on one box a week is a bridge too far. In the long run a little research and planning could mean you are able to produce this kind of food without paying somebody else to deliver the ingredients to the house. For other tips on saving money on food read here

My other big concern with the Gousto box is they are advertising a certain amount of meat with each meal and then not delivering it.

I probably try a Gousto box again but only if I got a discount code or a significant discount.

Once again if you want to try out a Gousto box for yourself enter the code Tornado on checkout and you will get £20 off your first and second box.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Lee says:

    I really appreciate an honest review, thank you! It’s not for me personally due to the cost, but it’s good to hear objective thoughts that bring in both pros and cons.

    1. Frugalfox says:

      Lee,
      Thanks for your comment, it’s definitely not for me either. Wouldn’t want to be working longer than I have to just to pay for these boxes!

  2. Sara says:

    I would prefer to have a larger quantity of meat one night and have a veggie meal the next, rather than have such small quantities of meat.

    If you use these every night I am sure you would save time, but the cost would be astronomical. If you only use them for two meals a week, you still have to plan and shop for the other meals so I doubt it will save you any time at all.

    1. Frugalfox says:

      Sara,
      You are probably right about one meat based meal and one veggie based meal. You can choose vegetarian meals but sadly that doesn’t mean they’ll up the meat content of the other meal.

      I think a lot of the potential time savings on two meals comes from researching recipes and then finding the ingredients. These boxes are essentially just for “special occasions” Outside of these meals personally I would eat the same things every week and so my shopping time is very limited.

  3. Erith says:

    Given £27 would cover a fair bit of my weekly shop for 2, I think I’ll give it a miss. It would come under the ‘special treat’ rather than a weekly offering
    Good review though and very fair summary.

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