The BBC television series Dragons’ Den has seen a lot of wacky ideas pass through its doors, but some of its most successful have been food-related, including Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce and Kirsty Henshaw’s Worthenshaw’s (now named Kirsty’s). So it’s hardly surprising that organic food delivery service Gousto decided to try their luck on last night’s episode.

The premise is simple: people want the convenience of takeaway food without the unhealthy aspects, so Gousto lets you choose from 10 new recipes each week before sending you the organic ingredients for the meal(s) you want – already prepared into exact portion sizes labelled to identify each ingredient, so that you get all of the convenience and none of the fuss, as well as a deliciously healthy meal involving no wastage. Available nationwide, reluctant cooks (and those stuck within a 5-dish rut of a repertoire) now have another option that doesn’t involve fatty takeaways, or obscure vegetables in farm boxes that they don’t know what to do with. All dishes include a preparation time, difficulty level, five-a-day rating, and calorie information, allowing purchasers to pick recipes to suit their needs.

So why didn’t they get an investment? It’s just unfortunate that they went into the den with an investment already on the table, which they feared losing if the dragons were to offer something even more attractive. Ultimately, too, it’s still more expensive than shopping from scratch: at £4-£7 per person per meal, this is still more than the €5 per person per meal that I manage to shop at here in France (and that’s with eating meat three times in one week, which we don’t normally do, and at the most expensive supermarket brand in the country, meaning it’s not incomparable to what Brits might pay while shopping at more budget-friendly supermarchés). Saying this, though, discount code DRAGONSDEN does give you £15 off your first order if you want to give it a go.

Some people may also worry about being at home to receive the delivery of ingredients – but the founders say that their deliveries are 99% successful, so this concern may be baseless. New dragon Kelly Hoppen pointed out that this involves planning a week ahead, and that this could be a disadvantage for some – but to be honest, it’s a habit everyone should be getting into. We can’t all afford to make food decisions on a whim and waste perfectly good ingredients that we already have in. Maybe that’s not a concern if you’re a dragon, though.

Gousto should enjoy fighting its way onto the market – as well as having to contend with organic veg box services such as Riverford, and healthy snack delivery companies like Graze, there are plenty of other businesses already on the healthy food delivery scene. Here’s just a few that you may want to try out:

  • Raw food deliveries: Raw Fairies offer daily deliveries of raw food menus. The food sounds good – it includes cacao shakes, tahini noodles, and Russian root salad – but at a minimum of £29.50 a day, you’ve got to have some serious cash to burn.
  • Healthy snack bars: Natural Balance Foods sell healthy favourites, Trek and NAKD bars, at better value than in the supermarkets and with free UK delivery too. If you buy one of their mixed boxes, it can cost you as little as 83p a bar.
  • Graze’s biggest rival?: Nutribox offers a randomised healthy snack delivery service not dissimilar to Graze. Costs from £10.95 for 8 snacks a month, and offers a vegan option too.
  • Gousto’s biggest rival?: HelloFresh operates along the same lines as Gousto, allowing you to choose recipes and have the ingredients sent straight to your door. From £4.30.
  • For blowing the budget: When you don’t want to cook, and want to stay in the comfort of your own home, but the occasion demands more than just a takeaway, Banquet In A Box is there. Their £39 celebration banquet contains such delights as chicken liver and redcurrant parfait, beef wellington with mushroom and madeira sauce, and chocolate caramel soufflé.

So even though I’ve got 3 huge carrier bags of healthy snacks to see me through this term already, I’ll definitely be looking ahead to January, when they’ll likely be standing forlornly empty.

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