Let’s Cook: a food startup with a mission
Let’s Cook was formed when the two founding partners, Nicolas Escasany, and Gustav Johansson, met on the Executive MBA at EADA Business School in Barcelona. They paired up to come up with a project focused on online meal kit delivery services, and Let’s Cook was born.
What vision did you all have in mind when you started the company?
“We wanted to positively impact the quality of life for our clients and become a point of reference in healthy food concepts,” Nicolas explains. “We are doing this by offering a comprehensive cooking experience that inspires a comfortable and healthy lifestyle.”
Starting their own business allowed Nicolas and Gustav to choose a direction that was in tune with their social and environmental values: healthy, fresh and locally produced food. “Having people eating delicious, healthy food, with zero waste and biodegradable materials – this is what’s important to us,” Gustav says. “Our clients are having a new experience and learning something when they cook with us – and that’s part of our passion.”
“Our values underpin our growth,” adds Nicolas. “They’re the reason for our existence.”
How does Let’s Cook work?
Let’s Cook is a subscription-based service, where clients sign up for the Gourmet, Family, Vegetarian or Vegan plan. They then have the recipes and ingredients delivered for up to five meals per week. Let’s Cook offers a great deal of choice and flexibility – clients can increase or reduce the number of meals they receive, and even skip weeks.
The dinner recipes are designed to make weekday dinners feel like an event, without a lot of work. Many people cook between 5 to 10 dishes on rotation – but Let’s Cook recipes draw inspiration from cuisines all over the world to keep things exciting.
“Let’s Cook brings back the joy in cooking, removing the stress around the question ‘What’s for dinner?’” says Nicolas. “By taking care of meal planning and food shopping, we help our clients free up time to be better spent with loved ones.”
What have been the highlights and challenges of the last few years?
“Well,” says Nicolas, “In 2019 the project was awarded the best Executive MBA project at the business school where we were studying. We got our first subscription in April 2019 and they are still a client!”
The company grew as well, from two partners to three. Santiago Castiella Aguilar actually started out as a client in the early days of Let’s Cook. “He loved the project,” Gustav explains, “and joined the team to help us out as we were growing. Now he is our third partner!”
In 2020, the company set up its own warehouse and operations facilities in Barcelona. But when Covid struck, rearranging the logistics proved challenging. “We managed to adapt and get on course,” Nicolas says, “and in 2020, the business grew by almost 300%.”
That year, Let’s Cook won second prize in Innofood, a food industry innovation competition, and in the third quarter became the largest meal kit provider in Spain. Last year, the company was awarded a 2-year membership in Netmentora, and won financing from ENISA which is currently being invested in a new website to offer a more agile and friendly customer experience.
One of the most rewarding things about running Let’s Cook is the long term connection that Nicolas, Santiago and Gustav have built with their clients.
“Our first ever customer is with us,” says Gustav. “She had a baby recently, and her mum was here to help her, so we sent over some extra meals to help them out! We feel like we’ve seen all these steps of her life.”
How sustainable is Let’s Cook?
Last autumn, COP26 shone a light on some appalling statistics around food waste. It’s estimated that 8–10% of global emissions is directly related to food waste. What’s more, over a third of food produced for human consumption is wasted.
Reducing food waste is a crucial step that everyone can take in order to minimise their environmental impact. Santiago keeps a watchful eye on the sustainability of the Let’s Cook operation. Their model helps to tackle food waste, by providing clients with the exact measures of the ingredients they’ll need, in eco-friendly packaging.
What does 2022 hold for Let’s Cook?
Let’s Cook is ready to expand their growth and delivery area into the rest of Spain. “Since we started, we’ve been receiving lots of mails from people from outside Catalonia, wanting to try Let’s Cook,” Nicolas says. But their ‘customer first’ approach meant the founders wanted to perfect their local service before expanding.
Now, after several months of work, their new website is ready, making it easier for clients to manage plans, select recipes and adapt the Let’s Cook service to their requirements.
Finally…what is the most rewarding thing about the project?
“Seeing our business thrive,” says Nicolas. “It defines our day-to-day management, well-being, purpose and strategy of Let’s Cook.”
The success of the company is all down to the team, who work constantly to live up to their own high standards and contribute to a company culture of constant, positive development. And of course, the positive feedback from their clients is a big motivator.
“Knowing that you have developed a service that allows families to enjoy day-to-day life just a little bit more is a remarkable sensation,” says Nicolas.