How Bringing Nutrition and Sustainability Together Will Accelerate Our Purpose
What we consume has a huge impact not only on our health, but the health of the planet, and with our purpose to have a positive impact on people and the planet, our resident Nutritionist Ellie Bain has recently made the move from the Food Team to the Sustainability Team.
So we caught up with Ellie to find out more about this strategic move and how it impacts not only the business but our community.
- Tell us a little about your career journey to-date..
I studied Nutrition & Dietetics at University, so I’m a registered dietitian. I always knew I wanted to go down the food industry route, rather than working in hospitals. After University, I got a job as an intern at The Food Doctor before going on a ski season. When I came back I applied for a Kitchen Assistant job at Gousto. That was five years ago, and the rest is history…
- What has your journey with Gousto looked like?
I’ve been so lucky with my job at Gousto and the opportunities I had to carve out my career. I started as a kitchen assistant in the recipe development team, packing recipe testing bags, doing the food shopping, organising the kitchen etc. Then started getting stuck into recipe development, focusing mainly on our healthy recipes and ranges.
As we’ve grown as a business and are feeding more families, we’ve known there is a greater need to pay more attention to health and ensure we’re doing right by our customers. I juggled recipe development and nutrition for about two years before the nutrition role became my full time job.
- What does a normal day as a Nutritionist look like for you?
The job is very varied, working with a wide variety of amazing teams! I love that I’m involved in so many different aspects of the proposition to our customers, so my regular day could look anything like…
Developing our longer term strategy, writing the plan and business case for recommendations, and working to execute this. Including health ranges we want to add to our proposition, health improvement workstreams, such as adding veg and how we can make it easier for customers to find healthier recipes. And then tracking and reporting on our progress against our health targets to the wider business.
I set the guidelines for our health ranges and targets for recipe development. All recipes are then analysed to ensure they hit our health requirements and the brief i.e. if healthy or part of one of our health ranges e.g. Lighter.
Working with the Food Technical and buying teams to ensure our ingredients also meet our nutritional guidelines.
Keeping up to date with changing nutritional research and government policies, updating the business on these so we can ensure we are ready for any changes that might come in. As well as competitor and health trend analysis to make sure we’re always keeping up to date.
I then work really closely with the Brand Team to support our health content and comms to contribute to PR health articles, as well as sometimes delving into the world of our community on social media and responding to customers’ nutritional queries.
Congratulations are in order! You recently made a big department move…
How does your role transition you into your new position within the Sustainability Team?
I was previously within the Food team, working really closely with the recipe developers, setting our health foundational principles, adding veg, reducing salt, creating recipe development guidelines and targets (and checking they’re hit), working out what ranges we should offer and the nutritional criteria for them etc.
Much of my role will remain the same, however, now we’ve got these foundations in place, we can put health at the forefront across the wider business and have a more strategic focus on our longer term health goals and how this contributes to our overall sustainability goal for every meal to leave the world better off. We’ll also be able to build stronger relationships between Food and Sustainability to better embed sustainability into recipe development, like we have done with health to date.
What value does this look to bring as we embed Health & Sustainability under one umbrella?
What we eat has a huge impact on our health and the health of the planet. Our purpose is to create a product that has a positive impact on both people & the planet. Research has shown that high adherence to the Government EatWell guide not only reduces risk of total mortality by 7% overall, it reduces Greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. Embedding Health & Sustainability under one umbrella helps us ensure we’re considering both people and the planet in decision making, ultimately accelerating our purpose.
Why do you think this is an important move for the business?
I’m really proud and excited that we’re prioritising our customers’ health alongside sustainability and we’re keen to drive this as a standout position within the industry. We know that we can have a significant impact on both as we feed more and more people, and as a B Corp we need to continue our commitment to making a positive impact on both people and the plant. Essentially, we want to be the nation’s favourite way to eat dinner, and making healthy and sustainable choices is a key part of this.
Why do you think this is important for the impact on our customers?
Health and sustainability are so interlinked but there is a lot of conflicting information out there about what a healthy sustainable diet looks like. A healthy diet isn’t necessarily a sustainable diet e.g. eating lots of out of season fruits and vegetables that have had to travel a long way, and a sustainable diet isn’t always healthy e.g. you could eat a 100% plant based diet but live off chips. By bringing these both together at Gousto we can really help make it easier for customers to make healthier and more sustainable choices.
Lastly, what’s your favourite dish on the menu?
My all time favourite is the Crispy Mushroom Dal with Coriander Chutney