“You do the cooking. We do the rest.” That’s the tagline of Mucho, a London-based startup which aims to create personalized, convenient meal plans that can be customized a whole slew of ways. And they really do take you pretty much ALLLLL the way through the meal journey.
Customers can use the Mucho app to select recipes based on dietary preferences (low sugar, vegetarian, etc.), budget, and how people they want to feed. The app then builds a customized shopping basket around the recipe(s), which users can either transfer into a printable shopping list or, if they’re in the U.K., they can also have their shopping list delivered through grocery delivery service Ocado. Users can also add on bits and pieces like cleaning products or snacks to their delivery list.
As of now, Mucho has over 1000 recipes in their database, culled from 40 online influencers and 20 brands — most of whom focus on healthy recipes.
When I first heard of Mucho, I thought “Isn’t this just emeals, but British?” Both services offer personalized recipe selections, both create shopping lists, and both are linked up with grocery delivery companies so users can have their meals’ ingredients delivered straight to their door.
According to their cofounder Shanshan Xu, however, Mucho differs from emeals — and existing shoppable recipe services in general — quite a bit.
First of all, it’s more flexible. “We’ve found that people’s mood changes all the time,” said Xu. While emeals requires a subscription that locks users into a set number of dishes from the get-go, home cooks can use Mucho as much — or as little — as they’d like. They update their dietary profile and the number of people they’ll be cooking for every time they open up the app.
Emeals does allow their users switch between plans, but you can’t customize day-by-by. Which can be a hassle if you’re someone that, say, wants to eat vegan one week and flexitarian the next, or isn’t consistently dining with a partner or family.
Mucho can also be cheaper — depending on how much you use it. Jenn Marsten reported for The Spoon that prices for emeals vary based on how long you choose to commit, but it costs $29.99 for three months or $59.99 for a full year, not including the cost of ingredients and grocery delivery. Mucho’s app is free to use, and if customers choose to have groceries delivered through the app they add a 5% fee to the final bill.
Do a little high school math, and we can determine that if you’re buying less than $1,200 in groceries per year, Mucho costs less than emeals. While $1,200 isn’t much at all to spend on groceries, especially for families, emeals also requires users to sign up for grocery delivery services (such as Amazon Prime or Instacart) separately, whereas Mucho builds Ocado delivery into the service. Xu told me that they’re hoping to soon shift the price burden away from the consumer and onto the grocery retailer.
To me, Mucho is a good option for people who want a more dynamic meal-planning service than emeals, but who need more hand-holding than is offered by shoppable recipes.
I’m betting the app will be popular with young, single folk (read: millennials) who want to cook more (and more adventurously), but also value the convenience of grocery delivery — and are willing to pay for it. Plus, Mucho’s bright, poppy graphics seem like they were made with this audience in mind.
Speaking of millennials, I tried the app myself; it was fun and easy to use, and while I couldn’t use the delivery capabilities (because I’m in the U.S.), I could definitely see myself incorporating Mucho into my grocery routine, especially when, as Xu reassured me, the delivery option comes over the pond.
The app has over 10,000 downloads so far. The Mucho cofounders put together money themselves to create the beta version of their app, and their roughly 10-person team is working to perfect their product before raising their seed round.