Ever get to 5pm and suddenly wonder what to have for dinner? Do you find yourself racking your brain to remember what is in your fridge or pantry? I tried out a new service that launched this week called My Food Bag.
Here are the top 4 things you need to know about My Food Bag:
- Food is all fresh, organic and free range, delivered to your door
- Meals can take between 30 mins to an hour to prepare and cook
- Cost is $179 for 5 meals to feed 4-5 people, or $139 for 4 meals to feed a couple
- Ideal for busy families, foodie people – you should have an easy/intermediate level of cooking expertise
Fronted by MasterChef 2011 winner Nadia Lim and 2012 Businesswoman of the Year Cecilia Robinson, and with the backing of NZ business leader Theresa Gattung, this new service delivers organic, free range ingredients to your doorstep – plus recipes – that will sort out your dinners for the week. Being a busy mum of two, my ears pricked up at this, and I leapt at the chance to give it a whirl. On Sunday night, 3 massive bags of fresh produce were delivered to our door. Unpacking them was a bit like Christmas – and it required a serious round of Fridge Tetris to squeeze everything in! Surprisingly enough, I found we already had some of the ingredients in the fridge – probably a reflection of ex Nosh Mike Wale’s involvement in the company. The 5 meals for the week had been emailed through in advance and looked delish – and healthy as well. Additional ingredients that would be needed had been helpfully listed but these aren’t anything you wouldn’t already have (such as olive oil). The typical meal involves 20 – 30 minutes preparation, plus cooking time (which was between 20 – 40 mins for this weeks recipes, with the exception of the salad). The Food Bags are priced differently: $179 for the Classic (5 meals for a family of 4-5 so around $9 per person for each meal), and $139 for Gourmet (4 meals for a couple so around $17:50 per person per meal). Our Classic Bag contained smoked salmon, lamb, chicken, one vegetarian meal and a home made pizza (check out the pictures below). The Gourmet Bag for the same week contained duck, fish, lamb and eggplant. The delivery comes with 5 glossy recipe cards for each meal which contain all the instructions required, plus nutritional information and markers to indicate whether the meal can be frozen, and if it is gluten/dairy free or vegetarian. Glancing through the recipes I’d say that they are more complex than your basic spaghetti bolognese so you’d need to be prepared to run with that on the nights you were following a recipe. The service is very well branded and marketed with an uncluttered and easy to use website, 0800 line, social media platforms all up and running, products clearly branded – right down to the nutmeg in a separate bag with a My Food Bag sticker across it.
This concept is based off a similar business model in Sweden which Managing Director Cecilia Robinson spied when she was visiting her homeland a few years ago. The business plan was hatched while she was in labour (!!!) with her now 6 month old child and from then on, it was all go. Robinson says the service is aimed at working parents or modern lifestyles – anyone who is time poor. The philosophy of the service is to stay as close to the ingredients as possible, so the produce is farm fresh where available (a reason why they wouldn’t considering partnering with a supermarket, says Robinson). Although I chose the Classic option, the recipes are aimed at ages 8 and up, so the fussy palates of the little people in our house may not warm to the salmon nicoise salad in this week’s bag, but I could easily use the ingredients for a different meal for the kids.
Robinson also says that Facebook and social media will be important tools for the service (if you’ve ever used Instagram you’ll know what I mean when I say food and social media are a match made in heaven) and feedback received through these platforms will help guide new options such as featuring your favourite recipes twice per season. A quick look at the My Food Bag Facebook page shows a few requests for special dietary needs such as all vegetarian, low carb, gluten free, weight loss and personalisation to allow a pork free Food Bag. The service is flexible – you can order either weekly or fortnightly, and are not locked into a fixed term subscription – you can even change bags each week which is great for busy households or even blended families.
My Food Bag would be ideal for weeks when you might have a guest staying, or would like to try a few different recipes with delicious food – at a very low risk of failure. Chatting to a few friends and people round the office suggests there is a lot of interest in trying out the service – anyone with a foodie streak in them will take to this like a duck to water. I’m looking forward to trying out the recipes this week – it is a great feeling to know that you have the week’s dinners all sorted on Sunday night. One less thing on the To Do list!