I've never really gotten into the Food bag craze. Call me a rebel, but I just didn't like the idea of someone telling me what to make for dinner each night.
For me, dinner is a time to kick of the dust of the day and enjoy some creativity, throwing things together to see what comes out. Following a recipe has always felt like...well, hard work. However, the biggest challenge has always been finding the time to get to the supermarket to buy the range of items I want, which usually come from different places.
Food shopping isn't always, let's say, the most fun. During the weekends, I find that going around from Pak n Save to the markets to Moore Wilsons can take aaaages and chew up an entire day. Like many people, I like to shop around so I don't have to compromise on fresh ingredients at a great price (at the risk of sounding like a cheesy ad! #notsponsored)). But honestly - suddenly, the whole of a Saturday can have slipped past in a flash. It has been one of the single biggest frustrations in my life since I've been juggling blogging, work and seeing my boyfriend and friends. Shopping for food can be THE WORST *worlds smallest violin*.
So my interest was pipped when I received an email from Jenny from FoodBox asking whether I'd like to try out their service which delivers boxes of food weekly to your front door. Foodbox has been going for 8 years and aims to get more people eating fresh ingredients in their diet by providing it to them to their door.
At first, I was a bit unsure. What if the food items on offer weren't really my cup of tea? I had a quick look at their website and suddenly sat up taller and licked my lips. If you visit it yourself, you'll understand why. There is restaurant quality meat and goodies such as Lewis Road butter! These are items I'd buy myself if I were going to do a food shop. I wrote back and told Jenny I was up for it! I couldn't wait to see what it was like and whether it really measured up.
So what is it exactly? FoodBox NZ is a husband and wife team. They works differently to other food delivery services. Instead of getting prescribed recipes, you are simply given a gorgeous range of high-quality ingredients. You can select from a pre-arranged box which changes weekly, or you can customise your own box. There is a range of boxes available, for singles through to families of four or more. The idea is that you can add or remove items as you please, or simply hit order. This is perfect for me because I don't like being overwhelmed by choice. I've tried online shopping from Countdown before and found it confusing. With FoodBox, you don't need put it all together yourself from scratch, because someone else has already done that hard work in advance - and you can just tweak as you like. The range of ingredients are seasonal and while you do need to go and get loo paper or cleaning products yourself from a regular supermarket, apart from that you'll find that the mix of items thoroughly covers you for a week of fresh, healthy cooking.
A few days later our first FoodBox arrived - a luxury couple box worth $195 (plus delivery). Matt and I were so excited that we were literally whooping around the kitchen, yelling "Yes! Yes!" at the top of our lungs. (Lord knows what the neighbours must think. Probably that we had won the lottery) For these greedy foodies, getting our groceries from Foodbox NZ felt really special, like a lovely fairy God mum had heard our hungry plea. Packed with beef schnitzel, John Dory Fish, pork ribs, fresh milk, bread, eggs and loads of veggies and some fruit, we honestly were blown away. There was even a bottle of wine (which we very much enjoyed).
That week, we ate like Kings and Queens. It took very little convincing to decide that while we very much enjoyed the free trial, this was something we wanted to make a regular in our lives. We had sticky pork ribs and yams one night. Another we had John Dory and new potatoes and silverbeet. It felt like we didn't have to have that end of the daily stress, worrying about how much we were spending on each trip to our local New World because all our food was at home. It was also nice to know that there are actually online recipes available on the site, made with the ingredients in mind. So if you wanted to use any as an option, that was possible.
Were there any cons? Well, the first order we were out at a show - so didn't get home until later that night around 10pm. That meant that the FoodBox had been sitting around a bit too long and all the ice packs had melted. This was not ideal, but luckily the meat and fish hadn't spoilt. Next time I'll make sure I am clearer about when it is meant to be delivered. There is also a fair bit of packaging to pack down, as you can see from the photos above, but we simply flat packed it into a green bag to recycle - so no major worries there.
In my opinion, the best thing about FoodBox is the flat cost. It makes me feel much better to know exactly what I am getting and that I won't need to buy much more for the week. My grocery bills can get quite pricey when I'm always nipping into the shops. Matt and I also make way more impulse purchases when we pop in after work and are hungry and tired. Having the basics at a good price already at home, waiting, works well for me. I also feel like I could downgrade the box to a conservative couple box to save a few bob if need be, which I like.
I am so glad that FoodBox got in touch because this is something Matt and I will continue to use together, certainly up to the end of the year. There are lots of choices to pick from and while it does get sent from Auckland so that you have to pay for delivery ($10 if you are in Wellington), it is great to know you're not only getting good food but supporting small New Zealand business. You don't have to get your Foodbox every week, with options for weekly, fortnightly and month, but it truly is a useful tool if you live busy lives and need a bit of help from Jenny and the gang. I rate this 10/10 and can't wait to keep using FoodBox.