Showing posts with label meal kit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meal kit. Show all posts

Good Food meal kit delivery 2021

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve used a meal kit company – a service that delivers all the ingredients (except staples like oil, salt, and pepper) required to create a hearty meal in about thirty to fourty five minutes. When the pandemic hit, these services became even more popular, a promise for families to continue to get gourmet meals without venturing into supermarkets. As I started to get junk mail and magazine inserts promoting a huge array of companies, the intrigue set in… how have they changed since I’ve last used them?

First off, I tried Good Food, one of the newer entrants established in 2016 and claims they are Canada’s #1 meal kit delivery company.

Meal Choices and Pricing

With a choice of 18 recipes each week, it’s a company that has the least options. Somehow it didn’t hurt my experience as I found their pictures and descriptions more enticing, even with a smaller selection it was difficult to narrow it down to three. They try to help the process along with various filters (easy prep, low carb, family style, brunch, excluding certain ingredients, etc.) and when all else fails, they also sell ready-to-eat meals, combine and dine (a sauce that gets added to rice or pasta), and even a host of grocery items.

Prices are in the middle of the pack at $11.95 a serving (assumes 3 meals per week for two people) or $72 a week. Although, they do have a fair number of recipes with premium ingredients, which tacks on a supplementary cost that can raise the final box total.

Customer Service and Ordering

I was a little miffed that I had to call in to cancel my service (most allow you to manage this online), but they were quick to answer and cheerfully cancelled the subscription without giving me a guilt trip. Punctuality may be their downfall as out of the two weeks I used Good Food, the second delivery didn’t arrive during the stated 12-hour window (8am to 8pm) and finally came at 9pm. I’d suggest your delivery the day before you need the meals just to be safe.

I did enjoy the text notification feature where they let you know the box is on the way (at about the hour out point) and you can then click the link to track the van in real time. It’s a good option for those living in condos or those who don’t like having the box sit too long at the door.

It’s the only company that delivers 7 days per week in my area (Toronto) and if you pay $9.99 a month, you can skip managing ordering each week and just get them to deliver the next day whenever you desire. In most major cities, you can also pay a one-time $6.99 fee for next day delivery as well. This makes it great for individuals who find it difficult to place an order ahead of time or need to travel unexpectedly.

If you do sign up for the weekly subscription, you can pick recipes for the next four weeks and skip deliveries up to three months in advance.

Ease of Cooking

Maybe it’s the recipes I chose, but I found most required at least three pieces of equipment - a sheet pan for baking something, a pot, and a frying pan. Luckily, those who cook in my household don’t need to do dishes.

Their sheet pan meals cut this down to one item - the only problem is their recipe calls for a large restaurant sized sheet pan. For those who have large ovens you can easily rectify this by purchasing a new high lipped pan. But for those with an older oven *raises hand* or live in a condo with smaller ones, good luck fitting everything onto one sheet pan. I sensed it already after seeing how much more space my chicken and potatoes occupied compared to the recipe card.

In the end, I prepped the veggies on another sheet, but had to guess how much additional cooking time to add using two sheets. Using the higher range of the cooking time worked perfectly. It did mean the chicken probably lost an extra infusion of flavours but the potatoes turned out crispier than they otherwise would have been as well. So, all in all, a win.

The Taste Test

I really enjoy their spice blends, which adds tons of flavours to the meal. Each recipe generally also incorporates a sauce/condiment and a fresh garnish (green onion or parsley) so put together makes for a tasty dish with many layers of flavours.

A great example of this is the smoky BBQ spiced pork chops with potato and bean salad where the pork chops and salad both use the spice blend. The meat also gets finished in a sweet smoky BBQ sauce and the dressing for the salad combines creamy mayonnaise, more of the seasoning spice, and a thick zesty vinaigrette. The final finishing of fresh scallions in the salad gives it a burst of freshness and has become a side I’ve recreated for other nights.

Even the rigatoni alfredo is enhanced with lovely marinated artichokes that helps give the otherwise creamy sauce a nice hit of acid.

Environmental Factors

All the spices, condiments, and herbs does come at a cost – Good Food uses way more plastic than other delivery companies. It probably doesn’t help that they put ingredients in bags that are much larger than necessary, like these green beans that end up only occupying a third of the packaging.

Conclusion

If only Good Food wasn’t so plastic laden, they would have been my top choice of the three I tried in 2021. Yet, I can’t get over all the waste that’s created, especially if this is a service that’s supposed to be every week – god help our planet.

While my finished products don’t necessarily look as good as their stylized pictures, it nonetheless tastes like a gourmet creation. Good Food, just know that potato and green bean salad has left a mark in my recipe repertoire. 

If the above has intrigued you, sign up and try a week for yourself. Goodfood is offering Gastro World readers $40 to go towards their first two orders for new customers. Just click on this special referral link to go to their website.




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Prepd's meal delivery service



After one week of using a meal kit delivery service, the home chef in me was ignited and wanted to continue. Hence, I sought out other Toronto companies and Prepd graciously offered a week of meals to prolong my culinary creations – something my husband was happy about as well.

Dependability

Prepd’s Sunday delivery date works the best for my schedule: I like being home to put everything into the fridge as quickly as possible (although Prepd froze the proteins and there were tons of ice packs so could be left outside for a while) and gives me a chance to cook one of the meals on Sunday – the evening I’m home the most and generally have time to cook.

Similar to competitors, ingredients are clearly labelled and packaged (except proteins) into a separate bags for each dish.  With the exception of salt, pepper, and oil, everything required for the recipe arrives in the kit. Simply wash and prep the produce and you’re ready to go.

I particularly like that Prepd offers a pick-up service to return boxes and ice packs. Yes, I know items can typically be recycled, but manufacturing and even the recycling process still uses resources and energy, so anything we can do to re-use something helps the environment.

Additionally, their boxes were smaller (fitting all the ingredients perfectly) and were less reliant on unnecessary packaging (for example, not wrapping items such as carrots in plastic wrap, instead just placing them in the bag).


Recipes: Ease of Use

Overall, recipes were very straight forward, laying out instructions in chronological order. For example, the recipe would indicate to continue making the salad while something is in the oven, so you literally just follow the directions step-by-step. Looking back, there may be a few steps I’d process differently – in the lentil salad mixing in the herbs and shallots with lentils first, then adding the spinach as after adding the leafy vegetable it makes everything difficult to combine – but, it’s a very small change.


Prepd also required minimal equipment. With the salmon recipe, the carrots and almonds were also placed on the same baking sheet, so everything’s essentially made in “one pan” minimizing cleaning. Even the dressing for a salad could be made in the container holding the mustard – add oil and vinegar into the mustard and shake up to create the dressing.   

How It Tastes

Wow, the recipes sure incorporate a lot of herbs and spices. Even the vegetable soup combined pesto and vegetable bullion to make a very flavourful soup. Moreover, the selection of vegetables (carrot, leek, kale, onion and broccoli) created different flavours and textures to add interest. Including white beans into the dish made it hearty and filling (even more so with the generous portions of toasted bread). With plenty leftover, this re-heated nicely for lunch the following day.


My favourite meal was the salmon salad – fantastic hot the night of and cold for lunch. To be honest, after looking at the ingredients, I was skeptical whether I’d like the dish: carrots, dill, and chopped almonds? Not exactly my favourite things, let alone mixed together in a salad. Boy was I wrong! The sweet carrots with the dill and lentils actually worked nicely together; the chopped almonds much better than the slices I find too crunchy.


The lamb and beef koftas was the sole dish that tasted mediocre, simply due to the overpowering dry meat patties. Unfortunately, since I haven’t used their spice mix before, it’s hard to judge how much to add “to taste”… especially, when you’re adding it to raw meat – how do you even taste? Knowing how strong chili powder is, I already decreased the amount that came with the package, but unfortunately didn’t know what to do with the spice mix. Adding it all was a big mistake - the kofta became grainy and overly citrusy.

The patties were also hard to bind together, something wet (other than using wet hands to form the kofta) would definitely help and make the meat moister. With something already so flavourful, the condiments could have been toned down – the yoghurt would have been better plain, I found the additional feta made it too thick and salty. Also, the garlic incorporated in the yoghurt would have worked better in the meat, as the pungent raw garlic along with red onions was too much. Just imagine how great your breath smells afterwards.

Conclusion

Prepd’s recipes inspired me to combine a variety of ingredients and herbs together. At times, I didn’t think I’d necessarily like everything, but never one to not try something, I followed the formulas and (for the most part) wasn’t disappointed.

Although the dishes don’t necessarily look the most exciting from the pictures, they were actually full of bold flavours and with such generous portions, enough to try again the following day.

Price and How to Order the Service

If you’re living by yourself, congratulations – Prepd has a one person plan! With three meals per week, it will cost you $40 or $13.33 per meal.

For two and four people, the three meal plans and both work out to $10 a meal ($60 and $120 for the two and four person, respectively). All prices are inclusive of taxes and delivery charges – definitely one of the most economical services.


At any time, you can pause or cancel your plan. So, you’re not committed to having to order a meal kit every week.

Want to try it for yourself? Prepd is offering Gastro World readers $20 off your first order for new customers. Just use the codgastr581f3a6730928 on their website - http://eatprepd.com/

Disclaimer: The above meal delivery was complimentary. Rest assured, as noted in my mission statement, I will always provide an honest opinion.


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 Location: Toronto, Canada

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