What are meal kits and why are they cooler than I thought?
Meal kits are essentially the delivery of ingredients for specific meals to your home. I had always written them off as overpriced and overhyped, but I was intrigued to see what the fuss was about.
Meal kits are awesome. The first thing I was surprised about is the recipes. They always seemed like unwelcoming health food from the outside, but the menus did seem to have a nice balance of hearty meals whilst staying away from unnecessarily high calories.
I’ve never been one to count my calories. I don’t know if that’s old school or just laziness, but it does take a long time and ends up involving a lot of guesswork. I understand the benefits, though, which is why the meal kits were particularly helpful in this regard. They always have a macronutrient breakdown and over calorie count. Once I knew that my evening meal will be 700 calories for example, it makes it much easier to only have to roughly track my brunch and a few snacks. A big-time saver.
What changed my mind about health kits was looking online at the reviews and real pictures of people using them. The meals looked delicious and fresh, and I wanted to get involved.
The second thing that surprised me was how it affected my attitude towards cooking. Of course I cook, and fortunately I don’t hate it. But there are always going to be days where you really don’t have time or you simply can’t be bothered. The meal kits acted as a weirdly motivating force. I would be so excited about the new recipe I’ve got in the refrigerator, and simultaneously thankful that I don’t have to go to the shop to get a couple of things that I’m missing.
What about weighing out measurements? Already done for you. Cooking has become a bit of a luxury. It’s a bit like hiring a virtual assistant to cut out the non revenue-generating tasks from your day – the fluff. Suddenly, when I cook a meal, I cook a meal. None of the administration.
I can only imagine how much it can help those who are truly unorganised and unmotivated to cook. I did a little research, and it came as no surprise that students are lapping this up.
One thing that is important to me, students and many others, is the environment. Much of the packaging at some (not all) of the companies is in paper bags and cardboard boxes. It could still be improved, but it is a big step up from supermarket packaging.
What’s more impressive is the zero waste. This really blew me away. Every ingredient is measured out to the gram. For a week, I threw nothing away. No old vegetables, no “end of the carton that still has an awkwardly small amount remaining that can no longer serve a purpose.
I can see how they have really teaching people to cook. There is no doubt that most people who slack when it comes to cooking are not happy about it. They want to cook, but they can’t be bothered to do the long bit of finding recipes, buying 15 ingredients that they’re worried will never use again, and finally having to go to the shop to buy them. They give people more of an opportunity to learn how to cook. The recipe instructions are clearly laid out, it’s all prepared for them.
I’m fact, meal kits are rarely something people do for a really long period of time. They hold a lot more value in the short term. They can act as a very quick way to build up cooking skills and find new recipes that you enjoy. If you can afford it, then they may become a long-term service for you, but for many they will become a fun little stint for a month or two.
Another reason for this is their fantastic sign up offers and promotional deals. The first week or so is usually highly discounted. You can actually cycle through the different companies, exploiting their signup deals, until you’ve run out and decided on which one was best. This could keep you going a surprisingly long time. Then, it’s a matter of whether it’s worth the full price tag. For me and many others it is, but you don’t know until you try it.
As Naval Ravikant suggests, we should trade money for time, not time for money. We are constantly running out of time – it is more finite than money will ever be. If we value our time at $30 per hour, then that extra money spent on meal kits in order to save a couple of hours per week in hunting for recipes and ingredients is well worth the deal.