The emergence of the "food box"

Lately, it seems like everyone is jumping on the bandwagon with deliveries of food boxes right on their doorstep, and quite understandably so. The recipes that companies such as Gousto and Hello Fresh provide are beneficial to the lifestyles of a lot of people. What I love about it the most if the complete lack of food waste in our household. I used to stress out about everything I had to throw out, simply because there are so many perishable products that are not correctly sized for two people. For example, the recipe I used yesterday contained cumin. Tesco's own brand can give you 43 grams of cumin for 0.85. Sounds like a great deal! Unless, like my recipe, you only need 1 gram. Then you're stuck with 42 grams of cumin clogging up your cupboard until you move house, when eventually you realise that no one needs that much cumin. You can't even give it away, because you've already opened it. The cumin I used from Hello Fresh yesterday, came in a neat little 1 gram box, so when I had finished cooking, I had nothing left to hoard in my cupboard. It was a good feeling. Some might argue that getting 1 gram of cumin isn't overly good value for money but is it really good value for money to pay a fraction more, get 43 grams, use 1 gram, and then store the other 42 grams until the next world war?

The second point has nothing to do with large amounts of cumin being annoying but something even more important and all encompassing, namely the environment. Throwing food out because it comes in the wrong size is not just bad for my housewife complex but also for our planet. In the UK, according to Love Food Hate Waste, we throw away 7 million tonnes of food every year. This has serious negative implications for climate, water, land and biodiversity. Just a quick example is the fact that the food that we produce but do not eat swallows up the amount of water, which annually flows through the Volga, the longest river in Europe. Additionally, our food waste is responsible for adding 3.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere every year (United Nations Environment Programme). This may not be the case for every household but for us, having correct portion sizes helps us to reduce this waste.

Thirdly, it helps us to have a diverse diet. Since we started getting food delivered, we quickly realised that we have been kidding ourselves. We were eating healthily before but we were not eating enough different foods. Our menu used to be steak and salad, chicken and salad, seafood and salad. And if we were extra hungry, I'd throw in some pasta. Why? Because a packet of salad and the meat we bought at the supermarket was enough to make us full. Why should have buy eight additional ingredients, most of which we would have to throw out because they come in sizes that could feed a small country's army? It just didn't make any sense, so we stuck to the two or three ingredients we fancied the most. Yesterday, I made soup that had 12 ingredients, and all the ingredients got delivered in the correct size. I ended up with approximately 1 litre of soup. If I had bought the same ingredients purely from Tesco's own brand, the most budget friendly option, I would have ended up with 3.7 kilos of food before adding the water. That means the end result would have been almost 6 litres of soup, enough for 26 portions, most of which would probably have ended up becoming wasted food.

Finally, personal economy is an obvious factor when talking about food shopping. The Hello Fresh meal box with three meals for two people costs 39, and that's not super cheap, I have to admit. For us though, it makes sense for a couple of reasons; I am, admittedly, a terrible supermarket shopper, and I spend money on things I don't really need whenever I go shopping. We once bought a weed torch in Lidl for 15, which turned out to have the same effect on garden weeds as an average sized lighter. Sounded like a bargain at the time, though... We also think it's worth investing in a healthy diet, and getting the correct portion sizes delivered almost obliterates our food waste. Further, to add some statistical relevance, the amount of food waste we have in the UK costs the average household 470 pounds every year, or the equivalent of 60 every month. That means that, if food boxes erases our food waste, 12 of them have paid for themselves every year.

Reading reviews of food box companies, most complaints seem to be regarding deliveries. I am surprised that no one mentions the packaging involved in keeping the products fresh, as there is a substantial amount of it but I guess no more than what you get when you go to the supermarket. Additionally, most of the packaging is paper and cardboard waste, which poses less of a threat to wildlife and farm animals, doesn't cause the same litter as plastic and is biodegradable, rather than photodegradable. So I guess I will let them off with that... For now!

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15.11.2015 kl.16:18


Kunne du fortalt litt om kulturen og historien til Skottland? (p norsk?)

Skal ha en fremfring om Skottland og jeg syntes ikke jeg finner noe bra fakta om det p nettet!! :)

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24, Steinkjer

22-year-old Norwegian studying Politics at the University of Glasgow.

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