Hi Folks:

[ If you're interested in trying FreshPrep, please see the PS below. ]

Starting in the Fall of 2020, upon recommendation of a good friend, I started using one of the major meal-kit services for delivery of four 2-person meals each week.  Despite a slight increase in my overall food spending, I've come to enjoy the benefits of meal kits:

  • Convenient (most of the shopping done for me), with better variety that I'd do on my own.
  • Little or no food waste.
  • Learning new cooking ideas (well, new for me, anyway).
  • Great meal-cards that can be kept for future reference.
  • Last but certainly not least, my 20-year old son (Nathaniel) and I do more cooking together.
But, there were some drawbacks to the service:
  • The kits were prepared in Vancouver*1 -- arriving at least a dozen hours (if not almost a full day) after shipping.
  • The delivery box had to be recycled.
  • The consumer is expected to dump the freezer pack contents down the drain and recycle the overwrap.
    • Regularly dumping reusable products is not my thing -- let me know if you have need for a box of reusable freezer packs!
  • On multiple occasions, vegetables (especially the leafy ones) had started to "turn" after the 4th or 5th day of the week.  Some arrived in bad bad shape on day one, or were completely unusable by mid-week.
    • To be fair, the two times I complained about this the company responded well and placed an automatic (and healthy discount) on my next orders.
  • Twice, before opening the box I stuck a digital probe into the box at mid-height.  In both cases, the internal temperature was almost 20oC.  While the meat was okay, I wasn't thrilled by this.
    • FYI:  The meat was was in the bottom of the box alongside the freezer pack, both separated from the rest of the contents via a thin piece of carboard with ventilation holes in it.
*1: For example, Hello Fresh and Chef's Plate (both owned by publicly traded Hello Fresh Group out of Germany) both use a major courier company to deliver their meal kits to Victoria.
So, starting in December and after discovering they packaged locally, I decided to try out FreshPrep.  It was a good move.  At the risk of coming across as trying to pitch for the company (well, in fact, I am), here's why I think they are one of the best options for meal-kit users in Victoria:
  • Privately owned (Vancouver, BC).
    • Personally, I have much greater trust for privately held companies to truly "walk the talk" when it comes to delivering all their marketing promises.  In the end, publicly traded companies are fully beholden to their shareholders -- not the owners' ideals.
  • Locally packaged in Victoria... which means less time out of the cooler, which will be a bigger deal when the warmer weather arrives.
    • Frequently, the package arrives with the meat slightly frozen.  While I'd rather fresh meat, I'm WAY more comfortable receiving the meat in that condition than as noted above.
  • Better balanced meals, with more food in the plate that the previous company I'd been using.
    • Almost consistently, Nathaniel and I can extend a 2-person meal onto three plates and appreciate the larger ratio of non-meat to meat products.
  • Reusable delivery packaging and freezer packs.
  • Local delivery drivers who give great service.
  • Excellent communications and delivery notification.
  • About $10 lower weekly cost than I'd been paying prior -- based on four 2-person meals.
  • A Certified B-Corporation.
However, FreshPrep did have a drawback:  Many of the individual items in the meal were pre-cut/pre-minced/otherwise pre-prepared and put into sealed, single-use, non-recyclable plastic packaging.  While switching to FreshPrep did reduce my recycling waste (and my stock of "reusable" freezer packs had stopped growing!), the household garbage goal was blown out of the water*2.  Well, today (2021-02-25) I've just received positive news from FreshPrep on that front!  They're moving to zero-waste packaging.  See https://www.freshprep.ca/zero-waste for more on that point.
*2: I'll often fit a month's worth of household non-recyclable garbage into one plastic grocery bag.
Finally, I should also mention Local Urban Bites (which I've yet to try).  Like FreshPrep, they are privately held (locally owned in Victoria), package their meal-kits locally, deliver in reusable packaging, and deliver using local drivers -- within a few hours of being packaged.  Please let me know if you try them out (or any other local meal-kit company), and I'll add an addendum here.
TTFN, Doug
PS: If you're interested in trying FreshPrep and haven't used them before, please consider asking me for a referral code.  You'll get 3 free meals on your first order, and I'll be rewarded with one free meal.

FOLLOW-UP 2021-MAR-01:  Here's a bit more (four short videos) on FreshPrep's "Zero Waste Kit" --> https://www.freshprep.ca/zero-waste/how-to