It doesn't get much more convenient than a kit of ingredients delivered to your doorstep with a recipe guidebook, does it? In this blog, we describe our very first experience with a meal delivery service, the pros and cons, and all the delicious details in between.
Whether you're new to our blog or a returning reader, it's no secret that we love home cooked meals. That, of course, explains why we spend so much time cooking, developing recipes, and blogging about food. So, it was just a matter of time before we gave meal delivery a try.
What is a meal kit?
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, meal kit delivery services provide ingredients for home cooked meals. The package or box also comes with a pamphlet describing the ingredients and recipe for each meal preparation. The food is carefully portioned according to your needs (such as the number of people in your household), ensuring that there is no waste. All we had to do was select the number of meals we wanted (in our case, a small box with three meals) and let them know our diet preferences. It really was as simple as it sounds!
A sneak peek inside the Ruokaboksi box
And, given the growing popularity of meal delivery services, there's a good chance that one exists in the part of the world where you're reading this from. Some while ago, we tried a service called Ruokaboksi (which translates to "Foodbox") that has become popular in Finland and that we had heard about from friends on several occasions.
Why did we decide to try a meal delivery service?
When we noticed our friends praising Ruokaboksi, we knew we had to find out what all the fuss was about. And, as recipe developers, we believe cooking together sounds like a lot of fun. Another reason we wanted to try it was to gain a better understanding of the local food culture. A successful meal kit service helped us better understand the Finnish people's taste for food.
Who could be interested in a meal delivery service?
A meal delivery service like Ruokaboksi could be appealing to just about anyone, but it may be especially appealing to individuals who prefer home cooked meals. Another advantage of using such a service is that it is delivered to your doorstep, thus saving you time over doing your own grocery shopping. In fact, meal delivery services are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons, including elderly people who don't visit grocery stores frequently, families with babies, and people who do not have the time to invest in meal planning.
The growth of e-commerce and online stores has been continuous in this digital age we live in. And, as more people choose to shop online, it appears that the days of going shopping in person are gone.
Recipe 1: Creamy salmon soup
How are meal kits different from other food delivery services?
So, just to be clear about what to expect, meal kits are a separate category from takeout and are not the same as online food delivery. But in a way, it has a sweet spot in between the two. On the one hand, you won't be getting burgers and fries delivered to your doorstep, but on the other hand, you'll receive ingredients to prepare a few delicious meals of your choice. Meal kit delivery is a new thing for us, and it sounds like a win to us if it encourages home cooking and healthier eating habits.
What did we like about the service?
1. Hassle-free experience
In our busy lives, we enjoy it whenever there is a hassle-free experience. There's something special and satisfying about a service that adds value to your life without causing a headache. And we're delighted to say that this was our experience with Ruokaboksi. We easily placed an order online with our preferred meal proportions, dietary restrictions, and delivery time. And, as expected, the package (box) was left at our door at the said time. The meals were also super simple and took less than 40 minutes to prepare, so the whole process went very smoothly for us.
Recipe 2: Pasta with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes
2. Authentic, home cooked meals
Delicious, home cooked meals are the food we crave the most. It's what makes us feel good and satisfied both while eating and afterwards. So, for example, when we made salmon soup (known as lohikeitto in Finnish), we knew we were eating authentic, feel-good food. In fact, all of the meals we tried with this meal kit were delicious and comforting. It seemed as if they'd just came out of your grandmother's kitchen!
What did we dislike about the service?
While everything written in this blog is our personal opinions based purely on our experiences, we believe it is important to highlight both the positives and negatives.
Prices will always be a subjective aspect, and there really is no right or wrong answer. But here's our take: when we made our order, we chose three meals for two people at a cost of 60€. So, the price per person comes down to 10€ per meal, which isn't expensive by Finnish standards but is on the costlier side for a home cooked meal. In Turku, for example, lunch buffets typically cost between 10-14 euros. When it comes to home prepared meals, we've discovered the most cost-effective and time-effective method of batch cooking or meal prep, and we're able to keep prices as low as 3-5€ per meal!
But you can decide for yourself whether this is something you'd like to spend money on or at least try once, and if so, you can save 20€ by using our discount code WVTC (if you use this code, we get a 10€ discount on our next order).
Recipe 3: Spicy tofu korma with rice
2. Lack of service in English
The lack of English-language services is a persistent issue in Europe, and Finland is no exception. While one is able to receive most services in English, there are occasional hurdles to jump through every now and then, and even Google Translate can't save you. Despite the fact that Ruokaboksi's website pages are not in English, we were able to place our order without difficulty. The most irritating part, however, was when we received a phone call about our order, and the caller hung up as soon as he/she heard "Hello". We called the number back, completely confused, only to be greeted by a message stating that the call was from Ruokaboksi and then would call us back (which they never did).
Whether the company staff did not know English at all or was caught off guard to speak it, the encounter felt disrespectful, and the lack of effort towards international customers was disappointing.
Would we try it again?
To summarise our review, we had a good time trying Ruokaboski and had a positive experience overall. We not only tried something new, but we also believe we learned something, too. We believe we are one step closer to understanding the Finnish people's relationship with food after gaining a perspective on which ingredients are popular in the Nordics and the simplicity of the meals. This is something we'll keep in mind when creating our future recipes as well.
Last but not least, we would be happy to try Ruokaboksi and other meal kit services again. Will it become a regular in our household? At least not for now, as we're happy doing the planning and cooking in our household by ourselves, and recipe development is an important aspect of our blog. However, we wouldn't mind trying a meal kit again someday!