Provender Brown Perth Deli

Shop Local V Meal Boxes

Meal Boxes V Shopping Local. Is there a way to support your local economy and the environment ,all while saving on time, money and waste?

It may surprise you to know there are nights when even I fancy skipping the meal prep and going straight to a five-minute cook. Yes, I love food. Yes, I love experimenting with ingredients. But sometimes, after a busy day in the deli, I just want to be done and dusted, and sitting in front of Netflix with a tasty meal. 

And I know I’m not alone!  The upsurge in meal prep boxes since lockdown began has been something of a foodie phenomenon. Every time I open social media, turn on the tv or flick through a magazine I am faced with ads for Gousto, Hello Fresh and all of their lesser well-known counterparts.

Which got me to thinking… am I missing out?!

Give their marketing person a pay rise because their ads have clearly worked. I decided to subscribe to one of these very boxes this month with thoughts of how much easier my life was going to be, not to mention the added benefits of better portion control and less waste.

Here’s the truth. I didn’t really get it. Now, as a woman who sells you ingredients for cooking I realise this may sound like sour grapes. But I was genuinely hopeful and have been left feeling that we’re all being sold a pig in poke. And not a very big one at that!

However, it has made me look at ways in which we can help you with the quick and easy dinners you’re all craving. I’ve come up with some pros and cons of the whole kit and caboodle and given you some suggestions for what I think is a better solution.

Finally, given that I had to give myself a shake I thought perhaps it was worth reminding all of us that over 70% of Provender Brown expenditure goes to companies, organisations and individuals based within 50 miles of Perth.  I would expect the same to be true for local butchers, bakers, fishmongers, and grocers. 

Even if you do all your shopping with supermarkets, they do now stock some local produce, are employing local people, paying rates locally and contributing to the local economy in a number of ways; with subscription boxes, none of the expenditure stays within the local economy.

Four Quick And Easy Recipes To Get Your Started

All using delicious, high quality ingredients from Provender Brown. Pop in to buy or order online for convenience!

Recipe for  Spicy, Sweet & Zesty Nepalese Chicken Curry using Hidden Street Food Kathmandu Choyla paste

Claim 1: Making Life Easier

Reality: It is a maximum of four meals per week with most of these boxes which means you still need to shop, or get into doing takeaway or eating out for half your week. This means you’re still visiting a supermarket, butcher, baker or wonderful deli - either in person or online - so time saving on shopping is fairly minimal.

On the same theme, you still need to have basic ingredients in the larder for other meals. And finally, with these kits you still need to wash, chop etc veg and cook everything from scratch. The only thing it saves you doing is weighing and measuring – not really that great a hardship!

Plus Points: These are probably really good for people who are new to cooking – allows them to experiment without committing to buying larger quantities of all the ingredients. Sometimes you just don’t know what to make and having it decided for you does ease some of the weekly mental load.

Shop local Solution: If you're new to cooking, try one of our kits to get you going. The same principal exists, with everything there except the meat and veg. And for those looking to save time, simply decide to give yourself a break four nights a week. Use a quality pre-made meal, rice or sauce - or have a picnic tea from the deli! 

Claim 2: Less waste as you’re not buying ingredients you’ll never use again.

Reality: This one really annoyed me!  Jumping on the ‘waste’ bandwagon when your entire business model by default means oodles of packaging is a bit much!  Every herb, spice, paste, sauce comes in its own little sachet; the bits and pieces for each meal are in a separate sealed bag; the whole lot comes in a substantial cardboard box with a variety of cardboard inners and an ice pack. 

Much (although not all) is recyclable, but it’s still all got to be produced in the first place, using raw materials and energy, plus the costs (money and environmental) of the recycling itself.

The recipe cards are lovely but presumably if you re-order the same meal, you get another copy.

Plus Points: I will concede that packaging and recipe cards aside, there is significantly less food waste! 

Shop Local Solution: With a little bit of planning, we can cut down on waste ourselves - just call me Mrs Beeton! - because while you’ve no waste on four nights, this does nothing to educate us or address the bigger problem. We all have to get better at guesstimating spaghetti!

Also, while you're cooking, why not make enough for two nights and chill or freeze a portion? This offers a perfect easy heat up on one of your busy nights!

Check out our competition this month, to win a chill bag complete with cheese and wax wraps >

Claim 3: Portion control and quality, balanced meals

Reality: You are abdicating control over the quality of your ingredients. My 200g of beef included some big chunks and a whole lot of tiny pieces that looked like they were scraps and half my root ginger was mushy.  I know a couple of people who feel the same. If this happens, you don’t have any back up.

Plus Points: Portion control is a definite plus and something I’ve never been able to master. Soup for an army, spaghetti for 10!

Shop local solution: Our team will be happy to offer smaller portions of deli counter items including cheese, hams, salamis, olives, and more. We also sell ready made sauces, many now in recycled packaging, that will give you the correct weight of meat and fish required for 4 – which your butcher will be delighted to cut for you!

Claim 4: Save money because you don’t buy extras

Reality: Unless on offer, these are really expensive for what you get. 

Shop Local Solution: There is a myth that independent shopping is more expensive. Now, while you won’t find discounted lines or cheaper options with us our fellow indies, in terms of value for money, quality and service, I promise you will be impressed.

Top Tips For Shopping Local for Food in Perth City Centre

I’ve also marked where you can shop online for those of you have busy lives!

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