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New Zealand’s Affordable Meal-kit Reveals Kitchen Secrets And Favourites To Keep Prices Down

As the cost of food remains on almost everyone’s lips, Bargain Box, New Zealand’s affordable meal-kit, is revealing what foods Kiwis are turning to as they manage food budgets this year. The Bargain Box chefs are also sharing the kitchen secrets they use to keep costs down, without compromising on taste or quality.

Bargain Box is always at least 5% less expensive than all other meal kit providers and is more than 17% less expensive than the nearest priced meal kit provider for five nights of meals for four people[1].

Ella Krauts, from Bargain Box’s development kitchen team, says, “In order to keep prices down, we’ve honed ways to create affordable meals without compromising on vegetable or protein quality. It’s not about loading up on carbs, it’s about being clever with the right vegetable and packing a punch with cost effective flavours.

“We’ve figured out how to get per plate prices down to $6.60[2], and still keep at least two servings of vegetables per person with every meal.”

Rice bowls are emerging as a clear favourite across New Zealand, followed by pies and curries. Chicken is the most popular protein by a long shot, followed by beef and then pork.

“We’re seeing a huge rise in the demand for Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern flavours. There’s a reason rice bowls are so popular. With the right know-how, Kiwis can make cost effective things like Karaage Chicken Rice Bowl with Sesame Slaw & Sriracha Mayo, Sticky Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Jasmine Rice and Lentil Kofta & Spiced Rice Bowl with Chermoula Yoghurt.

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“Rice bowls also work well for children or fussy eaters, and you can still easily slip in two to three serves of vegetables,” says Ella.

Whilst the Bargain Box team benefit from strong supplier relationships to access lower prices, the team also have a few other tricks up their sleeves to keep the costs of their meal-kits down without comprising on taste, and there are a few of these you can try at home.

  • Keep an eye on the weather, as well as the seasons – We all know that vege prices depend on the season, but they also depend on the weather. Adapt what you are cooking based on what’s growing well and you’ll save money.
  • Bulk meals with grated vegetables – Curries, burgers, meat balls and plenty of other dishes can be bulked out with grated vegetables like carrots, courgettes, cabbage, root vegetables and cauliflower to ensure a filling meal that is high in nutrition.
  • Make your own sauces that pack a punch – Making your own dressing and sauces with ingredients like coconut milk and curry pastes is a fast way to add flavour without significant cost.
  • Slaw is your friend – With the right dressing, a basic slaw is a versatile meal filler that’s doesn’t cost too much, has great flavour and helps get those extra wholesome vegetables into your diet as a side, in a burger or on top of a rice bowl for filling and flavour.
  • Be smart with garnishes – Sprinkle things like sesame seeds and crispy shallots on your meals for a cost effective way to add texture to your meal.
  • Banish food waste – Kiwis waste $3.1 billion[3] each year buying more food than they’ll ever eat. Buying and cooking just what you need is a big way to save money, which is what a meal-kit, like Bargain Box, can help you with.

Beyond cost, time is a huge factor when planning meals – especially for Kiwi families who find themselves time-poor during the week.

According to Bargain Box’s insights, Kiwis are also turning to the Super Quick recipes in Bargain Box meal-kits. Its 20-Minute Indian Cauli Curry with Garlic Naan, 20-Minute Cheesy Chicken Burgers with Slaw & Picklenaise, and 20-Minute Mexi Pulled Beef Tacos with Cheese & Sour Cream, have been Kiwis favourites this year, selected from the 11 meals customers can choose each week.

“Families often resort to buying takeaways to take the pressure off during the week, which can prove extremely costly over time. Our Superquick meals are an affordable option that take the same amount of time as going through the drive-through.

“The trick with Superquick affordable meals is to have a plan, so you can keep it simple, without compromising on taste. We break it down into five steps for all our recipes now. This is about knowing what you are prepping, what you are combining, what you are cooking and then what’s something a little special you can add to the top of your meal,” says Ella.

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