Keen on the concept and aims, Federica finds the execution and packaging a little wanting.
You subscribe, pay, and every week you get a box with a different bunch of ingredients, recipe cards and the like. The aim is to make your life easier and make cooking healthy, fresh, meals painless.
Make Kit is one of those products, targeting a vegetarian and vegan, plant-friendly audience. It grew off the back of NHS research that identified recipe kits as a solution to overcoming the barriers to a healthy diet; the perceived high cost of healthy food, lack of time to cook from scratch and lack of knowledge of healthy dishes.
Their recipes are designed to do that with 100% good-for-you ingredients (at least 2 of your 5 a day, low in salt, sugar and saturated fats, and no additives or artificials). They work by plans and a customer chooses a 2 or 3 meals (for two or 4 people) per week, to be delivered on tuesdays. The cost is £4.40 per portion, so £8.80 per meal.
The premises of Make Kit Food are good; their profits also go to fund community projects, for example the team behind it run cooking courses in joint-partnership with local schools, youth clubs and children’s centres with a focus on accessing families and young people on low-incomes and suffering diet-related illness.
We were really keen on trying their boxes and had high expectations and good vibes. Unfortunately, already upon opening the box (which contained two meals), doubts crept in.
The main brown paper bags were wet, one more than the other in fact, so that it was pretty much torn apart. Inside, two of the little plastic pots containing the sauces for the recipe had leaked, and their content gone all over the rest of the items.
Not a good start! But what about the food? The first recipe we tried was Roasted Cauliflower with Zhoug couscous. It was fairly simple to follow, and the cauliflower a good quality one and fresh, we really liked the herby zhoug dressing; the final result was impressive on the plate too, and delicious to eat.
The second dish (Nut roast) was a let down. This was the bag that had pretty much fallen apart; the cranberry sauce pot had dried out, and the potatoes (which were pretty rough) had sweated onto the baking parchment sheet provided for the cooking, which had become unusable.
The final result did not quite come together, the nut mix did not really blend well and it was overall quite dry. We did like the potatoes in the end with their sweet spicy mix (we did not bother with the carrot to be fair) but overall it was dry, heavy from too much onion, despite the gravy (provided in granules).
While we appreciate their efforts in using recycled and recyclable plastics, perhaps a different scheme would work well, for example little glass jars which can be returned to the company and picked up at the next delivery (similar to what Abel & Cole do with their packaging).
Make Kit aim is for all of their packaging to be compostable or recycled and recyclable and it is pretty clearly communicated on the recipe cards and book that is provided, which is great.
The thought behind the recipes is obvious and there are some good ideas there; still, we felt the overall impression was somehow rushed, a little neglected, and the project still has some legwork to do to be competitive on the crowded market.