Author's note: Many people, including me, simply do not find or find time to prepare a full meal for themselves as this is both time consuming and tiring. I prefer to order only cooked meals from the plethora of grocery deliveries out there?
Startups for the delivery of meal sets are not new to Malaysia. Some tried to get it going years ago, but eventually turned their business models or shut them down directly.
A startup that only offers deliveries of meal sets that we know are still running is Chef ’Up. Now there is a newer player on the market called BoxAhead.
Meal sets deliveries offer recipes to choose from. Depending on what you choose, all the necessary ingredients will be procured in the correct quantities and sent to you.
This way, you can still enjoy a homemade meal without the hassle of going out, buying groceries, and having leftover ingredients in the fridge.
Both Chef ’Up and BoxAhead are trying to solve these problems. However, if Chef ’Up's meal sets cost around RM 20 per person, BoxAhead's meal sets could cost up to RM 124.90.
Given that you still have to prepare these meals at home, we had to ask co-founders Jun Kit and Joon Lim if anyone would be willing to spend so much at all?
Quench the hunger for experience
Apparently yes, since they started selling about 50 to 100 boxes of their food sets since they started in June 2020.
What differs between BoxAhead and Chef ’Up are the recipes and ingredients on offer.
Where the latter offers "friendlier" recipes such as pasta and Kung Pao chicken, the current recipe offers from BoxAhead are:
- Wagyu Ribeye (RM124.90 for 1 person, RM213 for 2 people)
- Cod steak (RM83.90 for 1 person, RM159 for 2 people)
- Australia Striploin (RM72 for 1 person, RM120 for 2 people)
Australian Striploin, Wagyu Ribeye and Cod Steak / Photo credit: BoxAhead
At such prices, one might argue that it is easier to just go to a restaurant for steak eating and not have to cook anything yourself (and ruin the premium meat).
BoxAhead is aimed at people who are looking for more than just a meal to fill their belly.
"BoxAhead sells experience rather than the product itself in a way that is not just about fulfilling cooking," said Jun Kit.
"This includes enjoying hot meals when they are prepared by your family, loved ones or yourself."
To ensure that you have the right tools to make the recipes work, they offer a kitchen kit rental for RM15.
Do the math for you
Restricted knowledge of food is another problem BoxAhead wants to solve, as Jun Kit said: “Identifying ingredients can be challenging because they do not understand their use and do not know where ingredients come from that supermarkets and hypermarkets do not are to be found. "
For the recipes they currently offer, the premium ingredients are a mix of raw and pre-cooked ingredients.
I would say the value of BoxAhead is based on providing certain ingredients that a user couldn't buy without a specific recipe. Take, for example, the paprika sauce and pickled onions in your recipes.
They're not really ingredients that you can just throw in your daily meals. If you buy them in large bottles, you may be wasted because, frankly, who eats steak every day?
"By providing all the ingredients in an" exactly right "amount so that we can minimize waste, all of our customers don't feel like they paid extra for the unused ingredients," said Jun Kit.
Obtaining the premium ingredients is no problem for BoxAhead, as one of the co-founders specializes in the delivery of frozen products (the other is a chef who designs the recipes).
The meat is pre-packaged and frozen for delivery to customers to keep it fresh.
- Credit: BoxAhead
- Credit: BoxAhead
They also use the Just-In-Time (JIT) method for orders where the ingredients are only purchased when they are needed in the production process.
Everyone gets a cut of the meat
While you might think that BoxAhead's food sets appeal to people with higher incomes, Jun Kit made it clear: "Everyone from every income bracket is our potential customer as long as they want to cook continental food."
BoxAhead does its deliveries either with a frozen truck they own or with third-party suppliers for the premium delivery service, which delivers within 4 hours in the Klang Valley for a small fee.
In the long term, the team plans to expand BoxAhead's product base by making the food sets available in convenience stores and convenience stores.
It will be interesting to see how BoxAhead kits are developing in convenience stores as people visit them to buy ready-to-eat or microwave-safe meals, and no raw ingredients to cook a meal from scratch.
However, they are currently working on adding more recipes to expand their customer base.
Some of the upcoming recipes Jun Kit participated in include fewer “premium” recipes such as chicken dishes and pasta. So it seems like they are entering "friendlier" recipe areas.
Bottom line: I personally wouldn't buy one of them because of its pricing (and I don't quite trust meat unless I've seen it in grocery stores myself), but I can definitely see it gain traction, especially during the RMCO, though People could still be careful when eating or taking away cooked foods.
- More information about other Malaysian startups that we wrote about here can be found here.
Selected image source: BoxAhead