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Pre-made home delivered meals in Canberra – Part 1

By Chris Mordd Richards - 20 May 2016 22

Penne for your thoughts

This is intended to be a 2-3 series of posts detailing some of the different options for pre-made refrigerated (not frozen) meals that can be home delivered in Canberra.

This is for all the busy people out there, the singles who don’t like cooking alone, the people who hate cooking or are really bad at it and find it frustrating as hell (like myself) or for people who just like to have something easy to eat a few times a week that takes no prep time and is delicious and healthy as well. This is for all of you.

I started out by Googling for “premade home delivered meals canberra” and sussed out the options from there. I have now chosen two places I really want to try, and a 3rd that I am considering (they are a slightly pricier option than the first 2).

This article is featuring the first business I have ordered from – Easy Life Meals – http://www.easylifemeals.com.au/ or https://www.facebook.com/ELMaustralia/

Easy Life Meals

ELM as they prefer to go by, are a local Canberra based business, founded by two Canberrans – Hesh and Alistair. They have been operating ELM since starting up in 2015, and have gone through a few website and menu redesigns in the process. They operate from a commercial kitchen in Turner and deliver once a week on Sundays to anywhere in Canberra or Queanbeyan. Their website, currently in its 3rd iteration, is very well designed with bright graphics well apportioned, easy and clear navigation, good photos, and a well designed process flow for the ordering and checkout parts.

Hop, Chick & a Jump

Their menu at the moment consists of 16 different options for lunch or dinner (no vegetarian options when I ordered) and 3 different treat packs (including gluten free options). The meals are all priced at $12.50 each, and have detailed descriptions and nutrition information on the site, as well as excellent photos of the meal itself. The snack packs are also $12.50 each except for the Juice pack which is $20. The overall menu consists of 40 different meals which change regularly, with 16-20 meals available at any one time. The meals come refrigerated, and are designed to go straight into your fridge, are good for 7 days, and just need a simple microwave blast to reheat.

Orders must be in by midnight Thursday for delivery on Sunday. All orders over $70 qualify for free delivery. At the moment they don’t have a delivery fee in place for orders under $70, so currently this is the minimum order, but they are considering adding the option to allow for smaller orders. You can pay using Paypal, Stripe or Paywhirl on the website when ordering.

My personal experience ordering from ELM was thus: Initially my emails to them went unanswered, and when my delivery didn’t arrive on the Sunday I took to their Facebook page on the Monday to ask what was going on. Within 45 minutes, I got a call from Hesh, one of the 2 owners, who explained to me that my emails had gone into their Gmail spam box and hadn’t been seen, and that the delivery driver had apparently been to my place twice on the Sunday but couldn’t find me.

Eurofusion

Hesh assured me he would personally deliver my meals to me at 6pm that day (and yes this was the Anzac day public holiday) and would sort out what had gone on when he got to my place. I gave him detailed instructions on how to find me so he didn’t get lost like his delivery driver did.

When he arrived at 6pm promptly we had a good chat, and he showed me my emails in his spam box. I advised that using Gmail you really need to check the spam box every few days or more often, because it does eat legit emails. Hesh was very apologetic about it and not seeing the emails. As to the delivery mix up, my block is not well designed, with 1 driveway feeding two separate apartment complexes, and I’ve often had delivery drivers call me to tell they’re at my door, when they are at the complex next door at the same apartment number over there. So I don’t blame them for having trouble finding me, and Hesh assured me it would not happen again.

Morocconut

We discussed that there was meant to be an option on the website for delivery instructions, but I couldn’t find this when i ordered (or when i went back to check the site again afterwards) and they have since looked into this and added it back to the order process on the website now. The current website is only a few weeks old, and as a sometimes independent web developer, I know well that any new site will have small teething issues like this that need to be sorted out. Hesh was very apologetic about it all and thanked me profusely for the feedback and assured me it would all be addressed to make sure it didn’t happen again to another customer. Overall I found him to be very friendly and receptive to my feedback and it was a pleasure meeting him.

As for the meals, overall they were delicious and healthy and well sized proportions, exactly what I was looking for. I particularly found the meat to be quite succulent and tender and tasty in most of the dishes and the ingredients seemed to be of a high quality. I really enjoyed the 7 different meals I tried from ELM.

This is what I ordered:

* Hop, Chick and a Jump – 3.5 stars
* Penne for your Thoughts – 5 stars
* Eurofusion – 4 stars
* One Radishing Chick(Pea) – 4.5 stars
* Morocconut Salad – 4 stars
* Orange you glad we met – 3 stars
* More Rockin’ Lamb – 3.5 stars

This is obviously just my personal taste preferences, yours will be different to mine, so don’t take my rating system to heart, I’m no expert foodie, I just know what I like.

Next up, I try Gourmet Dinner Service and report back on my experience with them, and I will consider reviewing Canberra Dinner Rush as well. If you have any suggestions of other really good options please add them in the comments and I will consider reviewing those as well. Cheers!

What’s Your opinion?


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22 Responses to
Pre-made home delivered meals in Canberra – Part 1
Maya123 1:29 pm 23 May 16

Masquara said :

HenryBG said :

Some people have a lot of money to throw around! Time poor? Then have a big cookup on the weekend and freeze the results in small containers. Then when you arrive late home from work the food only needs to be microwaved. But really, food doesn’t need to take ages to prepare. Last night for instance I microwaved a sausage, toasted a piece of bread, added margarine, lettuce, tomato and plum sauce (home-made, but when I make it I make a big batch, enough for years). By this time the sausage was cooked. This didn’t take much more time than it took for the bread to toast. This all took about three minutes. I then followed this up with a fruit salad, which also takes little preparation time.
Have time, but hate cooking. Then baking is for you. Chop up some vegetables, roll them in olive oil with meat if wanted and shove in oven. Go away, do something else while this cooks. Come back when the timer rings and eat. Very little preparation time.
Most meals I cook are done in less than 15 minutes. The baked example in less than five minutes preparation time.

I don’t think $12.50 is expensive for dinner for one – and the options available through meal services such as this are much more exciting than having sausages in bread four nights a week.

Um, that was once a week, or maybe once a fortnight. Presumptions on your part only. I have also in the last week, cooked fish and chips (much better chips than most bought ones) served with a mixed salad; had pasta and topping which I made with various ingredients, accompanied by a mixed salad; baked kangaroo with rosemary and crisp baked vegetables (potato, pumpkin, carrot) plus beans, baked chicken (I buy de-boned leg meat) stuffed with basil and garlic, plus baked vegetables, drizzled with lemon juice. Other times I might have stir fries, mixed salads with crisp, thin baked/fried (dipped in olive oil and cooked) vegetables, etc on top, and so on. What I eat is based around what I have to use up and what is in the vegetable garden. That way I don’t waste food. I rarely use a recipe book, as it isn’t needed. By the way, I don’t particularly like cooking, but the alternatives cost too much.
I would hope my dinner would cost a lot less than $12.50, as that is expensive for one. (I didn’t pay off my first house in many years less than the set mortgage time by eating $12.50 dinners 🙂 )

Maya123 1:05 pm 23 May 16

Masquara said :

Supermarkets are not designed for single people. Most things come in quantities designed to feed 3-4 people, minimum. Meal services such as this are easy for those who work a lot/don’t like cooking/would like to try new things. I know I get bored of eating the same thing every night, and I don’t think I am unusual in this.

I am single and I find that supermarkets are perfectly designed for single people. I rarely have food waste. It’s just a matter of being able to cook and have enough imagination to not waste food.

“Most things come in quantities designed to feed 3-4 people, minimum.”
What sort of food do you buy? This isn’t even close to my experience. I buy fresh vegetables and fruit and these can be bought individually. Meat and fish can be frozen for future use, or if you want, you can buy a single fish. Many other ingredients; flour and other cooking ingredients will last a long time. So, what food are you referring to? I am puzzled by your statement and genuinely don’t know what you are talking about.

madelini 11:43 am 23 May 16

gooterz said :

If you are going to spend $12.50 on a refrigerated meal because you are time poor, would it not be just as efficient to get Chinese take away on your way home from work or get a pizza delivered? Subway and other places have healthy salad type foods for the diet conscious. Refrigerated or frozen, it doesn’t make a lot of difference because you microwave it anyway. Frozen meals are a bit cheaper and I certainly wouldn’t let any chicken sit in the fridge for up to a week before consuming, let alone other foods. Any leftovers should not be consumed after 3 or 4 days.

Having looked at the website for ELM, the ingredients lists look a lot fresher than anything you would get from Subway (their salad tastes highly processed. It’s not fresh). Similarly, Chinese food is high in salts, fats etc, which is absolutely fine every so often but wouldn’t taste so great if you had it too often. Also, if you want pizza from anywhere other than Encore/Dominoes costs more than $12.50, and would have the same feel as Chinese if you had it too often. Meal services simplify life, especially for singles. If you’ve had a long day at work, it’s nice to go home and know that there is something easy and reasonably nutritious; you don’t have to stop at the supermarket or takeaway, you can go home, put on your jammies and not suffer from a dietary deficiency.

At the end of the day, additional choices in the market can’t be a bad thing. The leftover thing is individual preference – personally, I have been known to eat week-old leftovers and haven’t suffered from food poisoning. To each their own.

madelini 11:33 am 23 May 16

HenryBG said :

Some people have a lot of money to throw around! Time poor? Then have a big cookup on the weekend and freeze the results in small containers. Then when you arrive late home from work the food only needs to be microwaved. But really, food doesn’t need to take ages to prepare. Last night for instance I microwaved a sausage, toasted a piece of bread, added margarine, lettuce, tomato and plum sauce (home-made, but when I make it I make a big batch, enough for years). By this time the sausage was cooked. This didn’t take much more time than it took for the bread to toast. This all took about three minutes. I then followed this up with a fruit salad, which also takes little preparation time.
Have time, but hate cooking. Then baking is for you. Chop up some vegetables, roll them in olive oil with meat if wanted and shove in oven. Go away, do something else while this cooks. Come back when the timer rings and eat. Very little preparation time.
Most meals I cook are done in less than 15 minutes. The baked example in less than five minutes preparation time.

I don’t think $12.50 is expensive for dinner for one – and the options available through meal services such as this are much more exciting than having sausages in bread four nights a week.

Supermarkets are not designed for single people. Most things come in quantities designed to feed 3-4 people, minimum. Meal services such as this are easy for those who work a lot/don’t like cooking/would like to try new things. I know I get bored of eating the same thing every night, and I don’t think I am unusual in this.

Also, individual meal services reduce food waste – in terms of, you eat what is provided, and you don’t end up throwing out wilted veggies past their use-by date or forgotten leftovers. In that way, they could potentially save you money, and if they’re nutritionally balanced, much better than having toast for dinner.

Meal services are not for everyone, but choosing to purchase them is not deserving of derision.

Nightshade 12:39 am 23 May 16

I just clicked on an ad for a business called My Food Bag, which is something like Hello Fresh – delivers ingredients and recipes for the customer to cook themselves. The ‘single person’ bag provides enough for 3 meals and costs $74! And you have still have to cook it!!

$12.50 for a meal that’s already prepared seems like a bargain in comparison.

Mordd 12:42 pm 22 May 16

ungruntled said :

It’s very difficult to compare the look of an advertised meal, which is always going to be presented beautifully, to what arrives in a plastic container. I’ve tried the easy life meals and found the service to be excellent. The meals didn’t suit me in the end, but I have dietary requirements which couldn’t be catered for at this time. Yes $25 for two is expensive, but if that’s what suits a household, then isn’t that up to them? The meals are imaginative and would take time to prepare, hence the cost, plus you have to factor in all the costs of running a business into the price and when you do that, $12:50 isn’t expensive. Each to their own ????

Thanks, its great to have confirmation from someone else as to the quality of the food and service. I am ordering from ELM again soon, this time I will take photos of the food itself and in the comments here post links for you. But it was no different from being in a restaurant and the slight difference between the photo and what you get served, not identical no but pretty much whats expected yes.

@Flowerpot58 – Have you tried Gourmet Dinner Service? That’s who I just reviewed as well, the Part 2 article on GDS is in the pending queue here atm and should go up in the next week or so. They do cater for special dietary requirements, at a similar price point to ELM (but with their own drawbacks). If you can’t wait for it to go up here, click on my profile and follow my facebook link to my public page where I have already posted the 2nd in the article series while it waits to go up here. 🙂

Flowerpot58 9:36 am 22 May 16

It’s very difficult to compare the look of an advertised meal, which is always going to be presented beautifully, to what arrives in a plastic container. I’ve tried the easy life meals and found the service to be excellent. The meals didn’t suit me in the end, but I have dietary requirements which couldn’t be catered for at this time. Yes $25 for two is expensive, but if that’s what suits a household, then isn’t that up to them? The meals are imaginative and would take time to prepare, hence the cost, plus you have to factor in all the costs of running a business into the price and when you do that, $12:50 isn’t expensive. Each to their own ????

rubaiyat 9:33 am 22 May 16

Btw The notion that Subway has healthy options shows just how far down the plank of nutritional nonsense we have got. Just behind the Yanks who are promulgating all this nonsense.

A good poke from where all the money is spent on these things, saturated advertising, and we too will be over the edge.

rubaiyat 9:21 am 22 May 16

Surely people can make a healthy, cheap, fresh, nutritious meal without added sugar, salt, fats and preservatives in a fraction of the time it would take them to arrange ready-made meals?

If not, they’ll be spending all the time and money they “saved” in health care and trying to pay off their Credit Card.

I am once again in rural NSW and the obesity epidemic is alarming. A medical professional says it hasn’t yet reached some of the further communities which do not have the “instant” access to fast food.

People grab the “fast”, “convenient” heavily advertised rubbish because they are particularly susceptible to repeated advertising and/or are lazy, and pay and pay and pay.

Or they can take a clear, informed look at yet another expensively marketed lifestyle trap and say “No thanks, pass”.

Having worked in the business, I know exactly what the majority are going to do. Persuade themselves they made the choice out of their own free will and then wonder endlessly at how they got to the totally predicable consequences.

Mordd 12:13 am 22 May 16

OK, I expected a bit of negativity to this, that’s fine. For me personally, I cook a couple of times a week, but I hate cooking for myself, or making a big feed and having to eat the same thing 4 times in 1 week. I eat take away the rest of the time, I work and I choose how I want to spend my money, and my choice is not to cook very much, for my own reasons. Up till recently, I had tried many different options for takeaway food, from the very unhealthy to the more healthy. I wanted to explore what other options there were on the healthy spectrum and thus this article (series).

As for chinese or similar ethnicity takeaway, I live right next to Woden and all the places around here I am looking at closer to $20 with little or no change for a proper meal from the healthy takeaway options around here, i’ve tried that and have been looking for a cheaper but similar option. This is a cheaper option and provides more variety as well.

As for the photos – ok that was stupid of me, I sincerely apologise. I really should have taken my own photos, I did actually serve them out on plates and they did look pretty much spot on to what the photos were but I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it. Again sorry for the rather obvious oversight on my part.

Thanks for the feedback.

Kalliste 3:17 pm 21 May 16

$12.50 seems a bit pricey for 1 meal, especially as if we were to do this in our house it would cost $25 a night. As mentioned above, that could pay for a Chinese dinner every day. As it is, most of our dinners cost less than $12.50 for the 2 of us.

Obviously the convenience is a factor here but a pasta dish takes generally as long as the pasta takes to cook and you’re done. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper.

I’m also wondering why you didn’t post your own photos for these? The photos listed are lovely but I bet they’re not how what the end result looks like after being in your fridge for a few days and then being microwaved. I would be interested it knowing what the difference is between the website photos and what it looked like for real.

Masquara 12:49 pm 21 May 16

Ugh – endless wet things like braised steak – hospital/boarding school food! I can’t see there being a big market in Canberra for this. Canberra just doesn’t have the shopping inconvenience of the big cities. You only need to drop into an IGA to pick up similar meals for about $8-$10, along with some prepacked salad and an avo, without the hassle of online choosing, ordering and paying, or the hassle of making sure you get home to pick up your meal off the front porch (unless, of course, they can instigate a system where you entrust them with a key and they put the meals in your fridge for you) … Canberra is not like, say, the eastern suburbs of Sydney where the corner shops are inadequate and you really have to do big weekend shops in the malls.

Maya123 11:07 am 21 May 16

Some people have a lot of money to throw around! Time poor? Then have a big cookup on the weekend and freeze the results in small containers. Then when you arrive late home from work the food only needs to be microwaved. But really, food doesn’t need to take ages to prepare. Last night for instance I microwaved a sausage, toasted a piece of bread, added margarine, lettuce, tomato and plum sauce (home-made, but when I make it I make a big batch, enough for years). By this time the sausage was cooked. This didn’t take much more time than it took for the bread to toast. This all took about three minutes. I then followed this up with a fruit salad, which also takes little preparation time.
Have time, but hate cooking. Then baking is for you. Chop up some vegetables, roll them in olive oil with meat if wanted and shove in oven. Go away, do something else while this cooks. Come back when the timer rings and eat. Very little preparation time.
Most meals I cook are done in less than 15 minutes. The baked example in less than five minutes preparation time.

wildturkeycanoe 6:34 am 21 May 16

If you are going to spend $12.50 on a refrigerated meal because you are time poor, would it not be just as efficient to get Chinese take away on your way home from work or get a pizza delivered? Subway and other places have healthy salad type foods for the diet conscious. Refrigerated or frozen, it doesn’t make a lot of difference because you microwave it anyway. Frozen meals are a bit cheaper and I certainly wouldn’t let any chicken sit in the fridge for up to a week before consuming, let alone other foods. Any leftovers should not be consumed after 3 or 4 days.

Mordd 1:30 am 21 May 16

Since this was written a couple of weeks ago, ELM has since added some new meals to their current available menu including some new wok boxes I am keen to try now. They have also added a new rewards system that gives points each order that can be converted into discounts on future orders (and have backdated points for their existing customers, meaning I already have some credit I can use for my next order!). Check out their website to see the new menu options.

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