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A Good Munch (not the fettish kind)
Member Name: ryanando
Advantages: Tasty, healthy depending on how you use it
Disadvantages: price price price
That's what drives a lot of us here. It's also what drove my partner to Quidco. While he was browsing Quidco, I spotted an offer for a free graze box that would earn him a whole pound. I'd heard a few whispers of "graze" around the internet, a few of them on this very site. I was intrigued enough to urge him to sign up so I could try it. Alas, Allan had already signed up a year or so ago so it wouldn't let him. This is how I came to be a grazer; all for the sake of £1. Damn, I feel cheap.
===Chewing the cud===
Graze.com is, essentially, a snack food website. It all began about 4 years ago when seven friends got together and tried to make their snacking habits healthier and their waist lines smaller. They realised they were on to a winner and they all quit their jobs to start making up graze boxes full time. They are always experimenting so they constantly add new snacks to the site, most of which are very healthy for you. At the very least the snacks can add a great bit of variety to your eating habits. They have a large selection of nibbles and treats that they select based on your preferences and send to you however often you feel is appropriate. They will deliver your box of treats wherever you want, so you can get this straight to your work or you could, like me, get it delivered to your home. Sound good? It is!
All of your interactions with Graze.com have to be online. As such you would hope that the website is fairly simple to use. It certainly is. It also is not. The website is a little bit too all over the place for me. It takes a little bit of getting used to. It's a site that you have to sit and stare at for a bit before you realise where you need to go. It's supposed to look quirky and cool but it occasionally is just a little bit of a pain. I will say, however, that the mobile version of the site is much easier to navigate and control than the desktop version.
From the website you can control when you want your boxes and where you want them delivered to. You can also tell them you are going on holiday so they can set up a gap in your deliveries. Cancelling is also an option available. You can store multiple addresses and send as many or as little boxes you want, all with relative ease once you have realised where you are supposed to click. I'd give the website alone 3 out of 5 stars as it could be a lot better. It is, thankfully, fairly easy on the eyes (nothing crazy and head-achingly bright will distract you) and simple to use after you have acquainted yourself with it. I could simply do with being a bit more...I don't know... tidy? Hmm.
There are 4 different types of boxes you can order depending on how you want to use the site and each will come with four snack pots and a paper napkin. Each box is made from cardboard and has a lovely picture printed inside the lid of the box. As you may have realised already, Graze's boxes are totally recyclable. Even the little plastic pots the food comes in can be recycled, though I'd think that the film lids on the pots probably can't be. Regardless, it's a very eco-friendly product packaging wise. Very well done to you, Graze!
If you want to have a general selection of all the snacks available then a Nibble box is the one for you. This is the box I get delivered since I love trying new foods. I also don't mind too much about the selection being the healthiest they have. If I'm being honest, most of the foods they have are good for you anyway, and the ones that aren't are so small that it hardly makes a difference.
===Eat well, live well===
The Eat Well box is a healthier version of your nibble box which basically removes anything that is under the "flapjack" or "milk/white chocolate" headings. This will mean that you'll be getting a much healthier selection than the nibble box with the much more occasional naughty thrown in.
===Give yourself a Boost===
The Boost box is graze's most nutritious box with everything included being "nutrient dense" to give you a natural kick in the butt. They won't include anything with chocolate, olives, flapjacks, bread or crackers, leaving you with seeds, nuts and fruits. Sounds uber healthy but a touch boring to me. I'm sure it's lovely. It could come in handy if you generally feel low in energy throughout the day.
===Turn on the Light===
The Light box, as you can imagine, is made up of a selection of their lighter foods. If it's between 54 and 146 calories, this will be in your box. Obviously this one would appeal to those who are watching their weight. This box won't have any nuts, seeds, flapjacks or dark chocolate included, so that still leaves open a few other nice treats that won't be too dull.
===Rate your crate===
When you first sign up for graze you will be asked to rate as many foods as you want. There are lots of categories to choose from and every snack will give you a very straightforward list of what is in it. You can then rate it to help graze pick the good stuff for your box. Your rating choices are as follows:
Rating a food "Bin" will basically stop the snack being sent out to you. This is very handy if you discover an ingredient you really don't like. For me that would be rice crackers. Anything with rice crackers has been rated "Bin" so I never have to deal with getting any of those horrid little things in my box.
Will basically mean that you will get this snack sent to you at some point so you can give it a bash. It essentially puts it into the hat so it can be chosen. If you are unsure if you'll like a food, just stick "try" on it and they'll send it to you so you can nibble away. If you don't like it when you get it, simply re rate it and consider it a lesson learned.
Is quite a straight forward one. This will show graze that you like the snack they have sent and therefore they will be more likely to send it to you than other snacks. They like to please people after all.
Similar to "like" except much more powerful. If you love something they will send it a lot more often. You might not get a wedding ring or anything, but at least you'll get the warm and fuzzies when your snack food arrives.
===Over ride the mainframe===
So, you've gotten your nibbles and you've found something that you want to have next time. You can't guarantee that "love"-ing it will be enough. What a quandary. Simple solution is simply to hit the cheat button and tick "Send Soon". This option will over ride everything else and force your item (gently) into the next available delivery. Obviously if your box is already picked and packed then you're screwed for this time round but most of the time you'll get it in the next box you get.
===The cost of grazing===
The most important thing that you will want to know is how much it costs. Currently each box will cost you £3.88 which includes postage. Is it worth it? To be honest, I'd have to say no. You will receive four snacks per box, which are quite small. Some of them take a while to get through but are by no means filling. At most I'd say if you already snack through out your day, then graze is a decent replacement for unhealthy snacks, but I'd not pay £3.88 for it. There simply isn't enough in each box to justify that. They suggest you get 1 box a week at least, meaning you'd be paying £15.52 a month. There are a few ways in which you can get a few cheaper boxes from them, however.
Firstly when you sign up you will be given a code to share with your friends, this code will get them a free graze box and get you £1 towards your next order for every friend who signs up and continues getting boxes. I'll include the code I got at the end of the review if you want to get a free box yourself.
After that they occasionally throw out offers of half price boxes bringing the cost per box down to £1.94 a box (£7.76 a month for four). The first time my boxes were no longer available on an offer I cancelled my order and instantly I was offered my next box for half price. I happily accepted and cancelled my boxes after the next delivery. About 2 weeks later I was sent a small survey (we are talking less than a couple of minutes) that would get my next three boxes for half price again. Personally this makes me think that Graze knows fine well the cost is too high for what they are sending out. Throw in the fact that references to how much the boxes cost are very difficult to find on the site and I'm 99% certain they are aware. Half price is a much more acceptable offer and I'll unfortunately be cancelling my boxes when they aren't on any sort of promo.
So now you know all about how the graze system works, I'll let you in on my selection of snacks so far and what I thought of them. This should give you a fair idea of what you can get on the site but do remember that I haven't had everything, so for a full idea of what they have on offer, you'll be best to visit the website.
===Yin and Yang - blanched almonds. Jumbo raisins, dark chocolate buttons and cherries===
This was the first snack I ever tried from graze and it made me very excited indeed. The fruits are all dried but they were still fairly juicy, the mix of nuts, fruit and chocolate was perfect, with no one flavour dominating. They mixed very well. It took me about ten minutes to nibble my way through this treat as there's lots of little bits of everything. Great for keeping your snack hand busy. I was pretty much in love with it after that. Allan also enjoyed the little taster than he got. Very tasty indeed. I rated this one "Love"
===Cherry tomato basil and Puglian pesto focaccia.===
As the name suggests this was a chunk of focaccia bread with a sundried tomato baked into it and various Italian style herbs baked through it. It was fairly tasty and nice and moist so wasn't too difficult to get through. It kept my hands and mouth occupied for about three minutes which wasn't as good. I like my snack food to last a while so I don't eat as much other junk. This was one chunk of bread so could pretty much be eaten in two or three bites. As such it's also quite difficult to share this one. Allan didn't get any. Nothing to go crazy over, but it was nice. Rated "Like"
===Mississippi BBQ pistachios===
Pistachios are the way to my heart. Occasionally they are also the way to my pants. I'm a foodie, what can I say. These pistachios were good, though I feel they weren't quite as nice as normal salted ones. BBQ flavouring is never really a strong point with me, but Allan seemed to like them a bit more. Nonetheless they received a "Like" rating as they kept be busy for longer than 10 minutes and they were decent.
===Habas Tapas - roasted maize chilli broad beans and jumbo chill maize===
Eww. That was my initial reaction. I think it was the jumbo maize I didn't like that much and unfortunately this was the first thing I tried from the mix. Allan, however, loved the stuff and therefore ate all the bits I didn't like. This one is very, VERY crunchy and takes a lot of chewing to get through. It was edible, but it wasn't something that I'd want to get again. 20 minutes of chewing later, I hit "Bin".
===Apple and cinnamon flapjack===
Three tiny little pieces of absolute deliciousness. Allan wasn't a big fan of this one as the flavours were too subtle. They don't whack you in the face with either apple or cinnamon. Rather, they lightly caress a button somewhere in the back room of your mouth that sets a tape player going. The recording says "apple... ..cinnamon... ........apple...... .cinnamon" in muted tones. Not too sweet, not too filling, each piece is bite sized and perfect. A lovely little treat. It took me about 2 minutes to finish the bits I had so not great on the distraction factor, but I still rated "love"
===Cheddar Gorge (cheese cashews baked herb bites and salsa corn sticks)===
Allan ate most of this one. It was ok, but it really didn't tickle my taste buds in the right way to want all of it. Not much I can really say on the matter, I've let the rating stay on "like" but I expect it will take a while to come back round again.
===Pear tatin (pears, raspberry infused cranberries, yoghurt coated sunflower seeds, almonds===
NOM. This was delicious. I wasn't sure I was going to like this one, but it the mix really works well. The dried fruit is still nice and moist with extra moisture coming from the yoghurt coated seeds. Allan liked the slice of pear he was given. I had to mark this one as "love"
===Pina colada (pineapple, coconut flakes, mango)===
This is one that I thought I would absolutely love. Instead, I ended up hating it. All the other dried fruits I had before this one had been perfect. Not too dry and chewy, and moist enough to still hold a good flavour. This one, however, was the complete opposite. The pineapple was so chewy I couldn't get through it, the coconut flakes had the consistency of sawdust and the mango was just Blech. Yep, blech. As none of it was moist enough the flavours refused to mingle and just ended up tasting foul. As you may have already guessed, this one was put in the "Bin" pile.
===Banana cake with Afternoon infusion (tea)===
Now, I love banana cake and tea, so I tried out the cheat "send soon" button for this one and walla, it arrived in my next order. I was, I admit, very excited by the prospect. Did it live up to the hype I'd given it in my mind for a whole week? Meh. It was ok. It didn't really taste like banana cake. It tasted more like a raisin packed dumpling. Which is fine, but not quite the banana cake I was looking forward to. The tea was also a bit of a disappointment being that a good cup of Scottish blend from asda beats the face out of it, but it also wasn't absolutely terrible. This punnet of cake is one of the low in calories options so will be quite nice for all you weightwatchers out there, though beware extra calories by adding milk and sugar to your tea! With the tea it took me about 20 minutes to get through this snack, most of which was spent drinking the tea. Overall I rated it "Like" but I'll know not to get my hopes up on this one again.
===Cookies and cream (chocolate cookies, roasted hazels, white chocolate buttons, sunflower seeds)===
I liked the sound of this one straight away. Who wouldn't? In fact, don't admit it if you wouldn't, it would be best. I was quite pleased with this little package. It could have done with a touch more chocolate and a few less sunflower seeds, but overall a tasty mix. It certainly smells lovely as I noticed after I had opened the pack and sat it on my desk. The aroma of cookies and white chocolate kept wafting up to tempt me. This pack took me about 20 minutes to get through and has been rated "Like".
===Festival fruits (pear blackcurrants apple and pitted dried plums)===
Absolutely delicious. A lovely selection of fruits and nothing else. The blackcurrants are quite bitter but when put next to the sweetness of the pears, apples and plums it works really well. The plums are like giant raisins, juicy and full of flavour and a very good dodge from calling them prunes! I suspect it just didn't sound sexy enough for this little tub of sheer fruity joy. This tiny tub contains 1 of your 5 a day target for fruit which is brilliant for health nuts and contains only 87 calories. I got through this one in a matter of minutes which wasn't amazing for my hungry snack hand but I also found that it was quite filling and satisfying nonetheless. I could probably eat another three tubs of this if they were there, though. A firm "Love" from me on this one. You'll note at this point poor Allan didn't even get a taste.
===Smoky Gazpacho Dip===
This punnet comes with a section for the dip and a section for five or six wholemeal crisp breads. There was the perfect dip to bread ratio going on in this treat. I often find I either have far too much stuff to dip or far too much dip. Not here. The dip itself was similar to salsa except smokier and a lot saltier. Personally I liked this a lot, though I can see those who aren't good with salty foods not enjoying this much. It took me about five minutes to work through this one, however due to the salty nature of the dip I was ok to not eat anything for a while afterwards. I've rated this one "Like"
===To Graze or not to Graze?===
Would I recommend Graze.com? I'd have to say it would really be up to your preference. If you can justify spending the money, then why not. If you want a bit more variety in your snacking, then definitely. I can't bring myself to rave about it as it seems a lot like eating for eating sake to me. However, it's certainly not a bad idea. It's simple enough to cancel your boxes if you don't like them and there's certainly nothing wrong with at least trying out the free box if you get the chance. I give them an overall three stars, not bad but they could make either bigger portions or knock the price down a touch to be better value for your money. There will, at least, be something to suit everyone in their extensive range of snacks. Give it a bash.
If you do want to help yourself to a free box, here's the code: 71TF5P1. It won't work forever so I'll update the review when it gets taken away.
Summary: Good for snacking, bad for your wallet