Newest Review: ... them online through Twitter or Facebook. For the codes if you people use you yourself get back £1 off a box. However, honestly I would gi... more
Graze on this!
Member Name: Renza_e
Advantages: Creative healthy products you won't find elsewhere, great customer service
Disadvantages: Relatively pricey, small pots and the fact not all products can be marked as send soon
Now, the Graze box, the product I'm about to discuss, is something I would have no doubt have mocked in my heightened drunken state and I probably would have told myself to get 'away back to Waitrose with that bollocks'. Even now, when I look at my Graze box delivery I wonder if it's really necessary. Could I not just grab an apple and a pack of raisins and get my daily healthy fix? Well, maybe but it turns out I have a weakness for this little 'middle class' indulgence...
*~WHO ARE GRAZE?~*
Graze is a company set up by a group of friends who started making their own healthy treats when they felt the average snack was not tasty enough and quite frankly, widening their waistlines. Since before Christmas I began to get a little bit worried about the effect my own unhealthy grazing was having on my waistline. I therefore went on a health kick, swapping my lunch time sandwiches for vegetable-laden soups and I have tried my best to resist the allure of crisps and chocolate. Then one January morning, I had daytime TV on in the background and, in a well-chosen post-New-Year-start-of-resolutions time slot, an advertisement for Graze caught my attention. With an offer which included the first and fifth box free, I decided to give it a go...
*~CHOOSING YOUR PRODUCT: NATURE THROUGH YOUR LETTER BOX~*
The process of choosing your product is simple enough. First of all, you need to decide on the type of box you want. The most popular option is the 'Nibble Box' which allows you to choose from their full range of more than 100 snacks. However, you can also choose other types of boxes based on your dietary goals. These include:
- This box is all about being very healthy and cuts out any snacks which include milk/white chocolate or flapjacks.
~The boost box
- This one provides nutrient dense foods, cutting out everything the eatwellbox cuts out as well as dark chocolate, olives and crackers.
~The Light Box
- This box offers low calorie treats between 50 and 150 calories and cuts out dark chocolate, flapjacks, nuts and seeds.
I opted for the nibble box as I am not a hard core dieter and actually want to enjoy life. The other box options sound far too dull and restrictive and as far as I'm concerned, most of the treats seem to be healthy enough. For me a diet is about not over-doing it on the chips, cake and chocolate. You'll never catch me munching on celery sticks, rice cakes and Ryvita, or as I like to call it, cardboard disguised in food form. I need variety and colour in my food and I expect my Graze boxes to be the same...
Choosing what goes into your Graze box is simple. You log on to your online account and browse through the range which is divided into sections based on the type of food. You have the 'savoury selection', 'pure fruit', 'flapjacks' and so on and so forth. You can then select what you want based on your preferences for a particular snack. You can choose to 'love', 'like', 'try' or 'bin' a snack. You can also go into your 'Preferences' (under your name on the right hand side of the page) and choose whether you want more snacks that come under the 'try' rating, whether you want a more balanced choice, or whether you want more snacks that you have rated 'like or 'love'. This is great, in theory, when you come across someone who is as fussy as me...
*~THERE WAS A FUSSY GIRL NAMED SARAH...~*
I never really considered myself to be that fussy when it comes to food. I will eat most things and I'm fairly open-minded when its comes to trying new foods. Then came Graze and I realised that there's a lot of foods I'm not willing to consume. Of the 118 products currently on offer, I have binned all but 41. I tried their fiery seeds and thought it tasted like rabbit food. I won't even bother with their popcorn as I find most popcorn tasteless and cheap. I don't like nuts, unless its cashews or honey almonds. And olives - yeuch. I hate the disgusting green little bastards with a passion. Needless to say, I have binned all of these from my options.
For the most part, Graze have been able to cater for my fussiness. They mostly send me snacks that I have rated 'like' or 'love' and I have also been able to use the 'Send Soon' option on most products. This means that if you really want a specific snack in your next order, by selecting this option, you're quite likely to get it in your next box.
Graze apparently use an artificial intelligence algorithm to determine what goes into each box. I won't go into too much detail about what that entails but it is all based on things like the customer's preferences, previous order history, nutritional value and even the colour and texture of snacks. I'd love to say that this is an algorithm that is always spot on but I have had one bad box. This happened when I changed my delivery day from a Wednesday to a Monday. I opened up the box and there was just one item that I actually wanted. The other snacks did not come from my 'like' and 'love' categories. This would not have been so bad if the snacks I was given weren't of the blandest, least colourful and dullest selection (seeds and two boxes containing dry, tasteless ingredients like coconut, almonds and strangely lacking in flavour mango and pineapple). Only the Honeycomb Flapjack brought me any true enjoyment.
I was so disappointed with this box I sent an arsey message of complaint to the Graze team in a moment of disproportionate rage. Not really expecting much of a response I was pleasantly surprised to find that they take customer dissatisfaction pretty seriously and granted me a half price graze box for one of my future orders. I haven't had a problem since...
*~LITTLE POTS OF GOODNESS~*
Despite my one disappointing box, I have uncovered quite a few delicious delights in my Graze boxes and thought I should mention some of my top favourites...
~ The Graze Brownie
- Only introduced this year, it has to be one of the best Graze products yet. Unfortunately it cannot be marked as a 'send soon' product so, desperate to try it, I sent a message to Graze asking if they could include it in one of my boxes soon. Demonstrating their remarkable customer service, I received a reply telling me they would pop it in my next box. Score! I could hardly contain my anticipation. The difference between this Brownie and your standard Brownie treat is that the Graze brownie is really quite healthy - full of fibre, it is made with ground almonds and beetroot. Think that doesn't sound very appetising? Just wait till you try it. In a lot of ways I prefer it to your normal Brownie as it not only chocolately but very light.
- These are low calorie breadsticks with a BBQ relish which I particularly love as the breadsticks are dusted in spices and the relish has nice big bits of tomato and onion. A lovely savoury option. I love the sweetness and the BBQ taste.
~Smoky Gazpacho Dip
- This snack includes delicious crispy wholemeal bread slices with a tasty tomato based relish. Both the bread and the dip are pleasingly flavoursome.
- Probably the most unhealthy tasting of these healthy snacks, this treat involves dried apple slices and a rich toffee sauce that you can dip them in. It is diet food that doesn't taste like diet food.
~ Herby Bread Basket
- This little savoury pot is an amalgamation of different textures and herby flavours that I really love. Plus, the mini baguettes are quite adorable.
- This is a regular send soon option of mine. I love raisins, green raisins and adore the chocolate covered apricots. It is a tasty little dessert option whilst containing one of your five a day.
~ Eleanor's Apple Crumble
- I enjoy the dried apple and raisins contained within this snack but what really makes this special are the cinnamon and honeyed almonds which are sweet and crunchy little pieces of sweet heaven.
~ Super Berry Detox
- For a dose of super food I love to opt for this one as it has a colourful and tasty combination of goji berries, blueberries, green raisins and cranberries. The goji berries take some getting used to in terms of texture and flavour but I've grown to enjoy them.
Sticky Toffee Pudding, Bonnie Wee Oatbakes, Honeycomb Flapjack, Billionaire's Shortbread, Sticky Chocolate Pudding, Garden of England.
There is a concern with my Graze boxes that I will end of getting sick of what's on offer, especially with my own limited choice. However, it seems that Graze have considered this eventuality and are not afraid to evolve and provide new products. Graze Brownie was the big introduction of 2013 but this was soon followed by Beef Jerky and their 'Little Puds' - miniature, diet-friendly versions of Britain's favourite puddings, that can be heated up in the microwave. I've just recently had their Sticky Toffee Pudding which was a welcome surprise in last week's delivery. Now I'm hankering after their 'Brilliant Black Forest' and 'Beef Jerky'. It's a shame that I can't guarantee one of these will be in my next Graze box and I feel it would be a bit too cheeky to send them another message asking if one of these could be sent out. I just have to hope the great Graze algorithm will send it in my next delivery...
The only downside about Graze boxes it that it seems quite pricey to fork out £3.89 for four small pots of food, no matter how nice it tastes. That works out to just under a £1 a snack and the boxes are quite small.
When I first started getting Graze boxes I did intend to cancel after my special offer ended. However, I decided that it would, on occasion, be worth it. In addition to that, I suggest taking advantage of many Graze special offers as you can. I cancelled at one point and in an attempt to win back my custom, they offered me three half price boxes. A month or so after this I cancelled again and they promised me yet another half price box if I restarted with four weekly boxes. This is therefore what I have done.
At full price I would not allow myself to get weekly boxes. I moved from weekly to fortnightly boxes and just recently I have changed over to the four weekly option. This is not only due to the price but also because I don't want to tire of the products that I'm receiving. By receiving it every once in a while, I think I will appreciate it more.
You may also ask why I don't just buy some healthy food at the supermarket which will probably offer you a greater quantity for the same price. This is because I think that the Graze products are well crafted and creative, offering variety, colour and flavour. I think if you were to take the same ingredients to try and replicate what they do it would cost you a lot more. You aren't just getting a pot of ingredients, you're getting something more.
*~HOW HEALTHY ARE MY GRAZE BOXES?~*
The great thing about Graze boxes is that each product offers you a different health benefit. These include:
~1 of your 5 a day
~ A source of vitamins and minerals
~ A source of fibre
~ Low in calories
~ Health Star - Products with the 'health star' badge are the healthiest in the range, often belonging to the super food category.
A few of the snacks could be considered as not entirely healthy. For example, the Honeycomb Flapjack may be full of fibre but is 239 calories. This is quite calorific when compared to the other snacks. However, as I implied earlier, I'm no big calorie counter. Healthy eating should be about enjoying food but not eating too much of it, and your body is crying out for the type of food that Graze has on offer.
*~DELIVERY AND CUSTOMER SERVICE~*
As I have already suggested, customer service at Graze is excellent. Staff are always on hand to help you when you send them a message and there's lots of friendly banter (just look at their Twitter page). In addition to this, they tend to be very good at delivering boxes on the delivery date you have chosen. So far there has been only one day when my box arrived a day late and I blame that wholly on the Royal Mail.
*~ GRAZE TO THE RESCUE~*
I don't trust Weightwatchers meals and I certainly don't trust celery sticks and rice cakes. Healthy eating and weight loss should be about eating real, hearty foods in the right quantities. I also think that healthy food products and brands have gotten better over the past decade or so with the rise of brands like 'Innocent' and I think that 'Graze' can be added to the list of brilliant healthy foods on offer.
I love Graze because of many of the great products I have tried so far and because of the enjoyment I get opening it up once it has come through the letter box. I love it when I get to try a new type of product and I love that it doesn't feel like I'm eating diet food. When I'm feeling peckish, Graze satisfies my cravings without having to resort to a less healthy, calorie-laden snack. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to cut down on crisps and chocolate.
*~Grab yourself a free box with the following code: QPQK69CD~*
*~Thanks for reading my review. Also published on Ciao - May 2013 :-)~*
Summary: Graze to the rescue!