Aiming to inspire with new meal boxes

 Taste Nature owner Clinton Chambers is excited about the store’s new range of organic, gluten...
Taste Nature owner Clinton Chambers is excited about the store’s new range of organic, gluten-free, plant-based, plastic-free meal boxes. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Finding innovative ways to encourage people to try organic and plant-based foods has inspired the creation of a new range of meal boxes by Dunedin store Taste Nature.

Owner Clinton Chambers is excited to introduce customers to the Real Meal Box, New Zealand’s first organic, gluten-free, plant-based, plastic-free meal box.

‘‘It has taken time, effort and ingenuity to develop the boxes and the meal recipe, but I’m delighted with the results,’’ Mr Chambers said.

The concept for the Real Meal Box range was inspired by the growing popularity across New Zealand of home-delivered boxes containing the ingredients for tasty home-cooked meals.

‘‘I thought, given the store has such a broad range of organic ingredients, a meal box would be a great way to get organics in front of people who don’t normally use them,’’ Mr Chambers said.

‘‘At Taste Nature we have one of the largest ranges of whole foods in bulk anywhere in New Zealand, and these meal boxes enable us to make them available to people in ways that are simple and tasty.

‘‘And we have gone for plant-based foods as well, because they are good for people’s health and the environment, too.’’

Using gluten-free ingredients in the meals helped make them accessible to all and continued the theme of the Taste Nature cafe, which was certified 100% gluten-free, Mr Chambers said.

The meals contained in the Real Meal boxes have been researched and created by Taste Nature staff member and ‘‘foodie’’ Lisa Ambrose.

‘‘It has been great to have Lisa’s expertise in developing the recipes — she is very passionate about food,’’ Mr Chambers said.

New recipes are developed weekly and, to help with testing and feedback, some customers are given boxes to take home and try.

‘‘The results were very positive. People have really liked them.

‘‘I get to try the food as well, and it is really very good.’’

In the interests of keeping the Real Meal boxes as environmentally friendly as possible, Mr Chambers wanted to avoid sending the ingredients out in plastic, so spent time researching and experimenting with options.

‘‘There are home compostable bio-plastics available now, and we are able to use tins, jars and paper bags for the ingredients,’’ he said.

Each meal box also includes a two-page information sheet on home composting.

Once he felt the combination of ingredients, recipes, and presentation were right, Mr Chambers launched the Real Meal boxes on to the market last month.

They are available in small and large sizes, and can be bought over the counter or via the Taste Nature website online for overnight home-delivery to Dunedin and South Island addresses.

‘‘We are definitely focusing on the South Island initially,’’ he said.


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