Island Fresh conjures up success with recipe boxes
Eating healthier is now easier thanks to an enterprise that delivers boxes of fresh produce along with meal preparation instructions.
Customers are able to make three meals each week by following the recipe card instructions and using the produce, which is portioned to ensure the meals can be made with minimal food wasted. In addition, customers do not have to worry about going on a shopping run to collect the ingredients.
Island Fresh has seen a rapid rise in the number of customers for the service, who want to eat healthier, fresh meals they prepare at home, while also learning cooking and recipe tips.
Rebecca Bateman and Hayley Evans first considered the idea for Island Fresh a year ago, as the Covid-19 pandemic was first emerging.
Ms Bateman said: “As businesses and grocery stores were implementing delivery services in order to keep people at home, we thought this could be an opportunity to offer something a little different. It took a great deal of work to get us set up; finding the right suppliers, opening an online store and even getting our payments processing. We officially launched in October but had performed some testers on friends over the summer.”
She has a teaching background, while Ms Evans is a pharmacist by trade. Ms Bateman said: “A big factor for both of us was that it would not only encourage healthy eating, which is so important in this day and age of ready and frozen meals, but would also help teach people new skills.”
Island Fresh has two types of meal kit boxes. The family box has enough ingredients for three meals for two adults and two or three children, while the other box contains enough ingredients for two adults.
The boxes include easy-to-follow recipe cards. They are packed and delivered on Sundays, and the deliveries are done through a partnership with DropIt.
“The meal kit comes in a reusable cardboard box with all your ingredients portioned out to make meals you may not already have as part of your weekly repertoire. By giving exact ingredients, it is minimising food waste and reduces the carbon footprint,” Ms Bateman said.
“The company is dedicated to sourcing as many materials as possible produced locally as a way to give back to Bermuda. We're so proud of how much of our box is produced locally already and I can't believe how many small businesses I've come across that I didn't know were here. The aim is to use as many as possible and get their names out there to all of our customers.”
Vegetables have been sourced from places such as J&J Farm and Windybank Farm and, when available, meat is sourced from Westover Farm.
The meal inspirations come from Ms Bateman and Ms Evans, and include classics such as chicken pie, chilli, spaghetti and curry dishes.
“We have then played with spicing up some staples like steak, chicken and pasta dishes just to make them a bit different to what people would normally cook at home. We have loved incorporating lots of herbs like cilantro, tarragon, parsley, thyme and rosemary. Our recipes incorporate many vegetables and herbs that may not be part of most home chef's repertoires, and we always include a herb care card in our box so customers learn how to properly look after the herbs in their box as Bermuda is a tricky climate for herbs,” Ms Bateman said.
There is a degree of preparation work needed to make the meals. Ms Bateman said: “The meals all come with step by step instructions that we try our best to make super easy to follow so even if you are a relative novice in the kitchen you can make some great meals. We get lots of feedback from customers about how their confidence in the kitchen has grown.”
Island Fresh is now delivering about 100 boxes each week. Looking to the future, it plans to include guest chef recipes in the boxes, and also wants to add a vegetarian/vegan box to its website. Ms Bateman said: “A huge number of people have asked if or when we’re going to do one so we decided to give the people what they want. We’re in talks with a fantastic local chef at the moment who we’d love to provide some recipes for us for a vegan box.”
Island Fresh has a website at islandfreshbermuda.com