Author’s note: A lot of people, including me, just can’t find the time to cook a full meal for ourselves because it takes time and is tiring. I just prefer to order ready meals from the plethora of food deliveries?
Meal kit delivery startups are not newcomers to Malaysia. Several tried to make it work years ago, but eventually pivoted their business models or just stopped.
Chef ‘Up is a startup exclusively offering meal kit deliveries that we know is still operational, and now there is a new player in the market called BoxAhead.
Meal Kit deliveries offer recipes for you to choose from, and depending on what you choose, they’ll get all the ingredients you need in the right amounts and ship them to you.
This is so you can still enjoy a home-cooked meal without having to go out, shop for groceries and let leftover ingredients spoil in the fridge.
Chef ‘Up and BoxAhead are looking to address these issues, but when Chef’ Up meal kits cost around RM20 per person, BoxAhead meal kits can cost up to RM124.90.
Since you still have to prepare these meals by yourself at home, we had to ask co-founders Jun Kit and Joon Lim, would anyone even be willing to spend that much?
Satisfy the hunger for experience
Apparently, yes, since they have sold around 50 to 100 boxes of their meal kits since their launch in June 2020.
What is different between BoxAhead and Chef ‘Up are the recipes and ingredients on offer.
Where the latter offers “more user-friendly” recipes such as pasta and Kung Pao chicken, BoxAhead’s current recipe offerings are:
- Wagyu Ribeye (RM124.90 for 1 person, RM213 for 2 people)
- Cod steak (RM 83.90 for 1 person, RM 159 for 2 people)
- Australia Striploin (RM72 for 1 person, RM120 for 2 people)
For such prices, you could argue that it would be easier to just go to a restaurant for a steak dinner and not cook anything yourself (and risk ruining the premium meat).
However, BoxAhead is for people who are looking for more than just a meal to fill their stomachs.
“BoxAhead sells the experience rather than the product itself, in a way that isn’t just about making the kitchen,” said Jun Kit.
“It also includes tasting hot dishes cooked by your family, loved ones or yourself.”
To make sure you also have the right tools to operate the recipes, they offer a kitchen kit rental for RM15.
Do the math for you
Another problem that BoxAhead is trying to solve is limited knowledge of food, as Jun Kit said: “Identifying ingredients can be a challenge because it is impossible to understand their uses, as well as where to get ingredients that cannot be found in supermarkets and hypermarkets. “
For the recipes they currently offer, the premium ingredients included are a mixture of raw and precooked ingredients.
I would say the value of BoxAhead comes from the fact that they provide certain ingredients that a user would have no other reason to buy if it weren’t for a specific recipe. Take for example the sauce with peppers and pickled onions in their recipes.
These aren’t really ingredients that you can just add to your daily meals, and buying them in full-sized bottles can mean you end up with waste because honestly, who eats steak every day?
“By providing each ingredient in the ‘right’ amount so that we can minimize waste, not all of our customers will feel like they’ve paid extra for unused ingredients,” Kit explained.
Finding the top quality ingredients isn’t a problem for BoxAhead, as one of the co-founders specializes in providing frozen food (the other is a chef who designs the recipes).
The meat is pre-packaged and frozen for delivery to customers to preserve its freshness.
They also use the Just-In-Time (JIT) method for orders, where ingredients are only obtained when they are needed in the production process.
Everybody gets a cut of meat
While one would think that BoxAhead is targeting people in a higher income bracket with their meal kits, Jun Kit clarified, “Everyone, regardless of their income bracket, is our potential customer. as long as he wants to enjoy continental cuisine. “
BoxAhead pays for their deliveries either with a frozen truck they own, or with third-party delivery companies for the premium delivery service, which delivers within 4 hours to Klang Valley for a small fee.
In the long term, the team plans to expand BoxAhead’s product base by making its meal kits available in convenience stores and hypermarkets.
It will be interesting to see how the BoxAhead kits perform in convenience stores, as people visit them to buy ready-to-eat or microwavable meals, not raw ingredients to make a meal from scratch.
For now, however, they are working on adding more revenue to increase their customer base.
Some upcoming recipes Jun Kit shared that they were working on include less “premium” recipes like chicken dishes and pasta, so it looks like they may be entering “friendlier” recipe territories as well.
Conclusion: Although personally I would not buy one because of its high price (besides I don’t really trust the meat unless I have seen it for myself in grocery stores), I can certainly see it gain traction, especially during the RMCO when people may still hesitate to eat or take away ready meals.
- You can read more about the other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: BoxAhead
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