What words come to mind when you read “frozen meal delivery service”? If its words like dried out, texture-less, bland and pleasure destroying, you are probably not alone in conjuring up the stereotypical perception of frozen meals.
But with our increasingly busy lifestyles, the demand for ready-to-heat-and-eat meals is only increasing and the number of meal delivery services on the market now reflects this. The difference now is, consumers are on the lookout for options that align with their dietary preferences and requirements.
We Feed You is a relatively new to the ready-to-go meal service market, but the idea has been a long time coming for founder, chef and dietitian Charlotte Miller. I met Charlotte a couple of years ago when she was running a café in Carlton that also offered gluten, garlic and onion free frozen meals to busy professionals working in the area. As well as getting to sample her tasty café food, I worked on putting together some options for her to take the frozen meals being offered via a shop front to the next level – a fully-fledged meal delivery service. So when I heard We Feed You was up and running, I headed straight to their online store to place an order!
We Fee You’s mission is to make “…customers lives easier by creating high quality and nutritious food that is conveniently available and great value.” And their point of difference is that they cater for people who not only follow an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan diet, but for a number of medical conditions requiring medical nutrition therapy. There are options that are:
- diabetes friendly
- low salt
- low FODMAP
- fructose intolerance friendly
- lactose intolerance friendly
And keeping in tradition with the original business structure, meals are still gluten, onion and garlic free.
If you have ever made an online purchase then you won’t have any issues placing an order with We Feed You. Add the meals of your choice to your shopping cart and then checkout using your credit or debit card or Paypal.
Delivery is available in Melbourne – you can check if your postcode falls into the delivery area here. Alternatively you can collect your order from their kitchen in Carlton. Delivery is currently free, but you need to order a minimum of four meals.
Delivery days are nicely spaced out so it doesn’t matter when you place your order, as you won’t have to wait long for delivery. My meals were delivered the very next day and came in a cooler bag, so I didn’t have any worries about food safety.
How do you re-heat the meals?
Instructions for re-heating the meals are printed on the removable cardboard sleeve. You have the option of either re-heating in the microwave (taking 5-6 minutes) or in the oven, which would obviously take longer. I was quite interested to see how these meals stacked up being re-heated in the microwave as all of my previous experience with re-heating frozen meals has been less than satisfactory. I ended up microwaving all of the meals I tried rather than heating them in the oven as this was ultimately the quickest and most convenient way get the meals hot when I was hungry!
I selected six meals and included a variety of meat, vegetarian and vegan options. I don’t need to follow a particular diet but I do have a nut allergy, so was on the lookout for dishes containing nuts in order to avoid them. I thought I had done a good job selecting appropriate meals for myself however I realised when I pulled the sleeve off the Chinese Spiced Lamb with Green Vegetables and Brown Rice I saw what appeared to be peanuts scattered over the top. I referred to the cardboard sleeve, however the ingredients and allergen statements are not printed on them. So I had to go back to the nutrition information PDF on the website to confirm that there were indeed peanuts in the ingredients.
I believe I missed the peanuts because allergens are not highlighted in bold on the ingredients list, like they are on most packaged food. There also isn’t an allergen declaration to accompany the nutrition information as is the standard with packaged food. Also the image on the website at the time didn’t show the peanut garnish. The photos of the meals have since been updated and the main image clearly shows peanuts on top of the dish, however the image on the nutrition information PDF doesn’t. So I would recommend being extra careful making your selections if you have a food allergy. If you have any questions about the suitability of the meals, you can contact Charlotte who is We Feed You’s dietitian and she is more than happy to help.
Edit: I have since found out that you can find the ingredients and nutrition information on the base of the tray – much handier than having to load up the website!
After that initial mishap, I was happily able to enjoy the rest of the meals I ordered. Here’s some of what I had:
Chipotle Braised Beef with Black Beans and Coriander
Microwaved from frozen and heated well. There was lots of sauce so the texture was still great unlike other microwave meals which dry out when re-heated. It did have that nice smoky chipotle flavour but it was a bit subtle – I had to add some salt and lemon to enhance those Mexican flavours. The beef was that lovely stringy texture you get with slow cooked/pulled meat and all of the vegetables and black beans still retained their texture. And for someone who doesn’t like coriander, I couldn’t taste it at all in this dish – WIN! I ate it as a single serve, but it could easily be divided in half to serve two with a side of rice.
Spicy Tofu with Thick Rice Noodles, Kale and Pickled Cabbage
Microwaved from frozen. The tofu was the firm kind and I did feel it lost some of its ‘tofu’ texture, but the noodles retained theirs. It does have a great deal of kick to it from the spicy bean paste – because my skin doesn’t tolerate spicy food I wasn’t able to finish the meal but if you are someone who enjoys their food with a bit of heat, this is a good option for you!
Lemon and Ginger Chicken with Kale, Zucchini and Brown Rice
Microwaved from frozen. It heated well due to extra liquid (I am assuming it is the braising liquid from the chicken) and it tasted exactly as it is described – lemony and gingery! One of my favourites from the meals I bought.
Moroccan Chickpeas with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables and Sherry Vinegar
Microwaved from frozen. This was one of the vegan options and it heated well due to lots of sauce. The vegetables were admittedly very soft, but I was quite surprised that the chickpeas still had some bite to them. The pumpkin, eggplant and red capsicum were perfect vegetables to pair with the Moroccan flavouring and of all the meals this was definitely the one that filled me up the most – go the power of legumes!!
The price point of the meals reflects their gourmet nature. But when you think about the time saved shopping, cooking and washing dishes, it is quite reasonable. Also the convenience they provide for people following a low FODMAP diet where there are limited ready-to-go options available would make these meals quite appealing, regardless of the cost. I am not sure if the budget could afford having one of these meals every night of the week, but it would be handy to have a few in the freezer for those nights when cooking from scratch is the last thing you want to do.
You can learn more about We Feed You or place your order over at wefeedyou.com.au
Update: I have had the chance to sample a couple of other meals since writing this review (the Braised Chicken & White Beans with Lemon, Vegetables and Parmesan and the Red Lentil Dahl with Coriander, Zucchini, Yoghurt and Brown Rice) which were heated in the oven. I would have to say I would highly recommend oven heating if you have the time. While heating in the microwave produced great results, oven heating produced a texture that was much more like if the meal had been freshly cooked.