Farmdrop is revolutionising the ready meal with a new range of healthy and incredibly fresh seasonal ready-to-go dishes. The Made by Farmdrop range is made by hand in Shoreditch with fully traceable farm-fresh ingredients and sustainable plastic-free packaging in an industry first. Here’s everything you need to know about our exciting new range of sustainable, healthy and delicious meals available for delivery across London with your weekly grocery shop.
The ready meal may have its roots in the TV dinners of 1950s America, but it remains a staple feature of the British diet. With too much to do and too little time the mantra of our modern times, the UK spends £4.7 billion on ready-to-eat convenience meals each year and is the biggest ready meal market in Europe. Yet it’s an area ripe for innovation.
The tasteless truth about your average ready meal
There is a major lack of transparency in the sourcing of ingredients in ready meals. Specifically, there is a supermarket ‘double standard’ between the welfare of fresh meat compared to meat used as an ingredient. A 2018 report by Eating Better reveals that 30% of the 1,350 supermarket ready meals it surveyed gave no indication on the country of origin for its meat. As a result, it’s presumed that the meat in these dishes is likely to have been sourced from inexpensive sources with absolutely no traceability or sustainable production methods.
Then there’s the absence of accessible and nutritionally-rich vegetarian and vegan options. Only 6% of the ‘healthy eating’ products were plant-based and ‘90% of the vegetarian ready meals were cheese-based and typically higher in calories’. The ‘healthy’ ranges also focused on lowering calories rather than offering broader nutritional benefits. Meals within ‘vegetarian ranges were on average slightly more expensive’ too.
And we haven’t even begun to unwrap the problem of the plastic packaging of the 775,000 tonnes worth of prepared meals in the UK.
How is Made by Farmdrop different to other ready meals?
Recognising a gap on Londoners’ dinner tables for convenient, prepared food and ready meals made with fully traceable ingredients, the Made by Farmdrop range sources high-quality seasonal ingredients directly from our very own supply chain – our community of sustainable farmers and food producers.
Every decision taken across our supply chain – from the variety of produce grown and the methods used by the farmer, to handling techniques and processing methods – has been designed to maximise freshness and flavour and eliminate waste.
“Around 70% of Farmdrop’s fresh fruit and vegetables are sourced from the UK’ says Made by Farmdrop project manager Grace Niblock. ‘However, just 23% of fresh fruit and veg sold throughout the UK is grown in Britain. We wanted to bring more convenience and a healthy meal delivery alternative to our customers who lack the time to cook on a busy weekday night but still care about the provenance of their food. What better place to start than with our network of some of the country’s most sustainable food producers.”
How are Made in Farmdrop ready meals prepared?
The process starts with Recipe Developer Alice King who has carefully curated a menu of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and sides to reflect the best bang-in-season produce and showcase the uniqueness of food producers who hold sustainability at heart.
For example, the yoghurt and poached apricot breakfast pot (one of two breakfast options) use the UK’s answer to Greek yoghurt as its main ingredient, made in small batches by young farming couple Alex Rawe and Dan Miller at The Dorset Dairy Company.
All Made by Farmdrop meals are prepared in a small kitchen a stone’s throw from Farmdrop’s HQ in Shoreditch. Head chef Samuel Siaw oversees the production of all the meals and works with two sous chefs to prepare the meals between 4pm and midnight. Fresh ingredients are delivered to the kitchen straight from the farm and once the meals are prepared, they’re packed up with the rest of the customer’s order, ready for delivery.
What’s on the menu?
The range launches with two breakfast pots, three salads, seven ready-to-cook meals and side dishes dishes that include vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Having tried and tested a range of competitor fresh ready meal ranges, the team discovered “a real lack of healthy and wholesome vegan and vegetarian choices,” says Alice.
On the Made by Farmdrop menu you’ll find overnight oats with coconut yoghurt and fresh British cherries, alongside soba noodles with miso aubergine, spring greens and broccoli as just two examples of vegan options.
We remain true to a core belief in providing a healthy meal delivery cooked from scratch, without the compromise of blindly relying on processed ingredients and just a pretty label.
“We sampled many breakfast options available in the market. Many of them were extremely sweet, even standard porridge or yoghurt options that looked innocent on the outside. In developing our Made by Farmdrop breakfast selection, we have used no added refined-sugars and let the simple beauty of high-quality seasonal produce lend natural sweetness to each dish.”
And what about packaging?
When we started planning Made by Farmdrop, we didn’t let our inspiration end with the quality and sustainability of the food and the creativity of the recipes. As we bench-marked best in class ready meal packaging in the market, we were surprised that even the best packaging we found still contains plastic.
With nearly 11 billion items of packaging waste a year – much of which is not recycled – to contend with when you purchase a takeaway or fast food lunch on-the-go, we set ourselves a challenge of creating the most sustainable ready meal ever, the first with 100% plastic free packaging in the UK with completely recyclable and/or compostable materials. Now our customers can feel confident that convenience doesn’t have to mean compromise. Grace adds that, “we’re the first retailer to provide a 100% plastic free option thanks to using reusable and recyclable glass jars (that you can return to your driver), compostable trays, and film made from biodegradable material rather than plastic.”
Should we give up cooking from scratch then?
There’s room for a little more convenience for those interested in eating well but who are often time-poor says Grace. “The range has been specifically designed to help make daily life that little bit easier with dishes that are healthy, made with the freshest and fully traceable ingredients and that are ready in minutes. Our ready meals are there to compliment your usual weekly shop and fill the gaps when a tight schedule means that weeknight dinners can’t always be made from scratch or there’s no time to prep lunch every day.”
So maybe now’s the time to stop kicking yourself for not having spent Sunday batch-cooking and instead try a new kind of lunch al-desko.
Seeking a sustainable, healthy meal delivery in London? Discover the full Made By Farmdrop range here.