Malaysian

This RM100+ Meal Kit Per Pax Must Be A Joke Right? Nope, This Startup’s Serious About It.

Author’s Note: Many people, including me, just can’t or don’t find the time to prep a full meal for ourselves, as it’s both time-consuming and tiring. I prefer to just order cooked meals from the plethora of food deliveries out there?

Meal kit delivery startups aren’t newcomers in Malaysia. Several have tried to make it work years ago, but eventually pivoted their business models or straight up shut down.

One startup exclusively offering meal kit deliveries that we know is still operational is Chef’ Up, and now there’s a newer player on the market called BoxAhead.

Meal kit deliveries offer recipes for you to pick from, and based on what you choose, they’ll source all the necessary ingredients in the right quantities and send them to you.

This is so that you can still enjoy a homecooked meal without the hassle of going out, buying groceries, and having leftover ingredients go bad in the fridge.

Both Chef’ Up and BoxAhead seek to solve these problems, but where Chef’ Up’s meal kits cost about RM20 per pax, BoxAhead’s meal kits can cost up to RM124.90.

Considering that you still have to cook these meals on your own at home, we had to ask co-founders Jun Kit and Joon Lim, would anyone even be willing to spend that much?

Satiating The Hunger For Experience

Apparently, yes, as they’ve sold around 50 to 100 boxes of their meal kits since launching in June 2020.

What’s different between BoxAhead and Chef’ Up are the recipes and ingredients being offered.

Where the latter offers “friendlier” recipes like pasta and Kung Pao chicken, BoxAhead’s current recipe offerings are:

  • Wagyu Ribeye (RM124.90 for 1 pax, RM213 for 2 pax)
  • Cod Steak (RM83.90 for 1 pax, RM159 for 2 pax)
  • Australia Striploin (RM72 for 1 pax, RM120 for 2 pax)
Australian Striploin, Wagyu Ribeye, and Cod Steak / Image Credit: BoxAhead

For such prices, you could argue it’d be easier to just go to a restaurant for a steak dinner and not have to cook anything yourself (and risk ruining the premium meat).

However, BoxAhead is catering to people who are looking for more than just a meal to fill their bellies.

“BoxAhead is selling experience rather than the product itself, in a way that is not just about the fulfilment of cooking,” said Jun Kit.

“It also includes the enjoyment of warm meals when it is cooked by your family, your loved ones, or yourself.”

To ensure that you also have the right tools to make the recipes work, they offer a kitchen kit rental for RM15.

Doing The Maths For You

Limited food knowledge is another problem that BoxAhead seeks to solve, as Jun Kit said, “Identifying ingredients can be a challenge due to being unable to understand their uses, as well as where to source ingredients which cannot be found in supermarkets and hypermarkets.”

For the recipes they currently offer, the premium ingredients included are a mix of raw ingredients and precooked ones.

I’d say the value of BoxAhead comes from them providing certain ingredients that a user would have no other reason to buy if not for a specific recipe. Take for example the bell pepper sauce and pickled onions in their recipes.

They’re not really ingredients that you can just throw into your everyday meals, and buying them in full-sized bottles might mean you end up with wastage, because honestly, who’s eating steak every day?

“By providing every ingredient in a ‘just right’ amount so we can minimise wastage, all our customers will not feel like they have paid extra for the unused ingredients,” Jun Kit explained.

Sourcing the premium ingredients isn’t a problem for BoxAhead, as one of the co-founders specialises in supplying frozen food products (the other is a chef who designs the recipes).

The meat is pre-packed and frozen for delivery to customers to preserve its freshness. 

They also use the Just-In-Time (JIT) method for orders, where the ingredients are only sourced once they are needed in the production process.

Everyone Gets A Cut Of The Meat

While one might think that BoxAhead caters to people of a higher income bracket with their meal kits, Jun Kit clarified, “Everyone from any income bracket is our potential customer as long as they would like to enjoy cooking continental cuisines.”

BoxAhead settles their deliveries either with a frozen truck they own or third-party delivery companies for the premium delivery service, which delivers within 4 hours in Klang Valley, for a small fee.

In the long-term, the team plans to expand BoxAhead’s product base by making their meal kits available from convenience stores and hypermarkets.

It’ll be interesting to see how BoxAhead’s kits will fare in convenience stores, because people visit them to purchase ready-to-eat or microwavable meals, not raw ingredients to cook up a meal from scratch.

For now, however, they’re working on adding more recipes to increase their customer base.

Some upcoming recipes that Jun Kit shared they were working on include less “premium” ones like chicken dishes and pasta, so it seems like they might be entering “friendlier” recipe territories too.

Bottom Line: While I personally wouldn’t buy one of these due to its priciness (plus I don’t quite trust meat unless I’ve seen it for myself in grocery stores), I can definitely see it gaining some traction, especially during the RMCO when people might still be wary about dining in or taking away cooked food.

  • You can read more on other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.

Featured Image Credit: BoxAhead

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