There’s been a ton of crazy press lately for Graze, makers of tasty, healthy snacks that come in portion-controlled punnets, 4 to a mailbox-sized recyclable box that ships from their warehouse full of high-tech robots in London’s Richmond borough. A patent-pending algorithm takes every customers likes and dislikes into account (customizable on the user end of their site) before assembling a random, balanced box and shipping it off to your corner of the UK.
They’ve recently expanded to America in January 2012, and Arielle and I were so intrigued by their business model that we scavenged Twitter until we found invite codes that worked. (A process that did not take longer than thirty minutes, thank God.)
**NOTE** Graze has currently stopped accepting US invite codes while they adjust to the ridiculous amount of traffic they’re trying to incorporate as smoothly as possible into the current business model. No word on when the invite codes will start shipping with the boxes again, although US customers received 1 friend code with the Springtime rabbit papercraft.
Once the code is accepted, you input all the usual personal data, including your billing information (even though the first box is technically free).
Then comes the fun part: customization!
1. Choose your box : The nibblebox contains the full range of snacks Graze offers, while the lightbox offers low cal treats with a max of 150 calories.
2. Rate your snacks: This is the heart in the whole, and the best part by far. Each snack lists the nutritional information, a detailed description, and an enticing picture. Underneath all that you can rate each snack as: Trash / Try / Like / Love.
Trash means a snack will never appear in your boxes, Try means the snack will appear in at least one box, Like means it will appear occasionally in your boxes, and Love means it will appear frequently. You can also decide if you want your boxes to reflect more of your Like/Love products, a good balance across all your ratings, or more snacks you want to Try.
3. Choose your delivery schedule: You can have your box delivered weekly, every 2 weeks, or every 4 weeks, with an option to push back your box at any time due to vacation, etc. My first box came a week earlier than the website stated, but this has since been proven to be the exception. My 2nd and 3rd boxes were tardy, with my 5th arriving an entire week ahead of my 4th, but the delivery now seems to have straightened out. I understand and accept the delay as growing pains on Graze’s part. It’s coming across the sea, after all. Just be forewarned that your boxes will likely experience delays if you’re in the States.
—PRICE: I personally don’t think $5 is overpriced for what you receive from Graze, but I’m listing it as a con for our frugal readers. They charge your card every friday (or whatever day you’re scheduled for), regardless of whether your boxes have been arriving on time, or at all.
—LATE: There’s no getting around this one, and it’s the only real complaint I have. UK customers can select what day they want their boxes delivered, and understandably, US customers do not have that option yet. I don’t know what Graze plans to do to address all the complaints of late American boxes, and I can’t fathom how shipping a package via Royal Mail and then via USPS is at all cost effective for only $5, but I have faith. Graze is a scrappy self-starter. They’ll figure it out. Regardless, as I said earlier, be prepared for some late boxes. I’ve even heard of some people receiving the box on deck to-be-shipped, and not the one that was in the mail the week before.
—LIMITED AVAILABILITY: Graze is only offered to residents of the UK and the US at the moment. In some of my correspondence with customer service (trying to track down that elusive 4th box!), it was clear they were a growing company with aspirations to expand, but there’s no timeline at present for any further expansions.
√ GETTING MAIL: I have yet to meet a person that didn’t enjoy the unique feeling of heartbreak + elation when waiting for mail to arrive. Waiting for your Graze box to arrive, especially after you’ve sampled some of the treats, makes getting the mail an all-or-nothing experience, sure to bring you a wonderful joy-agony!
√ HEALTHY SNACKS: The products all come with standard nutritional information, and are just as healthy as touted. A great guilt-free pick-me-up for those slow afternoon hours at work or when you’re out and about and tempted to stuff your face with all manner of sugary, salty garbage before dinner. As someone with a ferocious sweet-and-salty tooth, I can attest that the snacks are both tasty and satisfying. (They’re great for dessert too!)
√ WEALTH OF CHOICE: The entire process is unique, despite there being many companies that offer shades of the same thing. Graze is the first company to offer a fun and intuitive interface for selecting healthy snacks that don’t have the stigma of “health food” attached, as well as providing portion control. The level of customization is truly designed with the customer in mind.
√ FAIR PRICE: It’s only $5 a box, and your first and fifth boxes are free. It’s a thoughtfully assembled wholesome treat box that arrives in your mailbox every week all the way from the UK and it’s only $5 a box. It doesn’t get much better than that.
All of Graze’s products are great paired with tea (the original low calorie food). We will definitely be keeping ours eyes on Graze to see what their next move is.