Any other business

How a meal delivery service helped boost my office productivity

10 min read

20 June 2017

Former editor

Technological advancement has brought about the streamlining of many day-to-day tasks, but what about eating? Real Business tried out a meal delivery service to see how it all works.

If you’re anything like me then workplace-based eating is characterised by a few bad habits. First up is the time-poor way in which I consume breakfast, grabbing whatever is readily available at home or in the office. Then there are the comfortable lunch options that I gravitate towards, heavily bogged down by carbohydrates and processed foods. Finally, and perhaps most worrying, is the tendency to chuck in a few unnecessary treats while at the till.

The diet we consume while working should give us the brain food needed to be creative, productive and energetic. However, all too often it ends up making us feel lethargic, unhealthy and wondering how we’ll repair the damage of another un-nutritious meal deal later that day.

I wanted to see what could be done, by way of an experiment, to ensure I ate healthier and also didn’t have to worry about what it was I was consuming for breakfast and lunch. Singing up for a one-week meal plan with Fresh Fitness Food, I would have two meals, a snack and a drink delivered overnight to a safe spot of my choice, in a cool bag, ready for the start of the day.

The package I chose was aptly called “Office”. It is designed to provide customers with the energy needed to “excel” in the workspace and improve personal wellbeing by using nutrition to improve focus, productivity and stamina. Sounds like just what I was after!

First to the nitty gritty, how much does it cost. My package, which as mentioned included two meals, a snack and a drink, cost £26 per day. For this price, I was provided with meals customised to my height, weight and dietary requirements – freshly made in the Fresh Fitness Food kitchens and delivered by its personal team of overnight distributors. For now, the business can also only deliver to locations inside the M25.

I was told that my two meals would include 60-70 per cent of my daily calorie needs, and include a variety of lean protein sources, slow release carbohydrates, high-fibre vegetables and healthy fats.

Before I got into detail about my week’s experiment, here is what my meal delivery service menu plan looked like.

Day one

  • Breakfast: Bombay spiced omelette, roast tomato chutney and baby spinach
  • Lunch: Master stock braised pork shoulder with miso, luang prabang salad and a toasted sesame sriracha dressing
  • Snack: Fresh chunky guacamole
  • Drink: Cool As Cucumber juice

Day two

  • Breakfast: Strawberry mousse with macerated strawberries and micro lemon balm
  • Lunch: Chicken cacciatore with oven roasted fennel, chargrilled peppers and an olive pistou
  • Snack: Toasted nut pot
  • Drink: Feeling Up Beet juice

Day three

  • Breakfast: Basil pulled chicken, roasted pepper and sundried tomato frittata with FFF brown sauce
  • Lunch: Chargrilled chiexican steak with chunky guacamole, spicy tomato salsa and charred corn
  • Snack: Smoked salmon pot
  • Drink: Immune Boosting Tumeric juice

Day four

  • Breakfast: Mango mousse with passionfruit and basil
  • Lunch: Chicken, mint and molasses skewers with roasted butternut, black kale and a sumac dressing
  • Snack: Tropical protein pot
  • Drink: Charcoal Cleanse juice

Day five

  • Breakfast: Flaked salmon and basil omelette, roasted button mushrooms, baby spinach and charred tomato ketchup
  • Lunch: Chargrilled chicken breast with Aji sauce, roasted peppers, charred corn and avocado
  • Snack: Burnt yoghurt snack pot
  • Drink: Kale My Vibe juice

Straight off the bat it is far more interesting than the stock panini, pasta salad or wrap options I normally go for.

There was a bit of excitement as I ventured downstairs to retrieve the first of my daily meal delivery service packages from my safe spot, the utilities cupboard outside the front door. Contained within a cool bag and with two ice packs to keep it fresh, each container had a breakdown of the ingredients included and nutritional breakdown.

As someone who is not such a fussy eater, there was very little on each of my daily meal delivery menus that had me scrunching my nose in disgust and it was great to be eating some healthy ingredients, such as fennel, kale, and molasses that aren’t so much part of my daily food choices.

Going into the week I had a few questions to answer at the end of the experiment.

  1. Was it useful to not have to decide what I was having for breakfast and lunch?
  2. Did my productivity and energy levels improve as a result of the menu plan?
  3. Did I manage to lose a bit of weight by heating healthier options in the workplace?

First of all, it was very helpful to not be faced with decided what was being eaten for breakfast and lunch. As I touched on before, I’m partial to going for the easy option in the morning, and generally lean towards a sweet option. The balance of breakfasts provided was an interesting one, I normally only have a savoury one on the weekend, but it was nice to mix it up and not necessarily have a sugar crash half-way through the morning.

At lunch, I do normally like having the task of getting lunch to force myself outside the office for a bit of fresh air. But again, not having to rely on the small amount of options around our office meant I was eating better and it just came down to being disciplined in going out for a stroll after eating.

The second question, around productivity and energy levels, was an interesting one. I’m not someone who gets a massive afternoon energy dip, probably because I’m pretty good about limiting tea and coffee consumption alongside lots of water during the way, but the consistency of what I was eating seemed to give me that little more get up and go.

IMG_5151If I was to repeat the meal delivery service again I’d probably purposefully put a lower height and weight measurement, because the size of the portions did leave me feeling a little stuffed at points. It seems bizarre to be drawing attention to meal sizes if they’re too big, but portion control is a good way for me to limit how much I eat because I’m also not much of a snacker.

The lean nature of the food consumed during the five days did not only psychologically make me feel better but I did find myself more energised in the afternoon. The cold-pressed juices especially seemed to provide a sweet kick without all of the associated sugar and/or E numbers that come from fizzy drinks or supermarket juices.

While I didn’t manage to shift any timber over the week, partly because of the portion sizes and partly because I wasn’t particularly matching my dinner habits with the meal plan, I came to the end of the five-day meal delivery service experiment feeling like I’d eaten well and taken care of myself.

Whether you’re willing to pay £26 a day for two and a bit meals is up to you. There are plenty who would spend around £15 for their breakfast and lunch on the go, with not much consideration for nutritional content or balance in their diet. The Fresh Fitness Food Office meal plan gave me what I was after, a rounded collection of dishes that were part of a fat-loss plan and the removal of the requirement to think creatively about what I was eating – or that telltale reverting to habit.

There was also the added benefit of boosted energy and concentration levels – and who of us aren’t after that little bit of extra output each day in our busy lives.