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Delivered to your door: how meal kits can help you eat well right now

From convenience to culinary variety, we all know the perks of meal kits - particularly in times like these. But what about the downsides?

Delivered to your door: how meal kits can help you eat well right now
Photo: Hello Fresh

Meal kits bring you all the ready-to-cook ingredients you need straight to the door. In uncertain times such as the present – with empty supermarket shelves and governments encouraging quarantines – the value of meal kits is clearer than ever.

However, from expats to locals alike, there are plenty of us out there who have reservations about meal kits. Aren’t they expensive? Don’t they produce loads of food waste – and not to mention all of the packaging?

And then there’s the necessary cooking skills. What about those of us who haven’t spent the last decade diligently watching each and every cooking show with a pad and pen, who somehow seem to mess up everything in the kitchen – even a piece of toast?

Together with our partners Hello Fresh, The Local have dished up some tasty facts on meal kits.

Click here for discount offers from Hello Fresh in Switzerland

From giving you the low down on just how it works to smashing some persistent myths this is everything you need to know about the modern meal kit.

What is a meal kit and why do I want them in my life?

First things first, what even are meal kits? Perfect for people who want to avoid shopping expeditions or ordering takeaway, meal kits get you everything you need to prepare a top-class meal in your own kitchen.

In many parts of Europe, shopping has been a difficult affair lately – with empty supermarket shelves and panic buying unfortunately commonplace since the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

One of Hello Fresh's meal kits. Photo: Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh work directly with suppliers, giving you peace of mind in ensuring everything you need will be delivered straight to your door.

Not only do meal kits make shopping easier, they get you the ingredients you need without feeling like you need to send in a search party to do so.

Every expat who has spent a little time living in a foreign country will have stories of searching high and low to find the right ingredient, only to find it’s unavailable – or unrecognisable – in their adopted country.

(Journalists from The Local Germany have told us of their travails trying to find self-raising flour and golden syrup in German supermarkets only to be told “Das gibt es nicht/there is no such thing”.)

Meal kits produce too much waste

One major consumer complaint about meal kits has been the amount of food and packaging waste they produce.

While there was a time when this may have been true, these days are over.

Meal kits are designed to avoid food waste, with just the right amount of each ingredient included.

Find out how Hello Fresh can help you avoid food waste 

Not only is this great for anyone on a diet – i.e. portion control – it means that once you’ve prepared the food you’re not left with anything left over.

The average person in Germany and Austria throws away 82 kilos of food per year – that’s more than the weight of the average person and costs roughly 240 euros.

Less waste, more deliciousness. Photo: Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh ensures that there is also less waste further up the food chain by ordering direct from suppliers, resulting in a 95 percent food waste reduction.

For the environmentally conscious among us, meal kits actually reduce CO2 by 33 percent due to less storage time in supermarkets and less transportation.

As for packaging, through undertaking 41 new waste-reduction initiatives – including using paper insulation and reducing plastic – Hello Fresh Germany achieved 87 percent recyclable packaging in 2019.  

The end-2020 goal is 100 percent recyclable packaging – something which the company is on track to achieve.

In fact, in Germany and Austria, each delivery contains detailed information about the materials in the packaging, its recyclability and how much waste will be produced.

Meal kits are expensive

When looking the end product, it’s perhaps understandable that people think that they’re expensive. But when compared to food in a restaurant, take-out or even supermarket food, meal kits come out on top.

The cost will depend on the amount of people you order for and how many portions you order, while there are also variations from country to country. But take for example the Classic Box.

Always busy? Hello Fresh could help save you time and money 

Serving two people three dishes – i.e. six portions – Germany’s Classic Box works out to be under six euros per meal. With meals like steak with mashed potatoes or the Mediterranean beef burger, you’d be hard pressed to find the same quality ingredients for the same price in a supermarket – and that’s before you take into account the time it takes to shop as well as to research recipes.

And don’t forget that when buying from a supermarket, you’ll never be able to get the same portions… which brings us to…

But I lack grill skills and cooking credentials…

The naked truth about meal kits is that you don’t need to be the Naked Chef to cook up a storm. Meal kits are great for anyone who has trouble following recipes, because there’s literally no chance you can put more or less of anything in.

Just be sure to follow the recipe – always available in English – and you’ll be impressing your friends with your grill skills in no time.  

Did someone say Masterchef? Photo: Hello Fresh

Then there’s the array of recipes, which change from week to week and are developed by specialist chefs.

With a focus on wholesome, nutritious food, the meals are perfect for the health conscious – while losing nothing in the way of taste.

With a menu that changes more often than most restaurants, you’re dining table will be the hottest ticket in town.

Like what you see or want some more information? Click the following link – complete with discounts and free shipping – to find out more about Hello Fresh in Switzerland

 

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READER QUESTIONS

What happens if I don’t renew my Swiss health insurance?

With the healthcare premiums in Switzerland set to soar in 2023, it's no wonder that many people would rather not pay these higher costs. But there are compelling reasons for why you have to take out insurance.

What happens if I don't renew my Swiss health insurance?

Health Minister Alain Berset caused a collective groan throughout the country on September 27th when he announced that health insurance premiums will jump by 6.6 percent on average in 2023 — the sharpest hike in two decades.

While premiums will go up throughout Switzerland, residents of some cantons will have to pay more for healthcare than their counterparts in others.

The highest, above-national-average premiums will hit Neuchâtel (+9.5 percent), Appenzell Innerrhoden (9.3 percent), Ticino (9.2 percent), and Zurich (+7  percent), though all residents of Switzerland will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for healthcare next year.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why are Swiss health insurance premiums set to rise?

It is understandable that you would rather not pay so much money, especially as, according to a study by the Federal Office of Public Health, some households spend between 14 and 27 percent of their earnings for the premiums.

However, if you decide not to renew your current insurance or take up another one in its place, you will be breaking the law.

Health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland, with each resident required to purchase a basic plan— KVG in German and LaMal in French and Italian —from one of dozens of private carriers.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about health insurance in Switzerland
 

If you neglect to do so, either inadvertently or voluntarily, you will be faced with a number of consequences.

First of all, you will be sent a letter from your canton to remind you to purchase a policy; if you don’t, the government will buy one for you and send you the bill.

If you still persist in standing your ground, keep in mind that not having health insurance greatly limits the kind of medical care you’ll get. You are entitled to receive emergency care, but not any follow-up treatments, doctor’s visits, or other healthcare.

Also, not being able to show that you are insured will be a liability in other areas of your life in Switzerland as well. You won’t be able to register in your municipality, be hired for a job, or rent an apartment without having a health policy.

Are there exemptions to the healthcare rule?

Yes, you are not required to take out Swiss insurance if:

  • You are retired and get a pension exclusively in an EU or EFTA state
  • You are a cross-border worker with healthcare policy in a EU or EFTA state
  • You are a foreign student and have comparable insurance from your country
  • You work for international organisations or are a diplomat

All others must buy an insurance policy.

If you are not doing so because you simply can’t afford it, know that you can apply for a subsidy — that is, a reduction in healthcare premiums.

This is a list of all the cantonal authorities responsible for subsidies.

If approved, you will not receive any money yourself. Rather, the canton will pay directly to your health insurance carrier.

More information can be found in this article:

Reader question: How do I apply for healthcare benefits in Switzerland?

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