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Recently my sister joked on Facebook about starting a chocolate home delivery service if her medical career went belly up. Many of her friends agreed, and I volunteered to start the French branch if the concept took off. But the wonderful fact is that some snack delivery services do already exist, with the main player arguably being Graze, who make a big song and dance over the internet about their offer of a free box of snacks.

I was keen to give the service a try, but as Graze don’t deliver to France (or indeed have a French branch – boo hiss), I had to hang on until I was next visiting England and time the deliveries to arrive at my parents’ UK address while I was staying there. And this is one of the very good things about Graze: you can specify on what day and date you would like the snack box to be delivered. They deliver six days a week and are very precise in their calculations so as to avoid you being disappointed.

But according to the saying, there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or, in this case, snack). So what obligations are you tied to when you sign up to Graze? You have to enter your payment details from the outset and choose a weekly delivery day (Monday-Saturday inclusive), with one delivery per week as a minimum (and this can be to any address – home, work, you name it). Your first box is free, and your next box is half price, with you being charged the full cost per box thereafter (£3.79). However, on the up side, it’s very easy to cancel or delay deliveries thanks to the control panel, which keeps things simple and accessible. You can also order one-off boxes (rather than weekly ones) and schedule holidays so that they know to suspend deliveries during this time, and the holidays can be quite long (my current ‘holiday’ is between my last visit to Britain in mid-April and my next visit at the end of May – so about 6 weeks). So there’s no worry about needing to wade through oodles of red tape in order to cancel (of course, there is the option to unsubscribe completely as well, even if you just take the free box and nothing else).

Boxes are letterbox-sized, meaning that you don’t get any of those annoying “Sorry, you were out” delivery slips. The box is of course recyclable, but the snack boxes themselves are less easy to get rid of in an eco-friendly way (they are made of plastic). You get four snack boxes per cardboard box, which are small but perfectly formed and come with a peel-back lid for convenient on-the-go snacking. The snack boxes are see-through and also come with white pencil-effect illustrations, in addition to the snack title, ingredients, and (in some cases) calorie counts and any extra benefits (such as indications of snacks that are high in fibre or omega 3).

Choosing the snacks you receive is an easy and pleasurable experience. Your user control panel on the Graze site lists all their available snacks (although you can always choose the ‘nutrition’ box – as opposed to the ‘nibble’ box – at the start to filter out their less healthy options), of which most are healthy alternatives to what we usually go for. Of the snacks, you can choose what you’d like to try, what you’d like them to send soon, and what you’d like to bin in an easy prioritization system (it’s just as simple to change your preferences later). I ditched most of the less healthy snacks (as that wasn’t really what I’d wanted to achieve in signing up) but clicked ‘try’ for most of the rest – except for those containing dried banana pieces, which as far as I’m concerned are akin to Satan himself.

So what did I actually end up choosing, and most importantly, how did it all taste? I ordered two boxes, which amounted to 8 different snacks, and, nicely enough, a good mixture of sweet and savoury options. The Pear Tatin (dried pear pieces, raspberry-infused cranberries, and yoghurt-coated seeds and almonds) went very well with a cup of tea, while the sweet-and-sour Sour Mango Tangtastic (blackcurrants, sour mango and cherry-infused sultanas) just went very well with itself. In these, as well as in the Shangri-La (lingonberries, pineapple, almond slices, pumpkin seeds) and the Fennel and Honey Peanuts, original flavours mingle in an intense, flavourful way to create a frankly joyful snack that’s healthy yet still great for satisfying a sweet tooth. Some carob options would also be a great way to expand on their dessert-style choices: even as a chocoholic I find carob surprisingly nice.

On the savoury side, this mainly indulged my taste for traditional Asian and American flavours via the innovative Hickory Smoked Nuts and Seeds (almonds, cashews and mixed seeds), Yaki Soba (Soba peanuts, edamame beans, noodles, and chilli broad beans) and Peking Dynasty (Peking cashews, baked soy bites, and black beans). The spiciness in the case of the latter two choices was warm and intriguing without being overpowering, and the hickory-smoked nuts and seeds delivered exactly what was promised.

Even though I binned all of these choices so that I would get a different selection on my next order, I’ll be sure to bring them back at a later date. The only one of my 8 snacks that’s likely to stay in the ‘binned’ section is the box of Omega Booster Seeds (which contained golden linseeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds) – I frequently snack on seeds anyway so this didn’t seem in any way new or different (although this isn’t to say that they didn’t taste good).

In terms of value for money, Graze’s frequent offers and incentives mean that you don’t always need to pay full price for a box, so that makes the link between quality and price even more appealing. While it is a shame that they don’t offer overseas options yet, I suppose the expat population can’t win all the time. It’s clear that the company really cares about its ingredients and has thought hard about how to make healthy eating a convenient yet delicious concept for consumers. They go beyond what you can get in the shops at the moment and have your best interests at heart in providing a flexible and honest service. And, of course, if you still fancy a slice of cake from time to time, they offer this as well (carrot cake, anyone?) – which means it’s perhaps not such a leap from there to the chocolate delivery service that my sister is still dreaming of.

www.graze.com

and here’s your free box code! R4JD7B7

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