Or "What do you get when the healthy police start a pyramid scheme?"
When I was given a "free graze box" voucher I was happy - free food is good for a student. A quick look at a graze box told me all I thought I needed to know - nuts, seeds and dried fruit coming straight through my letterbox. Nothing exciting - but free, so worth a trip to the website.
Once I saw the website I realised how much more graze is - a great example of service design, combining a large of customiseability whilst keeping a good sense of fun, evident in made newly emerging products these days.
Upon signing up I was greeted by an "upgraded" offer, in which I got my fifth box free too - they really know how to reel in new customers. Every punter also gets a code to give friends a free box, along with an option to share this on facebook, and for every friend they entice they get £1 off their next box.
I then got to decide on a delivery day, or several, which can be fortnightly. Their delivery day system is very flexible, even allowing one off boxes and scheduled holidays. Some days restrict some of the items available though, which isn't made terribly clear.
After putting in payment details (a subscription's required for the free box - cunning ploy...) you're good to go.
But then there's more - you can rate every item as "bin", "try", "like" or "love", which allowed me to immediately stop myself receiving those dreaded pumpkin seeds. The rating system's nice, but there are several items I've left at try, because I didn't like them enough to want them a lot, but didn't want to remove them completely.
A few days later a package turned up at the door. The box feels recycled, which fits with their ethos well, but seven boxes in and you start to notice the amount of card piling up, not to mention the posting process itself. Although I'm not too bothered this might turn off hardcore eco people.
Opening the box gives a nice big picture of some fruit, which has a wide variety of pictures - a nice little touch - and a folded slip of paper mailmerged with my name and what's in the box, along with the nutritional info. The graphics are well thought out, and nice, but not really to my liking, although that's just personal preference.
The box contains four punnets of food, each punnet bring nicely (vacuum?) formed. Dips get their own special punnet, just to mix things up a bit.
The food itself is very good, and incredibly varied. They do nice mixes of nuts, pulses and dried fruit, occasionally with added treats like chocolate. They seem to specialise in dried fruits "infused" with other flavours, such as cranberry raspberries and peppermint raisins, which generally taste great. They are mostly adequately filling, for a snack, filling that ever present gap between lunch and dinner.
However, this comes at a price - a largely financial one. Boxes are nearly £4 each, which is £1 per punnet. When compared to a large bag of nuts from your local supermarket, the value for money is a little low.
The price begins to be justified by the service though - you're paying for variety, an online favoriting service and the convenience of having it delivered.
To end, my least favorite part of the service: leaving.
Graze do everything they can to keep you: you have to give an effective week's notice, as they start preparing boxes up to a week before they arrive. They ask you if you're sure you want to leave. They ask you if you want to stay. They beg you to stay. They then finally let you leave, but say farewell with the offer of a half price box if you come back in the future. A month later they email you to offer you three half price boxes if you fill in a survey. This repeats...
Graze don't like losing customers!
In summary, Graze is an innovative sservice, slightly too expensive, but enjoyable if you can afford it.