Graze – not a web app, but a darned smart idea

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Can an e-commerce company scale like a web app? The answer, as we all know, is no. However, given that Amazon ‘scaled’ by creating a market for items which could fit through a letterbox, a UK company plans to do the same – this time with food, specifically healthy food like nuts and dried berries.

Graze is a new UK startup created by Graham Bosher, ex of LoveFilm, who decided he wanted to eat better in the office but was working in a location which made this near impossible. As he happened to be responsible for LoveFilm’s delivery platform (1 million+ postal transactions a week) he put two and two together and Graze was born. The LoveFilm connection is strong. The three non-execs on the board are William Reeve (LoveFilm/Screenselect Founder), Simon Morris (LoveFilm’s Marketing Director), Mark Livingstone (LoveFilm’s ex CEO). Backers including Saul & Robin Klein of TAG and Arts Alliance Ventures.

The idea is that Graze makes it easier for people to eat healthily at work and combine this with value (useful in these credit-crunch times). They delivery a full letter-box-sized box of healthy food (nuts, berries, dried fruit etc) straight to a desk for less than an empty box (the delivery charge) of an online supermarket. Graze launched 3 weeks ago and – they say – it’s spreading virally in offices throughout the country.

Graze of course is limited by the need for a warehouse. But if it can be as efficient as Amazon’s then I guess the idea can ‘scale’ to whatever that can take.

Update: Here’s a video from a recent customer…

  • Guk

    The idea is good, but can it be executed properly? Preparing meals and delivering them requires a lot of capital and logistics.

  • Robleh

    You would be better off creating a network of existing outlets to reduce the back end costs. That would also allow you to focus on the technology rather than order fulfillment. These are two near me:

    Both in the £4-6 range plus I can decide what I want just before I eat and get it exactly when I want it. Booking in advance and not being exactly sure when my lunch will arrive is not appealing.

  • Dan

    Being that a good friend of mine, Tom Percival, has been centrally involved in the development of Graze, I was very keen to try it out.

    I took the opportunity to create my first unboxing video, which can be found here:

    As you’ll see, I was very impressed with the way the product is put together. I have a couple of misgivings, but on the whole it seemed to me that if there is indeed a market for this kind of product they have gone exactly the right way about exploiting it.

    For my part, I’m eating a lot more fruit and nuts than I used to, and that can only be a good thing.

  • Riaz Kanani

    Surprised by the naysayers.. these are hardly meals, and strikes me that the LoveFilm connection might help them get over the delivery network challenges. If they can get the quality/quantity/price balance right then this could be very successful.

  • Andy McLoughlin

    We’ve had a few delivered to the office and they’re beautifully packaged and full of lovely stuff. Would I pay for them – long term – once the novelty wears off, though, is up for debate. Maybe. Depends how hard the credit crunch hits, I guess.

  • Kevin Dorren

    Diet Chef was started 12 months ago by 2 ex tech guys and has gone from strength to strength – the difference is we offer all your food – 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners and 7 snacks for £38 a day delivered anywhere in the UK.

    Check it out

  • Emma Kane

    Nice idea, well implemented – but there’s not a lot of profit from £2.29 even for a few nuts with free delivery by the time you have factored in the overheads from warehousing, packaging, staff and shipping. Where’s the upsell to make the profit?

  • Scott Jones

    If they can start delivering burgers, marlboro lights and the evening standard i’m in.

  • Adrian

    Just got my first delivery and I must say I’m really impressed. If they can sustain this and make a profit that’s great. Eating fresh and dried foot and nuts has to be better than crisps and soda.

    I also find the snacks I can buy at say an M&S are just too much for one snack and I eat too much. Grazes sizes are perfect.

    And if they are managing to make a profit out of this, well then everyone is really charging a lot for their stuff.

    Brilliant and hope it goes from strength to strength,

  • Richard Longhurst

    That is a good idea and a splendid site too. (And maybe the government is paying them to make us healthier.)

    But: “he wanted to eat better in the office but was working in a location which made this near impossible” – really?

    You mean like on top of a mountain or on an oil rig where making sandwiches at home or keeping a fridgeful of healthy tuck at work is not an option?

    Let’s be honest – it’s the service for those of us who are too disorganised or lazy or hungover to think about making lunch at home before bimbling out to work.

    And who get fat buying the deluxe breakfast baguette from the sandwich lady every day…

  • Ade

    This is a great idea, but I wonder if the concept really will work for the following reasons:

    1) When processing my debit card, the site fell over meaning I had to contact customer services – would have expected a money off for voucher for my troubles as hadn’t even received first box yet (!) so already wondering about longevity, etc.
    2) I received my first box on Friday – around 230pm by the time it had wound its way through mountains of post to my desk
    3) Some of the food was actually very good (the pineapple is excellent), but some was stale (I love pistachos, but they were very stale).
    4) Although I had what I assume is a full box, the packaging lends itself to make you think you are missing something… as it is not completely full.
    5) £5ish (Lux box) for some dry apples, fresh pineapples some choc buttons and dried fruit seems very expensive.

    Overall: let’s see how the next delivery or so is before passing judgement, but not overly impressed with execution – although I love the concept – and the website is well designed.

  • Childrens Beds

    What poor timing the guys from Lovefilm have! Great idea, beautifully executed but in a time where Starbucks in the City are closing because people don’t have enough money to grab a latte….hmmmm I’m not so sure.

    I still ordered my lux box though :-)

  • patt smith

    I saw a company called diet chef above that charge £38 a day and deliver to your door packet food soups and health bars. I found the bodychef that only charge about £12 a day and you get all your meals and deserts made from real fresh foods that are delivered twice each week it just like having your own personal chef. Take a look They remove allthe obstacles i faced when i lost 2 stone in two months and 1 week, so losing weight for me has never been so easy!

    if you are really serious about losing weight.

  • Emma Ribbers

    I just don’t get it. How can stuff like this be delivered thru the post? Doesn’t it go off? The whole ting about cut fruit and veg is that it is meant to be eaten immediately. A day later – presuming the royal mail doesn’t royally mess up – and you get less than 25% of the nutrients.

    I don’t see this ever taking off.

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