Readymade meals offer a fantastic option for people who are short on time and are rapidly increasing in popularity, with the industry projected to reach a value of $1.58 billion in 2024.1 “But aren’t readymade meals bad for you?” Thanks to the rise in popularity of a plant-based lifestyle, businesses are now able to cater to health-conscious consumers seeking meal delivery. Herbidoor is a vegan, family-run and operated business, delivering readymade meals straight to your door.
How does Herbidoor work?
Herbidoor offers fresh, chef-made, plant-based meals in a council-approved, 100% vegan kitchen. All ingredients through to packaging are considered from an ethical vegan and environmentally friendly perspective. The meals are made with locally sourced Australian-grown produce and are Vegan Australia Certified. Herbidoor also partners with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) which is fantastic!
There is a large menu to choose from each week, with meals categorised as; ‘breakfast’, ‘comfort meals’, ‘vegan active meals’, ‘signature series’, ‘vegan meat’ and ‘desserts’ (some of the dessert options looked very naughty but so delicious!). This wide variety allows you to choose something for each meal in a day. You can also filter by a wide range of allergens (gluten, soy, peanuts, onion, sesame, garlic and nuts) and dietary requirements (high protein, low carb, low calorie). There are options for almost everyone!
As the name suggests, ‘comfort meals’ are a range of meals that nourish both the body and soul. These meals start at $9.95. ‘Vegan active meals’ are designed for health-conscious individuals who are looking for high protein, wholefood options. The ‘signature series’ offers classic meals with plant-based meat replacements such as ‘steak and potatoes’. These meals were the highest cost per serve at $15.95.
The price of Herbidoor meals are higher compared to other readymade meals, for example, Muscle Chef. However, as Herbidoor prioritises using locally sourced, quality ingredients and plant-based meat substitutes, the costs are justified.
There are no lock in contracts with Herbidoor and you have the ability to build your own box, subscribe and save, place orders as you need to, and select your preferred delivery day, giving you the ultimate flexibility.
My box arrived on Monday morning, just in time to start the week! I received eight pre-selected meals from a few categories off the menu:
- Beef and black bean stir fry (signature series)
- Dahl makhana (active meal)
- Gnocchi puttanesca (comfort meal)
- King brown scallop spaghetti (comfort meal)
- Lasagne (active meal)
- Scrambled tofu (breakfast)
- Sweet chilli tofu bowl (active meal)
- Teriyaki tofu power bowl (active meal)
Each readymade meal was packaged neatly within the box and kept cool with icepacks. The packaging itself was minimal and the box, trays and insulation are all recyclable (big tick!). The trays are also BPA free which means they are safe to heat in the microwave. All meals were clearly labelled and identifiable.
Most of the meals looked appetising, however some meals did not look very fresh or vibrant in colour. The images of the meals on the website did look slightly different to what I received which was disappointing. On the back of each meal was a clear list of ingredients, allergens, the nutritional information panel, cooking instructions and a best before date. The ingredient list for each meal contained predominately whole food ingredients that were easily recognisable, with no nasty additives!
It would have been beneficial to see a ‘cooked on this date’ label to know when each meal was prepared. However, the meals had excellent best before dates of 1-2 weeks from delivery. If you can’t consume the meals within their best before dates, you can put them in the freezer, making them a great option to have on hand in emergencies!
The microwave instructions were easy to follow with each meal taking less than two minutes to heat up. The meals tasted good, however some meals lacked seasoning, so I need to add salt and pepper to enhance the flavours. As the meals are pre-prepared, I found overall there was a lack of ‘freshness’ in the flavours. The sweet chili tofu bowl for $12.95 was overpriced in my opinion. The ingredients were very basic and in small quantities. The gnocchi puttanesca was my favourite meal; the tomato sauce was vibrant and full of flavour!
Each meal was a 400g portion and I found that I was not always satisfied. As an active individual, my caloric requirements are higher than the average daily intake, therefore these meals were not quite substantial enough for me. There were also small amounts of vegetables in some of the meals which if provided in larger quantities, may have provided a more filling meal due to the increased fibre content. The beef and black bean stir-fry and dahl were the most filling due to their higher carbohydrate content.
HerbiDoor uses Chronometer and the Australian Nutritional Guidelines of 2000 calories per day to inform the nutritional content of each meal. So, whilst they are not ‘Nutritionist approved’ in-house, they are referring to Government nutritional guidelines.
Breakfast and active meals:
These meals contained the largest servings of vegetables compared to the other meals and included 3-5 different types of vegetables. The macronutrient (carbohydrates, fats and protein) profiles of the ‘active meals’ and ‘breakfast’ options were excellent. The carbohydrate sources were mostly vegetable sources such as sweet potato, or wholegrain sources such as brown rice. Sources of healthy fats included nuts and seeds, with cashews often used as a base for a cheese replacement. The protein content was excellent, with most meals containing at least 25g of protein. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) recommends 25g protein per meal for optimal health.2 Furthermore, those following a vegan diet often struggle to get enough protein in their diets. Herbidoor’s ’active meals’ are therefore fantastic options for those leading a plant-based lifestyle, who are wanting to ensure they are consuming enough protein.
Comfort meals and signature series:
The carbohydrate sources in the ‘comfort meals’ and ‘signature series’ were more processed for example, white pasta and noodles. The sources of fats were good quality including cashews and olive oil. Of these meals, the beef and black bean stir-fry and gnocchi puttanesca had the least amount of protein (the gnocchi puttanesca had only 8g). However, as these meals are intended to be ‘comfort foods’, they are still suitable as part of a balanced diet.
Readymade meals often have a higher sodium content to enhance the flavour and shelf life however, the meals I sampled contained less than 700mg sodium which is a reasonable amount (current guidelines suggest no more than 2000mg/day). The exception was the beef and black bean stir-fry (1168mg sodium). This meal contained a plant-based meat replacement and a variety of seasonings which are typically higher in sodium. Meat replacements should be considered a ‘sometimes’ food, therefore having this type of meal occasionally is not a concern.
HerbiDoor is a very convenient meal service for plant-based individuals or anyone who is considering moving towards a plant-based lifestyle but doesn’t have time to cook! They offer a huge variety of meals and provide nutritionally balanced options for health-conscious individuals.
- Berry K. The rise of ready meals, (2020). Retrieved from https://www.foodanddrinkbusiness.com.au/news/the-rise-of-ready-meals#:~:text=In%20Australia%2C%20the%20ready%20meals,worth%20%241.58%20billion%20by%202024.
- Noakes M. (2018) Protein Balance: New Concepts for Protein in Weight Management; CSIRO, Australia.
Herbidoor Ready-made Meals
HerbiDoor is a very convenient meal service for individuals following a plant-based diet or anyone who is considering moving towards a plant-based lifestyle but doesn’t have time to plan, prep and cook! There is a large variety of meals and there are nutritionally balanced options for everyone.
Herbidoor currently delivers to Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Victoria. Herbidoor’s delivery areas are expanding all the time.
All of Herbidoor meals are 100% vegan. Herbidoor is certified by Vegan Australia. This organisation has very strict standards around the manufacturing of vegan products.
Yes, Herbidoor stocks a gluten free range. The Herbidoor kitchen does contain meals that include gluten therefore Herbidoor meals may not be Coeliac friendly.