STOCKED: the solution to your food waste woes 




STOCKED has put a twist on classic batch cooking techniques to deliver high-quality, fresh meals that are changing the convenience meal game. In these challenging economic times, could STOCKED be the product to satisfy your hunger for convenience and affordability without compromising on taste? 

Neverbland met with Sam and Charlie, co-founders of STOCKED and life-long friends to hear more about their innovative business.

Neverbland: How did STOCKED get started?

Sam Moss, co-founder of STOCKED: I’ve always been a big fan of batch cooking. One day, I was defrosting a bag of chilli in the microwave and it exploded everywhere. I thought: there’s got to be a better way to do this. I was having a conversation with my mum one day, and she mentioned that she used to freeze baby food for me in those handy reusable ice trays. So I went home and cut up a bunch of old ice cube trays, and the first chilli Blocks were born. I knew that I couldn’t run a food business by myself as my culinary skills didn’t extend past batch cooking chilli, so I went to my friend Charlie who's the best chef I know. I went to him for insight and walked out a business partner, and together we created

Charlie Gilpin, co-founder of STOCKED: I have been working in the food industry for over thirteen years now. I’ve worked every role in hospitality from waiting tables to cheffing, and even cooking on music tours with the likes of Katy Perry and the Spice Girls. I set up my own award-winning street food company in 2015. I did that for five years and achieved great success at pop-up events and street food markets in and around London. We’d taken over a pub kitchen in south London for a pop-up event when Sam came to talk to me about this wacky idea for Blocks of frozen food. It was too weird and wonderful to let go.

NB: Weird and wonderful is right. How do you feel that STOCKED matches up to other products in the convenience space?

Sam: Everything that exists in the convenience space is far too ‘one size fits all’ for our liking. On one hand, you’ve got ready meals, which are inflexible and often tasteless, resulting in the consumer having to compromise flavour and satisfaction. Then on the other hand you’ve got meal kits, which are way more involved, more time-consuming, and way less flexible around your lifestyle. If something pops up in the week and you don’t have time to cook dinner one night, you’re playing perpetual catch-up with your meals to not let your food and money go to waste. There’s also loads of packaging waste which isn’t great. STOCKED is the versatile and cost-effective solution to these inconvenient ‘convenience’ meals.

NB: So, would you say STOCKED is the sustainable option for convenience meals?

Charlie: Food waste is something that we’re really conscious of and we believe that STOCKED is a great solution. Cooking from scratch can be expensive, and that’s partly due to the amount of food waste involved. You buy a bag of herbs for the new recipe you’re trying, you use a handful and the rest goes soggy in the back of your fridge. Food is so expensive at the moment, so we can’t afford to throw things away. STOCKED is about giving you just what you need with as little waste as possible.

NB: And what about the packaging?

Sam: We recently changed our packing to be fully recyclable. This was a really important step for us, but we’re far from our end goal. Eventually, we’d like to be using plant-based polymers to ensure that our packaging is just as sustainable as our product.

Charlie: We’ve never classed ourselves as an eco product. Although we are a taste-first convenience product, we do hold sustainability close to our core. When we first started, we trialled a line of cardboard packing for our meals but it shortened the product shelf life and ended up compromising on the customer experience. It was just totally counterproductive to our mission. We’re passionate about finding the best solution for our consumers and the planet, which is why we’re currently using recyclable packaging, but hope to develop this in the future as we grow.

NB: What goes into a STOCKED block?

Charlie: We cook everything from scratch with fresh ingredients. Half of our range is plant-based but when we do use meat in our meals we ensure that we only purchase it from British farms. Everything is cooked as you would at home, with no ingredients you’ve never heard of or scary-sounding preservatives.

We cook in small batches, and our dishes are made by chefs who truly care about the quality of the meals. Sure, convenience is the name of the game, but we’re a taste-first product. We are passionate about producing great-tasting food, and we’re doubly passionate about changing the negative stereotypes that go along with frozen products. We know that the way our Blocks look is new and may be strange to some people, which is why we’re so committed to delivering great-tasting food that is better than any other convenience product.

NB: Do you find that the frozen food stigma has affected your business?

Charlie: It’s getting easier as time goes on. This path has been trodden by some other amazing companies putting high-quality food in people’s freezers. There’s still a long way to go and a lot of rubbish frozen food to get rid of, but we’re hoping STOCKED becomes part of changing the narrative about why we freeze food. Freezing food enables us to eliminate preservatives and pasteurisation from our recipes, as well as avoid any ultra-processed methods or ingredients.

NB: Ah yes, the wellness industry’s newest hot topic: ultra-processed foods.

Charlie: Yeah, It’s super trendy at the minute. People are becoming more aware of just how many of their favourite foods are ultra-processed and how potentially harmful these foods can be.  If you’re cooking something fresh and putting it in your freezer, or if you’re savvy and letting STOCKED do it for you, it’s the best way to preserve the nutrition and the taste of your food. Freezers are going to have their day again as people continue to need cost-effective and nutritious solutions.

NB: So you’d say that STOCKED isn’t ultra-processed?

Charlie: To cut out processing entirely you’d need to take whole foods and cook them yourself from scratch, but we don’t use any preservation techniques other than freezing. It’s just veggies, organic protein and seasonings in our recipes. What makes STOCKED so special is that we allow for full customisation of your meals whilst still being convenient.

The people that are conscious of consuming processed foods might also have other dietary requirements or health goals such as eating 10 veggies a day or avoiding carb-heavy meals. Our cubes allow people to eat whatever they want and need with their meals - be it grilled vegetables, rice, pasta, leftovers, or just eating it solo. You get to make it perfect for yourself.

NB: Who is your ideal STOCKED consumer?

Sam: On a high level, STOCKED is for anyone who is time-poor, but loves food. We’ve also seen some real growth in the single-diner market. These people are busy with work, hobbies or social events and they need something that works efficiently.

Most recently, however, we’re seeing that younger families are enjoying STOCKED more and more. I think this is because it resonates with families - batch cooking is a common practice for people with kids in particular. The product is familiar, whilst it has the added convenience of being very flexible. Having multiple STOCKED blocks in the freezer allows families to cater for everyone with different appetites, dietary requirements, or fussiness.

NB: What do you think STOCKED’s biggest challenge has been?

Sam: We’ve definitely had a few. Running any kind of food business or hospitality business relies on a supply chain of perishable goods and a team of experienced staff who are passionate about what they do. This is challenging in the current economic climate, as I'm sure that anyone else in the industry will agree with us. The soaring energy costs combined with the increased ingredient prices make maintaining our high level of quality a little difficult.

Charlie: Then you layer in the need for reliable and passionate hospitality staff, and it becomes a real challenge. It’s something that we continue to stay on top of, but the economy and staffing are both our biggest ongoing challenges. Fortunately, we’re two founders who specialise in different things, so we have the tools to step into any aspect of the business and lead it to ensure that it’s done right.

NB: Where can people be stocked?

Charlie: Right now, STOCKED is primarily a direct-to-consumer product. You can buy our blocks from our website, or on Zapp if you’re in London. Freshly frozen, nutritious and delicious meals right to your door.

NB: Are you hoping to expand into retail soon?

Sam: Retail is part of our long-term vision. We want to be a household name, and retail is a crucial part of the journey, but there are certain challenges to overcome before we get there. Right now we produce everything ourselves, which is a little labour-intensive but ensures high-quality products. We don’t want to compromise our quality to expand into retail, so it’s about adapting our product in ways that ensure we stay true to our mission.

We also think there’s a potential for STOCKED to have different places in the freezer aisle, so there is a real potential for expanding our offering. Maybe it’s frozen pasta sauces as an antidote to overcrowding the condiment shelf in your fridge and the perpetual wasting of half-used jars of sauce. There are a lot of problems that STOCKED can solve, and we’re only just getting started. We’re making some big changes in the next six months, so you’ll be seeing STOCKED in a freezer in your local supermarket soon.

Find out more about STOCKED here.

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