A big THANK YOU to everyone who completed our big customer survey in the September Spicemail. As always we really appreciate the fact that so many of you took the time to fill out the survey, and also add your own comments in addition to the main questions (there were over 3000 responses which is why it's taken us a while to go through them...!)
There were lots of positives in there, and a handful of not-so-positives(!) but that's exactly what we were looking for so here are some of the highlights, and what we're planning to do about them:
"Bigger packets of some of the spice blends, peppery salt for example" - this is something that many of you have asked about since we stopped sending bulk-size packs a couple of years ago. The reason for that is we were trying to get EVERYTHING to be letterbox-sized so we only had x1 type of delivery boxes, x1 type of sachets etc etc. With the range of products increasing almost continuously, we were running out of space and capacity to deal with multiple versions of everything.
As always, it's a continuous battle between limiting choices and having too much complexity - no changes imminent on this but we'll certainly have a think if it's possible to go back to larger size packs post-Christmas.
"Very sad you no longer have the curry kit in the square tin as this made a great present." - This has been a regular comment as so many of you obviously loved the square Curry Legend tin. The original idea with the Curry Legend kit was that it was going to be a kind of toolkit, so you'd have everything you needed inside a 'toolbox' - book, spices, measuring spoon.... Then it became clear that many of you preferred to store your spices in the cupboard or by the stove (which is why the round tins became stackable), and the book on the shelf with your other cookbooks.
The next problem was we realised we had far more recipes than could fit into one book, so along came multiple Curry Legend books which of course meant they wouldn't all fit in the tin. This made it seem a bit weird to have one book stored in a tin and the others on the shelf!
There are more cookbook kits on the way though so we will take another look at the current cardboard boxes and see if they can be heavier weight card, or made more substantial in some way to give an alternative storage option.
"Please please please I am begging you please bring back the Christmas dinner kit, it was amazing!" - Several of you asked about this so An Indian Curry Christmas is back and available here!
"Prep times are always too short- we tend to double them!" - Yes this is definitely something we've heard a few times over the years! When we test the recipes we add up all the various bits of prep time then double it to allow for all the distractions at home, but maybe it still needs a bit longer!
"Multiple comments about plastic and 'excessive' packagingPlastic has been a big issue for us recently, and we've managed to make the entire Curry and Taco Legend kits and refills single-use plastic free. We've also recently made all the spicestore ingredients completely plastic-free with the compostable bags and resealable paper labels.
That's all good but then the problem has been materials that are genuinely compostable (rather than laminates that are theoretically compostable/degradable but only in laboratory conditions...) aren't quite so good at melting to form seals, so we've had a lot of problems with bags bursting in the post.
The next step is to trial recyclable plastic sachets (which can be recycled with plastic bags at the supermarket), and fingers crossed that will give us a reliable as well as sustainable solution.
In terms of excessive cardboard - yes these subscription boxes with 4 separate cardboard components are due a rethink very soon. All that cardboard is there to protect the boxes through the mail and can all be recycled, but yes fair point - maybe there is a better option we can look at now that uses less material.
"More desserts please!" - Yes we used to do lots more dessert recipes than we do at the moment. For various reasons they've fallen a bit off the radar, but this is a useful prompt for us to look again and see if we can bring them back asap.
"Email alert for out of stock kits" - Great idea! We hadn't thought of this before, but as the range of kits changes so fast (we produce so many different products that we can't possibly have everything on sale at the same time) so this would be a really useful feature. Will add it to the website to-do list so hopefully will be up and running very soon.
"More Chinese recipes" - This is an interesting one and we will defintely add it to the list, plus there will definitely be some more Chinese Easy Kits on the way in Spring 2021 so please keep an eye out for those.
"Individual sachets from the subscription boxes available to buy"- This is a tricky one because it would seem quite straightforward to be able to buy a single sachet, but the difficulty for us is that all the sachets (up to 7 per box) are packed in the same quantity to make complete products. This means we don't tend to have spare individual sachets lying around because they've all been used to make full spiceboxes or kits.
Then the question becomes - can we make that particular blend to order? Without wanting to be unhelpful(!), the answer in general is probably not because to make a single portion of a mix (finding the original recipe, tracking down all the various ingredients, processing them in various ways, weighing it all out, mixing and packing it) would take almost as long as making a bulk version for 1000 portions and unless we charged some absurd amount for a single bag it would never be worthwhile.
This was the thinking behind the Spicery Larder - by now ALL the spicebox and easy kit recipes should list simplified versions of all the various component blends, but made using only 12 ingredients that you're likely to have at home (plus a few fresh ones!). Let us know if you have any suggestions to make that work better, but hopefully many of you are finding that a useful addition now!
Thanks again for taking part and being so honest and helpful in your feedback - look out for your suggestions being implemented over the next year and as always, please feel free to get in touch any time with any other thoughts and suggestions as we're always happy to hear them!