Yum Jar Pivots to Zero Waste Pantry Meal Boxes

Yum Jar started out in January 2019 as a lunch delivery service for Wellington, making fresh lunches daily and delivering them to hungry customers at lunchtime, hot and fresh, ready to eat.

After the covid-19 lockdown in April 2020, business was tough. Despite having received some government assistance, Yum Jar just wasn't receiving enough orders to pay bills and wages, but no longer qualified for extra assistance. After 1 1/2 years of really hard work, long hours, and living below minimum wage, I decided it was time to look at our business model, and figure out what I could do to keep going, as I wasn't about to throw all the work and the generous investment of others in Yum Jar down the drain!

And so the food box idea was born. I did the math, and figured out we could be making twice as much food, (and reducing twice as much waste), if I wasn't so limited in cooking time. Over the past few years, food boxes such as Hello Fresh, My Food Bag and Bargain Box have grown in popularity immensely. I initially was extremely opposed to the idea - I love cooking, and in my ideal world, everyone else loves and has the time for it too! But I realised instead of dismissing the food box phenomenon, I could embrace it, and try to make it even better.

Yum Jar's food boxes (dubbed "Zero Waste Pantry" to separate it from Yum Jar in case we ever do lunches again) contain NO disposable packaging, include fresh veggies, and preprepared sauces, marinades and pre-measured dry ingredients, so cooking is as quick and easy as possible. Everything comes in jars salvaged from our customer base, and our 1L Yum Jars. When we put the call out to see if anyone had jars to spare, we were overwhelmed with the response, and had more offers than we could collect and store in our kitchen!

For those missing out on the Yum Jar deliveries, I highly recommend giving Zero Waste Pantry a go - the boxes are designed to include leftovers for lunch, and a lot of the recipes are based on our original Yum Jars! And per meal, the price is actually cheaper than Yum Jars were. 

We still offer delivery in our EV, and can deliver outside our usual delivery zone on Fridays during the daytime, please just send us an email, as some places are out of our car's reach - the battery life determines the kms we can go, and from a full battery we can usually go about 135km, if we're not using motorways.

Thanks to everyone for supporting us in our journey over the years. Running a small business may be hard, but the gratitude and joy we receive back from customers makes it all so worthwhile.

Nga Mihi,

Ottilie Smith

Yum Jar Founder, Chef, Delivery Driver, and everything else!