In the last week, the foodtech SquareEat has been causing adverse reactions with its “cubed foods”. With the proposal to “facilitate the preparation and feeding” of its customers, the company sells, in practice, processed food and packaged in a different format. But for a part of the public, it’s disgusting — while others debate whether it’s practical or a waste of money.
The cubes, as explained by the company on their website, are not alternative foods and are not meal replacements: the chicken breast cube is actually chicken breast, with the addition of “some natural seasonings”. In the end, it’s just a new way to sell frozen food to those who don’t go to the market.
SquareEat follows a consolidated business model
SquarEat cubes are sold by one-time purchases or subscription. There are hundreds of companies that offer food subscription service — whether for those who don’t have time to cook or for those who are fond of cheese, wine or beer.
When investigating foodtech, it is noted that it does not sell itself as “revolutionary food”. In fact, even their marketing follows a basic positioning formula: practicality, health and Ecologically correct (Advanced, it is not). The extra is that the food is square because of the conservation method.
In the SquareEat FAQ, the company explains that the slow cooking technique with thermal shock preserves more nutrients in the food. For the The National Desk, Maria Laura Vacaflores, production director at foodtech, explained that the square format is more efficient when vacuum packaging the product. In this way, SquarEat manages to extend the shelf life of the food.
Is square food disgusting, practical or wasteful?
One of the points raised on Twitter about the quality of the food is that, by photo, the chicken cube looks gelatinous. In the “analysis” carried out by the The National Desk, the chicken has the normal texture of meat — and it tastes like chicken. Sausage, tofu, bologna, nuggets are not that different from the SquarEat product.
Still on the taste and texture, a quick search on YouTube shows other analyzes made by content producers. The Swell Entertainment channel highlights that the food has “normal taste”, while the youtuber Tyler Lloid, who received a package from SquarEat, praised the taste – but says that the business is not ecofriendly at all.
As much as the packaging is recycled, there is still all the environmental impact caused by transporting food and returning the thermal bag (SquarEat pays the costs of reshipping). Demand on recycling can prevent packages and boxes from being processed on time.
In fact, SquarEat provides practical food. For those who don’t have time to cook or need a quick meal, just heat the cubes in the microwave or fry them. As already explained, a chicken cube does not replace a meal, it is necessary to make all the cubes in the meal box. It has carbohydrate squares (rice and sweet potatoes are some of the options), protein (including vegan) and vegetables. The company still uses social networks to give tips on how to prepare the cubes.
If the food is salty, the same cannot be said for the prices. The cheapest meal box, weighing 270 g, with three cubes of protein, one of vegetables and two of carbohydrates, costs US$ 15.50 (R$ 81.14 in direct conversion), or six marmitex near my house.
The argument between practicality and waste of money seems to have a winner — at least if we imagine SquarEat operating in Brazil.