Lunch in a jar: Cape Town’s healthy meal deliveries are better for the planet

For serving everything from oats to mash, salads to soups, artisan cocktails to milkshakes, the trendy glass jar is the (often inconvenient) vessel of choice of cool chefs, hip bartenders and Instagram foodies around the world. (Read our roundup of other dining disasters here.) But Pinterest boards aside, the jar, as a hygienic, reusable container to transport food and keep it fresh, has undeniable merits. Cape Town’s Tanya Vee and Ella Bertie-Roberts are using the iconic Console jar to rethink fast, convenient lunches at your desk.

Prompted by their daily struggle to find healthy, convenient and affordable food near their offices, their start-up, JarBar, makes daily deliveries of vibrant soups and salads in, you guessed it, jars, to the desk bound in Cape Town. “We both come from busy agency backgrounds,” explains Tanya, “and, being health conscious, we found lunchtimes to be filled with frustration as most cafés and restaurants in business areas don’t offer free-range meat products, healthier choices tend to be pricey, and vegetarian options are limited.”

So the pair spotted an opportunity and launched JarBar in August last year while they were both still working full-time. The response was overwhelming and they quit their day jobs to commit to their food business. Catering for vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters, the healthy ingredients in the soups and salads don’t contain hormones, preservatives, GMOs, “bad” oils or sugar.

Not only does JarBar offer wholesome and convenient lunches for busy professionals, it also focuses on sustainability. JarBar supports ethical farming practices by only using pasture-raised meat. Because clients order online in advance, all fresh produce is purchased and used based on actual requirements, significantly reducing food wastage. And those jars mean less packaging and less overall environmental impact: glass, unlike plastic that retains food odours, is infinitely reusable. Deposits incentivise clients to return their jars, which are washed and sterilised and ready to be used again. Plus they keep food fresher: the lids are rubberised, preventing oxygen from breaking the seal.

“The jars sell themselves!” says Tanya. “Everywhere we go, people see the full, colourful jars and want to know what they are, how much and where from!” The vibrant layering is not just for show: salads are carefully layered to keep the ingredients fresher for longer. According to the JarBar team, the dressing goes at the bottom with the ingredients that need to soak it up, then the remaining ingredients are stacked, with the leaves forming the final layer so they don’t come into contact with the dressing. Then, when you tip it out, you have a perfectly layered salad with a bed of fresh crispy leaves.

All jars are made fresh every day and delivered in the Cape Town CBD and surrounds between 8am and 12.30pm daily. If there are four or more orders from the same office on the same day, delivery on your next order is free. (Otherwise there’s a R5 delivery fee per jar.) Salads and soups range from R45 to R60 and you can pay via EFT or SnapScan. To find out more and place your order online, visit

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