Review: New York Mouth

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Introduction

When I met New York Mouth founders Craig Kanarick (CEO) and Sam Murray (COO) at a Tech Cocktail Week talk in Las Vegas their mission couldn’t be simpler: to introduce the world to Indie Food – gourmet food products made by people and not companies, small batch, organic and locally sourced, all available by mail order anywhere in the US.

I used their mobile website to browse through various the various snacks, chocolate, cured meats, spices, coffee & tea and condiments that make up their current catalogue. It became readily apparent that their passion for foodie treats goes beyond their business model; the little wooden tasting spoon logo is not a coincidence. Craig’s reaction to my carefully chosen shopping cart: “Take out the Spinach & Artichoke dip – it’s good but you can get that anywhere. Try the French Onion Confit instead!”

The Shopping Experience

I’ll just come out and say it – these guys get product photography. Each item gets a gorgeous top-down, high resolution image perfectly isolated against a white background. The focus is on the product and made me want to order far more than balanced, rational people do.

Shopping-Experience

The presentation is well suited to a desktop or tablet but hasn’t yet been optimised for mobile. Unlike the desktop experience, there wasn’t a way to browse individual product categories, and each super sized product shot took up my entire screen. Thank heavens for search. Checkout was a little fiddly, though it was no worse than most other mobile purchasing experiences in this regard.

The Package

A couple of days later I received a package with “New York Mouth” stencilled on the outside. Inside, little touches like a canvas tote bag, personal thank-you card, and individually-wrapped items underlined an attention to detail that’s been apparent throughout the experience. (Check out the gallery at the top of this article for photos.)

The Economics of Mail Order Food Remain a Challenge

So here’s the thing. Mailing perishable goods across the country isn’t ideal. My order included a Chocolate Salami and some Almond and Salt Dark Chocolate, so 4-day ground shipping ($10, free for orders over $50) was out. I had to add an $8 cool bag and pay $40 for expedited 2-day refrigerated shipping. When I’m paying a premium price for gourmet products (5 items came to $58), it just doesn’t make sense to pay almost double just to get it to me. (Disclosure: Craig and Sam upgraded my shipping at no cost.)

Even with 2-day shipping, the Nevada heat had led to some melting. While it was nothing an air conditioned apartment couldn’t fix, when perishable goods spend hours sitting in the back of a warm UPS truck there is the potential for spoilage as well as changes in taste and texture.

The Food

In addition to the chocolate I’d ordered Bacon Popcorn, Whole Grain Mustard, and French Onion Confit. The highlight was undoubtedly the Chocolate Salami – the dates and figs giving it a rich chewiness quite unlike regular chocolate. The Bacon Popcorn was balanced well, with the smoky bacon overtones the perfect complement to the sweet caramel crunch of the popcorn. Oh, and Craig was right about the French Onion Confit.

Wrap Up

New York Mouth is a fantastic concept currently held back by logistics. The service makes a lot sense for New Yorkers and those in nearby states (who can take advantage of free local shipping). The rest of us will have to stick to non-refrigerated items until New York Mouth expands and gets more localised distribution.