If you open our fridge, you will invariably find a variety of ice cream tubs, mostly with mismatched lids, all filled with various bits of leftovers, some of which have been shoved to the back and forgotten about so long that they've turned into science projects ! I have bought proper food storage boxes before but they don't seem much better - the plastic often "soaks up" the orange colour of things like spaghetti sauce so they never look really clean or the lids get all warped and don't fit properly after they've been through the dishwasher a few times. Unsurprisingly, the leftovers look less than appetising when you come back to them (which is why they sometimes turn into science projects at the back of the fridge !).
Well, Vacufresh promise to "keep your food fresher for longer", so when they offered me a storage box for review, I thought I'd see what all the fuss was about. The main difference leaps straight out at you - it's got a big green button that you press repeatedly to get all the air out. Obvious really with a name like Vacufresh but I hadn't given it much thought - after all, who knows where the name Tupperware comes from ?!
OK, time to look at the instructions - yes, really ! It may only be a food storage box but it's a bit high-tech and is a bit confusing the first time you use it ! Right, what do they say ? "The patented vacuum pump system removes up to 30% of the air in the container reducing the ability of some bacteria to breed whilst also slowing down the oxidisation process, keeping your food fresher for longer." Well, I gaily pumped the green button up and down a few times but wasn't really sure if I was getting anywhere ! Ah, there's a little green pressure valve just next to the big green pump-button and if you pull it up, you hear a big hiss as all the air rushes back in - that's a bit clever ! Shows it really works too.
Another really clever bit is that you can twist around the day and month dials to mark the date you put the container in the fridge. No more pulling out a random tub and trying to remember, with a tentative sniff, when you ate it and how long it has been sitting in the fridge ! That's got to be better for your health.
Every time I've used my Vacufresh container, the food has come out in perfect condition - even for things like cooked rice or pasta that have a tendency to dry out a bit when they sit in the fridge for a day or two. It's also great for storing smelly things like stinky cheese, if you don't want a pongy fridge. I used it for taking a packed lunch to work the other day and my sandwiches seemed so much fresher than usual - no curly edges to the bread and no soggy bits ! So yes, I have to say, I am impressed and they do seem to live up to their claims.
My one minor criticism is that you don't really know how long you can safely store food for. The website claims that "food stored in a Vacufresh container will stay fresh for a dramatically extended time period" but knowing just how long that is is a bit haphazard. It would be good to have a rough guide of how long different cooked or raw foods can be safely stored in the low-pressure containers.
The containers are very kitchen-friendly too, coming in a choice or round or rectangular tubs in a variety of sizes. They are stackable, microwavable and dishwasher-safe. They certainly work a lot better than recycled ice cream tubs anyway !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : from £11.99 for a 1 litre round box (the one that I tested)
for more information and to buy online : http://www.thelivingcompany.co.uk/departments/00020560405/vacufresh.aspx