As more and more of us opt to stay-in than go out for a meal, the popularity of recipe boxes delivered straight to the door has never been more alluring. And there have been many that have appeared over the last few years, even specialising in particular things, like start up Oddbox (fruit and veg ‘saved’ from the supermarket) and Pasta Evangelists (it sells pasta, duh). Personally, I think it’s a one up from my favourite takeaway when I know exactly what’s in it and I’m learning a recipe with minimal risk of failure. Life is too short and we are too hungry for that. And you don’t have to ask your partner multiple times what they feel like eating, because they’ve already chosen. Arguably, the best part of weekly food deliveries is that all of them have a sustainability angle, focusing on local farms or doing their best to cut carbon emissions. When 30% of food produced globally goes to waste, all are hoping to reduce this figure. Here are the recipe subscription boxes to try next time you’re hankering for a new dish.
ODDBOX is a London based fruit and veg delivery box. I know, yet another one. But what sets this apart is its determination to reduce as much as possible – not just food waste (estimated 30% of all food produced is thrown out, globally) but carbon emissions too. This subscription based service operates after dark, which means it’s friendlier to the environment and there’s no awkward doorstep interaction as you collect your fresh produce. Win win.
Boxes start at £9.45 a week with veg only for one to two people and £11.49 for fruit and veg, for the same sized household. Having used them for over a month now, I’m loving the assortment that’s challenging me to be more creative with my cooking. I’d never usually go for parsnips or leeks in my weekly food shop but it’s helped me eat more plant-based meals, which I’ve been aiming to do.
Where have you been if you haven’t heard of Hello Fresh? It works on a subscription box basis that also tailors to families, vegetarians and those of us that want a hot meal within 20 minutes of getting through the door. The company tries to source locally and operates on a ‘field to fork’ basis, with a menu that changes on a weekly basis. Expect things like beef ragu rigatoni and crispy skin chicken breast – the only downside is you’ll be able to pick from their selection of 20 recipes after you’ve committed to the service.
Boxes are tailored to two people, with a minimum of three recipes per week, starting at £5 per serving for a meat and veggie box. HelloFresh has free daytime delivery, which is always a plus and from my experience, I find their produce to be better quality than most major supermarkets. The sustainable angle comes from the perfect portion sizes, where nothing needs to be wasted as it’s pre-measured. As a petite woman, I found it to be ample and more than often, half was enough for lunch. I’m most excited about the wine and desserts that’s been added recently!
Name one person that doesn’t love pasta, we challenge you. As we bask in the silence that’s ensued, let’s talk about this food subscription startup, Pasta Evangelists. It delivers everyone’s favourite carb all around the nation, through the letterbox. As it’s fresh, it’ll cook in under five minutes and can be frozen for a later date! At the moment, there aren’t obvious options for those who avoid gluten or with specific allergies.
The minimum order is two portions per week, although I was very tempted to get more. There are a lot of discount codes floating about now, particularly on the website itself but recipes like wild mushroom ravioli with truffle butter and hazelnuts go for £8.60 a pop. Then there’s the fettucine with Nduja, Amalfi lemon (not just any old citrus!) and mascarpone at £7.80 a portion. Not bad considering something like that would set you back £12-15 at a standard London restaurant. And you won’t have to wait as long or leave the house. This is gourmet cooking with the least amount of effort.
At the time of writing, Pasta Evangelists have announced Pasta Care Packages that can be sent to your loved ones and with every purchase, they donate £5 to Age UK, a charity that supports the elderly.
Simply Cook has recipe boxes for beef Massaman curry, Sichuan dan dan noodles and vegetable jalfrezi. Out of all the subscription options out there, this has the largest array of international cuisine. Trial boxes start from just £3 for four meals (regular weekly price is £6.99) for two people. Some of us don’t like the commitment!
Abel & Cole
The organic grocer Abel & Cole has been delivering fresh goods to Londoners, long before 30 minute deliveries were a thing. Their recipe boxes reflect that heritage: lots of recipes that will rival the menu at your local pub. Working with British farmers to supply their produce, they’re also low-plastic with returnable packaging, and deliver to each neighbourhood once a week to reduce emissions.
Like the name suggests, this recipe box service highlights holistic wellness. For example, instead of delivering white carbohydrates, like bread and pasta, they opt to create recipes packed with veggies instead. The feel-good mentality continues in their charitable activation, whereby each meal sold means a child in poverty is fed at school for free. We also like that Mindful Chef highlights their British suppliers and compared to its competitors, provide much more information about who they are.
As for their recipes, they’ve included the cooking times and calorie count, making it one of the most ideal recipe subscription boxes to try for those that are time-poor and want to eat healthier. While the menu is more curated than the others on this list, it still whets the appetite – think crispy cod and sweet potato fries or salmon with coconut and lime rice. Also different to the other services, there are options for individual households with a minimum of three recipes per week (approximately £31).
This six year old recipe box company has extensive options on the menu. It’s like bringing Deliveroo into the home – especially as some of the meals take just 10 minutes to club together. These delivery services are trying to reduce food waste and help their customers lead a more sustainable lifestyle, Gousto is no different. The website actively shares all the ways they’re cutting down on plastic and working with suppliers that share the same mentality.
You can expect Hoisin chicken wraps, king prawn paella with lemon aioli or mozzarella, avocado and sesame salad for dinner. Each of the recipes also let you know how many of your five a day you’ll be getting! At the moment, they’re unable to take on new customers but it’s one to watch out for once they’re able to supply the current demand.
If you love to check out small businesses, check out Orasay next time you plan date night.