I mean, have you been to a supermarket in the last few days? Despite supermarkets urging shoppers not to panic-buy amid concern over coronavirus, people continue to do so. So what are your alternatives? Let’s start with some of the best recipe box delivery services available in London…
Lead image: Mindful Chef
I’ve been a Hello Fresh customer for years and I love it. Having everything neatly packaged up and delivered to your doorstep is brilliant. If you hate trips to the supermarket, hate meal planning, lack confidence in the kitchen or are just stuck in a rut when it comes to meal times – I’m guilty of all four – then recipe boxes are a God-send.
But which one’s right for you? Well, it depends what you’re looking for…
1 Hello Fresh
Trustpilot rating: 4/5 (68% excellent)
Hello Fresh is ideal for those who are less than talented in the kitchen. The recipe cards are clear and concise, and most of the ingredients are measured out for you. I subscribe to a box of three meals for two people once a month, at a cost of £34.99, and for that week we eat like kings. The ingredients are top notch (the meat is always notably far superior to that we pick up form the supermarket), there are tonnes of meal choices – from family options, premium options, healthy options and rapid options to dinner-to-lunch recipes for those who love leftovers, wine, sides and dessert add-ons – and some dietary requirements flexibility (although these could be better, to be honest). All in all, I love it.
2 Abel & Cole
Trustpilot rating: 4.6/5 (71% excellent)
For those more blessed with cookery skills, there’s Abel & Cole recipe boxes. You can choose any combination of recipes in any quantity each week – there are 15 new recipes each week, and you can order just one, or you can order all 15. Choose from Simple recipes that only take half an hour, to Light recipes under 550 calories a portion, and a full range of vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as slightly more complex Foodie recipes when you have a bit more time. Recipes are designed to serve two, but you can double up if you want to feed four, or order the One Pot Wonder to feed six, or the Slow Cook, which serves four. Prices start from £6 a plate. I’ve tried Abel & Cole too and didn’t get great results from it, but I genuinely believe that to be a user error issues, so don’t let my kitchen clumsiness put you off.
3 Riverford Organic
Trustpilot rating: 4.8/5 (88% excellent)
Riverford is known for its veggie boxes. The Riverford box scheme began when Guy Watson started delivering vegetables locally to 30 friends in Devon. These days, they send out some 47,000 boxes a week to homes around the UK from regional farms. You can bag yourself a veg box, a meat box, boxes of wine, and all sorts of dairy produce, fruit and eggs. There are, of course, recipe boxes too, with 12 recipes to choose from every week, from which you can order just one recipe kit, or 12 recipe kits (but you’ll save 5% when you buy two recipes, and 10% when you buy three or more). Prices range from £11.20 per meal for two for vegan recipes, to prime cuts recipes from £15.70 per meal for two, and from £17.95 per family for family meals, which includes classics such as classic lamb shepherd’s pie and mild mixed bean chilli.
4 The Detox Kitchen
Trustpilot rating: 4.4/5 (73% excellent)
Then you get your more health-orientated recipe box delivery services like The Detox Kitchen, which sends you three square meals a day, plus snacks, all wheat, dairy and refined sugar-free and designed to leave you more energised and less stressed. Select from 10 meal plans in three categories: Cleanse, ranging from 1,000-1,500 calories in green, protein, vegan and green with protein varieties; Maintain, ranging from 1,500-2,000 calories in vegan and active varieties; and Flexi, in green, protein, vegan and green with protein. As you might expect, this one sits at the pricier end of the spectrum – you can choose any length program from three days, with prices ranging from £19.55 per day to £39.10 per day – but I was really impressed by it. You get tonnes of carefully considered, plant-based and nutritionally balanced food, more than I could eat on some days (and I’m a hungry girl), and it genuinely is delicious – full of flavour, colour and goodness. My only irk with this one is that there are a lot of little pots of things, and while it’s all recycled plastic, I’d still rather have less of it.
5 Mindful Chef
Trustpilot rating: 5/5 (84% excellent)
Mindful Chef, launched in 2015 by Myles Hopper and Giles Humphries, is a healthy recipe box delivery service designed to make eating well easier for time-poor Londoners. Ideal for those looking for a cleaner, leaner diet, the kits include no refined carbs – high-carb fillers such as pasta or bread make way for gluten-free, dairy-free, fresh produce. Each recipe and ingredient used is scrutinised by Mindful Chef co-founder, personal trainer and nutritional coach Myles Hopper, who works closely with reputable nutritionists and chefs to create varied, balanced recipes with simple-to-follow instructions. You’ll get a weekly box containing 2-5 healthy recipes (there are 16 to choose from), the meat is 100% grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and UK-landed fresh fish, and for every meal you buy, they donate a school meal to a child in poverty. Starting from two recipes for £22 (prices depend on the ingredients, so vegetarian meals, for example, will be cheaper than meat-based meals).
Trustpilot rating: 4.4/5 (70% excellent)
Gousto recipe boxes are super reasonably priced, with recipe box prices starting at £24.99, with two recipes for two people, reaching £47.75 for a family box (two adults and two-three children) with four recipes. I haven’t tried this one, but at those prices, I’m thinking of giving it a go. You can choose from 40 recipes a week, which is a lot more than the other recipe boxes. There are more categories than the other services too, with meat, fish and vegetarian options, as well as dairy-free, gluten-free and plant-based recipes, 10-minute meals, everyday favourites and healthy choices. Gusto has also cut its plastic use in half over the last year. This little box has a lot to give!