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Food Box Recipe Delivery Companies: Curated Grocery Shopping?

Introducing Food Box Recipe Delivery Companies:
Food box delivery companies are an extension of online grocery shopping. Instead of picking and choosing your grocery shop yourself, you are sent a curated box of healthy, natural or organic foods on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Some food box delivery companies allow you to choose a number of recipes that you want to cook over the next week and send you a food box with all the necessary ingredients and recipes to cook these meals. Other food box services focus on sending customers seasonal fruit, vegetables, meat or fish sourced locally without any recipes. Whatever the angle food box delivery companies take, they basically appeal to a wide variety of people, from time strapped professionals to healthy people who want to buy local and know where their fruits, vegetables and meat come from. The following blog will introduce some of the main food box recipe delivery companies operating in the UK.

 

HelloFresh Boxes.jpg

Source: hellofresh.co.uk

 

HelloFresh:
HelloFresh is the largest food box recipe delivery company and operates in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. It delivers over 11 million meals per month and has over 1.25 million customers. The company heavily promotes itself across the UK and even has a partnership with chef Jamie Oliver who has created recipes for HelloFresh. There are a selection of boxes to choose from (classic, veggie or family), as well different number of meals per box (3 to 5 meals to feed 2-4 people each), and a choice of 3 to 8 different recipes each week.


In the box, all the food is separated into different areas for fresh ingredients, chilled ingredients, heavy ingredients and so on. The recipes are highly rated by users and include both step by step text instructions and photos, as well as nutritional info. Users can choose their delivery time, as well as pause or cancel their subscription anytime. The starting price for a single HelloFresh meal starts from £4 per meal and rises up.

 

HelloFresh Risotto Recipe.jpg

Above: Hello Fresh weekly step by step recipe instructions with photos
Source: hellofresh.co.uk

 

Riverford Organic Farmers:
Riverford Organic differentiates itself by its focus on organic food. It started out as a simple vegetable box delivery service from the original farm in Devon. Now it has over 47,000 weekly customers. The service has less choice and flexibility than HelloFresh with 5 different recipe box types (original, quick, quick & light, vegetarian, vegetarian quick) that offer 2-3 different meals that serve 2 people each. The recipes are geared towards slightly rustic home cooking with some unusual ingredients. However, users are not given a choice in the weekly recipes. There have been some complaints that the weekly recipes often lack sufficient photos and can involve longer cooking times than suggested.


The starting prices for a single weekly box with Riverford Organic are £24.95 for 2 meals for 2 people or £33.95 for 3 meals for 2 people, which equates to roughly £5.66-£6.25 per meal. Riverford also offers organic fruit & salad boxes, vegetable boxes and meat boxes. As well, there are options to add individual ingredients such as fruit or vegetables to your recipe box.

 

Riverford Organic.jpg

Above: Riverford Organic weekly recipe choices
Source: riverford.co.uk

 

Mindful Chef:
Mindful Chef is a relatively newer competitor and all of their food is sourced from Devon and the West Country. It differentiates itself by focusing on ‘reducing your intake of gluten and that refined sugars and refined carbohydrates should be avoided’. Proteins are also prioritized over carbohydrates so there are no recipes with pasta, white rice or bread. The service is simpler than other competitors as you choose up to 5 meals from 12 different recipes and then choose how many people you are cooking for (1, 2 or 4). Unlike its competitors, Mindful Chef offers a meal choice for 1 person while most other food box recipe services offer meals that serve a minimum of 2 people.


The Mindful Chef food recipe box takes a different approach than its peers as their food box ingredients are already pre-divided into meals for you which saves valuable time. However, similar to Riverford Organic, Mindful Chef’s recipes have been critcised for lacking step by step photos, the complexity of some of their recipes and longer cooking times than suggested. The boxes are more expensive than their competitors and start from £9 per portion for a 1 person box and £6 per portion for a 4 person box.

 

Mindful Chef.jpg

Above: Mindful Chef weekly recipe choices
Source: mindfulchef.com

 

Personal Opinion:
I never really understood the need for food box delivery companies as I love going to the market every Saturday to buy fruits and vegetables, and I like to control what I eat and what ingredients go into my meals. My whole perspective and understanding of food box delivery services changed when I found out that a few of my friends were subscribing to food box delivery companies. One of my friends, who works in banking, works long hours, travels regularly and does not have much spare time. He appreciates the convenience of having fresh, healthy foods delivered to his home by HelloFresh which he can use to prepare with the recommended recipe. Another friend, who works in yoga, loves receiving a box of organic, natural foods direct from Riverford Organic Farms which she can use for various meals during the week.


It appears that food box delivery services appeal to different types of people from high income earners with limited time to people in the wellness industry interested in eating local, organic foods. The bottom line is that even if you do not have a personal interest in subscribing to food box recipe delivery services, you will probably be surprised by the number of your friends and acquaintances that have a need for these types of services. With the growing rise of millennials and the popularity of organic, natural foods, grocery shopping habits are going to continue to evolve with more people grocery shopping online and subscription food box recipe delivery services becoming more common.

 

Feedback From The giffgaff Community:
Do you order groceries online? Have you or would you be willing to try out a subscription food box recipe delivery service? Do you view food recipe boxes as a niche service for certain people or do you see wider consumer appeal?

 

Thanks for reading!
Jeff Elephant

 

Jeff Avatar - Nov 2016.jpg Jeff loves tech, wine, exercise and travel. He posts every Friday morning.


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6 Comments
veteran

There are local, organic alternatives, seem a good way to make mobey 😅💰. Wouldn't buy myself.

consultant

Not for me. I still do a weekly grocery shop at the supermarket. We did used to get the Riverside Vegetable Box a good few years ago. It started off okay, but the quality just seemed to tail off after a while and started getting the same veg week in week out but it may have had something to do with the seasons. I think the meal box are a great idea of those who are time poor/cash rich. To be able to cook fresh, healthy meals without speed dialling the local chinese, indian, kebab or pizza has got to be good. The HelloFresh look to be reasonable value and I may take a closer look at what they offer.

veteran

I don't like the idea of someone choosing what I am going to eat and what I have seen of the vegetarian options above they are unlikely to change my mind. Interesting blog though, thanks. Smiley Happy

exemplar
I would have thought there were cheaper options out there, however for those that have the money an are time poor - why not! Most of the big supermarkets now deliver at a time to suit you and you can chose organic product if you want.
enigma
Click to reveal

jeff_elephant wrote:

 

Introducing Food Box Recipe Delivery Companies:
Food box delivery companies are an extension of online grocery shopping. Instead of picking and choosing your grocery shop yourself, you are sent a curated box of healthy, natural or organic foods on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Some food box delivery companies allow you to choose a number of recipes that you want to cook over the next week and send you a food box with all the necessary ingredients and recipes to cook these meals. Other food box services focus on sending customers seasonal fruit, vegetables, meat or fish sourced locally without any recipes. Whatever the angle food box delivery companies take, they basically appeal to a wide variety of people, from time strapped professionals to healthy people who want to buy local and know where their fruits, vegetables and meat come from. The following blog will introduce some of the main food box recipe delivery companies operating in the UK.

 

  • HelloFresh Boxes.jpg

Source: hellofresh.co.uk

 

HelloFresh:
HelloFresh is the largest food box recipe delivery company and operates in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia. It delivers over 11 million meals per month and has over 1.25 million customers. The company heavily promotes itself across the UK and even has a partnership with chef Jamie Oliver who has created recipes for HelloFresh. There are a selection of boxes to choose from (classic, veggie or family), as well different number of meals per box (3 to 5 meals to feed 2-4 people each), and a choice of 3 to 8 different recipes each week.


In the box, all the food is separated into different areas for fresh ingredients, chilled ingredients, heavy ingredients and so on. The recipes are highly rated by users and include both step by step text instructions and photos, as well as nutritional info. Users can choose their delivery time, as well as pause or cancel their subscription anytime. The starting price for a single HelloFresh meal starts from £4 per meal and rises up.

 

HelloFresh Risotto Recipe.jpg

Above: Hello Fresh weekly step by step recipe instructions with photos
Source: hellofresh.co.uk

 

Riverford Organic Farmers:
Riverford Organic differentiates itself by its focus on organic food. It started out as a simple vegetable box delivery service from the original farm in Devon. Now it has over 47,000 weekly customers. The service has less choice and flexibility than HelloFresh with 5 different recipe box types (original, quick, quick & light, vegetarian, vegetarian quick) that offer 2-3 different meals that serve 2 people each. The recipes are geared towards slightly rustic home cooking with some unusual ingredients. However, users are not given a choice in the weekly recipes. There have been some complaints that the weekly recipes often lack sufficient photos and can involve longer cooking times than suggested.


The starting prices for a single weekly box with Riverford Organic are £24.95 for 2 meals for 2 people or £33.95 for 3 meals for 2 people, which equates to roughly £5.66-£6.25 per meal. Riverford also offers organic fruit & salad boxes, vegetable boxes and meat boxes. As well, there are options to add individual ingredients such as fruit or vegetables to your recipe box.

 

Riverford Organic.jpg

Above: Riverford Organic weekly recipe choices
Source: riverford.co.uk

 

Mindful Chef:
Mindful Chef is a relatively newer competitor and all of their food is sourced from Devon and the West Country. It differentiates itself by focusing on ‘reducing your intake of gluten and that refined sugars and refined carbohydrates should be avoided’. Proteins are also prioritized over carbohydrates so there are no recipes with pasta, white rice or bread. The service is simpler than other competitors as you choose up to 5 meals from 12 different recipes and then choose how many people you are cooking for (1, 2 or 4). Unlike its competitors, Mindful Chef offers a meal choice for 1 person while most other food box recipe services offer meals that serve a minimum of 2 people.


The Mindful Chef food recipe box takes a different approach than its peers as their food box ingredients are already pre-divided into meals for you which saves valuable time. However, similar to Riverford Organic, Mindful Chef’s recipes have been critcised for lacking step by step photos, the complexity of some of their recipes and longer cooking times than suggested. The boxes are more expensive than their competitors and start from £9 per portion for a 1 person box and £6 per portion for a 4 person box.

 

Mindful Chef.jpg

Above: Mindful Chef weekly recipe choices
Source: mindfulchef.com

 

Personal Opinion:
I never really understood the need for food box delivery companies as I love going to the market every Saturday to buy fruits and vegetables, and I like to control what I eat and what ingredients go into my meals. My whole perspective and understanding of food box delivery services changed when I found out that a few of my friends were subscribing to food box delivery companies. One of my friends, who works in banking, works long hours, travels regularly and does not have much spare time. He appreciates the convenience of having fresh, healthy foods delivered to his home by HelloFresh which he can use to prepare with the recommended recipe. Another friend, who works in yoga, loves receiving a box of organic, natural foods direct from Riverford Organic Farms which she can use for various meals during the week.


It appears that food box delivery services appeal to different types of people from high income earners with limited time to people in the wellness industry interested in eating local, organic foods. The bottom line is that even if you do not have a personal interest in subscribing to food box recipe delivery services, you will probably be surprised by the number of your friends and acquaintances that have a need for these types of services. With the growing rise of millennials and the popularity of organic, natural foods, grocery shopping habits are going to continue to evolve with more people grocery shopping online and subscription food box recipe delivery services becoming more common.

 

Feedback From The giffgaff Community:
Do you order groceries online? Have you or would you be willing to try out a subscription food box recipe delivery service? Do you view food recipe boxes as a niche service for certain people or do you see wider consumer appeal?

 

Thanks for reading!
Jeff Elephant

@jeff_elephant I have looked at three different companies - tried 'Hello Fresh' and get emails from Riverford. You don't mention 'Abel & Cole' (an organic supplier) which is one I have used now for about 4-5 months. I have never tried Riverford, as it did not appear to offer me benefits other than being organic.

I have had offers from Lloyds Bank 'Everyday Offers' which give cashback if you spend at the specific supplier by a certain date - as long as you use your Lloyds Bank Debit or Credit card to pay. I started to use Abel & Cole that way.

 

The most recent one I received from this genre was from 'Hello Fresh' and it offered me 50% cashback if I ordered. 

 

Hello Fresh: my experience.

  • I looked on the website, following the link from my Lloyds Bank account. I started to register, but didn't see anything I thought I would find easy to cook, and it was relatively expensive as you are buying quite a few recipes at once.
  • I then saw a link online to have first recipe box for half price, so I clicked.
  • There was no way to see which recipes were available without going through the checkout process.
  • I therefore went through, and paid for a recipe box to be delivered last Tuesday.
  • Then I saw the available recipes. It looks like you don't really get a choice, and each meal serves 2-4 people - the cheapest per meal is 'Family Box' which serves 2 adults/2 children. But you need to order the three set meals. Even with any variation, I could not see myself cooking any of the suggested meals.

 

  • Delivery required you to have a safe place if not in; could be left with a neighbour you didn't know; as I live in a buzzer-controlled apartment block, if I was not in, there was no way to let me know where it was left if they could not get access, and their posted policy was not very helpful. You could lose your meals without refund if there was a problem.

 

  • I managed to cancel my subscription online, but it said my final box would be delivered last Tuesday.
  • I made a telephone call and managed to request a refund, and cancel the paid for trial.

 

  • It is very difficult to find meals suitable for dietary difficulties. Minimum number of meals each week is three, serving too many people if you live alone or with a partner and you are not big eaters and haven't got a large refrigerator.
  • I was not prepared to sign up for a 'weekly' service.

 

Abel & Cole: my experience.

  • Lloyds Bank Everyday Offers offered me 20% cashback on my first order; I followed the link to the website.

 

  • Once on the website there was an "introductory offer" of Free cookbook with first recipe box order, and fourth recipe box free. You could swap recipes by paying extra if required (or less) from the recipes available that week; mix and match.
  • You can choose just ingredients, cooked meals, veg box, fruit box, individual items
  • They deliver on a set day each week (for your area) to reduce environmental impact, with a named driver, and send reminder email and SMS on last ordering day for your delivery day each week, even if you don't have an order.
  • Unless you change it by the deadline, they send you the appropriate number of recipes (they select).
  • Delivery charge flat rate £1.25 per delivery.

 

  • You could choose frequency to weekly/fortnightly/4-weekly so I chose to have my recipe box every four weeks.
  • Each Organic Recipe serves two people, includes all ingredients except salt/pepper/olive oil, which you are assumed to have in your cupboard already. The ingredients are pre-measured for you. The recipe card gives good instructions but does not give photos of each step.
  • By default, the box contains three recipes, but you can add or delete. Minimum recipes per order is now one.
  • The recipes cost £12/£13/£14 each depending on which category they fall into.
  • I actually chose to have 4-weekly deliveries, to give me time to see if I could manage to cook the recipes.
  • My first order, I chose 4 recipes, extra courgettes, a cooked meal, and some Pukka ginger teabags on special offer.

 

  • They come in a box lined with wool and with cool ice packs to keep cool, with everything environmentally friendly. They want the packaging back and will recycle other bags as well.

 

  • I took the ingredients/recipe cards to my daughter's house, to make a meal for all of us. The free cookbook includes information about ingredients as well as some basic recipes, and a bit about the history of the company.
  • Some of the recipes took longer than expected due to needing to learn new preparation techniques.
  • The flavour was really exciting and I enjoyed the experience. 

 

  • Four weeks later, I ordered three the same, as I was feeding six/seven of us. 
  • A 4-weekly interval suits me, particularly since I can order a single recipe for two people. 
  • My fourth delivery was four recipes (2x two different recipes) - £52 worth for only the £1.25 cost of delivery.
  • My default number of recipes is now 1 (£13 + £1.25) and my latest was 2nd October. 
  • I chose which recipe I wanted from those offered, by the deadline.

 

I enjoy the food more, it being organic. I find it hard to get out and about as I am physically challenged, so it is convenient. I wouldn't have space to store large quantities of fresh ingredients and it supplies me with just the correct amount of seasoning for the recipe without my needing to pay over the odds for something I might never use again. I use it like a treat!

 

I don't order from supermarkets online, but I trust Abel & Cole and have been pleased. If anyone wants to be referred, send me PM and I can get a link for you.

 

Jes

 

 

 

 

 

Wow. Would love new recipes. 

Gets boring making the same old stuff