We find out why people love ‘direct to door’ food subscriptions, whether you're looking to eat healthily, explore new recipes or go organic.

A happy medium between cooking from scratch and ready meals, the recipe box model has become a huge success for busy UK cooks. But what is it about the ‘direct to door’ food subscriptions that people love?

Firstly, its great when you get into a meal prep rut, cooking the same dishes over and over again. It magically negates the ‘standing in the supermarket aisles waiting for inspiration to strike’ woes, whilst allowing you to cook outside your comfort zone, knowing it is a tried and tested recipe. Contrary to assumptions, it can actually cut down on food wastage – ensuring you have all the ingredients you need and no more. Gone are the days of buying an obscure spice, only to use a teaspoon’s worth and leave the rest at the back of the cupboard.

Most delivery schemes work hard to make all their packaging recyclable, too – with many of them going plastic-free altogether. Whether you’ve looking to eat healthily, explore new world cuisines or go organic – we’ve reviewed a range of recipe delivery boxes to try this autumn.

Hello Fresh


A great one for beginners, or those looking for fool-proof mid-week meals, choose your Hello Fresh meals – from family favourites to balanced, calorie-counted recipes – and each meal is delivered in a colour coded bag, with pre-portioned ingredients ready to go and a handy, photographic step-by-step recipe card. Great for taking the guess work, or prep out of healthy, family mealtimes.

Gousto


Gousto’s range of 40 meals to pick from means you won’t get bored; there’s ‘10-min meals’ for quick mid-week dinners, ‘everyday favourites’ such as curries, lasagne and cottage pie, plus a ‘healthy eating’ menu devised by Joe Wicks, if you are on a health food kick. You can choose from 2-4 recipes a week, for 2 people, up to a family of 5. The Gousto blog is full of more recipes to try if you’ve caught the cooking bug, plus great family nutrition tips and news on their sustainability steps towards plastic-free delivery.

Simply Cook


Simply Cook is exactly that – cooking made simple. Nifty recipe kits are delivered through your letterbox (there are 100 to choose from, so you shouldn’t get bored!) – then all you need to do is pick up 4-6 fresh ingredients to whip up authentic, global dishes in around 20 minutes. The portion-perfect herbs, spices, oils and condiments elevate basic ingredients to something extra special – try everything from Malay Laksa to Iranian Vegetable Stew and Cuban Prawn Pasta.

Riverford


If you’re looking to go organic, the award-winning, Devon-based vegetable delivery box scheme, Riverford, also offer a recipe box, too. Choose from a dozen vegan, vegetarian or meat-based meals and they will deliver to your door just the right amount of seasonal ingredients to make some delicious, hearty recipes. They use no air freight, 100% organic ingredients and re-use their delivery packaging up to 10 times, making them one of the most sustainable recipe box companies we found. Their YouTube channel is also a great source of ‘how to videos’ and new, seasonal recipes to try out.

Little Cooks


Little Cooks is less of a meal-box delivery, but one to entice ‘Little Cooks’ into the kitchen. A monthly subscription will deliver all the dry ingredients you need to make a healthy (refined sugar-free) snack, with age-appropriate skills needed to ensure even the smallest hands can have a go. There’s also a dinner recipe card to inspire and free gifts, such as fruit and veg seeds to grow your own. Great for getting kids inspired and involved in the kitchen from the word go.

Abel & Cole

With 15 new seasonal recipes to choose from each week, Abel & Cole’s recipe box will keep you on your culinary toes. With 100% organic or wild ingredients, be as daring as you like with simple, seasonal recipes or ‘foodie’ options for the more advanced. With 30 years’ experience in the organic fruit and veg delivery business, Abel & Cole know their onions and deliver tasty, seasonal recipes that are as wholesome as they are delicious, in 100% returnable or recyclable packaging.

Mindful Chef


Mindful Chef have cornered the market in healthy meal delivery. With investors including Andy Murray and Victoria Pendleton, their nutritionist-devised recipes are free from gluten, dairy and refined carbs, yet still pack a punch on flavour. Taking the guess work out of nutrient-rich meals, the flexible delivery scheme allows you to order meals as and when you need them - great for busy, on-the-go households. Mindful Chef has also donated 1,000,623 meals through the charity One Feeds Two, with every meal purchased they donate a school meal to a child in poverty. Good for you, whilst doing good too.

Pasta Evangelists


If you’re looking for a quick, crowd-pleaser – Pasta Evangelists will have a restaurant standard bowl of pasta on the table in 5 mins. More of an assembly box, the carb-crazy Pasta Evangelists deliver the fresh pasta, sauces and finishing touches you need in a letterbox-friendly box. Backed by the likes of food critic Giles Coren and cookery school doyen, Prue Leith – you know you’re in for authentic, Italian fare, without being a slave to the kitchen.

Feast Box


If you’re looking for something a bit more global – Feast Box focusses on Middle Eastern and authentic Asian recipes in its 12-strong weekly menu. Delivering all the ingredients you need – including hard to source herbs and spices – you will learn new skills, discover exotic ingredients and taste the world, all from your kitchen table.

Fish for Thought


Cornish recipe box delivery company, Fish for Thought delivers just what the South West does best – fresh, delicious seafood to your door. Delivering freshly-caught fish, as well as all the other ingredients you’ll need for recipes such as Tandoori marinated haddock; roast gurnard with carrot and parsnip mash and fried whiting with Thai tartare sauce. A great change from traditional recipe boxes and one that will reignite your passion for the spoils of the sea.

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