This article is perhaps even more relevant now, than it was when I wrote it. With supermarket shelves emptying almost faster than staff and farmers are managing to fill, smaller independent businesses often run by farmers themselves could be the answer. Whether it’s a pint of fresh milk each morning, a crate of wonky veg or measured ingredients and an easy-to-follow recipe card, there are now numerous subscription services poised to deliver delicious UK produce direct to your door.
We all lead busy lives. Whether it’s raising children, running a farm or working full time, sometimes cooking from scratch each evening can feel a further chore and despite even the best intentions buying fresh fruit and vegetables can be expensive. Just as we all managed to squeeze in our five-a-day, experts are suggesting we should in fact be striving for seven or even ten pieces of fruit or vegetables each day, which frankly sounds like a tall order, even for the most health-conscious of us!
There is no doubt that eating fruit and vegetables has a positive impact on your health both physically and mentally, and so perhaps choosing to opt in to one of these schemes may be the helping hand you need. Most offer different sizes of box, along with varying delivery frequencies to choose from, whether you’re looking for a daily solution or are considering starting off with just one a week, there are a good number of options.
It’s helpful to note that each brand tends to specialise in different areas, so first decide what is most important to you. Perhaps you are passionate about consuming produce free from pesticides, or you are determined to do away with single-use plastics? Beyond veg, you may want organic meat delivered to your door; or is a complete recipe box filled with everything you need for a wholesome meal for four, the ideal?
I received a Press Release from my friends at Zambuni PR informing me about an initiative being run by The British Game Alliance (BGA) amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. The BGA, a not-for-profit organisation working to promote feathered game meat in the UK, is supporting its ‘BGA assured’ stockists who are assisting people around the country during the self-isolation period of the COVID-19 crisis. Following the recent Government guidance around social distance and staying at home, BGA stockists Wild & Game, The Meat Box Company, The Pie Life and Willo Game will deliver quality assured wild game meat to your doorstep as an alternative to going to the supermarket.
Whatever it is you are after we’ve handpicked a variety of homegrown boxes to give you an idea of what is on the market: *It is important to appreciate that many of these companies have experienced a sharp increase in demand due to the COVID-19 outbreak, so availability may be affected as a result.
Riverford Organic’s – Seasonal Veg Box
Eating seasonal produce, grown in Britain is a hot topic that Guy Watson of Riverford Organic is on a mission to cater to. Riverford’s medium seasonal 100% organic veg box is ideal for 2-3 people, is £15.35 and packed with eight varieties of freshly-picked seasonal veg. The veg is grown, picked, packed and delivered fresh from Riverford’s farms. What’s even better is, if you leave your Riverford packaging out before your delivery, they’ll collect this for re-use and recycling. You can opt in for a weekly, fortnightly or one-off delivery.
Abel & Co’s – Glorious Game Box
This is an absolute game-changer (get it?) when it comes to welcoming more game into the British households. Whilst Abel & Co offer a wide range of fruit and veg boxes too, the game box includes three cuts of wild game sustainably sourced from Hampshire woodland estates. The contents varies from pigeon to partridge and venison to rabbit, dependent on the season. Delivery options are weekly, fortnightly or every three, four or eight weeks. The price for this box is £15, during the order process you can also add in your weekly essentials from milk and fresh bread to household essentials, toiletries and even pet food.
Oddbox – Small Veg Box
Currently Oddbox only delivers to London postcodes, so for those living or working in town, this one is for you. The small veg box is £9.45 and is ideal for individuals and couples, packed with seven varieties of locally-produced seasonal vegetables. According to Oddbox the box saves on average 3kgs of CO2 emissions and over 500 litres of water compared with produce bought in-store. Hugely passionate about tackling imperfect food waste, Oddbox also share a wealth of information on their lovely website, which in itself is worth a look at.
The Ethical Butcher – The new guys on the block
Founders Farshad, who has been in the meat industry for over 15 years and Glen, who is an ex vegetarian, have created an engaging, ethical and varied brand designed with farmers in mind. Under the ethos that ‘eating meat shouldn’t cost the earth’, many of Ethical Butcher’s farmers have measured a net loss of carbon as a result of the
methods they employ, helping improve soil health and combating climate change. Offering, beef, poultry, pork, lamb/mutton, game and the less usual goat, these guys really are men on a mission.
With some fantastic informative and stunning short films on their website, EB are a meat delivery box with a difference, the brand works with 15 British farms to offer top quality, sustainably sourced, delicious produce available at the click of a button.
Breakfast is hailed as the most important meal of the day, but it is one I typically skip as I tell myself ‘I’m too busy.’ The contents of this box changes throughout the year to feature fruit and vegetables that are in season and avoids ‘pointless plastic’. At £15 a box you can start your day in an eco-conscious and delicious way. Our assistant editor Kate is a huge fan of their traditional milkman service provided by local milkman Andy, who also collects the glass empties each week, whilst Hollie’s milkman has been delivering to the local area for over 17 years on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning before 7am.
Mindful Chef ’s Recipe Boxes
More than just a box, Mindful Chef is marketing a lifestyle. With no commitment or tie-in you can skip a box or cancel your subscription of weekly deliveries at anytime. With recipes changing weekly, you can handpick the recipes you want to receive for the coming week. A quick look offered 16 recipes to choose from including hot smoked salmon kedgeree using traditionally smoked Scottish salmon; a grass-fed heritage breed Yorkshire beef and mushroom burger with carrot fries and chicken laksa using free-range Norfolk chicken, as well as a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. Users can also select recipes fit for a family which bring up a variety of different options to cater for your own herd and new customers receive £10 off their first two boxes! Prices vary dependent on the amount of meals you choose.
Hello Fresh’s Classic Box
Dinner is solved with Hello Fresh and at just £5 for a meal for two it offers excellent value. The menu changes each week, offering a choice from twenty possible recipes. Handy preferences include vegetarian, pork-free or low calorie options, as well as the number of meals you wish to receive each week. Ingredients are specially-insulated to ensure your food stays fresh and by only providing with the exact ingredients and measurements needed, Hello Fresh claim to cut waste by up to 36%. Ingredients are accompanied by easy-to-follow recipe cards with under 15-minute recipes available for time-poor cooks.
Gousto’s 2-Person Recipe Box
Choose from 50 recipes a week including meat, fish and vegetarian options. Users can choose from two, three or four recipes per box, with four recipes costing just £4.37 per person for two people, for four people this starts at just £2.98. Gousto also recently solved their 50% plastic pledge and are hoping to introduce their newly piloted Eco Chill Box – made from recycled paper and zero plastic which is 100% recyclable – the first of its kind in the UK.
Will our shopping habits change as a result of COVID19 when it comes down to food? I know mine will.