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The UK's Best Recipe Box Revealed

The UK's Best Recipe Box Revealed
14/03/2022

You’ve no doubt heard of recipe boxes by now. These companies offer pre-portioned groceries and meals delivered right to your door, ready for you to cook at home. Due to their convenience, these handy boxes have taken the country by storm in the last couple of years. In fact, according to the Guild of Fine Food, UK spending on meal kits more than doubled from April 2019 to April 2020, when lockdowns saw many of us turning to online deliveries for all of our daily needs.

If you like the sound of DIY meal kits delivered straight to your home, you’ll be pleased to know that there’s an option to suit almost anyone. But, with so many choices, how can you work out which one is right for you? We’ve compared some of the UK’s most popular recipe boxes: Gousto, allplants, Mindful Chef, SimplyCook, and HelloFresh, on four important categories. By looking at nutritional information, eco credentials, value for money, and flexibility and logistics, we’ve uncovered the UK’s best recipe box1.

Overall best — allplants

allplants was the overall winner as the UK’s best meal kit, and it came top in most categories that we looked at, including eco-friendliness, flexibility and logistics, and nutrition. This plant-based box contains pre-prepared meals that are flash-frozen to lock in freshness — all you need to do is microwave them, or if you have more time, pop them in the oven.

However, while allplants did come out top, it also worked out as the most expensive of all our recipe kits. This is partly owing to the fact that this box provides a minimum of six meals per order, while the other kits in our research were more flexible, meaning the shopper can specify the number of meals they want to receive each week. This means that, while it worked out as £59.88 per box, this translated to just £1.26 per 100g.

Most eco-friendly — allplants

This plant-based box was also the most eco-friendly on our list. While the company isn’t carbon neutral like Mindful Chef and HelloFresh, it has implemented the most eco-conscious processes. All packaging is 100% recyclable or reusable, or can be returned to allplants directly to be recycled or reused. Each box is delivered using a carbon-neutral delivery partner. Plus, all recipes are palm oil-free and use ingredients sourced from UK-based suppliers or those within a 50-mile radius.

Not only that, but this B Corp-certified company has also partnered with many eco initiatives, including Soil Heroes, who encourage regenerative farming, and WeForest, who plant a tree for every friend referred.

Best for variety — SimplyCook

If you’re feeling uninspired and are thinking of subscribing to a recipe box to try out new dishes and cuisines, then SimplyCook could be the best option for you. With around 143 recipes on offer, many of which are vegetarian and vegan, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Each box contains four different recipe cards along with the brand’s unique flavour pots that are pre-measured and non-perishable. And, as the box only includes small pots rather than fresh ingredients, it can also fit right through your letterbox, so you don’t need to be home to receive it.

Plus, as SimplyCook requires you to add your own fresh ingredients, you’re entirely free to mix up the recipe and add your own spin. Why not swap out one meat for another or add a little chilli?

Best value for money — Gousto and SimplyCook

Both Gousto and Simply cook came out as the cheapest options, but both offer this value in different ways. SimplyCook topped our ranking as the lowest spend. At just under £10, this worked out at around £1.25 per portion. However, although SimplyCook worked out as the cheapest option, they do not provide fresh ingredients. If you like the convenience of a full, pre-portioned recipe box that’s still good value for money, Gousto worked out at just £4.37 per portion.

Fastest Delivery — HelloFresh

When it comes to food delivery, time is of the essence. While all five recipe boxes had relatively short lead times, HelloFresh has the fastest delivery of them all, taking just two days. However, the one downside is that you have to choose your recipes five days in advance. If you’re prepared, HelloFresh can be a fantastic and fast option. If you’re less organised but still want fast delivery, allplants recipes can be picked just two days before delivery, but lead times are a little longer at three days.

In light of the results, Rachael Kiss, marketing and online manager at Alliance Online said:

“Recipe boxes have been around for a while now, but they’ve seen a boom in popularity over the last couple of years as we’ve all spent more time at home experimenting in the kitchen. And they’ve won us over with their convenience and the chance to try out something new every day of the week.

Perhaps you’re thinking of taking up a subscription, or maybe you’re thinking of switching to a different box. Whatever your reason is, it can be difficult to know which box to choose. There are so many out there and they all offer their own unique benefits.

Whether you’re looking for an eco-friendly subscription or recipes that give you the chance to get creative, our ranking should help you pick out the best recipe box for you.

And of course, your kitchen space can also determine what kind of meal kit is the most suitable. For example, if you don’t have a lot of counter space for prep, then something like allplants may be the best option. Meanwhile, SimplyCook requires you to weigh and prep everything yourself from scratch, so is best if you have plenty of kitchen equipment.”

Recipe boxes truly are an innovation, and companies are constantly adapting and evolving to develop their eco-credentials, variety, and delivery options. No matter what your reasons are for signing up, there’s an option out there that’s perfect for you.

While you’re trying out something new in the kitchen, why not also treat yourself to a selection of brand-new cookware? Here at Alliance Online, we offer a wide range of kitchen equipment for the home, including everything from tableware and cutlery, to cookware and utensils, so be sure to take a look today.

Data Information

  1. To create our ranking, we looked at the general information, eco credentials, cost, delivery times, and flexibility of five different popular recipe boxes. Each recipe box was given a point for every “yes” answer or every time it came top of a category to create an overall ranking and a ranking for each category. All information was taken from the official site for each recipe box.

The full dataset can be viewed here.

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