Would you like to have fresh ingredients and recipes delivered to your home each week? Well, there are plenty of meal kits and food subscription boxes on the market, but which one is the best? Take a look at how they stack up against each other.
I’ve written this more times than I care to remember on this site… but I’m a terrible cook. That’s why I started to try out the various meal kits on the markets. They provide me with all the ingredients I need and easy(ish) recipes to follow. But it wasn’t just meal kits that I found myself drawn to, but food subscription boxes popped up too. But the question was, how good is the quality and are they worth the money? I reviewed the following:
- Mindful Chef
- Yes Chef Boxes
- Simply Cook
Meal kits vs Food subscription boxes
You may be slightly confused by the difference between a meal kit and a food subscription box. And I don’t blame you as the lines are slightly blurred. Generally, meal kits provide you with ingredients and recipes, whilst food subscription boxes just provide you with… just food.
But, the majority of companies out there all have some kind of subscription package. The good news is that they can usually be cancelled at any time with no long tie-ins.
The best food subscription boxes and meal kits
HelloFresh is one of the biggest meal kit companies out there and delivers to much of North America, Western Europe and Australia. Meals will generally cost you around £5 per person but reduce in price the more you order. But, you have to be careful as it isn’t a fixed price list. There are premium meals available, which can cost as much as £5 extra. Delivery of your food costs £4.99, no matter how much you order.
Expect to find around 30 -35 meals each week to choose from, so there’s plenty there for everyone. There are even recipes that take 20 minutes or less to cook for those short on time. And if you need to, you can skip your delivery for certain weeks.
Other HelloFresh benefits include the options of buying gift cards for others and a generous referral scheme which can you earn you £20 credit for every friend that joins.
Best for: Simplicity, Just choose your meals and you’re ready to go.
Current special offer: 60% off your first box and 25% off for the next two months.
Gousto has been operating since 2012 and first grabbed our attention when they appeared on Dragon’s Den. Meal prices are similar compared to HelloFresh, but become better value for larger families. And Gousto’s premium meals are generally cheaper. Delivery costs £1.99, although you can’t specify time slots.
When choosing your weekly meals, you often have 40-50 to select from. The only issue is, meals do sell out, so the earlier you make your choice, the more you have to choose from.
Other Gousto benefits include friend referrals, which will give you £15 credit for everybody that joins using your link.
Best for: Choice. Plenty of meals to choose from each week… as long as you book in advance.
Current special offer: 65% off your first order and 30% off for your first month.
Mindful Chef was created by 3 school friends back in 2015 with a view to bringing healthy meals into our homes. Meals vary in cost and will set you back anything between £6 and £9 each. Delivery is included in the price.
You get to choose from between 20 recipes, which change every week throughout the month. So that’s 80 recipes in total. But unlike other meal kit companies, Mindful Chef offers far more compared to just meals. You can also purchase:
- Frozen ready meals
- Smoothie pouches
- Broths and soups
- Care boxes
Other benefits include gift vouchers and a referral scheme. Although you will only earn £10 credit per referral, so not as generous as those above.
Best for: Healthy living and ready meal choices.
Current special offer: 25% off your first four boxes.
Yes Chef Boxes
Yes Chef Boxes is one of the newest meal kit companies on the market. Like its competitors, the more meals you order, the cheaper it costs. However, it comes up trumps for price with meals costing between £3.40 and £6.50 each.
There are over 40 meals to choose from although, like Gousto, meals can sell out. There are a couple of premium meals that require you to pay extra on your subscription, but there aren’t many.
On top of meal kits, you can also buy
- Ready meals
Best for: Cheap meals
Current special offer: 50% off 1st box, 35% of 2nd and 25% off 3rd and 4th.
Simply Cook has been running since 2014 and is a meal kit company that likes to be a little different. When you choose your meals, instead of receiving all the ingredients in the post, you get a recipe and some spices.
Now, you may be thinking what is the point in that. But the great thing is, you can buy the ingredients at your own leisure. If you get sidetracked for a week or so, your food won’t go out of date. Plus, you can shop around for better-value ingredients and not just rely on what is being sent to you.
Of course, if the whole idea of buying a meal kit is to save you time and effort, then having to find the ingredients separately won’t be for you.
You usually have a choice of over 70 recipes when selecting your boxes, with around 30 of them being meat-free. Delivery is included in the price.
Other benefits include the option to buy gift cards for others and you can earn yourself a free box when you recommend Simply Cook to friends.
Best for: Meat-free meals
Current special offer: First box for £1.
Perhaps you don’t need help with preparing your meals and you’re quite the accomplished chef anyway. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need quality ingredients for good prices. Take a bow MuscleFood.
Created back in 2013, MuscleFood offers premium meats, prepared meals, drinks and supplements. You’ll find that the quality of meat is often far superior compared to that in your local supermarket. And you would probably expect to pay more. However, because you buy in bulk, prices are usually cheaper even with delivery costs taken into account. You just need to have some room in your freezer.
Don’t be put off if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. There are also meat-free options available.
Best for: Buying in bulk and variety of food.
Current special offer: £10 off your first box and free delivery.
Do you ever feel a little concerned about how much food we waste in the UK? Well, Oddbox is attempting to reduce this by sending out fruit and veg that is deemed too large, small or odd for supermarkets. To date, they claim to have saved over 26,857 tonnes in carbon emissions through their operations.
There are three different size boxes you can choose from and they can be delivered weekly or fortnightly and can be paused at any time. Prices start from £10.99.
Best for: Being environmentally friendly.
Current special offer: Save £10 off your first box.
Moving away from meals, DegustaBox focuses more on encouraging you to try lots of different food, from biscuits to alcohol, to sweets.
The company originates from Barcelona but operates in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. You can sign up for a monthly box or take out longer subscriptions to save money. In your box, you will receive 15+ items for you to try. And DegustaBox claims that the value of your products is worth more than you actually pay.
And if you don’t fancy one for yourself, there is an option to give a box as a gift.
Best for: Trying new items
Current special offer: Pay £9.99 for your first box (usually £12.99)
Similar to DegustaBox, SnackSurprise will send you food each month and you never know what you will receive. But instead of new products, SnackSurprise sends you treats from a certain country.
Your treats come from all over, including countries like Portugal, France, Australia and South Korea. There are 3 different size boxes to choose from, depending on how many items you want to receive.
Again, if it’s not for you, you can give the box to a friend.
Best for: Sampling a country’s culture
Current special offer: 20% off subscription boxes
A tip for saving money with subscription boxes
As we all know, I do love saving money when I can. But before you purchase any meal kit, check your online banking first. Banks like Lloyds and Santander offer account holders cashback on purchases with certain companies. All you need to do is activate the offer first and your earning will be paid into your current account. I have seen the likes of Simply Cook, HelloFresh and Gousto listed.
Which is the best food subscription box or meal kit?
A tough one to call as they all have their plus points… and some downsides too.
For meal kits, I would choose HelloFresh. It’s not the cheapest option available, but I feel the quality of the meals is slightly better.
And an honourable mention goes to MusleFood. The quality of the meat is great and can be even better value than compared to some of the main supermarkets.
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