Takeaways are everyone’s guilty pleasure, but for some, ordering home delivery can become more of an every day thing rather than a once-in-a-while treat.
Don’t worry, we get it. In our increasingly indoors lives, excitement can be scarce, sometimes only gleaned through something new for lunch. Weekly shops may be tricky - especially if you’re self-isolating -, or you may not be confident in the kitchen. Not to mention trying to source an obscure ingredient in an otherwise appealing recipe.
But you shouldn’t let any of that stop you from going in to the kitchen and whipping up something fresh, delicious and satisfying, sometimes in as little as ten minutes. What is this sorcery, you ask? The food subscription box.
Offering an all-in-one solution containing all the produce needed, as well as pre-measured spices and other precise ingredients, they’ve really taken off in the last couple of years, catering for every imaginable cuisine, taste and dietary requirement - think plant-based, gluten free and dairy free.
From salads you’ll actually want to eat to warming dishes of pasta and stew to comfort you through winter, these boxes contain everything you need to whip up nutritious meals easily and quickly at home. It’s not all virtuosity though – many food subscription boxes have an indulgent side with takeaway-inspired ideas that are still much healthier than anything you’ll find on a food delivery app.
Clear step-by-step cards will see even the shakiest chef transform into a gastronomic genius by the time the dish is ready to plate up.
If you're looking for vegan-only boxes, read our list on the best Vegan Subscription Boxes.
Ready to reclaim your meal times? Here are the best food subscription boxes to help you on your way.
If nothing turns you off like having to eat the same meal day in, day out, Gousto is here to save you from the monotony. They send all the ingredients and seasonings you need to cook a hearty yet wholesome meal in as little as ten minutes. The only things they won’t send are store cupboard essentials like salt, pepper, milk and vegetable oil.
The nation’s PE coach Joe Wicks is the brand’s ambassador, so naturally there are a host of healthy Joe-approved recipes to make. You’ll soon see that they really are as easy as the bouncy health guru makes out on his social media channels.
The best thing about this is that once delivered, you'll have everything you need - so there's no excuse to order a takeaway or drag yourself around a supermarket waiting for inspiration to strike. The recipe cards are designed to be kept on file (and you can even order a free binder to keep your favourites safe) so that you can whip them out to make again if you find yourself daydreaming over a now-devoured dish.
With up to 55 exciting recipes to choose from every week and a variety of nutritional needs catered for, including plant-based, gluten free and dairy free, Gousto puts a tasty spin on favourites like cottage pie, burgers and curries. There’s also a limited Plant Bistro range designed for vegans or anyone who wants to dip a toe into a plant-based diet.
As you're making everything from scratch there's nothing to stop you from modifying a recipe to your tastes; say less chilli, using spray oil instead of bottled or bulking out burgers with slices of grilled halloumi that needed using up anyway in your fridge.
Packaging-wise, the box is large but the company has taken time to clearly explain how to recycle all the elements (which includes wool to insulate), plus none of the veg is wrapped in single-use plastic. Best of all, they offer delivery seven days a week, so you'll never be without a good meal or at a loss over what to cook for dinner.
If you're not sure about your plans in the week, ordering one-off boxes when you need them through the app may be a better option than a subscription. New customers can score a 30 per cent discount right now too.
If your mouth waters at just the thought of fresh pasta, boy do we have a treat in store for you. Pasta Evangelists sends fresh pasta, garnishes and sauces in insulated letterbox-sized packages to hungry households, with a prep time of as little as five minutes.
This means there’s no need to linger by the door for the post; your food will be waiting for you whenever you get home. Sign up to enjoy authentically Italian restaurant-quality dishes on the regular, without the hassle of stepping foot inside a busy supermarket.
Simply select your dishes from the online menu, set your delivery frequency - and you’re set. Don’t worry if your plans change and you’re not able to make the meals right away; they should stay fresh in your fridge for up to three days.
Options for the next few weeks are displayed online alongside stunning photography designed to whet the appetite; think Wild Mushroom Triangoli drenched in a truffle butter sauce, Mafalde with Beef Shin and Barolo wine Ragu and a vegan Ravioli all’Ortolana with Wild Rocket Sauce.
Every package comes with a glossy booklet of the week's recipes, each colour coded to your pasta and sauce packets, so you can see what you need to make a dish at a glance. This system is really helpful if you're storing things in the fridge or can't easily see what goes with what (the fresh pasta comes in opaque brown packets).
The sauces are what really make Pasta Evangelists shine. Every mouthful carries the care and attention that's gone into crafting the sauce, the hours spent by Pasta Evangelist’s chef to shrink your cooking time at home. It's that level of culinary expertise that will leave you scraping the plate for every last morsel.
Abel & Cole Recipe Box
Around since 1988, Abel & Coe is synonymous with organic fruit and veg. On a mission to fill the country’s fridges and bellies with better food, the company hasa selection of packages for fruit, veg, or a mix of both, stuffed to the brim with seasonal and wild fare.
It’s a great option if you want to cook more but find it difficult to get decent high-quality produce nearby. Recipe boxes have been temporarily paused becuase of Coronavirus.
Hello Fresh Food Box
On a budget? Say hello to Hello Fresh, which offers ingredients to make meals for £3.25 per serving.
Their boxes are filled with pre-measured locally-sourced ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes that should take no longer than half an hour to make and will bring the excitement back to dinnertimes.
There are subscription options for single people as well as families, as well as dishes for vegetarians and the time poor with a section dedicated to 15min meals.
Feast on platefuls of Hoisin Chicken & Plum Stir-Fry, Pork Kofta Gyros (pictured) and Pork & Apple Burgers complete with wedges and salad. If you’re a new customer, you can get started with a 60 per cent discount on your first order.
Riverford Recipe Box
Cooking for two? Head to Riverford for their recipe boxes made with freshly-plucked organic ingredients. Every recipe comes with clear instructions and takes just half an hour from start to finish – perfect for after work when you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
The menu selection changes on a weekly basis, so you’ll always have something new to tuck into. Unlike many of the other options on this list, each box is a one-off purchase so you can stop and start when it suits you.
You can also buy boxes full of fruit, veg or both and with or without meat if you’re just after a produce delivery.
Giving veganism a go? Check out their vegan recipe boxes, packed with animal-free ingredients and ideas.
Mindful Chef Recipe Box
Mindful Chef was the first to see the value of the green pound, giving the UK its first ever vegan recipe box. It also offers options for meat-eaters as well as pescatarians, posting pre-portioned ingredients all sustainably sourced from British farms.
The focus is very much on nutritionally balanced diets, and each of the weekly recipe boxes can be for one, two or four people – making it a great all-round option for singletons as well as families and couples.
It’s aimed at the health conscious, a clear audience once you see all Mindful Chef’s meals are free from dairy, gluten, refined carbs and refined sugars. Delivery days are on either Monday or Sunday so you can start the week on the right foot with a good balanced meal, making it a positive choice you’re more likely to continue.
Now available for personal home delivery, Vegetarian Express has been serving contract caterers and independent restaurants in the UK for over 30 years. Specialists in vegetarian and vegan food, the colossal menu serves as a full-flavoured supermarket buffet offering everything from prepacked boxes to build it yourself shopping.
Prefer preplanned buying? There are 14 boxes available starting at £40, shuffling from fan favourites like Quick Indian and Vegan Shakes, to more everyday items like the Essential Cupboard or Healthy Snacks Box.
Vegetarians and vegans looking to accomplish a weekly or monthly shop will be impressed by the ample offering and the bulk buying sizes will easily accommodate large households. But that doesn't mean couples or singles should forgo a kilo bag of almonds or tub of hummus: many products have a long shelf life and will compliment multiple mealtimes.
The frozen section is an admirable assembly that will keep restaurant-worthy eats on standby—think aromatic Vegan Shawarma Kebab, Sriracha Jackfruit and Vegan Miso Chocolate Ice Cream.
You can also shop vinegars, oils, spices, baked goods, drinks, desserts—anything you would find in an all-vegetarian supermarket minus the queues.
Love Yourself meal subscription box
In the age of #SelfLove, we should all be paying much more attention to what’s on our forks. This subscription box helps to up your nutrition with pre-made (but still fresh) meals that fall into one of five categories: vegetarian, gluten free, balanced (meat, fish and veg), performance and options for keto diet followers.
You can order five days’ worth of calorie-controlled meals for a one-off cost of £99, or make it a weekly thing and subscribe for a bit less. If you're thinking it's a bit steep consider this, for this price you will get breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner – a total of five meal/snack options every day. Compare that to an average daily spend of £4 for coffee, another £7-10 on lunch and still having to sort your evening meal, and you’re easily spending more than that every week while making poorer choices and putting in more effort.
With Love Yourself, there’s no cooking involved (particularly helpful for keto first-timers), just the peace of mind that every mouthful is full of fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Diet Subscription Boxes
Losing weight can be tough, especially when you don’t have the time to shop for the right ingredients, measure portions and calorie count. These food subscription boxes do the heavy lifting for you.
Drop the celery, this plan will see you sitting down to everything from Channa Dahl, Chicken Arrabiata Hot Pot and Veggie Chilli. The Jane Plan comes in one, three or four month plans, but whichever option you choose, you’ll get breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a snack for every day.
You can swap meals or reduce the number of times you get the same one online, giving you greater control and variety of what ends up on your plate. Thanks to great packing, the meals last a long time so you can always save them for later on the nights you want a cheat meal.
Calorie counting is sorted too; most menus tot up to under 1,200 calories per day, but you needn’t worry about going hungry. The portions are generous and the food is actually tasty.
There’s also a support service in place, so you get to speak to a qualified nutritionist at the beginning of the plan and during if you need to. If you have a week where you go off track, the superb support service will help you to work out your next steps.
With an almost medical looking website, Nosh takes weight loss seriously right from the get-go.
Applying a nutritionist-heave approach to shedding pounds, Nosh offers plans that are sugar-free, alkaline-friendly, a four-day liver cleanse and even a vegan keto option, notoriously difficult to prep if you’re doing it on your own. There are also juice fasts, cleansing and IV drips to help you reach your health targets in a safe, considered way.
Everything is freshly made using seasonal produce, so you’re eating in sync to the time of year. Dairy and gluten free, Nosh’s food programmes are ideal for giving your digestive system the break it deserves – particularly helpful after a period of over-indulgence like Christmas.
It’s expensive, but if you’ve tried everything else under the sun to shift the pounds and failed, Nosh is certainly worth a try.
Dieting done easy, even if you live in a remote part of the country. Balance Box is one of those companies that pleasingly, does exactly what it says on the tin.
There are four plans to choose from: classic, vegetarian, pescatarian and free-from, perfect for those with food intolerances. Balance Box even offers two portion size options, the lighter at 1,200cal a day and the market plan which totals to around 1,800 calories a day.
Whichever one you go for, you can be sure to open a box containing breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks each day – everything you need and removing any possible temptation to go off plan as you won’t need to go to the shops at all.
What’s more, all the food is ethically sourced and produced with no unnecessary additives or preservatives, perfect for those trying to reduce their intake of processed food.
Each meal is colourful and beautifully presented in a sturdy tub, handy for taking to work. The breakfasts are particularly generous, although all the portions are well-sized.
As a final incentive the company is currently offering £40 off your next order using code: 2020.
When you decide to embark on the often tricky task of weight loss, it can be hard to know where to start. Kick-start your motivation with My Food, a weekly food subscription services that promises to help you on your path to a healthier regime.
The company offers customers weight management, macro diets, bodybuilding and halal plans, and you can also choose calorie-controlled options too.
All the meals are made to order and come in pouches, convenient for the fridge. Portions are very generous and will leave you feeling full until your next meal.
Try before you buy with a one-day trial, which offers a taste of what you can expect.
If your weight loss goals are within sight and you just need a little boost to get to the finish line, Bodychef can help. Go online to pinpoint your personal target different goals and pick from 15 diet options to suit your needs; think halal, vegan and paleo.
The next step is to select the calorie options for each diet, which you can adjust depending on your goals. You’ll get three square meals a day as well as a fresh fruit for a snack and dessert. Ingredients that you don’t like or can’t eat can be excluded and you can even switch between plans if you want to shake things up a bit.
You’ll have to make a lot of fridge space since the food comes individually packaged and the majority must be chilled straight away.
Best Meat Subscription Boxes
Want better quality meat? These monthly boxes offer the finest cuts, delivered directly to your door.
Cure & Simple
If you believe no issue can’t be soothed with bacon, get yourself signed up to Cure and Simple immediately. The meaty subscription service posts a packet of the finest bacon to your door, ready to give everything from butties to pasta dinners a serious upgrade.
The company uses meat from pigs that have been bred in the outdoors and it hasn’t been plumped up with water – so no need to worry about it shrinking to comically miniscule sizes in the pan. Each rasher is hand-seasoned by hand and cured for up to twelve days, ensuring the very best flavour.
Perfect for a friend or if you just really love bacon, choose your subscription and make a box of your favourite flavours (such as Whisky Smoked and Oak Smoked).
Farmison & Co Monthly Meat Box
Let’s face it, the plastic boxes of grey meat are hardly the most appetising ingredients to encourage you to cook. Put better cuts into your body with a Farmison box, which sends a haul of everything from sausages and burgers to rib-eye steaks, meatballs and pork chops every month.
The company is run by master butchers who are passionate about high quality meat and want to inspire the same in their customers. To that end, Farmison uses heritage breeds in the hope of preserving them.
Sign up, and be sure that the meat in every box is seasonal and all lamb and beef is grass-fed, so you can feel reassured everything within is of the highest quality.
The Family Meat Box is £70, The Couples Box is £36.50 and the Classic Meat Box £50 every month on subscription.
Best Cheese Subscription Boxes
Can't get enough of the curd-stuff? These monthly boxes packed with cheese will help you get your fill.
The Cheese Geek
A thoroughly modern cheesemonger, The Cheese Geek is here to satisfy all fromage fanatics with their medley of subscription services.
Connoisseurs of fine cheeses, they offer cheese boxes like The Elvis, a box filled with up to 5 premium UK cheeses as well as the Jimi box which delivers a selection of cheesy goodness on a 1-2 month basis.
If that's too much of a cheese tsunami for you to handle (lightweight), there are seasonal boxes containing up to 30 cheeses. The box also includes score cards and bullet point information detailing the best wine for each cheese, as well as its origin and tasting notes - hence the "geek" in Cheese Geek. If you know what you like, try the pick ‘n’ mix option for wedges to suit your tastes.
The internal packaging is also made from recycled wool rather than shredded cardboard which is a rather nice consideration.
The Cheese Society
How serious are you about cheese? If the answer is ‘very’, let us introduce you to The Cheese Society, which sends you a thrilling ONE KILOGRAM of cheese which should be just about enough to satisfy your love until your next delivery.
The Society’s origins are humble, starting life in a family-run shop so you can rest assured everything is chosen with the utmost passion and expertise.
The most flexible option on this list, Pong lets you to tailor your monthly subscription of cheesy goodness to your liking, so you won’t be disappointed with any unwanted flavours.
Prices stay the same per week however many boxes you choose to receive in a month and each one comes with a pamphlet explaining how to properly store the cheese and what to pair it with to enhance the addictive flavours.
Paxton & Whitfield
Bouji cheese is but a click away at Paxton & Whitfield’s Cheese Club, which offers a gorgeously presented curation of the finest curds going. A monthly box contains four artisan cheeses from all over the world, delivered on the second Thursday of every month.
With a history stretching back more than 200 years, there’s not much this cheesemonger doesn’t know about its produce. Expect nothing but the best.
With a rotating menu of mouthwatering dishes and clear instructions, there’s not much we don’t love about Gousto. For novice cooks it offers an easy guide into kitchencraft, helping you learn and develop new skills and for regular home chefs bored by their dinnertime routine it offers an effortless way to shake up your menu. And with 30 per cent off your first box, it’s cheaper than a supermarket shop.