The best food boxes and recipe delivery services

green chef chicken roasted sweet potato salad
The best food boxes and recipe delivery servicesGreen Chef

Bored with cooking the same old staples every week? Sick of throwing away half-used ingredients? Well, a meal-delivery service (as in ingredients and recipes, not takeaways) might just be the solution you're after.

They aren't just for lockdowns, they're for life. As long as the new recipes keep coming and the ingredients are fresh, they can help busy people to maintain a healthy, varied diet week in, week out.

But there are a lot of them out there, from the established giants to exciting startups with specialist skills. How to choose, when they all tend to run on similar lines? We've sieved through the competition to separate the fine-grade from the lumps.

Hello Fresh

hello fresh halloumi burger
hello fresh

Hello Fresh scored highly with Digital Spy's testers for tastiness, variety and ease of cooking. Comments included, "It's a good way of discovering new ingredients or recipes you might not have tried before", "Very clear and easy recipe cards", and "Never had a meal we didn't like".

On the down side, they didn't score highly for price – costs start at £3.15 per portion but a typical six-serving box (ie two people getting three meals per week) works out at £33.98 including delivery, which is £5.66 per serving. If you're after crafty deals though, they're currently offering 60% off your first delivery and 20% off for the next seven deliveries.

Try Hello Fresh


gusto recipe box

Gousto and Hello Fresh were pretty much neck-and-neck among the Digital Spy testers for freshness and taste, but Gousto stumbled slightly as its recipe cards can make the ingredients a little hard to understand. Listing ingredients like "Chicken stock 11g (1), Chicken stock 22g (0)" in the same recipe is clearly a measure to save printing costs, but while you could argue it's eco-efficient, it's also confusing.

On the plus side, their app's algorithm is pretty good at prioritising meals you're likely to enjoy based on previous orders.

As far as cost goes, a two-person, three-meal box costs £35.99 per week, which works out at £4.99 per serving (plus a £3.99 delivery fee each week) though if you choose exclusively from the Save and Savour range, that goes down to £4.49. And there's a range of prices depending on the number of people and meals you want per week – the cheapest option is four people eating four meals (£2.99 per serving), while the dearest is one person eating two meals at £9.50 per serving.

Like Hello Fresh, Gousto are offering 60% off the first box and 20% off the next seven.

Typical recipes include 'Smoky lean beef mince enchiladas with tomato salsa', 'Malaysian-style coconut basa with rice', and 'Amalfi-style risotto with jumbo king prawns'. You can see their current range here.

Try Gousto


penne bolognese with broccoli and peas
gbh007 - Getty Images

Slightly different from the other services in this article, Chefly has already done the cooking for you. You pick your meals (a minimum of six) and they deliver them the following week, ready to heat and eat. Typical meals include Chicken biryani, Tuscan sausage stew, Mexican bavette and Lamb and Apricot kofta, and the price for each is between £7 and £8 in most cases.

There were only four vegan or vegetarian options in the week that we looked. You first delivery is free (subsequently £3.99), and they also offer a first-time discount of £10.

Try Chefly

Green Chef

green chef vegan peanut marinated tofu buddha bowl
Green Chef

Green Chef prides itself on its nutritional credentials. Each box is "Nutritionist approved", and you can select between Keto, Lower carb, Flexitarian, Pescetarian, Vegan and Vegetarian.

They even offer five "low emission" recipes per week, which they claim have a carbon footprint half as big as their average recipe.

All that comes at a premium: three meals a week for two people comes out at £6.42 per serving (it comes down to £5.50 if you have four people getting four meals per week each). They're currently offering 40% off the first week and 25% off the next four after that.

Typical meals include 'One-pot beef tinaktak-style stew', 'Chicken breast in peanut satay sauce' and 'Lentil and basa dal'.

Try Green Chef

Simply Cook

simply cook thai red prawn curry
Simply Cook

Unlike many other services, with Simply Cook you get the flavours delivered but the fresh ingredients are up to you. So, for example, if you want to make 'Cuban prawn pasta', you'll be sent 'mojo seasoning', garlic paste and a white wine reduction. For 'Teriyaki salmon donburi', you get rice stock, teriyaki sauce and yasai seasoning.

As the bulk of the meal is in your hands, portion sizes are entirely up to you, and if you fancy switching out (let's say) salmon for sea bass, that's totally your call, as flexibility is baked into the concept. Given that everyone's preferences vary when it comes to quantity, this isn't to be sneezed at.

It also works out inevitably cheaper, at £9.99 for four meals per week (less flexibility there, alas), which is £2.50 per serving – but remember you still have to buy the meal part of the meal yourself.

With their trial offer however, your first delivery is free for four meals (plus £1 for delivery).

Try Simply Cook

Mindful Chef

mindful chef malaysian tofu and carrot noodle laksa
Mindful Chef

If ethical, healthy living is your priority, Mindful Chef might be your best choice. As a signatory to B Corp they seem committed to being a force for good.

But what do you get? Fresh, ethically sourced ingredients for healthy meals – or even frozen ready meals if you're not in the mood to cook. They don't go in for refined carbs, and sample recipes include 'Black garlic steak, potato wedges and salsa verde' and 'Grilled salmon with Thai red veggies and coconut rice'.

The downside is that all that goodness doesn't come cheap. The lowest meal price we could find came in at £6.50 per serving, and there were only 21 recipes to choose from.

Having said that, there's currently 25% off your first two deliveries.

Try Mindful Chef


grubby meal kit spring asparagus and courgette risotto

If you're vegan, then Grubby was designed with you in mind. And like Mindful Chef, they're signed up with B Corp so you can feel reassured that they're not an unethical business. They offer 200+ recipes, from 'Creamy porcini tortiglioni with courgette and crispy onions' to 'Tofu larb'.

You can order two-four meals a week for up to five people, and skip a week or cancel whenever you like.

On the downside, their website is a bit cluttered and hard to navigate. Maybe that's just us.

Four meals for two comes out at £46.00, or £5.75 per serving, but there's 40% off your first month and for every meal you buy, a child living in poverty somewhere in the world gets a free meal via

Try Grubby


all plants meal services

Like Grubby, allplants is a vegan delivery service (and also signed up to B Corp's ethical practices), but the difference is that all their meals are ready cooked and frozen.

On their 80-meal menu, prices range from £5.75 for 'Pasta arrabiata in a rich tomato sauce', to £7.50 for 'Smoked aubergine and walnut ragu', but you can presently get 15% off your first three orders.

You can choose a one-off delivery or subscribe in order to get free delivery on orders over £50.

Try allplants

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