Food Subscription Boxes – how well do they deliver?


The internet has changed the way we cook and consume our food. Not only by giving us more options in how we get our food, but also in what we can do with it, and especially, how well the finished dish photographs. TV programmes such as Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off, and the absolute plethora of Youtube cooking show channels have created a standard for the dishes we accomplish at home. If ordinary people are cooking, why aren’t you? It’s no surprise then that food subscription boxes have appeared at a time when we all want to be Michelin star chefs – how convenient, literally.

In 2017, the food and drink subscription market was worth an estimated £129.2 million. 6.5% of the UK population signed up to recipe box subscriptions in the same year.

What you can expect in a food subscription box:

  • Fresh ingredients, non-perishable items, herbs and spices
  • Detailed recipe card
  • Nutritional information
  • A quick turnaround from preparation to a piping hot delicious meal on the table

Whether you’re a cooking-impaired individual with the disposable income, or want to make interesting and balanced meals for your family, food subscription boxes don’t leave anyone out. This is part of the charm. You’re likely to start eating dishes you wouldn’t usually consider, using ingredients you wouldn’t have the first clue of how to cook with otherwise.

That’s not their only USP. Food subscription boxes are hugely convenient and customer orientated. Such a variety of subscription boxes are available that they can cover any budget, any diet, any number of people, and any day of the week – endless possibilities. Going on holiday? Eating out tonight? Would you rather just eat beans on toast for a mid-week pick me up? You can skip a day or a week easily too.

Here’s just a handful of food subscription boxes we would recommend.

  • Riverford Organic is the conscientious choice. They offer 100% organic, seasonal ingredients, often just harvested, for quality meals that match seasonal recipe choices.
  • Gusto offers up to 40 recipes each week and now have a Joe Wickes range. This is an especially good box for those looking for gluten-free or plant-based meals.
  • HelloFresh have very easy step-by-step instructions with pictures for ultimate guidance for first time cooks.
  • Simply Cook fits through a letter box and requires a shop to fetch 4-6 easily accessible fresh ingredients to mix with the packaged herbs, spices, and marinades.
  • Little Cooks Co. is for the little eaters in the household aged 3 to 10 years old. The boxes include a healthy snack recipe with dry, organic ingredients. The £8.95 box a month also includes dinner recipe cards added extras such a vegetable seeds for your children to grow their own food.

But are food subscription services sustainable? What about all that compartmentalised plastic packaging? Thankfully, these issues are being tackled. Odd Box for instance aims to reduce the 20-40% of produce that is usually wasted before it leaves the farms. They send out 25,000 boxes across London every week including that ‘ugly’, ‘wonky’ veg that we supposedly find unappealing.

Realistically, food subscription services genuinely go one step further than online grocery. Its consumers are consistently eating better products and they are hardly inconvenienced by it. There’s no need to whisk up ideas for dinner, design a meal plan and list, or make sure you’ve bought all the ingredients in your weekly shop.

Therefore, if you are a brand currently sold in a retailer, considering collaborating with these meal-kit services would mean your products would find their way into consumers’ homes without the typical marketing instore, online, and elsewhere. You may find yourself a repeat purchase – there are ‘000s of meals available in these subscriptions, but ‘000s of consumers buying into it.

For a decade we have helped products jump off the shelf, so if you would like some support building the growth of your brand get in touch. We work with brands who are looking to boost their FMCG marketing in UK retailers.

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