A guide to organic food delivery
Fancy being good to yourself by investing in an organic food box delivery scheme? We've got the lowdown on the best companies to go for.
Credit: Jessica Spengler – Flickr
We're aware that some students prefer the finer things in life, or simply want to eat organic food that is sourced locally to support the planet and local communities.
If this sounds like you, you're probably already aware that you can receive organic food delivery from many sources straight to your door from a local farm.
How does organic food delivery work?
Organic food companies try to make it easier for those who would prefer to eat locally-produced organic food, by personally sourcing produce from local farms, putting it in a box and delivering straight to your door.
The produce (in the form of vegetables, meat, fruit & more) is all organic and fresh. The idea is that these organic boxes of food are sustainably sourced, support local farmers and are great for both your health and the environment.
By signing up, you receive a delivery of an organic food box from someone like Riverford, Farmison or Abel & Cole straight to your door – normally within 2 days of notification, but sometimes even faster than that.
You can also arrange for a new organic food box to be delivered every month, fortnight or week, so you always have fresh produce at home.
Types of food boxes
Credit: Andy Roberts – Flickr
There are 3 common types of organic food boxes and these are the organic meat box, the organic vegetable box and the organic fruit box.
Organic vegetable delivery (~£15 – 30 portions)
This is where it all started! The organic vegetable box is probably the cheapest way to buy organic produce online as 10-15 items will only set you back around £10-15 and this is ideal for most students.
In each organic vegetable box, there's enough veggies in there to accompany every meal for 2 weeks or more.
Organic meat delivery (~£30 – 12 portions)
An organic meat box can be quite an expensive option for most students. They don't come cheap, but the quality and amount of meat you receive is great. For around £30 you can get 6 different cuts from different animals.
Each cut will last around 2 meals and therefore could last you up to two weeks. If £30 appears expensive then it may be a good idea to look at those that offer off-cuts or tougher cuts of meat that take longer to cook.
Organic fruit delivery (~£10 – 20 portions)
An organic fruit box from someone like Riverford is a great way to make sure you're getting your daily vitamin intake (which battles away with those horrible hangovers and colds).
Depending on which types of fruit box you choose, you can actually get them for quite cheap.
Organic food boxes vs. supermarkets
In fact, after a little bit of research, we found that if you buy basic supermarket brand in comparison to an organic food box you could save around 30%.
However, the benefits that an organic food box have over a supermarket are:
- Organic boxes from a supplier can be about 20% cheaper than supermarket organic brands
- The delivery is straight to your door, and free!
- It supports your local farming community
- The food is organic (it won't be pumped full of water, antibiotics or any other nasties)
- It is kinder to the environment
- The animals are reared in an organic environment which makes the meat tastier
- Some of the companies offer free cookbooks or recipe cards with each delivery so you don't have to think about what you will be cooking to stay healthy.
Organic food delivery company comparison
As with most service on the site we take the time to review each company separately to let you know which is the best value for money without you having to do all the research yourself.
Below is a Riverford, Farmison and Abel & Cole review which highlight the key points you need to look out for.
Riverford Review (Veg box & Fruit box)
Quality: The fruit and veg from Riverford was top quality in our eyes. It was a great selection of things that we had to learn to cook but tasted amazing once mastered. The fruit was also very special, the grapes were the highlight of the week in the office!
Value for money: The value for money was maybe a little pricey, but we had no complaint about any of the fruit or veg that was on offer. The small fruit and veg box could easily feed 1-2 people for a week.
Offers: Riverford also offer recipe boxes that include all the ingredients you need to make specific meals for that week, plus recipe cards to show you how to make them. The boxes cost roughly £25 for 4 x portions (2 portions of each meal).
Overall: The Riverford boxes were actually great quality. You could go for a larger box and share it between a group of 2-3 for a week. The potatoes were especially delicious and the cookbook is a keeper.
Farmison Review (Meat Box)
Quality: The meat from Farmison was delicious. The sausages were especially good with their high pork content. They do a monthly meat box for £44.95 that would probably last you even longer than a month in the freezer. There was a great mix in meat too with chicken, beef, pork & lamb.
Value for money: The value for money is just about ok. A box of meat will set you back around £30-50 but it will last 3-4 people about a week, or you yourself for over a month.
Offers: There is a deals section on the Farmison website.
Overall: We are a bit carnivorous in the office so a box of meat is like a package from heaven. It definitely gets the thumbs up from us here.
Abel & Cole Review (Veg box & Fruit box)
Quality: The vegetables were absolutely perfect. Sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage and mushrooms were just some of the selection on offer. The only complaint would be the oranges in the fruit box were a bit squishy but this is us being extremely fussy.
One thing that we liked about Abel & Cole is that you are allowed to ‘dislike' certain things that you don't want to receive. This is a top feature if you don't like certain fruit or veg – who wants to be delivered stuff they don't want to eat?
Value for money: Compared with buying fruit and veg from the supermarket, there was only a slight difference. You could probably share a medium veg box and small fruit box between 2 people for a week. What's more, Abel & Cole offered some of the cheapest boxes.
Offers: The deals section on the Abel & Cole website includes some nice little offers. You can get your 4th box free and a £10 voucher after your second delivery to spend in their online ‘weekly essentials' grocery store.
Overall: The veg selection made an amazing soup and the fruit kept us feeling healthy throughout the week. If you shared it between 2 then you may be ok for money too.
There are plenty of other ways to eat healthy on a budget, but you may have to compromise on freshness/quality. For example, you could always try the supermarket downshift, but this would involve a bit of a downgrade in quality.
Got any great tips for bagging organic produce on the cheap? Let us know in the comments below.