Best Seat in the House - Meal boxes - are they an over-priced luxury?

Food boxes can be useful for ideas and for those who lack confidence in the kitchen.

Food boxes can be useful for ideas and for those who lack confidence in the kitchen. - Credit: SHAVONNE HARRIS

Social media has been a whirl recently with celebrities, friends and family posting impressive photos of weekday dinners using pre-packaged food boxes.

Even the famous chef, Gordon Ramsay has recently launched his Beef Wellington Kit for those with a pricier pallet to cook and enjoy at home. But what is the big deal? Will this new trend burn out once we’re back to normality?

Routinely, the everyday family or indeed single household might plan their meals for the week, pop to the local store to collect ingredients and cook it to the best of their ability. However, it appears that this could be a thing of the past, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. 

The idea from most food box brands is that, for a monthly subscription, they will package ingredients from a recipe type of your choice and deliver them straight to your door. These recipes are promised to be quick, easy to make and contribute to a balanced diet. As well as reducing household food waste by up to 25 per cent.

During March, we tried out two recipes from one of the more popular brands to see what all the fuss was about. After a £15 welcome discount purchase (originally £36 including delivery), our box arrived.

Shavonne and Andy Harris, from St Neots, discuss meal boxes this month.

Shavonne and Andy Harris, from St Neots, discuss meal boxes this month. - Credit: SHAVONNE HARRIS


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The ingredients within contributed to recipes for a 'fragrant chicken laksa' and a 'colcannon cottage pie'. However, we were quickly met with a downside. We couldn’t handpick our own vegetables. Which resulted in an instant waste throwing away two questionable red bell peppers.

However, everything else was of fair quality. Both dishes were delightful and the 'colcannon cottage pie' will now remain a family favourite.

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We later became curious. If we shopped for these ingredients at our local supermarket, would the cost be the same? After filling a metaphorical trolley online, we were surprised to find that it would have cost us less than the original £36 and having used the recipe cards provided, the instructions and “tips” were clearly for those less experienced in the kitchen.

This could be an indication that after a few attempts, people may build their confidence then find no need to continue. Positively, the recipes provided will indeed take you out of your comfort zone, however with the endless recipes available online, it could be argued that food boxes may be less of a necessity and perhaps more a temporary luxury. 

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