Recipe Kit Boxes: Are They A Rip Off?

I recently had the chance to give a ‘well known’ recipe kit box a try – I didn’t pay for the box, and the full price was £27.49 – quite a princely sum for a cardboard box with food in, right?
When the box arrived I was excited to get stuck in and really get to grips with the whole idea of having food delivered right to my door, something about the whole idea strikes me as very cosmopolitan and modern. I originally had a camera set up to vlog the experience, but I won’t be using the footage as.. Well. I’m so disappointed. I really, really wanted to like it – I love to cook and trying a new recipe was an amazing little bait for me to give the whole thing a go!
Don’t get me wrong, the ingredients arrived in a bag filled with sheep wool and cooler pockets to keep the food cool while in transit. The box had been partitioned and the chicken was vacuum sealed in packs to keep it separate from everything else. I can’t fault that. They even included a branded wooden spoon, nice touch. But… Is it worth the £27.49 price tag?

Which dishes did I choose?

Chicken cacciatore with crispy potatoes ‘pronounced cat-cha-toray this is an Italian hunters stew. Succulent chicken thighs are snuggled into a tomato sauce, flavoured with fresh rosemary and thyme. Served with crispy potatoes.’

Ingredients included (as a meal for two): 1 onion, 100g carrots, 3 garlic cloves, 5g fresh thyme, 4 chicken thighs, 300g potatoes, 1 tin of finely chopped tomatoes, 1 chicken stock cube, 5g fresh rosemary, 1 tbsp. tomato paste, 60g pitted black olives.

Sicilian chicken linguine ‘inspired by dusky evenings sat around the Etna mountain, this simple chicken dish combines capers, olives, lemon, wilted pea shoots and seasoned chicken. Bellisimo!

Ingredients included (again, as a meal for two): 30g pitted black olives, 1 chicken stock cube, 1 leek, 200g linguine, 15g caper buds, 200g diced chicken breast, 1 lemon and 50g pea shoots.

I chose these because as a healthy eating household, chicken is the only meat we really eat. For special occasions like Easter we’ll eat Lamb if it takes our fancy.. But chicken is our primary meat of choice. It was quite hard to choose a recipe which was chicken and not too fancy – the appeal of such websites is to sell you fancy recipes you can cook in your own kitchen so a lot of the choices were a little too fancy.

I did notice when the box arrived that each portion is small – four potatoes had been sent for our ‘chicken cacciatore with crispy potatoes’ dish. Four small potatoes. One onion, which when I did use it the very next morning.. Was soft, brown and rotten. We don’t eat huge portions, but for our main evening meal at night there would be nowhere enough food for two of us, per meal. I’d have to add salad, or a little bit of rice to bulk the meal out – even more so as we both have active lives with fitness classes and endeavours every few days.

So for £27.49, I got all of the ingredients listed above with the recipes. As I clutched my bag of pea shoots, I wondered if this was worth while.. So I decided to do a little bit of probing.

What if I had gone to the supermarket?

Tesco is local to me, so I’ve chosen Tesco to do my little bit of research with.

Obviously, the amounts available in Tesco don’t balance with the amount needed for the box so I actually bought more than the recipe stated. For example, I had to buy a 300g jar of black pitted olives – not just 90g as the box provided.

So for £12.93 I could go to Tesco and buy the ingredients myself. Apart from the pea shoots – but I looked up the best replacement for those online which is spinach and added those to the shopping list, you can see there is a £14.56 difference in what I paid for my meal box, and what I’d pay in the supermarket.


To me, that isn’t okay.

Even if I factor in £4 for the delivery, it would be over £10.

I don’t earn a great deal. As a Teaching Assistant I pinch the pennies, and to think that people are paying out for these boxes and getting such a bum deal doesn’t sit right with me. I didn’t pay. I was ‘gifted’ the box to try and I’m glad – receiving a box that I paid so much money for that I was so disappointed with? I’d be devastated, and it would mean depriving myself and my family of a substantial amount of money that would be better spent elsewhere.

My experience with this whole recipe box kit trend hasn’t been a fulfilling one, and I don’t think I’ll be experimenting with them any time soon.

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  • really great post! I tried hello fresh through a friends referral code and whilst I was impressed with the three meals I got like you I questioned the sheer expense of it. £34.99 for 3 meals for 2 people is steep, I can get most of my weekly shop for 2 people for that. Needless to say I didn't sign up. Now I just look at the recipe cards on their website haha!

    • I was genuinely shocked when I saw the amounts that you receive in the box – I get the convenience factor, I really do. But I think its extortionate. Sounds like you have the right idea using the recipe cards – at least you have the luxury of picking the best ingredients. We got lemons that were bruised and really limp!

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