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Delivered direct to the door and marketed as a fresh and easy way to cook, subscriptions to recipe box services are at an all-time high. But how good are they for your health? Bodyline’s nutritionists analysed over 200 recipes from five of the leading providers and here are the results.
Hello Fresh is a recipe box delivery service that offers easy to follow meal plans for every lifestyle and diet, from keto to vegan and beyond. Founded in 2011, the two co-founders of Hello Fresh hand packed and delivered the first ten boxes to customers. Hello Fresh was one of the first companies in the meal-kit industry. It started delivering meal kits to paying customers in early 2012. Hello Fresh prides itself in providing customers with a variety of simple to make recipes and fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Hello Fresh had a good range of diverse meals. The average calorie count was 713 per meal around 100 calories over the amount suggested by the NHS. The average amount of saturated fat was 10g per meal. The nutritional information was not easily accessible at the point of ordering and it took two levels of navigation to find it. Hello Fresh does not use the nutritional traffic light system.
Gousto is a leading UK meal delivery service that distributes delicious dinners to thousands of happy customers. Founded in 2012 by Timo Boldt and James Carter, Gousto’s main aim is to offer customers meal kit boxes which include simple and easy to follow recipes and ready measured fresh ingredients. The menu of over fifty recipes changes every week and includes a wide range of tasty meals for people to choose from including, family favourites, speedy recipes as well as vegetarian, gluten free and plant-based options.
Gousto’s calorie count does appear to be lower than the 600 calories advised by the NHS, however, none of the nutritional values given on the site include oils and additional ingredients used in cooking. The average saturated fat per meal was 10g (without oils/fats used in cooking). Low calorie and low-fat options were available. Nutritional information can be found at second level navigation but includes the above disclaimer.
Mindful Chef was founded in 2015 with the aim to make healthy eating easy. It delivers a range of balanced recipe boxes, frozen ready meals and smoothie mixes nationwide every day of the week. Mindful Chef works with award-winning British farms to deliver all the ingredients you need to make recipes. The company believes in reducing sugar intake and refined carbs. Mindful Chef does not deliver pasta, bread or white rice, instead, all of the recipes are based on innovative uses of fresh vegetables and whole ingredients.
Mindful Chef’s meals are nutritionist designed and this was reflected in the fact that it had the lowest average calorie count of all the providers. It was impossible to compare the saturated fat content as the company does not provide that information. Nutritional information was on second level navigation with no traffic light system.
Riverford is an organic farm and vegetable box delivery service founded by Guy Singh-Watson in Devon, England. His idea was to deliver a weekly vegetable box scheme, starting with around 30 boxes to family and friends, which then grew to meat and vegetables as well as organic fruit, dairy, wine, store cupboard staples and more. Riverford now manages 50,000 deliveries per week to households all around the UK utilising a network of organic farmers all of whom have the same ethos of organic, sustainable, and seasonal food production.
Riverford’s main selling point is as an organic food provider with sustainability at its heart. The Sweet and Sour Cashew Stir Fry was one of the lowest calorie meals available across all providers but overall, its meals contained fairly high average fat and calorie counts. In terms of saturated fat it performed the worst out of all providers with an average of 13g per meal. 45% of its meals were over 750 calories which was the second highest percentage. Nutritional information was available on the second level navigation and the traffic light system was used.
Feastbox is a world food recipe box that delivers direct to the door. Its aim is to help people enjoy the pleasure of global cuisines at their most authentic, nutritious, and responsible. Founded in 2012, Feastbox believes the world of food is so diverse and that a lack of convenience, inspiration and confidence are the main reasons holding people back in the kitchen. Feastbox provides ingredients for vibrant cuisines across the world and ensures every recipe is easy to follow.
Feastbox’s meals had the highest average calorie count and also had the meals with the highest overall calorie and fat contents. It also had the meal with one of the lowest calorie counts and the average amount of saturated fat per meal was the lowest of those with figures available. However, 58% of its meals were over 750 calories.