Food Box Guide

What is a ‘Food Box’?

A ‘Food Box’ can be generalised as any service that delivers food directly to your house. This is often either ‘ingredients’ for home cooking or ‘microwave meals’ that are ready made, however the market is quickly expanding into various snacks, condiments and other treats. If it’s edible, it’s likely to be in a food box somewhere in the world!

Food Boxes can be delivered as a single one-time purchase or (more commonly) as a weekly subscription, with the most well-known companies offering this service in Australia being HelloFresh and Marley Spoon.

What different Food Box types are there?

‘Food Boxes’ can be summarised into 3 different types:

  1. Meal Kits – These services deliver the component ingredients for a meal and provide a recipe for you to cook these fresh at home. These can be great for reducing food waste, portion control and learning new cooking techniques.
  2. Prepared Meals – These services deliver ready made meals that just need to be reheated before eating, saving you from needed to cook from fresh ingredients every day. These are a great way for people who have limited spare time or a small kitchen to still get healthy meals into their diet.
  3. Snack Boxes – These services deliver boxes of individual snacks that allow you to try small amounts of different foods and discover new (often healthier) snacks. Snack boxes can be great for anyone looking to expand their horizons or to get their snacking habits under control.

Which ‘Food Box’ is right for me?

This completely depends on what you want! I suggest starting by thinking about what the most important factors are for you (such as time, money, health, variety or ethics) before using our reviews and comparison table to help you make a decision.

Most companies allow you to cancel your subscription at any time, so it can’t hurt to try a service out for a week and see if it’s right for you.

How does Food Box delivery work?

Ordering a new ‘Food Box’ can be a really exciting time, though often this comes with a week long wait before it actually arrives. Most ‘Meal Kit’ and ‘Prepared Meal’ services require you to place your order between 4 – 7 days before it arrives, giving them time to cook and prepare your food. Snack Boxes can be an even longer wait as they often only send them out at the same time every month.

All services offer the same chilled delivery service (where required) that allows them to leave the box on your doorstep/safe place for up to 24 hours before the food needs to be taken out. This means it’s super easy to get a box delivered whilst your at work and have the meals ready for you to eat when you get home. As a result, most services only offer wide delivery timeslots (e.g 08:00 – 18:00).

I’m Vegan / Gluten Free / Have Food Intolerances, can I get a Food Box?

Yes, absolutely! There are definitely some food boxes that are better for you than others and I’m working hard to review as many of them as possible. At the moment, I recommend that you’re super careful and only use services that allow you to be very explicit about your allergies/intolerances. Always assume that food is prepared in an environment where it can be contaminated unless it’s explicitly promised by the service.

What’s the impact of Food Boxes on the environment?

Food Boxes have both a positive and negative impact on the environment, on the positive side they:

  • Reduce Food Waste
  • Remove a transport out of the supply chain (supermarket)

However, it’s important to be aware of the negatives where they:

  • Increase ‘last-mile’ delivery emissions
  • Increase the amount of single-use plastics and cardboard used.

I’m looking out for the most environmentally friendly options so keep an eye on the reviews and blog posts to see which food box services are doing the most to combat their environmental impact.

We have a detailed blog on how to reduce your environmental impact when using Food Boxes, plus I love this blog post from Macros that discusses all the various options for re-using and recycling everything that comes in your delivery. At the very least, all services provide cardboard that can be recycled so make sure you dispose responsibly!