Prior to lockdown, there were a few key players that dominated the veg box landscape. Since then, the nation has turned to online food deliveries in our droves and in response, a whole host of new businesses have sprung up to answer that demand. To help you decide which is best for you, we’ve included all the facts for our favourites.
Eating more fruit and veg as part of a balanced diet is known to be one of the ways of reducing our impact on the planet, whether that’s as part of a plant-based or flexitarian approach, or just to supplement a wider colourful diet.
Depending on your selection, by purchasing a veg box you could also be supporting organic farming, forgoing single-use plastics or even providing a new revenue stream for independent growers and producers.
Many of the boxes we’ve included below focus on offering a seasonal selection, meaning we’re eating what is being harvested at that point in time. This ensures we’re not relying on complex global supply chains and adding excessive food miles, thereby limiting our impact on the environment.
With many of us cooking from scratch more than we were before lockdown, a veg box is the perfect way to explore new recipes and get adventurous with varieties you perhaps wouldn’t think to place in your basket when shopping in person. While reviewing our boxes we found we ate much more fruit than we ordinarily would and also had the chance to get creative with courgette flowers and carrot tops.
When making your selection, it’s important to consider how many people your box will be catering for, whether you’d appreciate a selection of fruit included too or whether you’d rather avoid certain types of veg (for example heavier roots like potatoes or carrots).
Most of the boxes included can be purchased as a one-off which offers the greatest flexibility, or as an ongoing subscription to ensure you never open an empty fridge again.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
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Eversfield organic no potatoes veg box
Delivery: Nationwide (free for orders over £80)
One of many excellent organic options from the southwest, Eversfield offers a variety of veg boxes, but we particularly enjoyed this no potatoes pre-made selection. We’ve got nothing against spuds, but we tend to turn to quick cook veg the most. Our box was packed to the brim with excellent quality specimens, including kale, courgettes, red peppers and mushrooms, as well as plenty of carrots and white onions.
Eversfield reckons it should feed 3-5 people for a week – it certainly felt like a lot of food. The company has been a real shining pillar of the community during lockdown, employing people from the local area who had been made redundant or did not qualify for furlough and set up a “perfectly imperfect” produce stand in the local village, offering free food that is good to eat but didn’t quite reach their high standards for paying customers. So choosing a box from Eversfield will really make you feel like one of the family.
Buy now £17.95, Eversfield Organic
Abel & Cole cook’s ingredient box
For the keen cook, Abel & Cole’s ingredient box will prove a real highlight of the week. We couldn’t wait to dive into ours, feeling like we were in a real-life episode of Ready, Steady, Cook, as we pulled out padron peppers (inspiring an entire Spanish-themed weekend feast) and sea spinach which we paired with fish.
It’s the useful herbs and spices, such as a fresh bunch of mint and a stick of ginger, which really set this box apart, ensuring we could make more well-rounded meals without the need to head to the shops to supplement our box. There are also lots of recipes on the site to help inspire some of the more unusual ingredients.
As with all Abel & Cole produce, the contents are completely organic or wild. If you’re not feeling quite so experimental, the recently introduced summer salad and veg box is perfect for the warmer weather. It contains lighter, fresher ingredients including broad beans, mini avocados, new potatoes and mixed salad leaves rather than heavier root veg.
Buy now £19.00, Abel & Cole
Riverford zero packaging organic veg box
Riverford has long been championing organic farming with boxes reflecting what’s available seasonally. It argues that less choice equals more sustainability and we’re happy to leave our veg in their trusty hands. Riverford also has a zero airfreight policy, so all fruit and veg comes to you with a minimal carbon footprint. This box was no different, arriving in absolutely no outside packaging – not so much as a rubber band!
You can expect the likes of broad beans, globe artichokes and new potatoes from the UK with red peppers coming from Spain. There’s a comprehensive advice on how to cook your loot online. However, we love Guy Riverford’s newsletter the most, as the brand’s founder reflects on the trials and tribulations on the farm each week.
Buy now £15.35, Riverford
If you like to know exactly what will arrive in your delivery, Boxxfresh could be the answer. You start by selecting the size of your box, from “small” (10 items) through to “X large”, which has enough space for 25 pieces. You then you fill each slot with the fruit or veg of your choice.
The quality of the produce was exceptional and the packaging felt very premium, with each piece individually wrapped in brown paper. It’s all sourced from independent producers such as the legendary Isle of Wight Tomato Stall and The Water Cress Company. There’s no subscription, just pick and choose your delivery day as and when you need it. Once your box is full there’s also the option to add on plant-based extras such as pesto, tinned goods and its signature sweet potato bread.
Buy now £17.00, Boxxfresh
Pale Green Dot premium fruit and veg box
Delivery: London, Sussex, Surrey and Kent
Until recently, Pale Green Dot was supplying fresh produce to some of the UK’s best restaurants, but when those were forced to close their attention turned to home delivery instead – something they’ve confirmed will be continuing. Choose between one-off boxes or alternatively sign up for a regular weekly subscription to ensure you’re always stocked up.
There are various options available but our favourite is the premium fruit and veg box which includes special seasonal items alongside the more everyday, with double the produce of its standard-sized box – great for bigger families. We tucked into asparagus, juicy strawberries, an array of coloured tomatoes and beautiful rainbow chard as well as the more familiar bananas, spring onions and luscious lettuces. The box offers impressive quality goods with minimal single-use plastic, sourced from skilled farmers practising sustainable techniques. Delivery isn’t yet nationwide but is always expanding.
Buy now £25.00, Pale Green Dot
Darts Farm seasonal veg box
Over the past 25 years, Darts Farm has evolved to become something of a gem in the southwest. The business is, at its core, still a working farm, and sells all of its home-grown produce directly through the farm shop. In just a few weeks, it completely adapted to an online business, also stocking brilliant Westcountry artisan producers who it is passionate about supporting.
Customers are now able to buy a range of meat and veg boxes, with this smaller version being perfect for couples or those living alone. This seasonal veg box contains roughly six different varieties of vegetables. You will always receive the staples – such as potatoes, onions and carrots, alongside a few exciting seasonal extras. In our case, we were delighted to find courgette flowers waiting for us, along with a helpful recipe to ensure we made the most of them. Sourced from local farmers in Topsham, Devon, you can also add on a wide range of everyday essentials, saving you the need to go to the shops at all.
Buy now £11.00, Darts Farm
The Tomato Stall
Available as a one-off box, weekly, fortnightly or monthly, these 3kg tomato cases came about as a direct result of Covid-19 but are here to stay. Before the pandemic hit, these tomatoes were largely destined for restaurants, however, the good news is that now we get to stock up at home too.
The number of varieties changes depending on the box but as a guide, the heritage box packs in 12-15 different juicy toms. Obviously there is much less choice here compared to the other boxes we’ve featured, but we found ourselves getting through it rapidly, creating gorgeous fresh salads, homemade tomato sauces and turning to it for general healthy snacking too.
Buy now £19.50, The Tomato Stall
Pikt homey seasonal mixed fruit, veg and salad box
Family-owned Pikt is a B Corp certified business – which means it balances purpose with profit. In practice, this means farmers and growers are fairly compensated, deliveries are carbon neutral and come free of plastic, and all the produce is organic and Soil Association certified.
The “homey” box is perfect for, you guessed it, the home (they also do boxes for offices and restaurants). As with Boxxfresh, our veggies came beautifully wrapped in paper, however, on the whole, we found each piece was slightly smaller. Boxes can be built from scratch or pre-filled with a whopping 60 pieces from its most popular items. Subscribe weekly, fortnightly or make a one-time purchase.
Buy now £30.00, Pikt
Feed Britain market fruit & veg box
Delivery: Within the M25, Oxford and Brighton
From the team behind healthy fast-food chain Leon comes Feed Britain – an initiative to alleviate the strain on supermarkets and get the nation fed. The spin-off was set up at speed and delivery is still limited but growing rapidly. Any profits that Feed Britain makes during the coronavirus crisis is being donated to the Feed NHS campaign, which is raising funds to serve one hot, healthy meal a day to NHS critical care workers.
That hasn’t been the only benefit – this new offering has also provided a route to market for suppliers whose revenues have been severely impacted by the pandemic. This box includes 15 varieties of fruit and veg sourced from Premier Fruits, a supplier based in the heart of New Covent Garden Market. Contents cover all the basics – from carrots to bananas, as well as the more exciting pineapple which we whizzed up into a tasty smoothie. What’s more, Leon has been popping in a complimentary copy of its latest cookbook – Happy Fast Food – to a select few lucky customers.
Buy now £26.50, Feed Britain
Lola’s Cupcakes mixed fruit and vegetable box
Although Lola’s may be best known for its show-stopping cupcakes, as a result of Covid-19 it’s been fulfilling hundreds of daily orders for groceries and plans to continue in the long term. This mixed fruit and veg box contains a really useful selection, avoiding the heavier root veg such as potatoes, instead focusing on seven quick cook veggies and a selection of fruit to snack on throughout the day.
Contents remain the same each time you place an order, however, the selection contained all the pieces we’d normally choose to pop in our basket, including the likes of long stem broccoli, asparagus, avocados, spinach and cherry tomatoes, alongside punnets of berries, grapes and a juicy mango to boot. We don’t want to ruin the surprise, but the team at Lola’s also includes one of its signature cupcakes in each box with a sweet note.
Buy now £29.99, Lola’s Cupcakes
Although delivery is still limited to London at present, we had to include Oddbox in our round-up – to date, it has rescued over 1.9 million kg of fruit and veg from going to waste and if that’s not something to celebrate, we don’t know what is. It will come as no surprise that this social enterprise saw a huge increased demand for its food-waste-fighting fruit and veg since the start of lockdown, having to temporarily stop new orders to meet the demand.
The good news is that they are now accepting orders from new customers again, working closely with farmers across the UK and from abroad to rescue fresh, seasonal surplus produce at risk of becoming food waste. There may be a few surprises in there too – if Oddbox can rescue it, it will!
Contents will obviously change week by week but in the past, we’ve received butternut squash, chard, peppers, mushrooms, aubergine and courgettes amongst other wonky goodies. Boxes are available in sizes small, medium and large so you can get the right one for your household.
Buy now £9.45, Oddbox
Milk & More seasonal organic fruit & veg
Delivery: Check postcode
For the nostalgic among us, the British milkman has had a millennial makeover and now delivers over 200 products to doorsteps around the country before 7am – including a trusty veg box. Contents will vary slightly each week to reflect the season’s but will be updated on the site if you want a sneak preview. Typically you’ll receive 4-5 types of vegetables and 3-4 different fruits. Our selection included a kilo of potatoes, butternut squash, courgettes, aubergine, cucumber and cherry tomatoes alongside plums, clementines and apples.
Buy now £16.50, Milk & More
The Veg Box Company
Having grown up and helped out on the family farm from a young age, the founder of this box returned to farmer life after a stint in the restaurant industry intensified his love for the freshest produce. Based in Lancashire, the majority of veg comes from local farms, as well as the family farm he grew up on, which means it arrives with you as fresh as can be.
Boxes vary in size and start at £12, ranging from something suitable for one person through to feeding a big family. They also offer salad boxes and a mixed fruit and veg box too. Contents are packed with paper bags and shredded cardboard so everything arrives in great condition. If you prefer more choice, plans to add a “build your own box” option to the range are currently being worked on.
Buy now £17.00, The Veg Box Company
The verdict: Vegetable boxes
It was almost impossible to choose an overall winner, however Eversfield just pipped the others to the post as we felt it offers the best value for money. If organic veg isn’t a deal-breaker for you, we were also very impressed with the quality of the produce from Boxxfresh and if you’re in the delivery zone, try Pale Green Dot.