Veggie Boxes Grow Up!

In such uncertain times, where the recession is on everybodies lips and people are saving rather than spending, you may be surprised to know that the ‘vegetable box’ industry is thriving. Surprised because if you have not had one delivered for a while, they are not how you or I remember them. Gone are the days where you’d open the door to a grumpy looking despatcher, thrusting a box full of tired, wilting carrots, soft swedes, woody parnips and one unidentifiable item at you. Nowadays, veggie boxes have grown up and smartened up their act, perhaps in response to dismal sales. Don’t get me wrong, there were always going to be the customers who didn’t care what was in the box, so long as it was organic, but the real customer base lay in ordinary people who actually wanted the veggie boxes to work within their food budget. Not be a waste of one-upmanship on the neighbours.

Since those days, two companies have come along that looked inside the box and decided that customers deserved more. Abel and Cole and Riverford believed that by offering the customer something a little slicker and different, they would appeal to a larger audience. “We always believed our customers would expect carrots free of flies and we had to accept they wanted salads even in winter and more exotic vegetables like peppers and tomatoes, even if that meant supplementing their box with the odd import. It’s these foodies who are driving the business – and we’ve had to develop an eye for what they want to eat.” And in the case of Riverford, they are actually buying farms abroad to be able to supply imported vegetables and they are also adding organic meat, milk, eggs, bread, muesli and more to their list to challenge online grocers such as Waitrose and Ocado , who already have a stronghold on the organic box market.

And vegetables are now not the only commodity to be sold in a box. Many other edible items can be delivered to your door via the box system. For instance:

Chocolates

Amelie Chocolat offers boxes of chocolates as gifts, or you can sign up to their chocolat monthly in which you’ll get 24 chocolates sourced from some of Europe’s finest chocolatiers. Amelie Chocolat will send chocolates of your choice all over the world with a personalised message. They also have an Easter Egg collection and a Valentine’s Day selection. Find them at Amelie Chocolat.

Luxuries

The Larder Box contains five gourmet products monthly, from a bottle of fruit vinegar to a pouch of salted caramel popcorn. An easy, simple and delicious way to discover new food and drink. Try unique and amazing fare made in small batches by independent producers from all over the country. Never be stuck for dinner inspiration again with our recipe suggestions, hints and tips. From £16.50, The Larder Box.

Healthy snacks

Graze offer delicious, healthy, natural food; delicious nuts, seeds & dried fruits, tasty crackers & olives, freshly baked bread, as well as some well deserved flapjacks and natural treats. Graze targets workers with four punnets of healthy snacks to keep beside the computer – think nuts, seeds, olives, crackers, dried fruit and more at £3.79 per box. To browse the site go to Graze.

Meat

Field and Flower offer a variety of premium Somerset meat in Field & Flower boxes. We deliver monthly from our farm, which allows us to be both sustainable and completely traceable in our supply (we don’t bother with the middle-man). This means our meat reaches our customers quickly and efficiently, reducing food miles whilst maximising freshness and taste. Visit fieldandflower.co.uk to order.

Specialist coffee

Kopi are dedicated to bringing you outstanding single-estate coffees from around the world. Beautiful, freshly-roasted brews you won’t find in the usual places – delivered straight to your doorstep, once a month. We also share our insider knowledge on how to get the best out of your coffee – how to make it, how to enjoy its perkily unique characteristics – and reveal some of the remarkable stories behind each one. All for the price of two grande lattes and a banana muffin. Go to kopi.co.uk for more information.

Loose-leaf tea

If you like exploring the world around you, are adventurous with new flavours and passionate about great tastes, you’ve come to the right place! Our purpose is simple: to give you the opportunity to discover flavours you’ve never tried before, through an ever-changing selection of tea. From £10 at teahorse.co.uk.

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