Should I Get a Fruit & Veg Box?

Should I get a fruit and veg box?

I think it’s fair to say veg boxes are becoming increasingly popular. Earlier this year, Farming UK reported over 3 million people turned to veg box schemes and local farms for the first time as a result of lockdown!

I’ve tried three now and I’m a big fan, but if you’re new to them you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.

Over the past couple of years I’ve switched to buying the majority of my fresh food through weekly fruit and veg box deliveries. In this post I’ll cover some of the key reasons I made the switch.

Hopefully by the end you will decide to take the plunge too!

Support for Farmers

I think we can all agree that the people who grow our food deserve to be fairly compensated for what they produce. But when farmers sell through supermarkets they often receive tiny margins in return.

In 2016 it was estimated that producers receive a measly 9p for every £1 spent in a supermarket.

Fruit and veg box companies often support small farmers, helping more money go to the people who spend all of their time and energy growing the food. They’re also more accepting of ‘wonky’ produce, which a supermarket may reject outright.

Environmental Benefits

Many of the companies I’ve tried have a whole host of environmental credentials. Typical benefits on offer are likely to be:

  • Deliveries with minimal carbon emissions
  • Cardboard boxes reused
  • Focus on seasonal produce
  • Less plastic – packaging is minimised and often compostable or able to be returned for recycling
  • Zero air freight
  • Organic or sustainably wild food

Some companies also offer boxes which only contain items which are grown in the UK.

A note on food miles – While it may sound more environmentally friendly to buy local, that’s not always the case. A tomato grown in the UK using artificial heat may have 10x higher carbon emissions than a tomato grown in a mainland-European country where the climate is warmer, even including transportation.


I’m pretty rubbish at planning my food shopping, so I personally find the box deliveries really convenient.

I’ve never spent enough to justify having a weekly grocery order delivered from a supermarket, but I can tailor the fruit and veg boxes to the size I need. They then arrive direct to the door, reducing the need for me to pop to the shops for fresh food.

The only difficulty can be the time of arrival, as you’ll often be given a day of arrival instead of a specific timed slot. This makes deliveries tricky for those living in flats unless you have a safe area it can be stored.

It’s worth noting that it’s not a problem if you’re out at work when your order arrives, so long as you have a discreet place it can go. I used to ask for mine to be popped in my bin shed.

Some companies also provide the option to order other grocery items. If you order any additional fresh food (such as tofu) it will come with an ice pack. That helps to keep it cool until you can pop it in the fridge.

Trying Out New Foods

I really enjoy eating more seasonally. It can also be fun to try new foods I haven’t seen before. I’m now a massive fan of Sharon fruit, which I never previously knew existed! If you haven’t tried them – seriously, do!

Cucamelons are super cute. Jerusalem artichokes were also interesting to receive. While regular artichokes were a bit of a mission to prepare but fascinating at the same time. Who knew the edible part was so tiny?!

I also find having a veg box encourages me to eat more healthily than I might do otherwise.


Fruit and veg boxes offer good value compared to a supermarket, however you may pay a premium for going organic. I don’t normally buy organic so I’m probably paying a little more now I’ve made the switch.

However I definitely think it’s worth it due to the social and environmental benefits described above.

I do supplement the fresh fruit and veg with frozen from a supermarket. For me that strikes a good balance between low cost and ethically good.

In general I pay £29 for a weekly fruit and veg box which I share with my partner. That contains about 3 types of fruit and 8 types of vegetables which last us nicely through the week.

Minimising Food Waste

As mentioned above fruit and veg box companies are often more accepting of ‘wonky’ or imperfect veg than a supermarket would be.

ODDBOX even specialise in this. They rescue imperfect (but perfectly edible!) produce and ensure it doesn’t end up going to waste.

ODDBOX report that 1/3rd of all food being grown around the world is going to waste. It’s high time more companies jump on the bandwagon to help reduce food waste.

What Fruit & Veg Box Companies Are There?

I’ve personally tried Riverford, Abel & Cole and ODDBOX. I was happy with all three! It’s also worth checking out if there are any services local to you which operate in the same way.

I’ve moved away from London now so sadly ODDBOX isn’t an option. I currently use Abel & Cole as they have the most flexibility with swaps you can make.

However while researching this article I’ve discovered that Riverford are a B-Corporation, which means they place a value on social and environmental benefits as opposed to being driven solely by profit. While Abel and Cole’s parent company has associations with tax havens. I’ll therefore probably switch to using Riverford again in future.

It’s important to note that due to Covid-19 several companies have had to adapt and offer less flexible boxes on a temporary basis. When the stockpiling panic was underway during lockdown I was very grateful the boxes were operating at all!

Lots of companies offer money off your first box, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for offers. Then you can try them out cheaply to see if they’re right for you!

So those were my reasons for switching to a fruit & veg box delivery service. If you’re on the fence I’d highly recommend giving a veg box a go!

For more tips on cooking cheap and healthy meals with a veg box check out this series from the Savvy Scientist.

Have you tried veg boxes? Do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments!

graphic of piggy bank


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