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September 8, 2020

Which Food Box Is Right For Your Family?

Is it just me, or does it feel like you can’t open Facebook or turn on the TV without being bombarded with the latest, greatest meal-planning delivery service lately? There’s such a wide assortment of food boxes and bags available – all claiming to be the answer to every busy parent’s wishes. 

There’s something immensely attractive about having the stress taken out of planning dinner every night. But how do you know which could be the right fit for your family? 

Is the service really that good? Will the kids like them?

Are they healthy? Will you like them?

I’m as intrigued as you are, so I did the legwork for all of us and got the low-down on six of the most popular food boxes/bags available right now. From price and convenience to variety and specific dietary requirements – you will be able to see at a glance if the right food box is out there for you.

Let’s have a look at what options are out there right now…

Why A Food Box?

Do you get sick of staring into the abyss that is your fridge trying to summon the inspiration for a healthy and nutritious meal for your family?

The task of cooking dinner is a necessary one. But, it is also one that can weigh you down. 

Trying to come up with innovative ideas that the family will love, or simply meal ideas that the kids will eat can be a trying task. Often, you find yourself falling back on the old faithfuls that will get eaten.

But, that can get boring… quickly.

Introducing a food box into your dinner repertoire could be the answer to many of the dinner problems. After all, it is everything you need to feed the family for the week, and it arrives on your doorstop without fail.

Here are just a few of the benefits of signing on with a meal kit delivery service:

Sanity Saving

After a busy day, the last thing you need is to come up with a delicious meal on the spot. But if you are anything like me, that is what meal preparation is like most days. Inspiration never seems to strike when thinking on the fly, so we turn to an old faithful, or something quick and easy.

The meals that kind of planning produces are nothing compared to the tasty results of a food box! They simply take the hard work out of deciding what to cook. That in itself is a sanity saver.

Time Saving

How long would you spend each week meal planning, grocery shopping and preparing ingredients for meals? Probably far longer than you would ever want to. 

Well, if you utilise the convenience of a meal box, then you will probably cut those time commitments in half. No forecasting all the ingredients you will need to grab at the supermarket, no trawling Pinterest for meal inspiration, and no portioning out ingredients to ensure you use that entire cabbage!

Just grab out the recipe card and matching pre-portioned ingredients, then you are ready to go!

Convenience

There is a lot to be said for convenience. With so much on your plate, it is a nice feeling to know that at least one job is taken care of. Put quite simply, meal boxes make life easier for you. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! 

Flexibility

You can make food boxes suit your family’s style. For a smaller family, you can order a food box a fortnight to cover off a lot of meals (many are generous portions that could stretch to two meals or lunch the following day). For larger families simply bulk out the meals with extra veg or filling side dishes. 

With all the options available, food boxes can suit just about any budget, family size, lifestyle, or dietary requirements. Plus, many of the ingredients freeze well if you don’t get around to eating all the meals planned.

Less Wastage

Pumpkin is delicious, but depending on the size of your family, it can be hard to get through a whole one before it is beyond its best. Or, you get so over pumpkin that you throw half of it out and kick yourself for wasting good food! 

The good thing with a food box is that they supply you with the right amount of ingredients for one meal. So, no thinking up 100 ways to serve cabbage, potatoes or mince. Simply cook the portion size in the box with no wasted ingredients. 

Right, now that you know how great food boxes can be, let’s have a look what is out there on the market and which one might suit you best…

Which Food Box Is Right For Your Family?

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is designed to help save money and time on your groceries. With a range of meal options and box sizes delivered to your door every week, you can feed any sized family and still accommodate eating out or other meal options.

Price

Hello Fresh is priced slightly differently to the other food box options. Their pricing is based on the number of people you are feeding and the number of meals you would like.

  • Classic Plan 114.99 (2 people, 4 nights)
  • Family Plan $144.99 (4 people, 4 nights)

Delivery costs $9.99 per week.

There is a vegetarian box also available.

Size

  • Family Plan serves 4 people, 4 or 5 nights a week
  • Classic Plan serves 2 or 4 people, 3, 4, or 5 nights a week
  • Veggie plan serves 2 or 4 people, 3 or 4 nights a week

Delivery timeframes and frequencies

Delivery is currently available to Auckland, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu-Whanganui, Gisborne, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki, and Wellington.

Regions are expanding, so check online for specifics if you are outside these areas.

Deliveries will arrive during the window you select when setting up your order, with several options available – Sat Sun Tues Weds all day.

Intolerances/allergies

Allergens are listed on each recipe (which are available to view on their website or in their app at least a week in advance). However, to date, Hello Fresh does not cater to any special allergies or intolerances.

Because you can switch out recipes prior to delivery each week, you can select from the gluten-free recipes available. Any potential allergens can also be switched out or replaced before the delivery cut-off. 

Lifestyle preferences

There is a vegetarian option, but no other specific lifestyle diets to choose from. As above, it is possible to switch recipes and swap out ingredients if required. 

There are a selection of meals to choose from each week, so you can pick the ones that your family would most enjoy and remove the ones they don’t like. There is also the option to add in an additional meal as a one-off if you just have to try all the recipes that week!

Family-friendly?

Super flexible, meaning you can cater to fussy eaters (or potential allergies) by swapping out entire recipes or specific ingredients each week. Meal kits are colour coded and easy to follow, with all ingredients packaged and measured for you. 

The family plan is designed to please everyone, with classics like chicken in creamy Italian sauce, bacon carbonara, and beef tacos. While the classic plan includes meals for a more refined palette with more exotic flavours and ingredients to choose from. 

Overall comments

Although there are only three boxes to choose from, the possibility of selecting your fave recipes each week means you get as much (or as little) variety as you want. Servings are generous, so there's usually enough leftover for some delicious lunches the following day. 

The app makes life even more simple. You can log in and get your dinners for the week sorted on the go. Although Hello Fresh does attempt to be sustainable with their packaging, there are quite a few plastic packets and containers that will end up heading to landfill.

Bonus 

You can add sides or desserts.

Is there a Hello Fresh coupon?

Yes! Get a $50 Hello Fresh credit when you sign up using this code: HS-II8SXS7SY

Disclaimer – If you use this code I may also receive a credit on my Hello Fresh account – so thank you!

Is it easy to skip a delivery?

Yes. You can change meals, skip a week, and change or cancel your plan anytime by the Tuesday 11:59PM NZDT before the week of your next scheduled delivery.

My Food Bag

My Food Bag paved the way for other food box delivery services in New Zealand. It is still leading the way by providing a large customisable selection of boxes to suit every family’s need. With classic, family, plant-based, gourmet, vegetarian, gluten free, and low calorie options, there is something to please everyone.

Price

My Classic Bag $199.99 per week (4 people for 5 nights)

My Family Bag $171.99 per week (4 people for 5 nights)

Plus a wide range of other options to cater to any dietary needs. The boxes range in price from $101.99 to $212.99 depending on your preferences, how many you are feeding and how many nights you want meals for.

Size

Most Food Bags feed either 1, 2, or 4 people for 3, or 5 nights, although options vary.

Delivery timeframes and frequencies

Deliveries arrive on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, depending on your area. The network currently reaches around 88% of households in NZ. You can click here to see if your suburb is included on the list. 

Intolerances/allergies

My Food Bag caters to a wide audience. A Gluten Free bag is available at a reasonable price. There is also a My Choice bag available where you can choose from 10 different recipes each week to ensure you get the food you like. Recipes are also marked as Dairy Lite or Gluten Lite for ease. 

Lifestyle preferences

There are plenty of options for lifestyle choices here! From Fresh Start Lite with limited calories and reduced carbs to My Plant Based Bag with vegan options. There’s a vegetarian bag and one catered to gym-goers, too.

Add on extras like ready made meals, lunch solutions and recipe folders. You can even get a coffee subscription, ensuring you never miss your fave cup of Joe from Allpress Espresso. 

Family-friendly?

There are plenty of options available to suit any family. The standard My Family and My Classic bags have go-to, kid-friendly options. For complete control, you can choose freely from a selection of ten recipes in the My CHoice bag. All recipes are quick and easy to make, and food is pre-portioned to reduce waste.

Other comments

With the most variety out of all the options on this list, you would be hard-pressed to get bored of their dinners. Had enough of classics? Simply switch to a gourmet option or have a go at a vegan diet. There’s even an option to add freshly made ready-made meals to your order for those super busy weeks. 

All meat (and eggs) are produced free-range or free-farmed, and the fish is sustainably caught. They have also made impressive efforts to create environmentally –friendly packaging.

What if I need help with a recipe?

They have an 0800 number you can call for help, which is helpfully listed on the delivery confirmation text you receive when your box is dropped off. I called them, they answered! If they can’t answer, they’ll find out and call you back.

Is there a My Food Bag Coupon?

Yes! You can get $40 off your first My Food Bag order by using the code PETIM001 at checkout, or just follow this link.

Bargain Box

Bargain box is My Food Bag’s offering designed to feed families of all sizes. You can configure the boxes based on the number of people you are feeding and how many nights you are feeding them for. Generous portion sizes mean the meals go a long way and often there are leftovers for lunch the next day. You can also add Fruit and Lunch boxes as well as Heat and Eat meals and recipe folders.

Price

  • Bargain Box $109.99 (2 people, 5 nights)
  • Bargain Box $142.99 (4 people, 5 nights)

A vegetarian box is also available for $99.99 (4 people, 3 nights)

Size

The Standard Bargain Box is customisable for 2 adults (or 1 adult and 2 kids), 4 adults (or 2 adults and 3 kids), or 6 people for 3 or 5 nights a week

The Veggie Box is customisable for 2 or 4 people, 3 nights a week.

Delivery timeframes and frequencies

Bargain Box can deliver to 87% of New Zealand households. You can check if they service your suburb by clicking this link. Delivery occurs on either a Saturday or a Monday, depending on your location. 

Intolerances/allergies

Customising options are limited for The Bargain Box. You can opt to have no fish or a Vegetarian box, but that is about it. They do not specifically cater for dietary requirements, however suggest that you can add your own substitutes if there is something your family cannot eat.

Lifestyle preferences

You can choose between a standard or vegetarian box for a set number of people. You can also add on extras to your regular order like Gourmet and Family Fruit boxes, food for Lunches, Heat and Eat Meals and folders to keep all your favourite recipes in.

Family-friendly?

Bargain Box has a real family feel to it. The recipes are easy to follow and are designed to please the whole family. The standard box typically includes one chicken meal, one beef meal, and either a fish or vegetarian meal every week – think chicken burgers with veggie chips, cheesy chicken spaghetti,  and tacos. 

Overall comments

There seems to be a clear kid-friendly focus with this one, with nothing too exotic – just standard tasty fare. People have commented there is a slight lack of variety, however you can choose to have the Bargain Box delivered fortnightly and add your own menu variation.  

The emphasis is on budget-friendly items, so expect in-season fruit and vegetables complete with handy recipes taking less than 30 minutes to cook—a quick, affordable and easy option.

Is there a Bargain Box Coupon?

Yes! You can get $40 off your first Bargain Box order by using the code PETIM001 at checkout, or just follow this link.

Woop

Woop’s catchphrase is ‘Hand-prepped by us, homemade by you’. They offer next level in convenience by completing some of the prep work for you. Sauces and dressings are pre-made, some of the veggies are pre-diced and the meats come already marinated. 

Price

  • Foodie Box $154 weekly (feeds 2 adults, 4 nights a week)
  • Classic Box $199 weekly (feeds 2 adults and 2-3 kids, 4 nights a week)

Delivery is free to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, and Hastings (with more locations coming soon!)

They also have healthy, gluten-free and vegetarian boxes available.

Size

All boxes give the option of 3 nights or 4 nights (except the Gluten Free Box which is only available for 3 nights).

Aside from the Classic Box, you can select 1, 2, or 4 adults for each option.

Delivery timeframes and frequencies

Auckland, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Rotorua and Tauranga get their boxes between 4 pm-8 pm on Sundays.  

  • Wellington and Palmerston North 3 pm-7 pm Mondays.
  • Christchurch boxes arrive from 12 pm to 5 pm on Tuesdays 
  • Waiheke Islanders get their goodies between 2 pm and 5 pm on Mondays.

Intolerances/allergies

There is a gluten-free box available for 3 nights a week for 1, 2 or 4 adults.

Although the menus are largely nut-free and use of nuts is clearly marked on recipes, they do not currently cater to nut allergies. 

There is no dairy-free option.

Lifestyle preferences

There are lots of lifestyle preferences available through Woop. The Veggie Box caters to vegetarians, but there is no vegan option. 

The Balance Box is a lower carb, lower calorie offering with no additives and minimal added sugar. 

Family-friendly?

The go-to option for families is the Classic Box with its kid-friendly choices. In terms of prep-time, this is a great choice. Where possible, veggies are pre-chopped, sauces and dressings are pre-made, and the meats come already marinated. 

Overall comments

Although you can’t select your own recipes, the menu does refresh every week, so you will have a wide variety of meals. For more adventurous eaters, there’s even a Foodie Box featuring recipes from around the world. 

Any chicken is free-range, and they have done an impressive job of trying to be eco-friendly, with 99  percent of their packaging recyclable. 

Is there a Woop coupon code?

Yes! You can get $30 of your first Woop box with the following code: PETI30

Kai Box

The ethos at The Kai Box is to help people create delicious plant-based meals at home. They offer a weekly set menu of yummy dishes that are delivered to your door on set days.

Price

  • The Couples Box, $95 weekly, or $100 weekly for a Gluten-Free option
  • The Family Box, Standard $115 weekly (feeds 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 small children, 4 meals weekly)

Also includes specialty boxes like Breakfast and Low Carb variations.

A shipping fee is charged but varies between areas.

Size

The smallest available is the Couples Box, which feeds 2 adults.

The largest option is the Family Box Extra which contains enough food for 4 adults or 3 adults and two 2 children.

Delivery timeframes and frequencies

Delivery is available nationwide.

  • Auckland customers (including Orewa and Whangaparaoa) can expect boxes to arrive on Sundays between 4 pm and 8 pm. 
  • Wellington, Hamilton, and Tauranga arrive on Mondays, in the afternoon or evening.

All other regions get their boxes on Tuesday.

Rural residents should check to ensure delivery is possible – you may need to pick it up from your local depot.

Intolerances/allergies

Because all Kai Box meals are dairy-free (plus meat and egg-free), they are suitable for lactose-intolerant eaters. 

The Family Box is available in a gluten-free option ($120), and the Breakfast Box and Kickstart Low Carb boxes are both gluten-free.

Kai Box can also cater to nut or soy allergies. 

Lifestyle preferences

All the meals at Kai Box are 100 percent plant-based, so ideal for both vegetarians and vegans. Alongside the standard boxes, they offer a Kickstart Low Carb Box that is gluten and grain-free.

Family-friendly?

The great news is that plant-based diets don’t have to be restrictive, even if you have young kids! What I like about Kai Box is that it was founded by a couple with young children. They understand the importance of tasty, nutritious food to suit the whole family, So, they ensure the meals are tested (and approved) by their own family first!

Overall comments

Plant-based diets can be great for the planet, and great for us too! The range from Kai Box makes a plant-based diet delicious and straightforward. Forget about stereotypes of tofu and spinach every night. With meals like jackfruit stuffed kumara, mac n’ peas, and two bean chilli, you are not likely to get bored anytime soon. 

Recipes do change weekly and come as a set menu. So, that means you don’t get to pick and choose like you do with some other meal boxes. The Kai Box also prides itself on the fact that all their ingredients are pre-measured and freshly sourced. 

Food Box

Designed as a service that delivers everything you need to feed your family. Not just dinner meals, the box contains everything to feed 1, 2 or 4 family members for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Completely customisable, Food Box shops for you so that you don’t have to!

Price

  • Me, Myself and I, $95 (feeds 1)
  • Two Is Company, $148 (feeds 2)
  • We are Family Box, $185 (feeds 4)

Each of these box options include enough food to prepare a week of breakfast, lunches, and dinners for your family.

There are also vegetarian and fruit box options available.

Within Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton, delivery is between $7.50 and $10.

Wellington, Palmerston North, and Christchurch delivery costs $10.

Size

Boxes include items enough food for one person, a couple, or a family of four, but can be customised to include more or less. Add in fruit, cereals, breads, additional veggies or meat, and so much more.

Delivery timeframes and frequencies

As long as there’s a 48-hour lead-in, deliveries can happen any day. However, there are varied delivery slots for different regions. When placing your order, you will see the available slots online.

As fresh produce is sourced each and every week, boxes are only customisable from the Thursday before your order is due to be delivered.

Intolerances/allergies

As each box is fully customisable, you are able to make them fit any dietary preferences. With options like Vegan mince and coconut milk available, Food Box can cater to a range of intolerances and allergies.

Lifestyle preferences

Although all the boxes are very customisable, there is a Vegetarian Box option to keep things simple. 

Family-friendly?

Ideal for the family who likes a little more flexibility. Rather than set meals, you receive an email containing the fresh products expected with your delivery each week and can make any adjustments you like before the cut-off. 

Kids don't like fish? Swap it out. Need a little extra chicken for an extended family meal this week?  No problem, throw in an additional package. Plus, there are hundreds of recipes on the site to choose from to create yummy meals very time.

Overall comments

Foodbox is a little different from our other selections. Rather than getting pre-made ingredients for specific meals, you get a range of fresh products and supplies delivered every week – all fully customisable. While there is a weekly meal plan to inspire you, you are expected to be proactive and browse through the “Jenny’s Kitchen” blog on the website for recipe ideas. 

This one is more of a personal shopping service than a specific meal-planning one. But, it still takes the hassle out of having to go to the supermarket all the time.

So, there you have it! Six of New Zealand’s best food box delivery options. Try one and stick to it or try them all. The great thing is, they all offer options for pausing or cancelling your subscription, so you can test them until you find the one or two options that suit your family.

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