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Best meal delivery services at a glance
- Best overall meal delivery service: COOK, prices vary
- Best for pies: Great North Pie Co., from £4.75
- Best healthy meal delivery service: Mindful Chef, from £4.75
- Best for bold vegan flavours: Planty, prices vary
- Best for supporting small businesses: &Dine, prices vary
- Best for tailored fitness: Fresh Fitness Food, from £23/day
- Best for plant-based variety: Allplants, from £5.75
- Best for variety: Lions Prep, from £4
- Best for bundles: Breda Murphy, from £55 for 7 meals bundle
- Best meal delivery service for helping weight loss: Foodhak, from £60 for 10 meals
- Best for meat lovers: Farmison & Co., from £8.95
- Best for meal prep: Prep Kitchen, prices vary
Best meal delivery services to order 2022
Best overall meal delivery service
COOK is perhaps the most well-known meal delivery service, with 90 high-street shops across the UK as well as the vast website to order from.
For sheer variety, COOK has the most to offer. You could easily lose yourself browsing the website – there’s a breadth of main meals serving from 1 to 8 people, a broad entertaining range, hot and cold puddings, meal box bundles, seasonal ranges, lunch pots and more. The website is also packed with useful tips and recommendations alongside dishes, such as serving suggestions and how to adapt dishes.
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We tested a selection of meals from across the COOK offering. We started with the ‘lighter pots for one’ – ideal as quick and healthy lunches to take to work. The pots are all healthy meals with fewer than 400 calories. We tried the halloumi and roasted veg pasta, coming in at 317 calories, providing 2 of your 5 a day and low in sat fat – microwaved from frozen in just four minutes, it was an incredibly easy and filling healthy lunch that we’d happily eat again. At £4.25, this isn’t much more than most high street sandwich shops. Next, we were also impressed by a tomato, basil and mozzarella risotto – again microwaving from frozen in just a few minutes, it was a great speedy supper after the gym, with a strong hit of lemon and plenty of creamy mozzarella. A family fish pie was also comforting, although with a slightly dry mash.
COOK meals all arrive frozen and use a variety of different cooking methods – our favourite were the speedy microwave ones, but dishes could also go in the oven or be defrosted overnight, such as a large chocolate roulade for a stress-free dinner party dessert. There’s lots more we want to try and would definitely buy again to explore more of the range.
A happy all-rounder, COOK would be great for new parents (who get 10% off!), those living on their own, for freezer standby meals for busy families or for emergency last minute entertaining. Order a delivery for a grandparent living alone and you’ll soon be the most popular grandchild.
COOK, prices vary
Great North Pie Co.
Best meal delivery for pies
If you’re just after one specific hit of comfort food, Great North Pie Co. (literally) delivers. Starting in a home kitchen just a few years ago, these award-winning pies now pop-up at farmers markets across the North East and in their Ambleside pie shop. For those living further afield, they can be delivered in boxes of 4 or 8 pies, between Tuesday and Friday.
The pie menu is short and focusing on classics (with slight seasonal changes), plus you can also buy gift vouchers for the true pie-fanatic in your life. The pies serve one and have straight sides like a traditional Scotch pie, baked in custom-made tins. First up, we tried the vegetarian cheese and onion pie. The firm pastry was a great balance to the rich filling and only a little dry on its own – it reminded us of a slightly thinner pork pie pastry. Inside was a very indulgent melting cheese filling and plenty of white onion that still had slight bite. The chicken pie was dense with shredded chicken. All pies were £4.75 each (or 4 for £19) which feels good value for independent, small-batch baked pies made to order – each serves one very generously.
We froze some of our pies and then defrosted fully before cooking and noticed no difference from trying them fresh: so stock up your freezer ready for cosy dinners on a cold winter’s night.
Great North Pie Co., from £4.75
Best healthy meal delivery service
Mindful Chef is best known for its recipe box subscription service, but its ‘Ready to Go’ range has a wide range of ready meals, snacks and smoothies that can be bought as bundles or one-off purchases. The central focus of all of their meals is to be healthy and sustainable, using no refined sugars and only ethically sourced proteins from UK farms – plus, Mindful Chef partners with the charity One Feeds Two so for every Mindful meal sold, a school meal is donated to a child living in poverty.
There is a smaller variety of meals to choose from than some services we tried but still plenty of choice to keep you going. The inclusion of smoothies, snacks, desserts and even vitamins in the offering means you are covered for food at all times of day. Different dietary requirements are all catered for and the option to order bulk bundles is handy if giving for a gift or sending to someone you want to look after. Meals arrive all still frozen in eco-conscious insulation (with next-day nationwide delivery if ordered before 7pm) and all meals serve one. We tried a selection of different dishes and found the meals were simple, light and satisfying. The portions were filling but not too big, which is just what you want for a healthy weekday dinner. Some of our favourites were the broccoli and butternut squash dhal, shepherd’s pie and lamb tagine.
We appreciated the transparency of Mindful Chef’s commitment to sourcing sustainable, healthy and responsible ingredients, and the high quality of ingredients was clear in the finished meals. While some meal delivery services can focus on being either cosy indulgence or specific dietary requirements, Mindful Chef is a simple middle ground that will appeal to anyone wanting to be healthy but with a shortcut.
Mindful Chef, from £4.75
Best for bold vegan flavours
Planty is a meal delivery service providing 100 per cent plant-based, chef-prepared meals on a subscription model, so you sign up to regular deliveries. This is handy if you want to get into a routine of always having a back-up meal in your freezer for when you know you have busy periods, or if you’re consistently looking for easy evenings free of cooking.
Meals are ordered by creating your own Planty box bundle of meals, choosing up to 12 meals and 3 desserts. Each meal serves one person. There’s a wide range of meals to choose from (some of which are Great Taste Award winning), with the ability to filter easily by dietary requirements as well as handily by cooking method, if you’re specifically looking for meals you can quickly microwave or you want to use your oven. When we browsed, meals included dishes such as pumpkin ravioli, yaki miso udon noodles, mac ‘no’ cheese, tempeh lasagne and a buddha bowl. There was a noticeable amount of hearty, comforting dishes based around pasta and carbs. Meals are delivered frozen on your selected delivery date – all in eco-conscious recyclable insulated padding to keep them cool.
Overall, the meals we tried were simple, tasty and satisfying. We really appreciated the clear nutritional signposting on the meals to indicate whether a dish was gluten-free or contributed to your five-a-day. Quite a few of the meals were on the spicy side, which might not be to everyone’s taste, but for those who like that, their flavour profiles were great. The meals offered a good balance of seasoning, with herbs and spices remaining fresh and vibrant despite being pre-prepared. The clear best thing about Planty is the ability to make plant-based food convenient and varied, ready to pop a frozen meal in the microwave at a moment’s notice.
Planty, prices vary
&Dine describes itself as the ‘food version of Etsy’ – a food marketplace that connects hungry customers to independent food businesses and cooks. Much like you’d browse a takeaway service like Deliveroo, on &Dine you can browse a wide range of vendors before making your choice for a meal that will be delivered ready-cooked for you to reheat later.
There’s a wide range of cuisines on &Dine, from Indian and Italian to Brazilian, Korean, African and more (plus lots of bakery and dessert options), so it’s great for trying something new. Delivery is Monday to Friday and not all vendors deliver every day, so you filter by your desired delivery date to see who will be cooking and what’s available. Navigating the website takes a few minutes to get used to, but placing an order is easy once you’ve chosen.
We tested out a pizza from Good F’ing Pizzas and the whole range of samosas from Big Mum’s Samosas (pictured). Our two deliveries arrived together, although all vendors will have different packaging and could arrive separately. Both had clear instructions on reheating, needing 6-8 mins in the oven to simply reheat the meals – no cooking required and both would keep in the fridge for a few days if needed. We chose the Detroit margherita pizza from Good F’in pizza, which was almost like a tomato-topped focaccia on a thick and impressively fluffy gluten-free base. Plus, it came with extra parmesan and hot honey for a finishing touch.
Samosas come in boxes of 10 from Big Mum’s samosas. These would be a perfect cheat if you’re entertaining and great value too, starting at just £10 a box. They arrived with different chutneys (or a tiny jar of custard for the sweet apple pie samosas), and after just a few minutes in the oven were completely crisp, with plenty of filling and perfect levels of spicing. Favourites included the chicken tikka and the more unusual cheeseburger samosas.
This most likely isn’t an option for every day, but it’s a great takeaway or restaurant meal kit. It’s great to discover new businesses and support small, too – one day these vendors might grow, and you’ll have been first to try them.
&Dine, prices vary
Fresh Fitness Food
Best for tailored fitness
If you’re looking to achieve a particular fitness or health goal, bespoke nutrition brand Fresh Fitness Food may be the delivery service best suited to you.
Using the brand’s nutrition calculator, you can find out exactly what meals you should be eating, whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose fat or for general health. You can then choose your nutrition preference: balanced, low-carb, flexitarian, pescatarian, veggie or vegan. Select your activity level (not very active, fairly active, very active), the hours you spend exercising, your height and weight. The calculator will then curate your very own personal meal plan – created by qualified nutritionists – and the rest is done for you.
A reusable cooler bag arrives at your door or office each morning, containing breakfast, lunch and dinner in biodegradable containers. You can also include extras such as juices, smoothies and snacks. These meals are ready to eat, although they can also be heated up in the microwave. Some of our favourites were the lemongrass turkey salad, dressed in a delicious miso sesame dressing alongside sugar snap peas, baby gem, carrots and rice noodles; oregano baked tofu with savoy cabbage, roasted peppers, slow-roasted sweet potato and red pepper relish; and lastly the Maldivian chicken curry, with cauliflower and broccoli, curry sauce, brown rice, yogurt dressing and coriander. We felt these were well-balanced, nutritious and full of flavour, and far better than your average ready meal.
On top of this, you’ll be assigned a nutritionist to ensure that your plan adapts to your changing requirements, and that you’re enjoying your meals. You can also follow your progress using the app, which allows you to count macros, sync calorie data, view meal plans and access fitness and wellness content.
We think Fresh Fitness Food provides a great service for the time-poor who want to stay on top of their health. This service does sit on the pricier side, with the upfront commit plan priced at £24.50/day and the flexi plan priced at £27/day, so it’s worth considering whether this is appropriate for your lifestyle.
Fresh Fitness Food, £23/day
Best for plant-based variety
If you think eating plant-based has to be complicated, think again. Allplants’ ready-made meals offer a massive variety of recipes to choose from and rank highly on the convenience scale – simply stash in your freezer and cook from frozen when needed. A great choice for newbie vegans, plant lovers and flexitarians looking to add more meat-free meals into their weekly rotation.
Bundles start from £25 for their taster box which includes five meals for one, or you can purchase as many individual meals as desired, choosing between portions with one or two servings, with prices starting from £5.75 for one or £8.95 for two. You can choose from 50 main meal options (you need to select six to fill up your box), then add up to nine extras, including sides, smoothies, puddings and breakfasts. Arriving in a cheery yellow branded box, all the meals are individually portioned and frozen, surrounded by innovative insulation made from upcycled excess denim fibres. You’ll also be provided with a free returns label to send back a few boxes’ worth of eco-friendly liners, where they’ll be reused by Allplants up to 10 times.
Of the meals we tried, our favourite was the protein power bowl with chickpeas, edamame and tofu – clocking in at 530 calories and providing three portions of your five-a-day. Also on the menu – a clever, cheeseless mac and greens, comforting green ricotta lasagne and a spicy smoky soul chilli bowl with black beans, sweet potatoes and mini corn breads.
You can filter to exclude soy, nuts or gluten, and opt for recipes that can be heated up in the oven or microwave (we had good results using both methods of heating, but some recipes, such as the lasagne, are obviously best crisped up in the oven as the packaging made clear).
Subscriptions are flexible and managed through the account section of the website, and you can make changes to order dates, portion sizes and delivery frequency, or cancel your subscription if desired.
allplants, from £5.75
- Available from Lions Prep, from £4 per meal
Best for variety
Dinner can be on the table in just three minutes with the help of Lions Prep, a microwavable meal-for-one service providing fresh and healthy breakfasts, snacks and mains.
Making it easy for you to track what you eat from £4 per meal, Lions Prep is aimed at those who lead a busy lifestyle, yet crave freshly prepared meals. The process is simple: order online by putting together your first weekly plan. The menu changes weekly, and you can edit your order up to three days before your delivery is due. You can also add meals, skip deliveries or cancel your plan at any time. Each week, the system recommends meals to suit your goals based on allergies and dietary requirements, such as low-carb, high-protein and plant-based options.
Providing fresh food is important to its ethos, so for those on a five/six-day meal plan, meal boxes arrive over two deliveries. Inside the box, meals are wrapped in an eco-friendly, paper-based, compostable solution to keep them cool.
Our favourite dinner was the satay chicken with fried rice & smashed cucumber – the satay was wonderfully nutty, and we were surprised at how a three-minute microwavable meal could deliver big, distinct flavours. We’d also recommend the creamy garlic Tuscan salmon, served with lemon & herb crushed potatoes and crunchy green beans.
For breakfasts, expect sweet dishes like banana pancakes with maple syrup, or hits such as Indonesian wok rice with chicken, soft egg and a dash of soy sauce – perfect for those who enjoy a light, savoury breakfast. From what we tried, snacks were mostly sweet, including a sweet and sharp dairy-free apple crumble served with dairy-free custard, although on a different week, you can expect snacks such as tofu bites glazed with a piri-piri sauce.
Overall, these solo meals are nutritional, big on flavour and most important, convenient. We were impressed at the sheer variety of meals on offer, and the nutritional signposting on each one is a real bonus. Ready for you to pop in the microwave at a moment’s notice, these are perfect for busy workers or even a student new to living alone.
Lions Prep, from £4 a meal
Best for bundles
Breda Murphy is an Irish chef with a restaurant and bakery in Lancashire who began a meal delivery service in 2021 with the promise of delivering ‘restaurant quality at home’. The meals follow a unique format of being available in different bundles, such as a Singles Meal Box (with meals to serve 1), Mixed Meals Box or Doubles Meal Box (meals to serve 2). Within the bundles you can choose which meals you’d like to receive.
We tested out the Singles Meal Box which contains 3 single-portion meals, 3 single-portion desserts and a loaf cake for £55 (working out at approx. £7.80 per item). The meals all arrive frozen and we like the distinctive colourful packaging that makes the dishes easy to spot once you’ve stashed them in the freezer. Unlike some other meal delivery services we tried, these cannot be cooked from frozen and should be defrosted overnight, so a small element of planning ahead is still needed. Each meal had pleasing short ingredients lists with all natural, familiar ingredients. There are six main meals to choose from and four puddings. A chickpea curry was fresh and warming for a light lunch in winter. You could add extra protein or cheese if you wish or it’s just as good on its own. The fish pie had a pretty piped mash presentation and was packed with fish just coated in super creamy sauce. A fragrant Thai green chicken curry was another winner.
We liked the luxury of having puds included in the bundle (if you don’t have a sweet tooth, there are savoury-only bundles too) – although we weren’t big fans of the sticky toffee pudding and our slightly dry lemon drizzle cake, we were incredibly impressed by the fruit crumble, which proved to be an irresistible combination of apples, blackberries, raspberries and gooseberries. Definitely one we’d order again!
The bundle ordering functionality makes this a good idea for a gift for new parents or a student you want to ease into living alone, or as a quick way to stock the freezer ahead of a busy period. We’d recommend sticking to the savoury options and then adding a crumble!
Breda Murphy, from £55 for 6 meals
Best meal delivery service for helping weight loss
Foodhak is the brainchild of West Londoner Sakshi Chhabra. After she was diagnosed with a rare liver disease during pregnancy, she switched to a plant-based diet that focused primarily on ayurvedic dishes. This is how she discovered the power of food as medicine, and so Foodhak was born.
What makes Foodhak different is the dishes are made with all-natural, wholesome ingredients to give you a nourishing boost with every bite. They include a plethora of vegetables, herbs and spices – including turmeric, ginseng and ashwagandha – carefully chosen to support your health and increase energy levels. You can feel confident knowing that every meal is backed by science, as nutrition research underpins all their work.
On the easy-to-use online menu there are 50 dishes for you to choose from. You can pick from mains, bowls, soups, and snacks – and you’re given the option to add a small side portion of grains. For your afternoon pick-me-up, there are several sweet (but healthy) treats to try.
Meals are delivered in plastic pouches, making it easy to reheat in the microwave and keep your meals fresh for a few days (just in case you have a change of plans). These can be washed out and recycled at most supermarkets.
Five meals for two people (that’s 10 servings in total) comes to £73, which works out at about £7.30 per serving. It gets cheaper if you add more days, or meals, to your plan. Alternatively, go for one of their curated plans for £60 – these include 10 meals for three or four days and there’s weight loss, ayurvedic and vegan options available. Delivery is free.
On tasting, we were really impressed with Foodhak. The dishes are less like ready-meals and more like home-cooked food that a skilled chef has lovingly made for you, and popped into your fridge for another day. Every vegetable is perfectly cooked with a slight al dente crunch, sauces are bursting with flavour, spices are fragrant without being overpowering and the choice on the menu is incredibly varied. Our favourites included soya mince in a Thai jasmine sauce, comforting Cantonese congee (a savoury rice porridge) and Szechuan-style mapo tofu with mushrooms. Between meals, we happily nibbled on spicy crackers, ashwaghandha choc chip cookies and a fudgy millet brownie. The only thing we would say is the vegan paella wasn’t as flavoursome as the other dishes – but everything else was good enough to make up for it.
We tried the weight loss plan which consisted of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and although we initially feared the portions were a bit small, we were satisfied after eating and continued to feel energised throughout the day.
We would happily order Foodhak again, especially during winter when a quick, healthy meal that requires no more than a buzz in the microwave is exactly what we’re after. There are several dishes on their menu that we look forward to trying, and we still can’t stop thinking about that millet brownie.
Foodhak, from £60 for 10 meals
Farmison & Co
Best for meat lovers
Farmison & Co is best known for being a high quality butcher, selling a wide range of cuts of meat from pork, chicken and sausages to wagyu beef, mutton and game. However, they’ve also got a ‘saucepan ready’ range of meals available in pouches, all based around the meat they’re known for, to be ready in minutes.
You can subscribe to get three meals delivered weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, or just buy them individually. You can choose your delivery day and delivery is free over £40 – so you could buy some meat as well. There’s a small range of 6-8 meals to choose from, each using different cuts of meat and prepared by chefs. Meals arrive fresh so you can use them straight away (and keep in the fridge for a surprisingly long shelf life), or you can also freeze them for a later date.
We tried the lamb and apricot tagine, which had very finely shredded lamb and lots of warmth from cinnamon and spices. The pouches serve two and depending on the recipe, you can choose whether to have them on their own or serve alongside a carb such as flatbreads or rice. There are also serving suggestions on the site.
Farmison & Co, from £8.95
Best for healthy meal prep
Prep Kitchen aims to make it easy for you to stick to your healthy eating and nutrition goals, no matter how busy you are. They create individually portioned meals with a balance of macronutrients to help you boost your strength and overall fitness.
They offer two plans – one for fat loss and one for muscle gain. Once you’ve picked your plan, you choose between balanced meals (£6.25 per meal for fat loss and £7.50 for muscle gain) and lower carb (£7 per meal for fat loss and £8.25 for muscle gain). Prices for a week’s worth of meals starts at £62.50. You also have the option to add breakfasts, snacks and treats, for an extra cost.
When our food arrived for the week, we had concerns the seemingly small meals wouldn’t leave us satisfied. However, after our first dinner of chicken massaman curry, we knew we needn’t have worried. All the meals were packed with protein, hearty and filling, despite the minimal use of carbs.
The menu is varied and includes curries, stir-fries, pies, risotto, burgers and more. The dishes we had were a bit hit and miss – the sweet and sour chicken and Korean bibimbap weren’t to our liking. But there were some tasty highlights, including a chicken and tomato risotto with nutty chickpea rice, beef lasagne with roasted vegetables instead of pasta and a comforting buffalo mac and cheese with vegan chicken strips. Overall, we found the quality of the meat was noticeably better than supermarket ready-meals and they include plenty of vegetables. We thoroughly enjoyed the spicy chorizo frittata with a green salad for lunch. Not to mention the fudgy healthy chocolate brownies – what a treat.
Prep Kitchen have a long list of pro athletes who regularly enjoy their meals, just take a look at their Instagram. This ethos of food as fuel was reflected in the meals which, although not always pretty to look at, provided a good balance of protein and carbs. We can’t deny, we were happy to tuck into a healthy, portioned meal which took no longer than a few minutes in the microwave to prepare. If you’re someone who squeezes in regular workouts, this is a definite plus and a reason to give Prep Kitchen a go.
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