Trialling recipe boxes: Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole sends recipe boxes since 2014 but exists since 1988. They are situated in Wimbledon, London and only operate in the UK. 3 meals for 2 people currently cost £36. It is generally quite similar to Riverford.

The types of meal boxes are “Heavenly Veggie”, “Supperbly Simple”, “Delightfully Light” and “Fantastically Foodie”. You cannot choose the recipes themselves as they are fixed every week. The only amount you can order is 3 meals for 2 people.
This is a subscription service but you can cancel any time via their website. You can subscribe to a box once every one, two, three, four or eight weeks.
As Abel & Cole do not just deliver recipe boxes, you can add other food to your order (vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, etc). Everything will be delivered on a specific delivery day every week. Unfortunately you cannot find out what day that will be before you register. You need to order until 2 days before that day.
The parcel is not tracked as it’s delivered by the company’s own vans. For some reason they are the only service which includes a delivery charge. But it’s only £1.25.

The box and its contents when it arrived

Nearly everything they deliver is organic. Together with Riverford they are the only service which specialises in organic produce. Most of it is from local farms.
When they deliver a new box they will also take the outer packaging and some inner packaging (wool liners, etc) back which they will re-use. The rest is recyclable.
The website is generally clear about how the service works and what to expect from each meal, including listing sub ingredients. But it is very sparse on additional information, e.g. where exactly the ingredients are coming from.
They revamped their website after I tested this service. Before they had much more information but unhelpfully organised and difficult to find. Now it’s much clearer but lacking some useful information.
They send unsolicited weekly reminder emails from which you can unsubscribe.
The recipe cards had photos of the ingredients in addition to the finished meal.
This was the only time I thought they forgot to pack an ingredient as I couldn’t find the garlic at first. But it turned out it was just hidden in the bag with the beans.
The Creamy Beef & Mushroom Spaghetti was pretty mediocre and was the only meal which was actually too much for me. The Red Roast Chicken was also just mediocre. The Lamb & Chickpea Stew was the only meal which was absolutely inedible. I tried two spoonfuls and, sadly, had to throw the rest away (after fishing out some of the lamb).

Before (top) and after (bottom) of the three dishes of this box: Creamy Beef & Mushroom Spaghetti, Red Roast Chicken, Lamb & Chickpea Stew (from left to right)


  • Everything’s organic
  • Packaging gets re-used


  • Delivery times not ideal for a single working household
  • Sources not very clear
  • Mediocre taste


(Please note, this rating is obviously subjective and only based on 3 recipes.)


I generally like them a lot but due to the mediocre taste (so far) I can only recommend Abel & Cole with reservations.
I would like to try them again to check if the taste was just due to bad luck. I will update this post if I do. Although their inflexible delivery times will probably make that a bit less likely.

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