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9 best fruit boxes that deliver seasonal goodness straight to your door

Get your five-a-day, sweeten up your summer and give back to the planet, one apple at a time

Jessie Johnson
Monday 17 May 2021 15:32 BST
<p>Fruit boxes are no longer the choice of discerning foodies or those with a bigger budget</p>

Fruit boxes are no longer the choice of discerning foodies or those with a bigger budget

Gone are the days of lugging a week’s worth of fruit back from the supermarket. Fruit box delivery services are adding bells and whistles to our mandatory five-a-day, whisking parcels of seasonal, cherry-picked produce straight to our doorsteps, fresh from the farm.

During lockdown, fruit and veg box deliveries witnessed an unprecedented rise in orders with many local smaller schemes scrambling to meet the demand of a nation’s craving for fresh produce. Fruit boxes are no longer the choice of discerning foodies or those with a bigger budget: now we can get a taste of just-picked apples from a Kentish orchard or tuck into a bowl of ripe, seasonal berries for breakfast simply by clicking a button the day before. And they don’t need to cost the earth. Prices across the range we tested started from as low as £12.99, capping at £25 for what included exotic fruits and deluxe offerings.

Lockdown has shaken and stirred the delivery box landscape for the greater good. Hot on the heels of stalwart delivery services such as Riverford Organic and Abel & Cole are newcomers including earth-kind Organibox and Peigh and Baff of Trapfruits London whose fruit drops are becoming such a hit they’ve even launched their own line of merchandise. Like many restaurant suppliers, Wellocks at Home were forced to pivot during lockdown and have now acquired a loyal fan base of fruit lovers across the country.

Many delivery schemes are, more than ever, conscious of their environmental footprint. Knowing that while you’re blending your banana smoothie you’re also supporting food banks, reducing carbon emissions or helping to pay growers a living wage might feel like worthy considerations when you find yourself poised at the online checkout.

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As lockdown lifts and temperatures rise, there’s never been a better time to feast on the abundance of fruits grown and supplied to our small, green island. Most fruit box schemes allow you to purchase a stand-alone box so you can work out what’s the best value for your needs. Whether you’re feeding a family, catering for a back-to-work office or you just want to step up your daily fruit intake, boxes are a great way to get goodness when you need it most.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best fruit boxes for 2021 are:

Organibox

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Delivery: Nationwide

Best for: Field to fork freshness

Ever tried a life-changing orange? One so perfectly ripe and juicy you want to tell all your friends? Enter Organibox. Launched in April this year by friends Dave, Sarah and Tony, this 100 per cent organic fruit and veg delivery service feels the nearest you’ll get to stumbling back from the local farmers’ market laden down with farm-fresh goodies.

The small fruit box is not so small. It’s available as a one-off, weekly, fortnightly or monthly order, consists of a minimum of 24 pieces of fruit including apples, bananas, oranges, citrus fruits, kiwis and avocados. The quality of each piece of fruit, wrapped individually in recyclable brown paper bags, really stood out, each one bursting with natural flavours just as nature intended. Along with fruit pips and peelings, the Organibox can be composted to help grow more soil and for every box sold, the founders will donate 50p to the national foodbank charity, The Trussell Trust. For organic fruit that packs a punch in the taste department, this box is great value for money.

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Trapfruits London

Trapfruits London.jpg

Delivery: London

Best for: A totally tropical taste

New kids on the block, Trapfruits London, are taking the capital by storm thanks to their mouth-watering fruit boxes that are giving the traditional fruit bowl a tropical twist. Our drop starred seasonal favourites such as custard apples, mango, bananas, pineapple, luscious red grapes the size of small footballs and a side order of plantain that cooked up a treat on the bbq. Ghanaian-born Londoners Peigh and Baff, who founded the delivery service in lockdown, operate a slick pre-order system of weekly, fortnightly or one-off box drops and the little waste that is created is donated to local causes. Feast on these fruits in the sunshine and you’ll feel transported to a tropical, desert island – we can only hope that Trapfruits London will be dropping beyond the M25 in the non-too distant future.

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Oddbox

Oddbox Fruit box.jpg

Delivery: London, southeast, Midlands and the southwest

Best for: Fighting food waste

No veg should go un-crunched – that’s the ethos of Oddbox, a B Corp-certified community-powered delivery service that saves tonnes and tonnes of fresh fruit and veg from going to waste each year. Along with nine varieties of veggies, our large fruit and veg box featured fresh South African plums (deemed too small and ugly), pineapple and blueberries from surplus orders and Egyptian oranges (otherwise bound for the scrap heap) which made for a mouth-watering fruit platter that seemed to taste even better for its juicy eco-values. When customers sign up to a weekly box delivery they save 10kg of fruit and veg, 949l of water and avoid 14kg of CO2 emissions – all this just by eating our misshapen apples and pears. As befits Oddbox’s commitment to sustainability, produce arrives “naked” mixed together in the box, and changes according to season and surplus gluts from partner farms, all updated on a weekly basis online.

  1. £19 from Oddbox.co.uk
Prices may vary
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Abel & Cole

Abel and Cole.jpg

Delivery: Most of England and some of Wales

Best for: A sustainable fruit drop

Probably one of the greenest delivery box services across the sector, Abel & Cole’s dedicated fleet of vans follow the most fuel-efficient route by operating on a “rounds” system rather than specific delivery slots. Organic runs through this company like a stick of fruity rock and the fruit bowl favourites box – a mix of four varieties of classic fruits that are listed two weeks ahead online – doesn’t disappoint. Our box contained juicy mangoes along with a generous glut of apples, Navelina oranges and Fairtrade bananas, enough for a week’s packed lunches and breakfast for a small family. Abel & Cole’s expansive range of breads, meats, dairy and household items means tacking on an extra order is a doddle, and you’re supporting more than 200 independent organic growers, farmers, makers and bakers across the country in the process. Win-win.

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Macknade

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Delivery: Nationwide

Best for: Flavours of Kent

Multi-award winning Macknade has been specialising in fruit since 1847; its farm-grown pears garnered royal status when they were served at the wedding of HRH Queen Elizabeth to the late Phillip Mountbatten in 1947. Six generations on, the family business has left farming behind yet remains rooted in the Kentish landscape with its flagship Faversham Food Hall joined by Elwick Place, a grocer, deli and café in the heart of Ashford. The Macknade fruit box is part of its extensive online larder shop zipping the finest fruits from Kent’s “Garden of England” (so-called because of warmer climes, fertile land and fruit-filled orchards) straight to the doors of discerning foodies across the land as one-time orders. Our fruit arrived nestled in a bed of recyclable strimmed cardboard; it contained a selection of heavenly-tasting citrus fruits, Kentish apples, bananas, satsumas, grapes and punnets of seasonal berries. The ideal treat for a weekend hosting friends or as a gift for a fruit-loving, faraway friend.

  1. £25 from Macknade.com
Prices may vary
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Wellocks at Home

Wellocks at home.jpg

Delivery: Nationwide

Best for: Fine dining at home

Wellocks supplies over 45 per cent of the UK’s Michelin-starred restaurants with ingredients and, last year, successfully pivoted to cater to the home crowd when eateries were forced to close doors. Its box contains eight different types of fruit, changing seasonally each week and picked at perfect quality. There’s something refreshingly no-frills about the packaging. Our fruit delivery, which included oranges, limes, apples, seasonal plums and a pineapple (always a novelty), shared a cardboard box free of inner packaging yet arrived in perfect condition resulting in umpteen bowls of flavourful fruit salad. There’s no subscription service but it’s worth noting the outstanding range of meats, cheeses, deli and pantry goodies that Wellocks at Home has under its belt, too, especially as you can then take advantage of free delivery for orders over £40.

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Pikt

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Delivery: Nationwide

Best for: Flexible fruits

If fruit box drops are having a moment it feels like family-run delivery service Pikt might be on the crest of a wave. 100 per cent plastic-free packaging? Tick. Organic produce? Tick. Soil Association and B Corp certified? Tick tick. Pikt allows you to build your own box (the homey) or choose from a range of ready-made boxes, offering juice kits and seasonal mixed fruit, veg and salad boxes along with self-dispensing boxes (the fruitist) for healthy office snacking. The seasonal fruit box features a vibrant mix of 25 pieces of organic fruit including pears, apples, citruses and kiwi fruits, available as a weekly, fortnightly, monthly or a one-off order. The fruit was downright delicious and arrived in pristine condition, each piece, wrapped in brown paper, maintained freshness for almost a week. Every part of Pikt’s field to doorstep journey is a well-researched process – from honouring a fair and true price for the family of farmers and growers to its partnership with couriers DPD which ensure every delivery they make is carbon neutral. The next day delivery service available on UK mainland together with the flexible ordering slots makes it easy to work that five-a-day into even the busiest lifestyles.

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Riverford Organic Farmers Ltd

Riverford Fruit Box.jpg

Delivery: Most of England and the Welsh borders

Best for: Organic staples

Riverford has been running veg box deliveries since the late 1980s and currently makes around 85,000 drops across the country on a weekly basis. The fruit box contents changes as to what’s ripe and ready that week – ours featured a classic mix of apples, pears, oranges, bananas and blueberries which kept our fruit bowl topped up (and fresh) for close to a week. Riverford operates zero air freight and deliveries take place in just one area each week to keep food miles to a minimum, with free delivery – ideal for an organic family fruit bowl.

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Kerry’s Fresh

Kerry's Fresh.jpg

Delivery: Nationwide

Best for: Classic fruits with an exotic twist

Sweet Spanish cherries and red heart plums, melon from Costa Rica and a bag of melt-in-the-mouth Israeli dates: these were just a few fruity delicacies to feature in Kerry’s Fresh best-selling deluxe fruit box, alongside juicy berries and fruit bowl classics. Based in Nottingham, the Kerry family has been sourcing and selling fresh fruit and vegetables since 1885 and are now in their fifth generation, making them the oldest family-run market stall in England. Now online offering a vast array of meats, dairy products, breads and hampers to boot, boxes can be ordered as a one-off purchase or a regular subscription. The fruit was well protected and cooled with ice packs which, along with the box, can be re-used at home or collected by Kerry’s Fresh on the next visit. Our box was generously filled and the addition of far-flung fruits felt like the literal cherry on top of first-class produce from a family that clearly know their stuff.

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The verdict: Fruit box deliveries

Taking the lead by an inch is Organibox because of the exceptional quality of the fruit, its eco-values and good value for money. If you’re in the catchment area Oddbox is a brilliant way of helping the crusade against food waste and we have to mention Kerry’s Fresh because of its exciting range of fruit if you want to bring some variety to your fruit bowl.

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