All abel and cole links in this post are affiliate links, you can get money off your first order, and I make a small commission if you shop. but this is not a post in partnership with them or paid by them. I purchase the product on my own and believe in the brand, so I applied for an affiliate link!
The pros and cons of Abel and Cole on a budget.
Abel and Cole is one of the UK’s leading veg (and a lot more) delivery services, but how does it fit in the average UK budget?
The list of ‘pros’ of the Abel and Cole doorstep delivery is huge. From being B Corp certified and committed to the fair pay and contracts that supermarkets don’t give farmers, to vans and deliveries that are carbon neutral and their innovation to combat waste there are a LOT of reasons to shop with them. Farmers should be paid right with fair contracts. We want to see the eco systems of our country taken care of and emissions reduced. (Or I hope we do.) But that all comes at a cost. Rightly so, but we still have a budget to stick to.
And all those luxury and eco-convenience product… I love that they’re all there with greater ethics, sustainability and values but while those items are great if you want them and they fit in your budget they’re all higher priced items.
Can you shop Abel and Cole on the average UK food budget?
In short: No. (Sorry!) You can’t shop do your normal shop on Abel and Cole and stay on budget any kind of average UK food budget.
But that’s not the only way to shop, and that’s what I want to explore here so read on for what I DO buy on an average food budget. (Spoiler: there is a way to get the best of both B Corp food sourcing and staying on budget!)
So what do I buy from Abel and Cole to shop organically on an average UK budget?
Not everything! We’ve been shopping Abel and Cole (without a partnership) for years. I’ve learned there are certain products where they really come into their own for me and those are the ones that are worth it. When I want transparency on sourcing and I can’t find it well on my own, those are some of the things I LOVE easily adding to my Abel and Cole order. It means I know I’m being diligent with what I’m bringing into my home, but still on budget. There are also some things I choose because I can’t get them locally, and some I only buy when they’re on sale. So I do a limited, and very careful shop that helps me make the most of my budget for my family but also for everyone else and the planet as they’re affected by the supply chain.
Our food budget is right on average for UK food spending (but we allocate more for spending on food at home rather than the average for eating out). We also meal plan strictly, and shop carefully! And to make it all work here’s what I DO choose from Abel and Cole.
Unless you have a local farm shop selling their own organic produce, it’s sadly incredibly hard to source fruit and veg knowing that it’s taking care of the environment, farmers and growers. Things that can be a really detrimental side of produce growing. That’s why getting a box from Abel and Cole where that’s all wrapped into my purchase without me thinking, is my top choice.
This is our box choice with 8 veg and 3 fruit choices each week.
You can switch out items with no change in cost.
I love this one for being all local food too!
For the large box we get this works out at £2.70 per portion of fruit or veg. (A ‘portion’ isn’t a serving, e.g. a ‘portion’ is a big bag of carrots. It’s an average so it feels high for some things and low for others!) I love the ability to switch our what we get to make sure it works for us. The price though doesn’t change which helps with budgeting. Tip: Choose the cheaper produce like apples and carrots to get more bulk in the box as you switch things out. A “portion” of red pepper is much smaller than a “portion” or cabbage or carrots.
We don’t eat a lot of meat because I’m very careful about animal welfare and the environmental impact of our food – and the meat that is mindful of those aspects isn’t so budget friendly. But these chicken carcasses are a weekly staple for me. Chicken carcasses are often a waste item after pieces are cut off but these still have a good amount of meat on them. Then I boil them to make about 2-3 litres of nutrient dense stock for soups. At £3.75 for 2 organic carcasses, that’s a massive budget and nutrient density win for me!
I don’t buy many avocados, maybe a few a year if that. They’re an item with a very problematic supply chain in terms of human and environmental impact. When I do buy them I want them to come from a company trading directly with farmers, and making sure they have the most positive impact possible. I also like knowing that if we do occasionally choose the luxury of an item from far away with more food miles, the emissions are minimised and offset.
Whole chickens are expensive, but are a much more affordable (and lower waste) way to buy chicken meat than the cuts. I roast the chicken and make multiple meals from the meat – maybe tacos with shredded meat, then a pasta bake with meat in, and lastly a soup with remaining shreds and the broth. Periodically Abel and Cole do a 10% sale on whole chickens and I usually put one in the freezer.
We try to avoid plastic packaging in food both for sustainability and health, but I do love finding 100% recycled plastic containers that can be recycled again. And this yogurt is made with British Milk, and it’s thick and creamy and one we love so it’s a little luxury that also aligns with our values. I can’t find it locally which is why it’s something I add to my order.
Cocoa was the beginning of my journey in careful sourcing. It’s an industry with known slavery, trafficking and unfair labour issues so Fairtrade (as a starting point) is a non negotiable for me. I love this one because the price is better than supermarket equivalents and saves on packaging.
My curly hair, my health and my budget LOVE flax seed hair gel. I love the easy package free option of just adding them to my order. I also love them for saving on eggs to save money or during winter when the chickens are using fewer. I’ll add a flax seed egg in place of an egg in waffles and pancakes or baked goods.
Abel and Cole’s juicing apples are really just smaller, oddly shaped apples with occasional blemishes. We never juice them! But they’re much cheaper per pound, and I love having them on hand with kids.
It probably goes without saying that anywhere I’m shopping I’m going to check the offers section. But really check it and compare prices, not just be wooed by exciting “offers.” It’s hit and miss, cos 10% off a luxury chip dip, is still not budget friendly. But sometimes great things end up in there so always check!
Sometimes we need help with things we can do ourselves, not as a luxury but for health. Nutrient dense bone broth has been one of those things for me. After a birth I didn’t expect, I ordered a lot of this bone broth and it was SO incredible to have delicious broth made into soups and on hand. I loved adding noodles to make a full meal. It’s also a great one to gift to people post partum or during sickness. All the Daylesford ones are delicious.
What about the rest of our food shopping?
This video is an example of a weekly meal plan and what we eat to stay on budget. I like to start by adding the things where sourcing matters most, and is hard to be certain of elsewhere, to my Abel and Cole order. Beyond that we buy from our local bulk shop, milk from a local farm, and flour direct from the mill at Stoates, Hodmedods, or Doves farm. And do some supermarket shopping too. It’s always a work in progress and I’m on a journey to balance budget, sourcing and health and keep doing one step better every step along the way.
Abel and Cole vs Riverford and money off!
I write about Abel and Cole because they’re the one I use but both have the B Corp status and ethics I’m looking for in a brand and in my food sourcing. Both are pushing for wider industry change too which I love seeing.