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Can I ask your views and experience on Abel and Cole

(20 Posts)
whoneedssleepanyway Thu 22-Sep-11 10:14:01

We have been getting a Vegetable box from them for probably nearly 6 months. I don't find it ridiculously expensive and it provides enough veg for us for the week and I have liked being a bit more adventurous and trying different things but I have definitely found some of the quality to be very hit and miss and wondered what others have found. I have spoken to them about this and they have been very apologetic and have refunded me any time something has been below par and most recently offered me a half price box.

I realise that the shelf life is likely to be shorter than supermarket products but examples of problems I have had are:
Carrots - bendy and dehydrated on the day of delivery
Mushrooms - slimey and past their best after a few days
Brocolli - completely yellow within 4 days
Pepper - soft on day of delivery
Bananas - often quite bruised

I really like the concept and like the convenience of having all my veg delivered once a week and they have often chucked in freebies for us to try like their milk and other things. They are great to deal with and I wonder if I have just been very unlucky or if it is where I live and the produce is having to travel further than for other peope (I only live in South London)...

Any experiences?

MoreBeta Thu 22-Sep-11 10:17:26

I had the same experience as you and cancelled the service. I found it just as cheap to go to M&S. The quality was more reliable and I could get exactly what I wanted and not what someone else chose to send me.

Janiston Thu 22-Sep-11 10:19:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

whoneedssleepanyway Thu 22-Sep-11 10:20:17

That is exactly my feeling MoreBeta! The deals our M&S now offers on fruit and veg are amazing and the quality is superb.

Blackduck Thu 22-Sep-11 10:25:20

I was not impressed at all and cnacelled after about four orders

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 22-Sep-11 10:26:30

I used them for a while and got a mixed veg box once a week. What I didn't like was having to dream up ways of using up the weird selection of veggies they sent. Prefer to start with a menu and then buy the items I need. Ordering individual items from A & C was far too expensive.

Catslikehats Thu 22-Sep-11 10:33:37

I used them for a bit - once the novelty of having to be creative with something I was 100% certain I could correctly identify wore off I am afraid I too reverted to M&S blush

amistillsexy Thu 22-Sep-11 10:38:08

I,, too, used them for a while then gave up. I found the veg box gave a good selection but a bad 'collection' of a red pepper without any veg to go with, like aubergine or courgette. Instead you'd have a turnip. Not many recipes for peppers and turnip!

I got sick of having to do a second shop to suppliment A&C's choices just so I could make a meal.

glitch Thu 22-Sep-11 10:39:44

I tried them but cancelled for the same reasons as the others, poor quality, not particularly fresh and really teeny amounts.

Definitely past their best.

GattoRosso Thu 22-Sep-11 10:49:30

We used to get A&C boxes a couple of years ago (well, our housemate did) and I was never that impressed with them.
We now use Riverford, which has been a lot better IMO.
Yes, you still get weird seasonal stuff, but it is not too wacky (i.e. runner beans or the very rare kohl rabi is about as odd as it has got) - obviously depending on your choice of box.
Also better value, I think. And it does seem to last a long time. We are terrible at leaving things in the fridge and forgetting to eat them, and the only thing that doesn't tend to survive is the salad packs (the rocket goes all yucky) - everything else lasts well over a week IME.
Maybe have a look and see what you think? My delivery guy covers the Southwark area (i.e. inner South London, I reckon) and delivers on Wednesdays.

whoneedssleepanyway Thu 22-Sep-11 11:00:17

Thanks Gatto, my friend uses Riverford and raves about them, she only gets a box once a fortnight as she finds there is so much and it lasts so well.

I may give them a go.

MsWeatherwax Thu 22-Sep-11 11:04:12

I didn't like their customer service. They rang me up to hassle me about not having placed an order for a while and wouldn't take no for an answer - this was just after I'd placed an order for a couple of weeks after. I ended up cancelling it because they were so salesy with me on the phone.

LolaLadybird Thu 22-Sep-11 12:03:10

Another vote for Riverford. Cannot fault the quality of the produce or the service ....

thecoo Thu 22-Sep-11 19:42:26

Had pretty much the same experience as the rest of you with A&C, except that I did find their customer service excellent when I did call them up about any problems.

I felt I was spending a lot of money on veggies that got wasted because they went off if I didn't use them up in the first couple of days - which meant I was also going to Sainsbury's anyway for the rest of the week.

Have to confess I also hate scrubbing the mud off tiny potatoes and carrots, but I realise this is disgustingly lazy of me...

Will take a look at Riverford.

LolaLadybird Fri 23-Sep-11 08:57:27

Riverford stuff does keep well which means you can have a box every other week and minimise waste.

pinkhyena Fri 23-Sep-11 10:25:54

We used to get them a few years ago. The only problem I think we had was that they would always send loads of potatoes so we ended up with a backlog. We cancelled in the end because we were ending up with a real surplus.

msbuggywinkle Fri 23-Sep-11 16:38:28

We've used them for about a year, and have had no problems. I don't find the veg selection odd, the amounts suit us. They send great freebies too, well the eggs were useless as we have chickens but they've been great apart from that.

Chestnutx3 Fri 23-Sep-11 16:53:15

Used A&C then Riverford. May go back to Riverford but did do a price comparison check with Ocado and it was cheaper to buy the stuff from Ocado. Trying to eat more veg so will look at Riverford again, the quality is very good much better than A&C. Although I stopped Riverford after a year and there was no phone call and no query of why I gave up - not good business IMO. You don't want to be hassled but even a quick questionnaire of why we gave up is important.

I would prefer a company that just sold boxed veg, not necessarily organic at a cheaper price.

Whitershadeofpale Fri 23-Sep-11 16:57:57

I've just cancelled mine. Found it went off quickly and there was never enough of each thing. For example, last week we got 5 baby carrots and 1 red pepper so just to use whaqt was in the box I'd have to go shopping. I did love the freebies though.

purpleturtletoise Fri 23-Sep-11 17:04:26

I've used A&C for about 4 years, on and off. Unlike others, I actually relish having to start my menu plan from what's in the box, because I find that I get stuck in a rut all too easily otherwise. I've rarely been disappointed by quality or quantity, and have always been impressed by their service when I've needed to contact them. (Including when they tagged me on to a nearby round when they didn't actually cover my area).

All that said, I have just reduced my order to fortnightly, but that's on financial grounds rather than any issue with A&C.

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