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Abel and Cole - a new shopping experience
Why this company?
What appealed to me about this company was the fact that it is ethical, organic where possible and quality brands - providing a comprehensive range of, mostly, locally sourced food stuffs. The fresh produce is seasonal and this appealed too as it will be appropriate to the time of the year. In comparison with superstores the organic range is competitive and at times cheaper. Delivered to your door on a specified day for a reasonable charge this sounded good. They donít deliver to all areas as they are local to the North West - it is simple to check online if your postcode is included in the rounds.
All that was enticing but the deciding factor was the FREE cookbook RRP £12.99 and FREE vegetable box with your 4th order! Decision made I went onto the website to place my order.
Ease of ordering online
I am a total newbie to food shopping online. I am a habitual superstore shopper and quite like it because I can check for the freshest and nicest stuff. That aspect is what has held me back in the past as I like long dates on goods and fresh appealing goods.The website is a friendly, family run, place and I felt at ease and competent at navigating my way around the bountiful online shop relatively quickly. An index at the top of the page in attractive and clear font gets you on your way. As the offer was for a vegetable box that is where I began. I soon selected an appropriate box and decided that I would have a small fruit and vegetable selection as it was a good price and offered a nice variety - the content is reviewed and changed weekly and you can list your preferences from your account page - itís very easy to do.
I fancied a browse after selecting my box of fresh organic goodies and went to the wonderful area of shopping - they have a great selection of everything that you would require for a full shop. The majority of items seems to be a similar price or a little less than my local supermarkets but one or two items I can definitely buy cheaper. After looking at the dairy/dairy alternatives, bakery, cupboard essentials, household, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and meat sections I had made a decision to do the majority of my food shop from Abel and Cole and then get the few odds and ends that are less in price from the superstore (literally nip in and out as it wonít be much). The reason for this is that the food stuffs are mainly organic and locally sourced so they will be better quality and fresher - Abel and Cole liken it to having an allotment only someone else picks and delivers to your door. Also the range of vegan and dairy free goods is impressive - brands that I have never seen before too and all labelled with a specific symbol so that you know what is suitable quickly and easily. For the meat eaters - like my husband - the products are locally sourced from local farmers where the animals have been well cared for. The prices are a little higher than in superstores but farmers are getting paid that bit more for rearing animals in much better conditions and the produce is quality.
They even have alcohol that is suitable for vegans and it is not much more than the regular brands - it was like being in an Aladdinís Cave for quality food stuffs. Very impressive.
Ordering is a breeze as the website is not overwhelming - it is clear and easily navigated. Setting up a regular order for your vegetable box is simple and can be stopped at any time via the telephone or online - no problem. Payment is secure.
You will be allocated a specified day, told the drivers name and what time the delivery may arrive between - normally 7am - 6pm. You donít have to wait in for the delivery as there is a section where you can leave instructions of where to safely leave your package if you are out or if the delivery is very early. I have done this and it works very well. Boxes are recycled so you leave the old one out the night before and the driver will remove it. Cool goods are delivered in cool bags - also returnable the following week so that they can be re used. Packaging is very high quality.
Box of delights
The boxed goods is immaculately presented and all vegetables and fruit are loose. I really like this as it has a fresh from the market/allotment feel to it - only this is not make believe as it is fresh. The produce is not ultra cool like in supermarkets - apples were a normal temperature. The fruit and vegetables were not highly polished or sprayed with shining wax or chemicals to enhance the look - this is all natural quirky stuff as nature intended and once again I like it. Everything in the box is freshly selected and I was excited about tasting it. The colours are fabulous.
The free book arrived as promised and was sealed in a quality zip bag - I was really surprised as it is a really big, quality book and has great, usable, recipes - this will be used often.
A receipt was included that states how many of each item to expect and on the back was instructions to select a free product (I got Plamil Soya Milk) online to arrive with the next order.
A free calendar of high quality was included and is brilliant as it has recipes in it for each month.
A catalogue was free too - great as it has helped me select my weekly shop more easily.
Also included was a welcome pack and instructions for how to get the best out for your products and help them stay fresher for longer.
The fruit and vegetables smelt stronger and fresher than superstore stuff. When I have tasted raw and cooked the flavours are like eating Ďproperí fruit and vegetables. For example an apple smelt great, looked great, once bitten into the inside was brighter and the texture really fresh and crisp - the taste was amazing! Really! It is ages and ages since I last enjoyed apples so much - I usually enjoy the first couple of bites and then they become bland - not the case with these. The vegetables - chard for example - are dirty and that is fine as it is easily washed off and the taste and quality more than compensates. The potatoes are washed and come in a brown paper bag so that they are stored correctly in the dark cupboard.
I am so very excited by this company - I am shopping in a whole new way and it is really wonderful to be receiving and box of fresh organic goodies that are locally sourced. I am creative anyway with my vegan cooking but now I get a challenge in each box - gets the juices flowing.
I have been on the Webchat facility twice for some advice about products and how to ammend my regular order. Very easy to find and use. Staff are knowledgeable, efficient and very friendly - I've had a great chat with one of them.Up to now I have not needed to report any items that I am not happy with but I know that I can and it will be resolved promptly.
Competitive - you are getting quality stuff
If you are in the locale for this company then I would say Ďgo for ití - you are in for a treat. Even if you only get the vegetable or fruit boxes you will be impressed. For me this is a new way of shopping and I have decided to do the majority of my shop with this company. I like the philosophy of the company and the way that it embraces how things used to be - eating with the seasons. The company caters very well for vegetarians and vegans too - itís great to be looked after this way. Meat is sourced from ethical farmers - animal welfare and compassion is evident. I like the family feel of the company as it makes the shopping experience feel more personal. They company are approachable too and welcome feedback on how they are doing and how they could improve their service. Iím excited and impressed by Abel and Cole and can highly recommend them.