The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa

The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa

An inside peek into the best subscription box services in South Africa and whether they’re worth their monthly fees.

This article was updated on 19 September 2017. Certain prices and offerings have been changed to reflect their current details and make this article relevant. No reviews were changed. The following boxes originally reviewed have been removed from this article as they are no longer available – The Delight Box, Good Snacks, The Bundle Box and Every28.

 

There’s something quite awesome about getting a monthly delivery of goodies catered just for you. Subscription box services have been popping up in just about every market from food to books, wine and even underwear. Some offer savings, others offer convenience and others boast the novelty factor of introducing you to products and brands you’ve never heard of. We’ve done some serious legwork to find the best subscription box services in South Africa. We’re letting you know what exactly goes into them, how to know if it’s the subscription box for you and how they stack up in terms of value for money.

 

If you’re into food we’re looking at Daily Dish, Tuck Box,  Wine of the Month Club and the GIN Box.

If you have kids we’re sharing Poppet Post, and the Book Owl

And for the ladies we’ve found Lingerie Letters and Little Black Bag

For an unfiltered, honest opinion scroll on.

 

Food Subscription Box Services in South Africa

 

1. Daily Dish

The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa - The Daily Dish

What is it?

The Daily Dish is a weekly meal kit subscription box which arrives every Monday morning. You select between 5 different menus –

The Classic, Banting , Veggie, Pork-Free, and Goodie.  You can also choose how many servings you need, Daily Dish offer servings 2 people, 4 people and solo servings in the meat, veg and banting boxes.  All ingredients are sourced from Fairview Farms in Paarl, so you’re getting locally produced seasonal ingredients.

What’s in it?

The ingredients you need to make 4 meals and the recipes. We got the vegetarian box which had ingredients to make Green Fig and Camembert Sandwiches, Mushroom and Basil Linguine, Quesadillas and a Lentil Casserole.

What we love about it

Daily Dish sends you an email on Monday morning to remind you about delivery. They also recommend the order you should make the meals in based on which ingredients last longest, so you don’t get stuck with bad produce. Pretty genius, if you ask us!

The ingredients are locally sourced, in season and fresh from Fairview Farms in Paarl. They also most importantly look fresh and clean. This was a major win coming from a person who doesn’t like buying pre-cut produce.

The meals are wholesome and balanced. The vegetarian options were healthy but not restrictive and made from wholefoods. Most meals had a protein, carb, fat and fresh produce. In addition, it’s easy to identify all the ingredients in the box, so you can skip ones that you don’t like. The meals are also simple enough for a beginner cook to make them, but nice enough for seasoned cooks to appreciate.

Each meal comes with a recipe card with exact ingredients and instructions. You can even save the recipe cards that come with your box to remake your favourite dishes. You can also find them on their website here.

The packaging was minimal which reduced the waste that meal kits subscription boxes are hated for. They also give you instructions on recycling the ice packs and boxes that come with your delivery.

It’s the box for you if…

  • You don’t have time to plan meals, shop for the ingredients or decide what to make. Or if pre-planning meals is something you struggle with.
  • You don’t know how to cook but want to learn. If you find the idea of cooking intimidating, Daily Dish is a great place to start. You don’t need to figure out recipes or ingredients; you just need to follow a few simple instructions.
  • You find yourself throwing away produce that went bad every week. No wastage here – it comes with exact amount you need.

How much does it Cost?

Prices vary from R450 – R1270 per box depending on the menu and amount of servings.

Value for Money

The Daily Dish Subscription Box we got worked out to R58.75 per serving, which we thought was a very reasonable amount to spend on a good meal.  The most expensive option works out to R79.40 per serving, which when compared to the average fast food (far less healthy) and the cost of sitting down at a restaurant, is very reasonable. Aside from the potential of saving you food costs, it also offers a huge convenience. Daily Dish provides you with something you actually need and will make use of.

9.5 /10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What you should know before buying

You need to have a basic pantry to make the meals. Ingredients like olive oil, butter, salt and pepper are not in the box, so make sure you have those at home. (for tips on stocking a basic pantry click here)

The Daily Dish also offer wine boxes with local wines from Fairview, you can order all the wine boxes here

 

2. Tuckbox

 

The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa -TuckBox

What is it?

Tuckbox is a healthy snack subscription box that delivers healthy portion controlled snacks to your door once or twice monthly. Tuckbox sources and manufacturers everything you find inside the box and puts a focus on the taste, nutritional value and quality of the goods. You can customise according to your dietary needs and they select from a variety of nuts, dried fruit, crackers, biltong and more.

What’s in it?

10 individually packed and portion controlled snacks. In the Tuckbox we received, there were 8 various nut and fruit mixes, a fruit and nut bar and a guava and pear flat bar. Despite not being able to choose the exact snacks that come inside the box, there was nothing in there that we didn’t want to try!

What we love about it

The packaging! Packaging is not always everything, but Tuckbox does it so well. The portions are perfectly sized and in clear packaging so you can see what you’re getting.

You can customise your Tuckbox according to dietary preferences (vegetarian, kosher). Being able to get a snack box tailored to your needs and being able to enjoy everything in it makes a huge difference.

The mixes were different from what you find in stores and the fruit was incredibly soft. There was also dried Kiwi in two of the packs which is not something you see often. Spoiler alert: It tastes amazing dried. There’s also a nice variety inside the box, so if you’re getting it for a family, everyone will find the snack they like.

It’s the box for you if

  • You want healthy and convenient snacks pre-packaged into perfect portions perfect to fill lunchboxes, keep in your bag or desk drawer for when you need it.  There’s also enough variety in one box that everyone in your family will find the snack they like.
  • You’re going hiking, camping or on a road trip and want healthy snacks.
  • You’re an endurance athlete that prefers fuelling with real food. If you prefer nuts / dried fruit over gels and chews, these are perfect. They’re natural, so are unlikely to cause you any stomach troubles. The containers are too bulky for cycling / running pockets, but you can easily transfer them into ziplock bags. They would fit in a hydration pack, if you do stage races.

How much does it cost?

R190 per Box

Value For money

At R190 per box and 10 snacks per box you’re paying an average of R19 per snack. Similar snacks at a store cost anywhere between R10 – R30, so this falls in the middle. There’s also a big convenience factor of getting pre-portioned snacks delivered to you without having to go out and source them. If you are a big snacker, it’s great value.

9/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What you should know before buying

They only deliver subscription boxes in Gauteng.

You can buy hand crated wooden gift boxes which can be delivered anywhere in South Africa here.

You can order Boardroom Tuck Boxes which are branded for your company and filled with healthy snacks to cater for meeting room snacks.

You can order customised Tuckboxes for your events.

3. Wine-of-the-Month-Club

The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa - Wine of the month club

What is it?

Wine-of-the-Month-Club is South Africa’s oldest and largest wine club. They deliver expert approved wines to your door as often as you want. Every wine listed on wine of the month club has been (blind) tasted by a panel of wine experts, with only the best making their way online. There are 4 selections to choose from – all with great wines that have gone through the same process but at different price points – Platinum Club (Top scoring well-known brands selected regardless of price), Reserve Club (Winning wine selected regardless of price), Wine-of-the-Month Club (High-scoring  wine where price is also a consideration) and Best Value Club (High-scoring, good value for money wine).

. You can customise each box to suit your taste (white, red or a mix) and can choose between 6 or 12 bottles.

What’s in it?

A selection of 6-12 wines according to your preselected preferences. We got the Club Selection Box which came with 6 of their most popular wines. Included was a bottle of Giant’s Peak Merlot, Cloof Shiraz, Glenelly Grand Vin, Journey’s End Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenrust Barrel Fermented Chardonnay and Morton’s Reserve White. Each bottle comes with a custom neck tag which tells you about the wine, the vineyard it comes from, what to serve it with and a QR code you can scan for more information or to reorder. Each box is also accompanied by a Good Taste Magazine.

What we love about it

The neck tags which explain each wine and not only teach you about wine but also tell you what to pair it with, allowing you to show off some wine knowledge.

Along with the wine, comes a reorder sheet which gives you the opportunity to reorder your favourite bottles (at a discount). You can also shop them on their website here.

You are able to customise each box according to your taste and budget.

It’s the box for you if

  • You love wine – wine delivered to your door is a wine lover’s dream. It is also a great way to discover new wines.
  • You want to learn about wines – if you want to learn about wines; the flavours and pairings, this is a great way to do it.
  • You know a wine lover – perfect gift!

How much does it cost?

Boxes of 6 bottles range from R450 – R2200 and boxes with 12 bottles range from R650 – R4200.

 

Prices exclude insurance and delivery fees Your order is insured against theft and breakage. An insurance equal to 1.8% of the value of the order and. Delivery charges per pack anywhere in South Africa is R102.00 and your selection is conveniently delivered to your door.

 

Value for money

Depending on what you choose, you can expect to pay an average of R54 to R360 a bottle, but this is determined by how much you want to spend on wine, so the value is up to you. The bottles are also discounted so you are making a saving by getting them in the box as opposed to buying them in store. There’s also the convenience of not having to go out and buy wine, figure out what wine is good and the novelty of discovering and learning about good wines.

9/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What you should know before buying

If you don’t like wine, Wine of the Month Club has other lifestyle clubs you can join. There’s a coffee club, olive club, Champaign club, brandy club and whiskey club too!

It’s alcohol so you need to be over 18 to order and you will have to put down your ID number when it gets delivered.

4. The Gin Box

 

Best Subscription Boxes in South Africa - The Gin Box

 

What is it?

The Gin Box is a Gin Craft subscription Box that sends you one of South Africa’s small batch craft gins along with complementary products and recipes for cocktails to make the most out of your bottle of Gin. They Offer monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly and gift subscription options.

What’s in it?

You get a bottle of gin that’s made in small batches in South Africa and often not available anywhere else, some tonic waters, a card which includes notes from the distillery and two cocktail recipes along with some other complimentary products. We received the Musgrave 11 Gin box which came with a full sized (750ml) bottle of Musgrave Crafted Gin, 2 tins of Fitch & Leedes tonic, a box of Ouhuis Rooibos Tea, a packet of Just Ginger Glace Ginger pieces, a sweet temptations toffee bar and a few chocolates.

What we love about it

As a craft Gin box, the Gin Box sources locally made small batch Gins which you’re not going to find just anywhere. The entire box is thoughtfully and cohesively put together, which makes it feel like you’re getting a box filled with great things, not just random items placed together.

The presentation is stunning from the branded box (which is nice enough to reuse for storage) to the way every item fits inside perfectly and the personalised note.

We particularly loved the cards they include which explains the entire box and why each item was included and what the Gin pairs best with. There’s a note from the distillery, which if you’re a Gin fanatic is a great addition. They also include information about each item in the box – it’s always nice to be able to know what each brand is so you can rebuy your favourite items.  The best thing in the card, however was the 2 recipes for cocktails utilising the gin and tonic.

The Gin Box also has an online store which stocks a selection of Gins if you want to reorder one you’ve received or just purchase Gin alone.

 

It’s the box for you if…

  • You love your G&T’s this box is everything you want and will allow you to enjoy and explore different brands and perhaps find new favourites
  • You’re looking for a gift for a friend who likes Gin – they offer once of gift options as well.

 

How much does it Cost?

If you’re selecting a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly box you’ll pay R650 per box. If you’re getting a once off gift, the price is R750

Value for Money

The value of the Gin alone ranges from R350 to R500. The bottle we got sells for R500. We’ve estimated the rest of the items at around R200. That along with the courier fees being included in the box amount means you’re receiving a box worth the amount you’re spending on it.

9/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What you should know before buying

If you’re not into subscription boxes you can still order some great small batch local Gins from The Gin Box here. You also don’t have to get it monthly, so if you’re not the biggest drinker rather opt for a bi-monthly or quarterly subscription.

Deliveries arrive the first week of the month.

 

Parent and Kid Subscription Box Services

5. Book Owl
The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa - The Book Owl

What is it?

The book owl is a children’s book subscription box service delivering a selection of children’s books once a month.  Boxes are personally addressed to your child and are tailored to your child’s age and interest. The books that are selected are by well-known children’s authors and have been well received by children around the world.

What’s in it

Each box comes with 2 picture books, an activity book and special activity or craft page. The box we received was tailored for Leah, a two year old girl who loves to read, loves animals and loves to show off her counting skills. Addressed to her by name on the front, it included a letter from the Book Owl and 3 individually wrapped books. There was “Chocolate Mouse for Greedy Goose” which came with an activity sheet containing a recipe for a chocolate mousse, “Orange Pear Apple Bear” and a favourite “the Sticker Activity Numbers book”.

What we Loved about it

Reading is crucial for child’s development and the box makes reading fun and exciting.

It’s personalised to your child – from their interests and age, to the letter from the Book Owl. It makes them feel special, and gets them excited about reading.

Each book is wrapped, which makes it feel like they are receiving a gift, so the excitement begins with unwrapping the books.

There’s an activity included in every box which is related to one of the books, which is a sweet way to integrate reading into other activities.

It’s the box for you if

  • You want to encourage your child to read – presenting books as a gift is a great way to encourage reading and make it a fun thing to do.
  • You’re never sure what books to select for your child.
  • Looking for a present for a kid – books can be reread and enjoyed a hundred times and this makes a great gift to give.

How Much Does it Cost?

R265 for a single delivery and R770 for a 3 month Subscription.

Value for money

Depending on your subscription you pay R73-R88 per book. The books in the box were about the same price, so it’s not a huge saving but the books are valued at the price of the box, and you do not pay for shipping. There’s also a huge convenience in not having to choose books. It encourages your kid to read and introduces them to new material every month.

 

8/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What You Should Know Before Buying

The Book Owl caters for children from the ages of 0-6 years old.

If you’re ordering it as a gift, make sure to let them know so that the Book Owl can wish them happy birthday.

The book Owl can cater for Afrikaans readers.

You may get a book you already own, like Leah who already had Chocolate Mouse for a Greedy Goose. However, before sending you your pack The Book Owl confirms which popular author books you have to avoid this. If you do get an extra book,  you can also give the extra book away to someone in need.

You can also buy packs to help kids with certain milestones like starting school or the birth of a new sibling.

 

6. Poppet Post

 

The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa -- Poppet Post

What is it?

Poppet Post is an educational and stimulatory subscription box service for children aged 0-5 years. Every two months you get a box of toys, books and activities suited to your child’s age. Each box is themed and tailored to assist in the development of a child of that specific age. Boxes also include a card which tells you what milestones you can expect at the selected age.

What’s in it?

Each box consists of toys, books and activities. We got a Zoo themed box which included a book “The Best Cow in the Show”, a farm themed colouring book, an animal puzzle, a pig painting activity and an animal Velcro activity. The items in the box were suited for very wide range of ages and not one bracket in specific. We had Leah, who is 2 years old try it out and she loved some of the activities, but some were suited to a younger child and others like the colouring book more suited to an older child.

What we Loved about it

  • The Theme – having one theme encourages learning and is a great way to learn about one specific idea (like farm animals) in one box.
  • The Variety – the box included paint, puzzles, books and toys – it has a lot of different activities to stimulate and occupy your child.
  • Customisation – you can choose a box based on age. However, the box we got was a bit too broad in terms of age so you may not use all the toys.

It’s the box for you if

  • You want to buy your child toys that are stimulating the right things at the right age. Each box includes toys, books and activities for a specific age range.
  • You buy toys that often go unused or forgotten – Leah’s mom pointed out that by buying a box there is a much bigger incentive to carve out time with your child to do the activities than when you just buy toys.
  • You’re looking for a gift. Because you can buy them once off, they make great children’s party gifts.

How much does it cost?

R 349

Value for money

The box is a bit pricey in terms of what you are getting. You’re not going to save money but if you don’t have time to go out and buy toys or don’t know what to get, this box offers a great convenience.

7/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What You Should Know Before Buying

Poppet Post offers special occasion boxes. They do boxes for parties, baby showers, travel boxes and holiday boxes.

Make sure to fill in the age and gender of the child you are buying it for, so the box can be tailored to them.

 

Women Subscription Boxes

7. Lingerie Letters

Best Subscription Boxes in South Africa - Lingerie LettersWhat is it?

Lingerie Letters is an underwear subscription service that delivers a pretty pair of designer knickers to your door in a discreet little envelope every month. You are able to select your size and style preference and based on those choices, you get a new pair of delicate underwear every month. All their underwear is made in South Africa and is high quality and perfectly fitting.

What’s in it

One pair of knickers in the style you chose. Ours arrived in a delicate little pink envelope that opened to reveal a delicate pretty knicker.  To get an idea of what you can expect browse their past pairs here

What we Loved about it

The packaging. Yes it’s called lingerie letters but we were still delighted when it arrived in a pink envelope.

You can buy past pairs online here so if you get a pair you really love you can purchase more of them. It also lets you see the type of styles and material you can expect, so, if there’s nothing there you like, you’re probably not going to enjoy their monthly letters.

It’s the box for you if

  • You want to add something special to your underwear drawer – a once a month pair of sweet and sexy lingerie.
  • You’re looking for gifts – for a hen’s party, bridal party or your big day!
  • You are not super specific about your underwear. If you have a set style, make or brand of underwear that is your go to, you may not like receiving an unknown pair once a month.

How Much does it cost?

R179 per month, R510 for a 3 month subscription or R960 for a 6 month subscription

Value for money

Depending on how many months you sign up for you’re paying between R160-R179 per knicker. For a designer piece of lingerie it’s not cheap but it’s not an unreasonably expensive amount to spend. It’s not a saving but it is a practical item you will use and has the big novelty factor of getting a surprise once a month.

7/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What You Should Know Before Buying

You can buy once off letters or shop last letters. We’d suggest starting with one letter or purchasing a past pair before going for a full subscription. Underwear is a personal thing and everyone has the style and fit they like so make sure it’s something that feels good to you.

Lingerie Letters also has an entire Boutique with other items like lingerie, cami sets, hosiery and more you can shop here.

They’re launching more products like pyjama sets, bralettes and an updated bridal range in the next few months.

6/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

 

8. The Little Black Bag

The Best Subscription Box Services in South Africa - Little black bag

What is it?

The Little Black bag is an online lifestyle subscription service for women which sends you a little black bag once a month.  Each month has a different surprise theme and contains little items from the worlds of fashion, beauty, home décor, food and fitness. The Little Black Bag also gives back 10% of their sales to skills development programs.

What’s in it?

Every bag contains 5-6 full sized items. We got the Glam Themed bag which arrived in a little black reusable shopper bag (a mini version of the material shopper bags you get at pick ‘n pay or woollies). Inside was Mamamac’s Shortbread biscuits, swiss cross wall art, a double sided coin purse, 2 pairs of blossom earrings and Fruits of Nature Body Moisturizer. Most of these items were unbranded so if you did like them it would be hard to find them again.

What we loved about it

The reusable shopper – instead of a box, which will most likely be thrown out, the shopper can easily be reused as a lunch bag, to keep a spare pair of flats when you go out or even a small laundry bag when travelling.

It’s the box for you if

  • You like trinkets
  • You are looking for a gift
  • You are young. The items in the box are suited for teens and young twenties.

How much does it cost?

R249 per month

Value for money

Most of the items were unbranded so we couldn’t work out what it would cost if you bought them alone. The bag came with a pamphlet which priced each item, pricing the total value of the bag at R400. However, some prices seemed a bit high when compared with similar items (a woollies full sized shopper is sold for R12.95 and the little black bag shopper is valued at R39). In terms of value, it’s not a need box, but more of little things you may like, making it more of a novelty box.

5/10 (rated on pricing, convenience, likelihood to use all items in the box and usefulness)

What You Should Know Before Buying

You can send it as gift along with a personalized message here.

WIN AND SAVE! You can win a little black bag here and a R50 discount off your next order.

 

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Zissy Lewin

Zissy Lewin

Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.
Zissy Lewin

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9 Comments
  1. Wow what I love about these boxes are the Variety!

    As per my comment that I would love for my Dad, Kelvin Lee to win as he lives at the Salvation Army, in Cape Town – he does not have access to ‘cooking equipment’ ie stoves or hotplates, so warm up meals (microwave) are possible as some residents on his floor depending on their medical conditions do have microwave ovens; also he can share – and snack boxes would be more ideal for him however obviously no alcohol is allowed.
    Land he loves snacks!

  2. This is fantastic! Thank you for sharing this, it is absolutely informative and also a fun read. Now to get subscribing…

  3. Hey guys

    Great article! I love the way things are going artisanal and how consumers in general are becoming more conscious – it’s great to see. Another amazing subscription service all based around fresh seasonal organic and locally sourced produce is The Munching Mongoose. They have really focused on the experience of food and gathering families around the dinner table.

    Happy munching!

    Ryan

    1. Hi Ryan, thank you!Yes we’re seeing people becoming more conscious of the way they consume and there are so many great services which help with that! We’re definitely going to have a look at Munching Mongoose – that sounds like a great and useful service we’d love to try! We’re big foodies here so anything food related is a win 😉

  4. Interesting read, BUT, you obviously haven’t had the opportunity to test the absolutely, mind-blowingly, best Foodie box out there!
    I’m afraid these don’t even compare to FOMO, from Yuppie Chef! Their standard & quality are simply superb! In my last box I recieved full sizes of Amalfy Lemon Gin, 4 bottles of pink Tonic (who knew!), Fig preserve, Imported French mustard, Balti Curry Paste, Perles de Cous Cous, Gluten free flour mix, Sweet paprika Marinade, & Mammacs Rusks! I kid you not! For R599! 12 products!
    In previous months I got bottles of wine, fresh coffee beans, Raw Honey, Pink Lemonade & Craft beers!
    I have sadly had to pause my subscription, due to finances at the moment, but the minute i can afford it again, I will start again! Honestly the best value & quality out there. Most of the things I had never heard of, & would never have bought, so it’s fabulous to try new things & also to give as lovely gifts through the year! Please try them & review them Zissy!

  5. Thanks for your reply Zissy, you won’t be sorry!
    I made a mistake though, a subscription is only R496 not R599 as I wrote. That makes it even better value, plus, one can have a box every month, or choose only every 2 or 3 months, that is a good option!

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