Muscle Food have grown from humble beginnings in 2013 to the nationwide online food supplier they are today. With a focus on high quality, high protein, lean and affordable food they have a very clear target market – and the chances are that you and I are that exact target audience – but are they any good? We put a few orders in and bring you the verdict in our full, comprehensive and unbiased Muscle Food review.
Muscle Food – The Story So Far
Muscle Food is a UK based company that was founded back in 2013 by Darren Beale. Since its inception it has grown year on year and has won multiple awards including ‘Specialist Online Retailer of the Year’. With a clear focus on clean, healthy, protein packed food, the company that is based in Nottingham now ships its products across Europe following an expansion grant back in 2015.
Around the same time as their 2015 expansion they also launched their online nutrition and exercise plan which is called ‘Do The Unthinkable’ and is a plan designed to help you reach your health and fitness goal through a combined nutrition and exercise programme. We have not tested this programme and this review will be focused solely on the food from Muscle Food.
How It Works
Muscle Food was initially set up to provide body builders with a quality source of high protein foods. Something that was quite a novel concept at launch has now become a much more crowded market place but Muscle Food have moved with the times and have systems and processes in place to deal with a very high volume of orders and also deliver food and supplement products that appeal to the masses.
Even through some of the most testing of global circumstances, Muscle Food have continued to deliver food with lead times as short as 48 hours for UK delivery – quite incredible!
All food is ordered online and the value for money meat hampers are how most people will do their shopping. The understanding is that most people will freeze the majority of their order and then defrost it when needed. You can also purchase individual items and the prepped meal pots are also a very convenient way to plan your lunches for the week.
Essentially, you place your order online and choose a delivery date. Delivery is pretty much free or £1 for most orders so long as you meet the payment threshold and the minimum order is just £25 which is much lower than some of the bigger supermarkets.
The food is delivered in a chilled box with ice blocks so it is guaranteed to come chilled. You do not need to be in to take delivery so long as you have a safe place for it to be delivered to and the delivery side of things is incredibly smooth. The three orders we placed with Muscle Food were all delivered on the exact day we expected, the entire orders were correct and everything had great use by dates.
The Muscle Food Range
The range of produce at Muscle Food has grown hugely over the last couple of years. If you are looking for a range of lean food that is high in protein and ready for cooking then you have a plentiful array of options, but it doesn’t stop there. MuscleFood have worked hard to add a full complement of other products including meal prep pots, protein supplements, protein snacks, drinks and even protein desserts. The majority of their offerings are done so under their own brand but they also offer some products from other manufacturers such as Carb Killa’s by Grenade and Optimum Nutrition whey protein. There is also a good range of vegan protein options too.
The food hampers are where most people tend to start and are where most of the value is to be found. You can opt for ‘build your own’ boxes or the even better value double up hampers that often give you a load more food for a nominal fee. Take the Double Up hamper for example which allows you to add an extra meat hamper for just £1.
Depending on which hamper is right for you will depend on your nutritional goals and tastes but there are good options for anyone looking for high protein food with minimal fat. If you are looking to go for super lean food there are specifically designed lean hampers that contain a range of foods – all of which contain less than 5% fat.
Muscle Food Taste Test
We placed three orders in total (and will be ordering again it is fair to say) with the 112 piece ultimate slimming lean hamper being one of the meat hampers we opted for. We were a little concerned about choosing this hamper at first as the leanness of the meat could have easily caused it to be either tasteless or poor in texture – neither of these concerns were realised and actually the flavour of pretty much all the food was excellent.
Let’s start with the chicken. This hamper came with 2.5kg of chicken breast fillets – all of which claim to have no added salt and no added water. There really was a difference between the chicken we are used to (supermarket) and the Muscle Food chicken. The meat content was so much better, the flavour was much improved and the texture was much less watery. We can only imagine that the nutritional value of this chicken must be so much better and with 22g of protein per 100g and just 0.4g of fat – this is just about the best way we can think of to get high quality protein in to your daily nutrition.
All 6 of the 3 types of steaks we tried were also very tasty and as you might expect the protein content was again very high in relation to the fat content. If you find yourself craving burgers then this hamper has you covered in that regard too with chicken and steak burgers that are super lean and we found them super tasty to match.
This hamper also included lean steak mince, Cumberland, lean pork and chicken sausages, trimmed bacon medallions (double yummy) and Piri Piri chicken. The only thing we were not overly keen on were the chicken meatballs as these were a little dry and dense in texture. They tasted good and one bad meal out of the whole hamper was not a bad result.
Overall, in terms of taste, texture and nutritional value the lean hamper was a resounding success.
Value For Money
Whether it is the ultimate slimming lean hamper, one of the many other protein packed hampers or the additional supplemental products you choose, value for money is one thing you are pretty much assured of when you buy from Muscle Food. Not only is the produce high quality and much of it free range and Freedom Food RSPCA approved, but it also offers exceptional value for money when you compare it like for like with supermarket produce.
For the sake of keeping this review consistent, if we take the slimming hamper that we already highlighted, this is available at the time of writing for £80. If you compare this to the full retail value it provides a real terms saving of over £35!
To make it easier to compare to your standard supermarket shop lets take the chicken as an example. If you wanted to buy their 5kg pack of chicken as a standalone item it would cost you £32 (at the time of writing). If we were to compare that to chicken from a major supermarket – their chicken is available at around £5.79 per kilo. So for 5kg of chicken you would be looking at around £29. On the face of it, this makes Muscle Food look more expensive but the quality of chicken you are getting from Muscle Food was graded as far superior in our taste test. It is also nutritionally approved and tested so you know exactly what is in the produce you eat. It is also worth noting that when buying Muscle Food chicken as part of a hamper it is heavily discounted and so actually works out cheaper.
Muscle Food – Out Of The Box
As we have already mentioned, all Muscle Food deliveries arrive in a sealed and chilled box and can be left for a number of hours on any given day before refrigerating or freezing. First time users might be overwhelmed when they first unbox their food as there is a lot! A lot more than you would usually buy in terms of fresh meat. This means you will need to perform a good degree of planning and preparation in order to best utilise your food. Anyone who is used to meal prepping will be fine with this and anyone who isn’t, well.. it’s about time you learned. The truth is that by separating and planning your meals you will save money and waste less food. It can also help you stay on track with your daily nutritional goals.
Our big tip here is to buy freezer bags. You can either buy these from Muscle Food themselves or buy them yourself. But this will help when you come to put your food away and freezing at least half of your order is the best way to store it. The use by dates on all three orders we purchased were excellent and we had a good five days of fresh meat to keep in the fridge. But for everything else you will want to use the freezer. It is best to portion things up to what you tend to use, so if you usually cook for two people and use two chicken breasts it would make sense to package and freeze your chicken breasts two per bag. Just be aware that the chicken from Muscle Food does tend to be a lot bigger than those you buy at the supermarket so be aware of this when portion it up – it could well be the case that one chicken breast will feed two people.
Everything comes vacuum packed for maximum freshness and you will need a decent amount of fridge and freezer space once you have portioned the food in to freezer bags. You will also likely need a good 30 minutes or so to take care of the unboxing and portioning so just be aware of this.
Who Is Muscle Food For?
When MuscleFood first started they were pitched very much as a niche food supplier with a focus on body builders. Whilst they still serve that market they also now have more of a mass market following and as we (as consumers) become more aware of the food that we eat and what we put in our bodies the more mainstream Muscle Food have become.
Anyone can benefit from a high protein diet of lean meat so long as it is proportionate to the rest of your macro-nutrient intake and so long as it forms part of a balanced nutritional plan. So essentially, we would say that Muscle Food is appropriate for all people – our kids were pretty happy with it when we made chicken goujons and the lean sausages went down well too as a tasty treat.
The Muscle Food Verdict
Muscle Food is an excellent online food retailer with an exceptional track record of producing and delivering high quality, protein rich food that is low in fat but high in taste. We found it to be a great option to get access to high quality protein and their growing range of prepped pots and supplements makes things quick and easy. Muscle Food is perfectly affordable and just requires a little bit of planning of your daily and weekly meals – which we don’t think is a bad thing and would encourage everyone to take more time over anyway.
For us, Muscle Food gets a big thumbs up and will be a vendor we come back to again and again.