As much as I would love to eat out all the time to try all the nom noms in town, we try to cook at home most days of the week. It can get very difficult and tedious at times trying to meal plan. For the last year or so, We’ve tried out a few meal kit delivery services to help us change up our menu once in a while, especially for those weeks we know we will have a particularly busy schedule. We do not use their services every week, maybe on average once a month. Keep reading for my review on 3 of the meal kit delivery services available in Canada.
The plan options and pricing of these meal kits are quite comparable ranging from $8.75-13.33 per meal with Good Food being the most economical (just slightly) and Hello Fresh being relatively more costly. Usually the family plans are least costly option and the quick prep plans are most costly. The cost would probably be more than what you would spend on groceries; however, keep in mind that you are paying a premium for the convenience and also for higher quality, local, certified RWA (raised without antibiotics or hormones) meats, and sustainable seafood.
We would usually select the family plan option with 4 portions of 2 recipes, yielding at least 8 meals/week. This is usually sufficient to provide us with at least 4 dinners and even some leftovers for dinner. The portions sizes are usually on the larger side. The downside of Hello Fresh is that they do not have a 4 portion x 2 meals option. Their minimum order for 4 portion meal plan are 3 recipes, which would be way too much food, so I ordered the 2 person x 3 meal plan, meaning I have to cook 3 smaller meals instead of 2 large batches (AKA lower economies of scale).
In terms of flexibility, Chefs Plate wins because it allows for small batch 2 person x 2 meal options (although there is a $6 delivery fee vs. free shipping for all other options). It also wins because Chefs Plate is the only service that allows you to easily pause the subscription and only opt in during the weeks that you want the delivery. The other two services will opt you in every week by default. You will need to either manually skip each week or cancel the service indefinitely.
In terms of choices, Chefs Plate has 18-19 unique recipes, Good Food has 18 and Hello Fresh only has 12. All 3 has various menu options, including family menus, vegetarian options and quick prep options. Overall, it appears Chefs Plate wins in terms of the number of selections. See below for the comparison.
In terms of the actual taste I think they are all quite comparable. The Good Food recipes appear more refined compared to the other two. I have ordered significantly more from Chefs Plate so I’ve had both the absolutely delicious recipes that I would cook again vs. the not-so-good. In general, I would tend to steer away from their Asian-inspired (not super authentic) and chicken breast recipes (which tend to be on the dry side).
Hello Fresh seems to be most generous with their recipes, allowing everyone to browse their full selection of recipes online. It also allows you to rate their recipes and favourite your preferred recipes. On delivery, all recipes of the week are also provided, in addition to the ones which were selected. On the other hand, Chefs Plate seems to be the most secretive with their recipes, where the full recipe is not revealed until delivery, so you cannot look ahead of time how each dish is prepared.
All 3 companies are aware of the waste that can be created through packaging. I appreciate the little plastic containers provided by Chefs Plate and Good Food because I can reuse this for holding salad dressing etc. Chefs Plate and Hello Fresh delivers packages their recipes in paper bags, whereas Good Food uses plastic bags, which cannot be formally recycled in Ottawa but I would just reuse it as a garbage bag. I also am impressed by the ice-pack recycle program offered by Hello Fresh, where you can send back a few weeks worth of ice-packs to be recycled.
The good thing about ordering meal kits is the reduction of food waste since the ingredients are pre-portioned. Hello Fresh may need to work on this because it provided me with too much ingredients (a whole pack of cheese even though I only need half a pack).
Given Hello Fresh has an app where the recipes can be viewed, I propose that they can take it a step further by saving paper and giving people the option to opt out of paper recipes and just viewing it on their computers/phones instead.
Quality of Ingredients
Overall the quality of the ingredients is not bad. I did have some shipments with lower quality/spoiled produce with Good Food and they did provide me with a credit. My in-laws also had an case of vegetables which has frozen on route (it was winter in Ottawa) from Hello Fresh and they were provided with a free box of meals the next week. The other difference I noticed is that Chefs Plate uses fresh pasta in their recipes whereas Hello Fresh used dried pasta. (I did not order any pasta dishes from Good Food so I cannot comment on that.)
All 3 companies deliver throughout Canada. You can select for your Chefs Plate’s orders to arrive Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday. You have a choice between the beginning or the end of the week but not between the specific day. (I.e. whether your order will arrive Monday or Tuesday depends on where you live and you don’t have a choice.) The cut off date to order is Thursday for the Monday/Tuesday order and Sunday for the Thursday/Friday order.
Good Food is the most flexible. They deliver ALL days of the week. The deadline to order is Wednesday for orders Sundays-Wednesdays, and Saturday for Thursdays-Saturdays.
Hello Fresh delivers Sunday to Thursday depending on your delivery area. For example, I had the option of choosing delivery between 4 different days of the week. The deadline to order is Wednesday.
All 3 companies try to be socially responsible, partnering with local farmers and suppliers. Chefs Plate also works with Second Harvest by donating food to this food rescue organization. Good Food commits to contributing a meal to a child in need with every meal box that is purchased. I was unable to find any partnerships for Hello Fresh, although they do have their unique ice-pack recycle program.
Here’s a summary of all the relevant points that I would consider when ordering a meal delivery kit. It appears that overall, I do prefer Chefs Plate over the other two services, although Good Food is a close second. Please comment below if you have experience ordering from any of these services or other services that which are currently available in Canada. If you would like me to review these other services too, let me know!
If you’re interesting in signing up for these services, feel free to use my referral codes to get free meals for both of us!
Chefs Plate: You get 3 meals free. I get 4 meals free. (Alternatively, you can use referral tag #3platesFromBowsingNomNoms)
Good Food: You get $40 off. I get $25 off.
Hello Fresh: You get $40 off. I get $25 off.