Note: This is an update on a previous post from 2018. Updated information has been italicized.
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 two years, 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, only opting in when we find the need to and if there is a good menu. Keep reading for my review on three of the meal kit delivery services available in Canada.
The plan options and pricing of these meal kits are quite comparable ranging from $8.75-24.98 CDN per meal. Usually the family plans are the least costly option and the quick prep plans are more 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. Note that Chefs Plates’s highest priced meal offers a special dinner to lunch recipe. Goodfood and HelloFresh’s most expensive meal is the special (artisan) recipe of the week. See below for more details about these special menus.
We would usually select the family plan option with 4 servings of 2 recipes, yielding at least 8 meals/week. The portions sizes are usually on the larger side except for HelloFresh. Each recipe for 4 is usually sufficient to provide us with at least 4 dinners and some leftovers for 1-2 lunches. The huge downside of HelloFresh 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 for us for one week, so I would order the 2 person x 3 meal plan, meaning we have to cook 3 smaller meals instead of 2 large batches (AKA lower economies of scale). They are also on the smaller side so I usually wouldn’t have enough for lunch the next day. This is a quite unfavourable for me because I like to cook in large batches.
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 manually skip each week. At least you don’t need to pause indefinitely for HelloFresh anymore and restart the entire subscription again even if you just want to try it for one week.
In terms of choices, Chefs Plate has 14 unique recipes, HelloFresh has 19, and Goodfood has 29. All 3 has various menu options, including family menus, vegetarian options and quick prep options. Overall, it appears Goodfood wins in terms of the number of selections. See below for the comparison.
In terms of the actual taste I think Goodfood and Chefs Plate are quite comparable and are superior to HelloFresh. The Goodfood 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).
HelloFresh 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 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.
The good thing about ordering meal kits is the reduction of food waste since the ingredients are pre-portioned.
All 3 companies create waste through its packaging. Chefs Plate and HelloFresh delivers packages their recipes in paper bags, which I use in my compost bin, whereas Goodfood uses plastic bags, which cannot be formally recycled in Ottawa but I would just reuse it as a garbage bag but it is a little awkward to use given their shape. I appreciate the little plastic containers provided by all three companies because I can reuse this for holding salad dressing and sauces when packing my lunch. On the other hand, I do not appreciate the little plastic bags to hold small quantity of ingredients which is more apparent in the HelloFresh meal kits. These will have to be discarded as I can find no other use for them. Given HelloFresh 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. This is still not an option to date.
Quality of Ingredients
Overall the quality of the ingredients is not bad. The produce is overall decent but not as good as if you were to pick out your own ingredients at the grocery store. If a shipment had spoiled produce, the companies will give you a credit or send you a free shipment the next week. The meat is supposed to be higher quality, local, certified RWA (raised without antibiotics or hormones) meats, and sustainable seafood. I cannot really tell the difference and has actually be disappointed in their steak quality. A difference I noted is that Chefs Plate uses fresh pasta in their recipes whereas HelloFresh uses dried pasta. (I did not order any pasta dishes from Goodfood so I cannot comment on that. It’s also been a while since I ordered pasta dishes so I cannot confirm if this is still the case now.)
All 3 companies deliver throughout Canada. You can select for your Chefs Plate’s orders to arrive Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. The cut off date to order is the Wednesday the week before.
Goodfood is the most flexible. They deliver most days of the week (everyday except Saturday). The deadline to order is Wednesday for orders Sundays to Wednesdays, and Saturday for Thursdays to Fridays.
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 worked with Second Harvest in the past by donating food to this food rescue organization. Goodfood commits to contributing a meal to a child in need with every meal box that is purchased. HelloFresh worked with Evergreen’s National School Ground Greening Program to donate to schools in Nova Scotia to build garden space for students.
Here’s a summary of all the relevant points that I would consider when ordering a meal delivery kit. It appears I prefer Goodfood over the other two services, especially with their expanded menu options such as the Clean 15. 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’re interesting in signing up for these services, feel free to use our referral codes to get free meals for all of us!
Goodfood: You get $40 off. I get $25 off.
Chefs Plate: You get $40 off. I get $40 off. Update: As of August 20, 2021, this referral code gives you $90 off instead of $40! ($40 off your first box, $20 off second, $20 off third)
HelloFresh: You get $40 off. I get $25 off.