So, you’re ready to try out a meal delivery service to make your weeknight dinners easier. But now you have the difficult task of choosing which one is the best option! It’s not a simple decision, but we’re here to make it a little easier for you.
In this post, we’re breaking down two of the biggest meal kits around—Home Chef and Hello Fresh—so you can see exactly what you’ll get when signing up for either one. This way, you can determine which service is ideal for your specific needs.
Let’s get started…
Variety of Food & Meal Plans
With Home Chef, there are no set meal plans for their service. Instead, you’re presented with 11 different recipes each week, which you are able to choose from. These recipes feature foods such as steak, chicken, pork, and fish. They do have vegetarian options for their customers as well. Although there are no dedicated meal plans, you are able to inform them of your preferences upon signing up so they accommodate accordingly.
When you create your account, you’ll be asked to choose what you prefer to eat, if you have any dietary preferences, and if there are any ingredients you’re trying to avoid. This will make it easier when narrowing down your available options each week.
Upon browsing their menu, you’ll see a variety of delicious dishes, including: Potsticker Burgers with Spicy Asian Slaw and Sesame Ginger Salad, Pretzel Roasted Cod with Italian Crispy Potatoes, Garlic Bread Shrimp with Creamy White Wine Sauce, and Crispy Orange Chicken with Jasmine Rice and Broccoli.
When choosing a meal delivery service, the food selection is obviously the most important feature. You want to be sure you’ll receive plenty of variety, as well as have access to plans that are going to best suit your needs. For Hello Fresh customers, they have the choice of three different meal plans. It includes the Classic Menu, the Veggie Menu, and the Family Plan. This can be changed at any time if needed.
In terms of the meals they offer, you won’t have to worry about getting stuck in a food rut. Their menu includes dishes such as: Chicken Pineapple Quesadillas with Pico de Gallo and Southwestern Spices, Cherry Balsamic Pork Chops with Thyme-Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli, and Hot Honey Barbecue Chicken Legs with a Charred Poblano, Corn, and Sweet Potato Salad. These recipes are all creative, without being too out there for picky eaters.
Winner: Hello Fresh
Do you have a big family to feed or only cooking for one? Portion size and the ability to control it when you’re ordering is an important factor to consider when choosing the right meal delivery service.
If you have a family to feed, Home Chef gives you the ability to choose your meals in pairs of two, four, or six servings. So, if you need more of a particular dish, you can add that onto your order to ensure you have plenty to feed everyone. There isn’t a dedicated family plan with specific meals to choose from though. Instead, you’ll simply see the dishes that are on the main menu.
Hello Fresh, however, does provide the option of a Family Plan. That’s going to be an important factor for those who have a family to feed. For meals on the Classic Plan or Veggie Plan, you can expect to receive two servings for each dish. However, the Family Plan is going to get you four servings for each dish.
Winner: Home Chef
Are Ingredients Pre-Portioned?
With both Home Chef and Hello Fresh, you will receive pre-portioned ingredients in your order. Everything you need to create your dinner is inside the box, with the exception of kitchen staples (olive oil, salt, pepper, etc.). You’ll have the perfect amount of each ingredient for your recipe, which saves you the time and hassle of having to shop and prepare things ahead of time.
The other benefit to pre-portioned ingredients is that it’s going to help cut down on food waste. When you think about how many times you’ve purchased an excess of something for one recipe, but didn’t use it all before it could spoil… This is going to help eliminate that problem and help you save cash.
Recipe Cards & Cooking
No matter which option you choose, you don’t need to be a trained chef to create a delicious dinner in a short amount of time. Home Chef and Hello Fresh provide their customers with detailed recipe cards that are easy to follow. They both look pretty similar.
Another great thing that both companies do is that they allow you to view the recipe before choosing to order a specific meal. You can see which ingredients are required, how long it’ll take to prepare, and the steps to bring your meal to life. So, if you just want easy meals one week, you can absolutely pick the simplest ones by viewing the recipe steps ahed of time.
In most cases, you can expect your dinner to be ready within half an hour, which is a huge plus for anyone who has a busy family. We found that Home Chef meals were able to be cooked a little quick than Hello Fresh meals.
Winner: Home Chef
Delivery & Shipping Options
When it comes to meal kits, there can be no issues with delivery. One delay can mean spoiled food. Taking delivery and shipping into consideration with your final choice is very important.
With Home Chef orders that total over $45, you won’t have to pay any additional fees for shipping. However, there will be a $10 charge for any orders that cost less. You’ll want to keep that in mind when placing your order if you’d like to avoid any extra costs.
You can expect your order to be delivered between Tuesday and Friday because that’s when Home Chef’s shipments are made. You will have the ability to choose the day of the week you’d like to receive you order though. The available dates will depend on your location.
If you’re looking to get started with Hello Fresh, you can place an order with them as long as you live within the continental United States. That unfortunately means they’re unable to deliver to locations in Alaska and Hawaii.
For those in their delivery area, you’ll be able to choose your delivery day based on the options that are available to you. On the date of delivery, you can expect your order to arrive sometime between 8 AM and 8 PM. It will be dropped off, whether or not you’re home because a signature is not required.
Typically, there are no shipping costs when ordering with Hello Fresh. However, if there’s ever a fee, they will inform you at checkout.
Winner: Hello Fresh
Packaging is extremely important when it comes to meal kits. This is for two reasons. First, you want your meals to be packed in a way that keeps them fresh and cold in transit. Second, you want the packaging to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
All orders from Home Chef will be shipped in biodegradable, insulated boxes. They use water soluble, cool gel packs to keep everything chilled. After you’ve removed the contents, you can recycle the box with your curbside pickup or at a local facility. The gel packs can be reused or disposed of. You just want to drain the gel and recycle the package instead of just tossing it out.
For Hello Fresh, they have crafted specially designed boxes to keep your food fresh while it’s in transit. These boxes have insulating liners, ice packs, and cooling materials to keep your food at the optimal temperature and prevent it from spoiling. They also take the time to modify packaging depending on the season to ensure everything stays fresh.
You’re also able to recycle much of the packaging they use. The box, separator, and honeycomb paperboard can all be placed in your curbside recycling or taken to a local facility. As for the ice packs, you can choose to reuse them or throw them out. If you want to throw them out, you can drain the water soluble gel into the trash and recycle the liner. Liners used in the winter need to be thrown out, but ones used in the summer can be recycled. Simple as that!
Winner: Hello Fresh
Money Back Guarantee
Ordering anything online poses a small risk. Are you really going to get what you ordered? What happens if it gets damaged while being shipped? Having a money back guarantee or satisfaction guarantee goes a long way in the meal delivery kit industry.
In the event that you find a defective product in your Home Chef order, you’ll want to get in touch with them regarding a refund. They will either reward customers with a credit or a refund of their money. If part of a product is defective, Home Chef will determine whether or not the customer is entitled to a credit or refund and for how much.
If for any reason you are unhappy with any part of your meal kit, you can contact Hello Fresh to resolve the problem. They encourage all customers to contact them within five days of receiving the order to voice a complaint. If the issue you’re experiencing is due to ingredients or the condition of the meal kit, Hello Fresh might give you credit for the ingredient or the full meal kit. In some cases, they may issue a partial or full refund for the ingredient or meal kit. This all depends on the situation at hand and Hello Fresh will make the final decision on what warrants a refund.
Winner: It’s a tie!
Good customer service is important when it comes to meal kits. There are often questions that need to be answered and having someone there to help when you need them can make or break your meal kit experience.
If you need to reach Home Chef, you can submit a request form through their site, send over an email, or call them on the phone. At this time, there are no live chat options on their site, so the only way to receive an immediate response is by telephone.
There are a number of ways you can get in touch with Hello Fresh if you have questions or are experiencing an issue with your account or order. You can email them, give them a call on the phone, or hop on their live chat during business hours. This allows you to choose the option that’s most convenient for you, so you can best reach them at your availability.
Winner: Hello Fresh
One thing worth mentioning is that both companies have referral programs that allow you to save on future meals. With Home Chef, you can refer your friends and family by giving them a $30 credit towards their first order. For each person who signs up through your referral, you’ll receive a $30 credit as well.
With Hello Fresh, your friends can receive a $50 discount on their first delivery when they sign up with your referral code. In return, you’ll receive a $50 credit on your account that can be used towards future meals. Either way, both referral programs are a great incentive to spread the word.
Winner: Hello Fresh
Both Hello Fresh and Home Chef are great meal kit options. They’re relatively the same with some minor differences.
I found Home Chef meals to be quicker to prepare and a bit healthier. Whereas Hello Fresh meals had more variety. Although, just recently Hello Fresh created a meal plan option for quick meals that can be made in 20 minutes or less.
You really can’t go wrong with either meal kit.
Have a question about either? Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you ASAP!