Which meal delivery box is best – Marley Spoon or HelloFresh?
Have you wondered if the meal delivery services of HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and other options were worth it? The price, the quality, the service and overall value varied. I’ve tried a few of them and last year did a comparison but redid it last month and my experience has changed. To be clear, I’ve used HelloFresh for almost a year and Marley Spoon on and off. Mainly because I have so much credit with HelloFresh (more on that below). This post originally included Aussie Farmers Direct, but they were bought out and I haven’t used them since.
This post contains affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure here.
The prices of meal boxes are not as cheap as buying produce from the markets. You are paying for delivery, recipes, the meals being planned and the service. For time poor families or families who want to try new meals but don’t know where to start, these boxes are a great option.
I loved trying them and each had pros or cons. Here is what I thought.
Image from HelloFresh – get $50 off your first box!
Price: From $69.95 = 3 meals for 2 adults in a classic box. There are various plans from classic to family and vegetarian for 3 to 5 meals. HelloFresh offer $50 off your first box here, meaning you can try their smallest box for only $19.95.
Allergies: I am gluten intolerant and it wasn’t as easy to pick from their options.
Variety: Choose from 9 meals, including a gourmet option (for an extra fee) and a dinner + lunch option (extra fee applies). On some plans you can edit to choose what you want, on others such as the vegetarian one, you get what you’re given.
Quality: In the beginning, the produce was pretty fresh. However, there have been many issues in freshness, particularly tomatoes and zucchini. Last week, I had a live cockroach in the box!
Almost every box I have had after the first discounted one has had produce I can’t use in it. Mouldy tomatoes, dented or soft zucchini’s, dried out ‘fresh’ ginger etc. Take a photo, send it to them and they will credit your account supposedly. The issue with the cockroach they didn’t respond to. I had to follow up and even then, nothing is being done.
Size: Our meal portions from HelloFresh were an average meal size, sometimes we had leftovers.
Delivery: I had no idea it had been delivered until I ran out the door to pick up my kids at 6 pm. They say they update you, but there are times they either haven’t delivered or haven’t told me. Since we moved our box seems to be delivered anywhere on the property instead of the front door. I’ve had quite a few issues with their delivery.
Packaging: So much packaging! Everything in little plastic bags, in brown bags, in a box and the cooler part was this fabric thing but apparently biodegradable. It kept the food fresh, but there was too much packaging and more papers in HelloFresh than other boxes, however, the paperwork included discounts for elsewhere.
I used to like my HelloFresh box, the meals were simple and most of the produce was fresh. I would not recommend HelloFresh anymore. Although, you could use the $50 discount, try it, pause your boxes as soon as you sign up to see if you like it then using your own discount code to refer friends if you want.
More variety and ease of working out allergies would make HelloFresh better. The classic box I chose is not the only option, I tried to keep the meal boxes similar in price and size to compare evenly though.
Price: $69.90 = 3 meals for 2 adults if we are comparing directly. However, they also offer 2 meals for 2 people for $50. With their $35 off code, you can try them for $20 as well.
Allergies: They were the easiest to select allergy-friendly meals with, lots of options and all delicious.
Variety: The variety was similar to HelloFresh, though I preferred the options Marley Spoon has.
Quality: Last year, the produce was lower quality, whereas the few times I have tried it this year the quality far surpassed HelloFresh. In the 3 boxes we’ve tried recently, all have been high quality.
Size: Meal sizing is planned by nutritionists so are the size you should be having. It felt a little on the small side compared to other options though. The bread which came in one of the meals was so tiny it looked like a mini serving.
Delivery: They delivered to my front door but I didn’t get a text or anything. Both companies messaged the day before or let me know it is on its way, but rarely did either of them let me know it arrived.
Packaging: Again, so much packaging and papers which aren’t reusable.
Marley Spoon is meant to be the premium option with more organic and fresher produce compared to others. The meals are nice, customer service is easy to deal with and overall it’s good. Last year I had a few glitches with them but this year they definitely did better than HelloFresh.
One thing to note, I loved the fact the meatballs came ready-made, so no mixing up mince. HelloFresh provides all the ingredients, but I hate mixing up rissoles/meatballs/burgers. So finding the meatballs came ready in Marley Spoon made me happy!
I didn’t try Dinnerly, however, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, this is it. They are owned by Marley Spoon so it is the same quality, just simpler meals. They still have healthy and dietary options, it’s simply cheaper with fewer steps. 3 meals for 3 people is $47.95 + shipping of $8.95 but you can get free shipping with the code CF18DINFREE here.
Which was best?
Marley Spoon has $35 off your first box and was the freshest each time, plus once you’ve tried a box you can give a box to a friend for free.
HelloFresh has a great offer of $50 off your first box, but the quality is low when used long term. Still, they give freebies for friends and you have the option of referring friends so you both get $50 off boxes.
Dinnerly is the cheapest option.
If you do make use any of these, make sure you sign up for Cash Rewards and PricePal then add their extension to your Chrome browser. They pop up and give you a discount or cash back option when you shop.
Have you tried meal boxes? What were your thoughts?