Have you wondered if the meal delivery services of HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Aussie Farmers Direct were worth it? The price, the quality, the service and overall value varied. I tried them all and here are my thoughts plus some discounts for you!
To be clear, I have not been paid for this and none of the services knew I was using their services to write about here. The promo codes I used when trying them came from their websites or on Facebook, not sent to me personally. I do use affiliate links on my site and in this post, 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.
Edit: as of 5/6/2018 Aussie Farmers Direct no longer operates.
Image from HelloFresh – get $50 off your first box!
Price: $69.95 = 3 meals for 2 adults in a classic box. A $50 gift card to try it definitely made me interested. You can save $60! Get $30 off your first two boxes here or $50 off your first box here.
Allergies: I am gluten intolerant and it wasn’t as easy to pick from their options.
Variety: I had 5 meals to choose from and could edit my meals to suit us.
Quality: The produce we received was mostly fresh.
Size: Our meal portions from HelloFresh were on average.
Delivery: I had no idea it had been delivered until I ran out the door at 6 pm.
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 liked my HelloFresh box, the meals were simple and most of the produce was fresh. I would use HelloFresh again, though I’d recommend using the $50 discount, trying it, pausing 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 = 3 meals for 2 adults.
Allergies: They were the easiest to select allergy-friendly meals with.
Variety: The variety was similar to HelloFresh. A few options, not a lot and it changes each week.
Quality: The produce we received was lower quality compared to the others. The peas were defrosted by the time they were delivered and the sweet potato had worm holes through it.
Size: Meal sizing was smaller than the other companies.
Delivery: Marley Spoon SMS a photo of the box on your doorstep plus give you reminders about your delivery.
Packaging: Again, so much packaging and papers which aren’t reusable.
Marley Spoon was the most disappointing, yet meant to be the premium one. It started off well with a $35 off code, the meals were nice but my food came already defrosted (e.g. peas for the meal were meant to be frozen, but they were mushy when they arrived).
I got a flyer with a code in the letterbox to try. When I tried to use it, it said they didn’t deliver to my area (weird for two reasons – I am in Melbourne CBD, basically everything can be delivered here from big companies. 2, they had just delivered a flyer to my apartment and those around me!) I contacted them with no response, so I waited because I wanted to try it for you guys.
I tried again a few days later, the same issue occurred so I used the chat option on the site. It didn’t help and gave the wrong information.
The third time I got in. I realised once on the site, it didn’t have many options to suit us but ordered meals anyway. I soon discovered too, the time window between when you make the order and when it is delivered is small. You will be charged for your next box before you get the first. If you order, immediately change your next meal to be skipped (or cancel the subscription) unless you want to be charged for the next one before you’ve even tried your first.
Their recipe cards were nice, but that was about it. I wouldn’t personally recommend Marley Spoon nor will I use them again.
Which was best?
Aussie Farmers Direct was my favourite, however, they no longer operate. I still occasionally use HelloFresh and would be willing to try Marley Spoon again as other readers have said they found them to be the best.
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.