When it comes to food, I’m fairly picky. It’s not necessarily about what items are in my food as much as it is the quality of the ingredients. So, when I was looking to order from a meal-kit delivery service, I was curious as to the quality of the food and the variety of recipes sent to me.
I decided to try Home Chef and HelloFresh and do a quick comparison report on what I found. And I organized it by the five most important things for me.
- Food Quality/Tastiness
- Variety of Options
- Customer Experience (Mobile and Website Experience)
The team at Home Chef has cooked up some great tasting recipes. Their food includes a variety of tasty spices and fresh produce. Proteins range from poultry and sirloin to seafood and even plant-based options.
The sun-dried tomato pesto spaghetti with garlic bread, for example, was a big hit here. I barely noticed the carbs because I was enjoying the grape tomatoes, fresh spinach, and slivered almonds coupled with heavy garlic and whole cloves, which made it extra delicious. The mojito pork chops with mandarin orange and slivered almond salad offered a healthier alternative on another night. The pork chops cooked up juicy and tender, and the salad fixings stayed crisp and flavorful.
Over at HelloFresh, I wanted to try some of the latest and greatest recipes the company talks about on their website. The healthy fish choices actually tasted good. That’s a big accomplishment because fish never seems to come out right, either when you’re buying it at the market or when fixing it at home. But the Mediterranean salmon from HelloFresh cooked up just as flaky as the company promised. When paired with fresh, crisp green beans and a hefty serving of couscous, the fish made a mouth-watering meal.
For a no-meat option, the roasted veggie farro bowl did itself proud as did the veggie chiles rellenos with avocado salsa and zesty crema. The poblano peppers stayed firm and tender, and the tomatoes and avocados must have been fresh sourced because they still looked lush days after delivery.
Variety of Options
Home Chef offers 21 scrumptious meals per week. I like it because you can fill up the fridge on Monday with enough produce and ingredients to whip up lunches and dinners for the rest of the week. Or you can opt for a smaller number of meals or more frequent deliveries, whatever suits you and your family. The Oven Ready option was a huge benefit, too. On the busiest night of the week, we just assembled the prepared ingredients in the pan provided by Home Chef, popped it in the oven, and pulled it out when the buzzer sounded.
The company also offers gluten-free options along with carb- and calorie-conscious recipes, meaning there’s something to tempt even the pickiest appetite. You select from the concoctions that Home Chef’s team whips up each week or request the ingredients for your own favorite dishes. I appreciated the opportunity to pick the fixings for recipes I already know my family enjoys along with the new ideas from the meal delivery service.
HelloFresh offers a mix-and-match plan. You can get meat and veggies, vegetarian, family-friendly, or low-calorie foods for two or four people. The company lets you pick anywhere from two to six recipes per week. HelloFresh offered about 6 recipes the week I tried them as opposed to Home Chef’s 21 options.
Variety really is the spice of life when it comes to meal plans. The week I tried HelloFresh, the few options seemed predictable, not much different than the selections in the frozen foods aisle at the grocery store, although certainly fresher and tastier. I was hoping for more innovative recipes, though, than what amounted to dressed-up cheeseburgers and spaghetti.
Home Chef could appeal to budget-conscious customers since meals start at an affordable $6.99 per serving. Plus, I appreciated how I could enjoy free delivery on orders of $49 or more. I would definitely order that much using any meal service. Most meals actually run around $9.95 per person, however. That meant each dinner for my family of four cost about $40—the free delivery was mine if I ordered multiple meals at once. At six dinners per week, I was looking at $250 out-of-pocket for Home Chef’s best stuff. Home Chef was certainly the winner when it came to having a fair and straightforward pricing structure, too. Simple. Affordable. Easy to understand.
At HelloFresh, the price per serving for two people was $8.99 plus $6.99 for shipping. Order for four, though, and the price goes down to $7.49 per serving. Shipping stays the same. Hello Fresh does penalize you a bit if you just pick two recipes by jacking up the price to $8.99 per serving for four people and $10.99 for two. It made things a little hard to budget with Hello Fresh’s price fluctuations by number of servings and recipes.
Both companies get points for offering excellent portion sizes. That’s no easy feat given that, even in the same family, different body types, metabolisms, and appetites need varying amounts of food to equal what each person considers a filling portion.
On HelloFresh week, we were all full when we scraped up the last bites. And when we tested out Home Chef, my wife and I actually put leftovers in the fridge most nights. That’s no small accomplishment at our house.
Both companies offer easy-to-use experiences on both mobile and their websites. I just signed up, followed the instructions, and had recipe cards and boxes of food appearing on my doorstep in no time. HelloFresh makes it easy to pick your menu for the week, and Home Chef answered all my questions right on the signup page. They also let me select the recipe category, which could be a big help to users following a strict diet.
In conclusion, Home Chef is the winner for me. HelloFresh wasn’t bad, but the variety of Home Chef recipes, the tastiness of the ingredients, and the service’s portion sizes won me over. If you’d like to try out our winner, click here to get $80 off Home Chef now!