How do they work? And what's the difference?
Meal delivery kits are a relatively new service in the Australian market. Lot's of us have heard of them but not many of us have tried them.
Unlike an actual meal delivery service like an Uber Eats or Jenny Craig, meal delivery kits do not come pre-made. You have to cook the food yourself. The idea behind these services is that you get everything (apart from pantry staples like salt and oil) that you need to make easy and delicious food yourself – no grocery store trips required.
More and more of these new companies are emerging within Australia, each promising to help you eat well and eat conveniently. Certainly two of the most popular services are Marley Spoon and HelloFresh, but what are the differences?
I, personally, have tried both companies a few times. I really enjoy both services and would definitely use them both again. In many ways they're similar but there are a few key differences that might make you want to choose one over the other.
Which recipes are better?
Marley Spoon recipes are for a more refined palette HelloFresh plays with ingredients that you know.
So which recipes are better? In my opinion, the recipes are just as nice as each other. It really depends on what mood I'm in. If I'm looking to experiment a little more, I love Marley Spoon. If I'm looking for a twist on classic crowd pleasers, I'll go with HelloFresh.Where HelloFresh does a steak with pepper sauce, Marley Spoon does steak with olive tapenade. Where HelloFresh does a Chinese beef stir fry, Marley Spoon does a Korean noodle bowl with pickled veg.
I will say that if you or your family have an issue with food allergens, then Marley Spoon might be trickier for you. While there is full disclosure of all allergens, many of the recipes hang on things like sesame oil and nuts. You can remove them from the recipe, but it's not really the same.
Recipe options per week
HelloFresh currently has 10 options per week in the standard plan.
From that you can choose three, four or five recipes per week for two or four people.
Marley Spoon has 20 options per week.
From that you can choose two, three or four recipes per week for two or four people.
I really like that Marley Spoon has a two meal option. Sometimes I'm only home for two nights a week, so I like having the option to order less.
But I also like having the option to order more. HelloFresh has a five meal option (which Marley Spoon doesn't) which covers all your weeknight meals.
Marley Spoon meals took me less time to cook.
The first time I tried both services earlier in 2018, recipes from both companies took me longer to cook than I'd like. Neither HelloFresh nor Marley Spoon recipes were able to be cooked in the prescribed times. 30-minute meals were taking me close to an hour to cook. Marley Spoon meals definitely took the longest.
But Marley Spoon has definitely worked on this aspect. I've tried Marley Spoon twice in 2019 and, not only were the recipes faster than HelloFresh, but I was actually able to cook them in less than the prescribed time. I did most of the 30-minute meals in about 20-25 minutes.
They're about the same price, maybe a few cents different.
If we compare the three-meal box for two people:
If we compare the four-meal box for two people:
Delivery and skipping boxes
Both services run on a subscription basis, where you get weekly deliveries. Delivery is free.
Fortunately, both services allow you to pause as many weeks as you like. You can log into your account and hit pause on the service so that you won't receive or pay for a box for the selected week. HelloFresh has an app that allows you to do this. With Marley Spoon, you can do this via its website.
Marley Spoon delivers on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and there is both an early morning and an afternoon delivery slot. You'll receive a tracking number so you can follow your box in real time.
HelloFresh delivery times and days depend on your location. I was always able to arrange a 7am delivery on Mondays so I could grab it and bring it inside before I left for work. But it may be different for your location.
Both boxes come with icepacks and can be left outside for up to eight hours.
Quality of ingredients
I can't fault the quality of the ingredients on either side.
Both services deliver top-quality red meat and free-range chicken. The fruit and vegetables always smell fresh and look much nicer than what you find at a grocery store.
There was no difference in quality in my opinion.
Marley Spoon has about six vegetarian options a week.
HelloFresh has about two vegetarian options a week in the standard plan and five vegetarian options in the dedicated veggie box plan.
Again, both services come in about the same here. HelloFresh does have a dedicated vegetarian plan. You can simply select the veggie box option and you'll have up to five recipe options to choose from. While Marley spoon doesn't have a dedicated veggie box option, it does have six vegetarian options to choose from in the regular plan, which is one more than HelloFresh.
Marley Spoon recipes range from 350-800 calories per portion. HelloFresh recipes range from 500-750 calories per portion.
Marley Spoon has a special label for meals under 600 calories – they're marked "Healthy". There are usually about six of these options per week. In my opinion, this gives Marley Spoon a slight edge. I would not want to choose an 800 calorie option and having the low-calorie options labelled makes it easier for me to choose my meals.
Last time I tried Marley Spoon I picked the low-calorie options exclusively. They were absolutely delicious and helped me lose a kilo. I think this is a very user-friendly feature.
Sustainability and packaging
Both companies appear to be quite switched on in regards to recycling and waste.
The key difference here for me is that all parts of Marley Spoon's packaging are recyclable, whereas the HelloFresh icepacks aren't suitable for recycling.
Marley Spoon boxes are made from 70% recycled paper and 30% virgin kraft paper. They can be recycled in the paper bin as can the paper bags. As for the icepacks, the packaging is low-density polyethylene and is 100% recyclable. To recycle them, cut open to release the gel into the bin – it's non-toxic. Alternatively, Marley Spoon recommends that you "add the gel to your garden bed as it helps the soil to retain water". Once the gel is gone, put the icepacks into the plastic recycling bin. The Marley Spoon insulation and ingredients bags can be recycled in the soft plastic recycling bins at the supermarket.
HelloFresh boxes, meal kit bags and recipe cards are all made from recyclable materials and can all be recycled in your paper bin. HelloFresh states that the icepacks or "cool pouches" are made from PLA plastic fibre and that the insulation fibre is derived from 100% plant material. Unfortunately, they're not recyclable. These ones have to go in the bin – unless you want to reuse them.
I don't think I could say that one service is better than the other, because it's simply not true. Whichever option you choose will depend on your personal circumstances and taste.
Discount codes for HelloFresh and Marley Spoon
Popular Marley Spoon coupon codes
|Last checked||Code description||Code|
|22 May 2019||$35 off first three boxes||M1S****|
|28 Mar 2019||40% off your first HelloFresh box||HFF****|
|21 Jan 2019||$35 off your first box||C3S****|
|21 Jan 2019||Up to $15 off your orders||C15****|
|30 Oct 2018||Get $35 off your 1st box order||RA3****|