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HelloFresh vs. Chefs Plate: I tried two popular meal kits — here's my honest review

I tried HelloFresh and Chefs Plate meal kits — here's what you need to know.

split screen of HelloFresh and Chefs Plate meal kits with recipe cards and ingredients
HelloFresh vs. Chefs Plate: Which meal kit is better?

If you've ever considered ordering a meal kit in Canada, you've likely come across HelloFresh and Chefs Plate. The meal kit delivery services are two key players in the industry, providing delivery options for most Canadians.

HelloFresh and Chefs Plate, alongside competitors like Fresh Prep and Goodfood, take the work out of meal planning and prep, delivering fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes directly to your door.

While there are many similarities between the two brands, there are a few stand-out differences worth noting before placing your order. From sustainability and dietary options to the cost of a meal kit, scroll below to read my honest reviews of HelloFresh and Chefs Plate.

P.S. — If you're looking for a comprehensive guide digging into the best meal kits and food boxes in Canada in 2023, click here.

The rundown:

HelloFresh

making HelloFresh's Carb Smart Cottage Pie on kitchen counter with ingredients
Trying my hand at cooking HelloFresh's Carb Smart Cottage Pie.

$9.25 per serving at HelloFresh

  • Cost: $73-$185/week before discounts. Savings of $80 available for first-time subscribers.

  • Plans: Choose meal plans for two or four people, three, four or five recipes/week.

  • Menu & diet options: Select from 35 recipes each week, including mostly meat, family-friendly, carb smart, vegetarian, calorie smart, pescatarian, high protein and flexitarian.

  • Packaging & sustainability: HelloFresh boxes are 100 per cent recyclable and the meal kit bags are recyclable and compostable. Your recipe box comes with pre-measured ingredients sourced directly from the producer. According to the brand, HelloFresh meals create 25 per cent fewer carbon emissions than the same meals made from supermarket ingredients.

  • What makes them unique: Extras available, including desserts and sides. Choose from premium meals for special occasions.

  • Is there an app? Yes. The HelloFresh app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

  • Delivery areas: HelloFresh delivers to 95 per cent of the Canadian population including Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and the Maritimes.

  • Trustpilot rating: 3.9/5 stars

Chefs Plate

Chefs Plate's Tex-Mex Beef Pasta recipe on counter with onion, ground beef, cheddar cheese, pepper
Trying out Chefs Plate's Tex-Mex Beef Pasta.

From $8.99 per serving at Chefs Plate

  • Cost: $46-$180/week, before discounts. First-time subscribers save $200 across first three boxes.

  • Plans: Choose between two and four meals per week and two, three, four or five recipes per week.

  • Menu & diet options: Select from 24 recipes each week, including air fryer, 15-minute, vegetarian and premium meals.

  • Packaging & sustainability: Boxes are 100 per cent recyclable and can be placed with your household recycling. Kit bags and cool pouches are made from compostable materials; however, stickers and pouch zippers need to be removed before putting them in the green bin.

  • What makes them unique: Chefs Plate is Canada's most affordable meal kit and some recipes can be prepared in as little as 15 minutes.

  • Is there an app? Yes. The Chefs Plate app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

  • Delivery areas: Chefs Plate delivers to Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia & Manitoba.

  • Trustpilot rating: 3.8/5 stars

HelloFresh review

Like many others, I first dabbled in meal kits during the height of the pandemic when restaurants shuttered and we were sequestered in our homes. As someone whose culinary skills leave much to be desired, I opted to try HelloFresh in an attempt to spice up my meal life. However, while I enjoyed the recipes, I had one major gripe — the packaging. There was a lot of it.

Fast forward two years and the problem has (mostly) been solved. HelloFresh, alongside many other meal delivery services, has cut much of its excess and single-use packaging following widespread critique. In its 2021 Sustainability Report, the company reported a 32 per cent decrease in packaging compared to 2020 and a drop of almost 50 per cent compared to its launch in 2016.

If you order HelloFresh today, the packaging looks like this. There's an ice pack, a cardboard divider and paper bags to separate your meals.

split screen of hellofresh meal kit packaging with three bags, ice pack and cardboard divider
What HelloFresh packaging looks like in 2023.

Compared to the HelloFresh of pandemic past, I was impressed by the cut-back.

As for recipes, they're easy to make, relatively fast, and can easily stretch between 2-3 servings on a two-person recipe. However, the one thing to note about HelloFresh (and meal kits in general) is that the produce and proteins tend to have a short shelf life. The "best before" dates usually all fall within the week, so if you're feeling lazy and not in the mood to cook, some of the ingredients could go off sooner than expected, as was my experience with the peas.

Is HelloFresh worth it?

To say whether it's worth it heavily depends on the recipe you're selecting, in my opinion. If you're opting for a meal with an expensive protein (salmon, steak, or shrimp, for example), then yes, I think the average price per meal is worth it. However, if you're a vegetarian who's really into pasta dishes, you spend far more on the meal kit version of the recipe than you would if buying the ingredients. Additionally, I was surprised to see how quickly some of the ingredients went bad. The shelf life is half that of grocery store ingredients, something to keep in mind if you have a busy schedule.

HelloFresh pros:

  • Delicious, easy-to-follow recipes

  • Access to fresh, expensive proteins like steak and salmon

  • Generous portion sizes

HelloFresh cons:

  • Tight "best before" dates and iffy ingredient freshness

  • Price per meal gets expensive if you opt for cheaper ingredients

Would I order again?

Yes, but with a caveat. I really enjoyed the recipe variety and taste of the meals; however, I would only order HelloFresh again if I chose expensive proteins in each meal to make the cost worth it.

split screen of chefs plate pasta with beef and broccoli with chefs plate paper bag with ground beef and recipe card
Is Chefs Plate worth it? Here's my honest review.

Chefs Plate Review

Regarding recipe options, the freshness of ingredients and packaging, HelloFresh and Chefs Plate are neck-in-neck comparable, which isn't surprising considering Chefs Plate is a division of HelloFresh in Canada.

The main differences between the two brands are recipe variety (HelloFresh offers 35 recipes/week, Chefs Plate offers 24), optional extras and the price. HelloFresh starts at $9.25 per serving, whereas Chefs Plate begins at $8.99.

The brands have near-identical packaging (I forgot to take photos of Chefs Plate — I'm sorry!), recipe cards and types of recipes/ingredients.

chefs plate brown paper bag with recipe ingredients and nutritional facts
A win for Chefs Plate: Nutritional Facts are present on the bag.

And while I echo my positive opinions on the meal kit's recipe variety and taste, I experienced the same problems with the freshness of the produce. For both brands, the produce was cutting it close to its "best before" date, especially for the pre-cut portions in bags. On the other hand, the protein was extremely fresh — so, you win some, you lose some.

Chefs Plate pros:

  • Slightly less expensive than HelloFresh

  • Fresh proteins

  • Taste and recipe variety

Chefs Plate cons:

  • Produce close to "best before" date

  • Less recipe options than HelloFresh

  • Price per meal gets expensive if you opt for cheaper ingredients

Would I order again?

Again, I would. However, you need to prioritize meals with more expensive ingredients to make the cost worth it. That said, it's a great option for apathetic cooks like me or people eager to try new recipes.

HelloFresh vs. Chefs Plate: Which meal kit is better?

For those deciding between HelloFresh and Chefs Plate, the two meal kits are extremely comparable. They offer vegetarian and low-carb options, similar portion sizes, have near-identical packaging and require users to order via an online ordering system.

While Chefs Plate is marginally less expensive, HelloFresh delivers more bang for your buck. Because HelloFresh offers 11 more recipes per week than Chefs Plate, users can enjoy a more custom experience to suit their dietary preferences. That said, you can't go wrong with either meal kit. Both companies offer great deals for first-time customers, so I recommend trying them out for yourself.

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