Comparing Meal Kits
About three weeks ago, a miscommunication and accidental shipping led to my family receiving 3 meal kits within 48 hours. Only one of them we purposely ordered. For a few months, we have been sporadically ordering from Good Food and enjoying the meals, but one night my mom and I wanted to see what the two other popular kits, Hello Fresh and Chef's Plate, had to offer.
How We Ended Up with 3 Meal Kits at Once
One thing that annoys me about all the companies is you have to input your information (including credit card info) before you can even look at the meals that are available. After looking at the meals on HF and CP, my mom and I decided to order another box from GF as we enjoyed what was being offered by them far more. We also noticed that there were charges for shipping on top of the order from the other two kits, which I thought was odd.
My mom discontinued her account for HF and CP and thought nothing more of it. Cut to a chilly Wednesday morning when she got an email from both that a delivery had been made. Sure enough, we went outside and saw two very large boxes full of food.
We got into contact with both companies after confirming my mom closed her accounts with them. They apologized for the inconvenience, refunded her, and said we could keep the meals due to the error. That Friday, we received our order from GF (the one we made on purpose). We now had just under 2 weeks' worth of dinners in front of us.
As I hadn't really seen any comparisons of these companies, I thought this would be a good chance to compare the kits, the food, the ease of the meals, and how we enjoyed them. We've been rating the GF meals on our own already, so I will also be rating the HF and CP meals to get an overall view of all 3 kits.
As they were the "first-order" meals from CP and HF, the cost for 4 meals with 4 servings came to around $77 for each box. This is a normal price for the first time meals for any kits. How often do you hear advertisements on podcasts or radio stations to get $80 off your first meal or get your first 3 meals free? Once you get to being a regular user of the kits, you can see an increase of pricing to be about $150/week for 4 meals with 4 servings which breaks down to be about $9.95/person. Not horrible considering how much families can spend at a grocery store. The good thing is none of the ingredients go to waste. They are put in each respective bag for a specific meal, so nearly everything is used.
If there are parts of a menu that are not used, say we didn't need 2 shallots, we can still save them and use them for other meals of our own design later.
The Boxes & Meal Kit Packaging
They are all pretty standard about how the meals come in their respective boxes. HF and CP put their ingredients into paper bags with sticky labels so you can see which meal is which while GF puts theirs in recyclable plastic bags with the meal names printed on them so you can see. All three companies keep the meat at the bottom of the box along with the frozen packs (all of which are reusable or recyclable once drained).
I found that the boxes for HF and CP were a bit too long and cumbersome to carry. They were a bit awkward at times to move around. The box for GF was a little shorter but taller, which made it a bit easier to carry around.
One thing that I am baffled by is that all the programs want you to preheat your oven to 450F when something needs to go into the oven. That is such overkill! 425F is the max we have ever put our oven at for any of these meals and they turn out just as well. All meal kits have options for 20-minute meals if you are often short on time or easily hangry. The meals we got varied in a range from 20 minutes to 40 minutes.
All of the companies have cards with beautiful, clear pictures that really showcase the food. I found that GF and CP did a better job at displaying what tools you would need to make the meal while HF had it in very small writing at the top left corner of the back/instructional side.
I liked that HF's cards have the ingredients listed with pictures right on the front next to the full picture of the meal. It helps those who might be unfamiliar with an ingredient to recognize what it looks like. However, I noticed that the HF cards indicate the amount per product on the back while CP and GF have that displayed on the front.
West African-style Chicken Peanut Maafe over Fluffy Rice - A+
The best part of this was the peanut sauce. The combination of the peanuts/sauce, the rice, and the chicken was delicious.
Whisky BBQ Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash & Roasted Brussels Sprouts - A
This was pretty good. Foods that my family makes often. It was odd to me that the parsley was added to the sweet potato mash but other than that it was quite good.
Ponzu Steaks with Scallion-Peanut Salsa with Seared Baby Bok Choy - A-
The steaks and marinade were AMAZING but for some reason, we got very little bok choy (the leaves were already separated from the stock) and we ended up having to make cauliflower rice to go with it to make sure we all had enough sides.
Thai-Style Pork Chops over Drunken Noodles with Sauteed Carrots & Asian Greens - B
This was yummy too, I liked the veggies involved. The portions on this were massive! It was portioned for 4 but easily could have fed 6 people.
Baked Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Potatoes and Garlicky Green Beans - B+
Yummy, but nothing new for us to make. We even added another side dish just to make it a bit better.
Speedy Beef-Stuffed Peppers with Savoury Rice and Side Salad - B
This again was nothing extraordinary. The spice blend for the beef was SUPER spicy. Something like taco spicing would be enough for the meat.
Creamy Pesto Pork Rigatoni with Spinach and Parmesan - A+
This was absolutely delicious! It had a great kick to it and the mix of the pesto and cheese was AH-MAZING. I would happily order this and make this again!
Pan-Seared Thyme Chicken with Buttery Carrots and Peas - B Good, but nothing extraordinary that we wouldn't have made on our own before getting the kit.
Ancho Beef & Cheese Quesadillas with Lime Sour Cream - B
Delicious, but very basic quesadillas. Nothing I couldn't have made myself or picked up at a Mexican restaurant.
Spicy Sausage Arrabiata with Penne Pasta - A+
Not only was this easy to put together, but it was also absolutely delicious! This meal was one of our favourites of all the meals. We would definitely make it again.
Japanese Yakitori Chicken with Rice and Cabbage Slaw - B-
The coleslaw was very out of place for this meal. It was yummy but didn't seem to fit. We ended up substituting the rice for cauliflower rice (a preference).
Mexican Turkey Albondigas Stew with Jasmine Rice
Truthfully, we never ended up making this one, hence no grade. Stew wasn't something we would have chosen. We froze the ground turkey to make turkey burgers in the future.
In the end, we enjoyed the chance to try out different recipes, but I think when we do decide again to order from one of these, it will be from Good Food. We've found that anytime we see what is available, the recipes are different, and slightly more exotic than what we would make normally.
Have you tried out any of these kits? Do you have a preference?