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Written by: Chelsea Legay on Jun 1st, 2023

HelloFresh vs. Hungryroot 2023: Do Meal Kits Beat Groceries?

HelloFresh and Hungryroot are both convenient ways to enjoy home-cooked meals. As someone who has struggled with meal planning and grocery shopping, I understand how confusing it can be to decide which service to use. I'll help you make that decision by comparing all the pros and cons for you.

After extensive analysis, I can confidently say that HelloFresh is the clear winner in this comparison. One of the main advantages of HelloFresh is its easy-to-follow recipes that come with pre-measured ingredients, making cooking a breeze.

HelloFresh offers a simple and stress-free way to enjoy delicious, healthy meals. While Hungryroot does have its own unique strengths, such as a more customizable approach and a range of groceries, the sheer number of options can be overwhelming if, like me, you prefer a more traditional meal kit approach.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

HelloFresh ($3.32 per serving)

🍔 Menu Variety:

Hungryroot (100+ choices per week)

⏰ Prep Time:


🍴 Customization:

Hungryroot (10+ dietary options)

👍 Ordering and Delivery:


🙋 Customer Support:


Menu Variety

Winner: Hungryroot

Hungryroot wins this category because it offers a whopping 100+ recipe suggestions each week. Its self-branded and brand-name ingredients arrive at your door fresh and ready to be eaten or spun into quick and easy meals.

Hungryroot’s grocery-based recipes make the menu super flexible. Once you choose the order minimum, you can select from 100+ a la carte groceries.

screenshot of grocery and recipe categories on Hungryroot's menu

Hungryroot offers one of the biggest selections of recipes and groceries of any meal delivery service.

HelloFresh offers 65+ recipes per week plus customizable options, which is a much larger menu than many of its competitors. However, the numbers don’t lie, so Hungryroot gets the nod here.

Hungryroot and HelloFresh both have a wide variety of menu options, with recipes inspired by many international cuisines. You’ll find classic American dishes on both services’ menus, as well as typical Italian, Mexican, Indian, and other globally-inspired meals. You’ll find recipes great for adventurous palates or familiar recipes for the pickiest eaters.

Photo of a dish with HelloFresh's Korean Beef Bibimbap

HelloFresh offers internationally-inspired recipes like this Korean Beef Bibimbap.

Above is HelloFresh’s take on a Korean Bibimbap rice bowl with beef, squash, carrots, and mushrooms. This dish is great for omnivores who don’t have a wheat, soy, or gluten allergy. While there’s no added flour or wheat, there’s soy sauce. Since this is a meal kit, you can leave out the soy sauce to make it gluten-free-friendly.

Many of Hungryroot’s dishes cater to multiple dietary restrictions. The below pictured Miso Salmon and Broccoli Sweet Potato Mash from Hungryroot is a mix of Japanese and American cuisine, made with Togarashi Hot Smoked Salmon. This is a great dish suitable for dairy-free, gluten-free, and calorie-conscious eaters at 420 calories per serving.

Photo of a dish with Hungryroot's Miso Salmon and Broccoli Sweet Potato Mash

Hungryroot's menu is customizable by design, so you can enjoy like this Miso Salmon and Broccoli Sweet Potato Mash, with the option to swap ingredients to taste.

One of HelloFresh’s advantages is that it sorts the menu into 3 levels of cooking skill – beginning at Easy (Level 1) and ending at Hard (Level 3). Its recipes can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes to make.

HelloFresh lets you order entrees, which can be eaten for lunch or dinner. There isn’t a specific breakfast menu, so if you’re looking for a service that covers all 3 meals of the day, you’d be better off with Hungryroot.

Hungryroot doesn’t sort its recipes by difficulty level, but you can sort by prep times of <5 and <10 minutes, and much more. These are mostly salads and other dishes that require little-to-no cooking. However, its filters are some of the most accommodating I’ve seen on a meal delivery service menu. More on that in the Meal Customization section.

Hungryroot functions as a hybrid between a meal delivery service and a grocery store, which is the most notable difference between the services. As well as offering curated recipes, its tailored grocery delivery features items that can be easily used in other recipes. It’s also a great way to discover new ingredients.

You’ll find at least 20 items in its 12 categories of groceries. In fresh produce, you’ll find 20 items, including broccoli florets, cauliflower, asparagus, mangos, and sweet potatoes; 20 dairy and egg items, including pasture-raised liquid whole and boiled eggs; 20 baked goods, including tortillas, muffins, and sliced sprouted grain organic bread.

Hungryroot also offers humanely and sustainably sourced ingredients in recipes and in its grocery section. You’ll find Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp, Grass-Fed Ground Beef Burger Patties, Grass-Fed Sirloin Steaks, and more on rotation.

Vegetarians and vegans will also find plenty of protein options in the plant-based protein section. Black Bean Burger Patties, Braised Lemon Grass Tofu Nuggets, and Beyond meats are regularly on the menu. All this to say, Hungryroot’s menu offers something for everyone with super customizable features and a la carte groceries that accommodate most diets.

screenshot of Hungryroot's plant-based proteins

Vegetarians and vegans will find a great variety of proteins from the best plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond.

HelloFresh also has a Market section that features a number of add-ons, including quick lunches, desserts, and sides. Unlike its competitor, though, HelloFresh isn’t set up to serve as an online grocery store.

Meal Customization

Winner: Hungryroot

Hungryroot wins here thanks to its wide variety of recipes and ingredients. It also has an extensive list of filters that HelloFresh can’t compete with. They add to the customizability and flexibility of the whole menu, giving adventurous chefs a good reason to choose this service.

Hungryroot’s filters include ingredients you’d like to avoid (like tree nuts), whether you’d like meals of 500 calories or less, spice level, preferred proteins, and recipe serving sizes of 2 or 4. You can filter for vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, egg-free, soy-free, gluten-free, tree nut-free, peanut-free, and shellfish-free recipes.

screenshot of Hungryroot's menu filters

You can use multiple filters at a time to find exactly what you need.

Hungryroot offers the most extensive menu and recipe customization quiz I’ve seen among meal delivery services. This quiz asks you about the foods you like and don’t like, along with any dietary restrictions, what flavors you enjoy, what appliances you have available to cook and much more.

It’ll ask whether you’d like snacks, and how many daily meals you want ingredients for, whether that’s dinner, lunch, breakfast, or all 3.

Screenshot of Hungryroot's introductory quiz, displaying a list of cuisines to approve

Picky eaters can omit any flavors and cuisines they don't want.

Based on the quiz, Hungryroot recommends recipes for you. You can keep them, exchange them for other recipes, or swap ingredients out for ones you prefer. Recommendations are great for those who’d like to explore different cuisines they didn’t know would fit their preferences. You can also retake the quiz at any time to revise recommendations and try something new.

HelloFresh has fewer options when it comes to catering to specific diets. There are 6 meal plans to choose from when you sign up – 2 of which cater to specific diets (Veggie and Pescatarian).

Screenshot of HelloFresh's recipe preference page

While not as thorough as Hungryroot, HelloFresh lets you quickly highlight your preferred styles of dishes.

Meal plans are more like filters than they are like strict diet plans. If you select the Veggie plan, the menu will show only vegetarian recipes. However, you can easily change plans, mix and match across plans, or not select a plan so you can see the whole menu when you’re choosing your recipes.

HelloFresh does allow you to exclude beef, pork, and seafood from its meals. But it is, in comparison to some other services, only a small list.

You can swap or “upgrade” the proteins and sides on some of its dishes via the HelloCustom option. Here, you’ll get a little extra flexibility with options like adding chicken to an otherwise veggie risotto, for example, or doubling the portion of bacon in your pasta. This customization helps expand HelloFresh’s already-impressive menu.

When it comes to serious allergens, Hungryroot recipes list ingredients but don’t list allergens. However, grocery ingredients are labeled with allergens and clearly explain whether there might be cross-contamination of common allergens. So, you’ll have to check the details on each ingredient in the Groceries section to determine if there’s a risk of cross-contamination.

screenshot of Hungryroot's ingredient card for Kalua Pork
You can easily find other recipes with the same ingredient when you click on recipe's ingredient.

You can see allergen and nutrition information by clicking on each ingredient in a recipe. Fun side note – when you click on an ingredient, you can also see other recipes with the same ingredient. This is an easy way to see recipes featuring ingredients you know you like and that are safe for your diet.

There are plenty of gluten-free options on Hungryroot’s menu if you follow a gluten-free diet, like me. You’ll see bread, tortilla, and dessert options using healthy flour alternatives. There are also tons of dairy-free and peanut-free options for those with mild allergies, as cross-contamination isn’t guaranteed.

HelloFresh recipes are loosely labeled by diet, but you can’t filter the menu any further. You’ll have to check the ingredient lists and make substitutions from your own fridge if you’re looking to omit allergens such as dairy or wheat. Some of the meals are labeled with dietary tags like calorie-smart and carb-smart, for example, but that’s about it.

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: HelloFresh

HelloFresh just takes the top spot here thanks to its easy sign-up process and more extensive delivery availability. Plus recipe ingredients are packaged together and pre-portioned. This means there’s no food waste. Hungryroot recipes tend to leave leftovers that need to be used in future recipes which isn’t great for novice chefs.


You can sign up and manage most subscription details via the mobile app for both services. With a few clicks, you can pause, skip, change your delivery day, cancel an order, or talk with customer service about an upcoming delivery.

HelloFresh has a really streamlined signup process, while Hungryroot’s takes much longer due to its comprehensive quiz that asks you to talk about your eating habits.

Hungryroot's minimum order is 3 meals of 2 servings each, and you can order up to 8 meals for 4 people, or 32 servings. With its a la carte groceries and snack options, you can easily increase servings for your weekly order with your own recipes. Bulk grocery ordering isn’t available.

HelloFresh’s minimum order is 2 meals of 2 servings each, and the maximum order is 6 meals for 4 people. You can increase your order size by customizing proteins and sides. Ordering up to 24 servings with the opportunity for protein and veggie upgrades is great for couples or small families wanting to decrease meal prep and shopping time during the week.


HelloFresh delivers to the 48 contiguous states, but may only deliver on specific days in your zip code. As you check out, you can enter your zip code to see available delivery days. For example, my HelloFresh delivery options in New York state were Tuesday through Saturday.

Hungryroot delivers to most (but not all) zip codes in the contiguous US. Like HelloFresh, its delivery day options depend on your location and can be any day of the week.

However, Hungryroot only allows you to edit orders that haven’t been finalized. Orders are finalized on Mondays and Thursdays, so check this when you sign up. HelloFresh allows you to edit your order up to 5 days before delivery, with a cutoff time that day of 7 pm ET.


Hungryroot provides a well-organized delivery, and the shelf-stable ingredients are separated from the chilled items. This reduces ice usage and shipping weight, making it a more environmentally friendly option.

Hungryroot's shipments contain groceries for your weekly meals and snacks.

Hungryroot's meal kits aren’t bundled together, but there’s a list of recipes and their accompanying ingredients for each meal kit on the inventory list. The advantage of receiving individual ingredients is that you can mix and match should you feel culinarily inspired.

Photos of HelloFresh's eco-friendly cardboard and paper packaging

HelloFresh's paper-based packaging makes it one of the most eco-friendly meal delivery services.

That said, the ingredients from HelloFresh are well organized. They’re packaged separately in paper bags and are pre-measured to ensure there’s absolutely no waste.

Hungryroot provides a Kitchen Guide in each delivery that includes storage instructions for each ingredient. This will help you know how best to keep your foods fresh before you eat them. Both services also provide name-brand ingredients that have storage instructions on the labels.

For more detailed storage instructions for HelloFresh ingredients, try the chatbot. Simply open the chatbot app and type “storage instructions” for a detailed response about how best to store each type of food.

The recycling story is similar for both companies, too. Boxes, paper coolers, and food protectors are all recyclable. Both companies use Enviro-Ice which can be reused by storing in your freezer, poured down the sink, or fed to your plants. The leftover plastic can then be recycled after you toss the gel.

screenshot of using Enviro Ice to water a plant

Enviro Ice is multi-purpose and can be reused or repurposed as water for plants.

Both companies also try to use as little shipping material as possible. This creates more space in delivery vehicles so that the company’s overall use of boxes and trucks decreases.

Where Hungryroot wins a few points is with its “No veggie left behind” commitment. Hungryroot aims to only source what it can sell. When the company has extra stock, it donates 100% of it to local food banks like the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, City Harvest, or Barrio Fridge.

Meal Prep

Winner: It’s a tie

This was too close to call. Hungryroot provides speedier options alongside shelf-stable ingredients and snacks. HelloFresh offers the Quick and Easy plan, with recipes that take 15 to 20 minutes or less and a few 10-min lunches each week.

All meal kits for both services require some level of prep. Hungryroot’s soups, salads, and sandwiches are super quick, but still require some chopping, mixing, tossing, or assembling. Easy-prep meal kits for both services need to be cooked in an oven, a grill, a microwave, or on a stovetop.

Neither Hungryroot nor HelloFresh provides prepared meals that come in microwavable containers. Aside from its 10-minute lunches, of which there are a couple per week, HelloFresh doesn’t really have anything like this. (For a service that offers some prepared options, you’d be better off checking out Blue Apron.)

However, Hungryroot has some microwave-friendly ingredients – be it grains, veggies, or soups. Plus, most proteins arrive partially cooked so you only have to lightly fry or heat them before you eat them.

Both companies provide fresh, chilled products. Produce should be eaten within the week, while proteins or vacuum-sealed packaged ingredients can be stored in the freezer for a rainy day. Meats should be used within 5 days once thawed, and seafood within 2 days. Neither Hungryroot nor HelloFresh provides frozen ingredients.

Hungryroot’s sauces, dips, and seasoning arrive fully prepared, so all you have to do is heat, pour, or sprinkle. As far as HelloFresh’s sauces and seasonings are concerned, there are a few basic ones, but most are designed to be prepared by you. For example, the sesame ginger sauce in the Sweet n’ Gingery Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry comes premade.

screenshot of Hungryroot's Sweet n Gingery Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry and premade sesame ginger sauce

Premade sauces, seasonings and dips make for easy prep like the Sesame Ginger sauce in this Sweet n Gingery Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry

Because of its grocery store model, Hungryroot’s ingredients aren’t pre-portioned for each recipe. For example, you might need tomato sauce for a specific recipe, and will receive a whole jar that might leave you with a portion or 2 of extra sauce. Almost all fresh produce will require some chopping or prep.

HelloFresh offers perfectly portioned ingredients to help cut down on food waste. However, it doesn’t chop or prepare these items before you fix your dinner.

While this is an extra step of prep, you won’t have any extra ingredients that slowly slide into the no-man’s-land of the back of your fridge, possibly until past their expiration date, not quite fit for recipes in your current rotation.

Plus, you can find complete HelloFresh recipes on the website, with pictures of how your meal should look at each step of prep. You can even download them as PDFs. Hungryroot shows recipes but only includes detailed recipe cards in your delivery.

screenshot of HelloFresh's online recipe card for Down Home Steak N'Potatoes.

HelloFresh's recipes, like this one for Down Home Steak N'Potatoes, are easy to follow with pictures of each prep stage.

Customer Support

Winner: HelloFresh 

HelloFresh easily wins this section with its 24/7 live chat customer support. In addition to having an easily navigable mobile app, offering 24/7 live chat customer support bumps HelloFresh into the gold standard of meal delivery customer service.

I was connected to a HelloFresh live chat customer support agent within 1 to 2 minutes each time I reached out. Although Hungryroot’s online chatbot proved to be more helpful than HelloFresh’s, the chatbot still can’t compete with a live human.

HelloFresh also has a phone line available from 11 am to 7 pm EST, 7 days per week. This is also a useful way to connect with live customer support, but I still find 24/7 live chat the easiest way to connect with HelloFresh live agents. You can even do so via the app on your mobile device, so customer support live agents are always a few taps away.

Hungryroot’s chatbot directs you to an email address when it can’t answer your question. I tested the email service a few times and found that customer support takes 24 to 48 hours to respond.

Hungryroot’s live customer service responds between 10 am to 6 pm EST, 7 days a week. To best reach a Hungryroot customer service agent, I recommend reaching out via text.

Hungryroot’s customer support texting is the best mode of contact, but response times vary. I found that agent response time varied between 2 minutes to 5 hours during hours of operation. My questions were answered thoroughly, but the timeliness of the answers was inconvenient.

In their tried-and-tested HelloFresh review, my colleague raved about how they could easily call, email, or chat directly with a rep.

Screenshots of chatbot interactions with Hungryroot and HelloFresh. Only HelloFresh gives the option to speak to a real person.

Hungryroot's chatbot was helpful, but it doesn't compare to chatting with a real human.

To be fair, Hungryroot’s chatbot is still pretty helpful. It gives you clear instructions on how to cancel your account – something that’s notoriously difficult with some meal delivery services. HelloFresh did the same, as seen above in the Ordering, Delivery, and Unboxing section.

You can contact either service with a question, even if you don’t have a subscription. This is pretty standard for most meal delivery services and is always worth noting since it’s useful for determining whether the company’s foods and features are best for your lifestyle.

To cancel your Hungryroot subscription, you’ll have to speak to a customer service agent. This isn’t as simple as most other services that allow you to cancel via their apps or websites like HelloFresh allows.

Canceling your HelloFresh subscription is much easier and can be accomplished in 4 easy steps through your website log in or through the mobile app.


Winner: HelloFresh

It’s tough to compare the pricing between these 2 services since they function differently. HelloFresh charges you per meal, while Hungryroot’s per serving and per a la carte grocery depends on how many breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks you want for the week.

Hungryroot offers free shipping on orders above $70. While HelloFresh charges a flat rate of $10.99 for shipping on all orders, Hungryroot only charges $6.99 per delivery if you order less than $70 per week. The lowest per-serving price for Hungryroot is $8.99. 

Larger orders will bring down the cost-per-serving for both services. Hungryroot’s minimum order of $70 is enough to get you 3 meal servings for 2 people per week. In comparison, 3 meals for 2 people from HelloFresh will cost $59.94.

Hungryroot has tons of add-ons, but determining how much they cost is difficult as the service uses a rather complicated credit system that relates to the number of servings you’ve chosen. Some ingredients, such as certain meats, use up more credits than others, and there’s no set price.

HelloFresh’s meal kits are easier to price. Per-serving prices update as you change the size of your order, and Market items are also individually priced. HelloFresh has a starting price of $3.32 per serving if you order the maximum number of servings per week. Hungryroot’s prices also update as you change your order preferences.

screenshot of how per serving prices change as order size changes

Hungryroot's pricing is different than most meal delivery services, but you can see per serving prices update as you customize your order.

Both services can be made cheaper with a new customer discount code. I like to keep an eye on the latest live deals, as they change all the time. HelloFresh's current deal is 18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts with code DR18HF, while Hungryroot is offering 30% off + free gift in every delivery.

Hungryroot is great if you want to stock up on ingredients you can cook in every meal and save multiple trips to the grocery store. Whether Hungryroot's ingredients are cheaper than the supermarket's depends on where you live.

I live in New York, where the cost of living is high, as are the prices of groceries. Ordering from Hungryroot saves me a roundtrip subway fare, commute time, and effort carrying groceries home on the train.

HelloFresh is worth it if you want to save time on grocery shopping and meal prep and are happy with the menu. Recipes are less flexible, and there aren't as many a la carte options, but you also won't have to grocery shop or accumulate leftover ingredients.

Features Comparison: HelloFresh vs. Hungryroot

Best for

Family-friendly meal kits

Grocery-driven meal plans

Starting price

$3.32 per serving

$8.99 per serving

Shipping cost


$6.99 or free on orders $70+

Minimum order

2 meals for 2 people per week

3 meals for 2 people per week

Menu variety

65+ choices per week

100+ choices per week

100s of groceries

Prep time

10 to 45 minutes

5 to 45 minutes

Low-prep options

Easy Prep, One-Pan, Easy Cleanup

5 Minutes or Less, 10 Minutes or Less

Allergies catered to


Check individual packages

Special diets

Vegetarian, Pescatarian

Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free, Shellfish-Free

Customer support

Live chat, automated chatbot email, phone

Automated chatbot, email


18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts with code DR18HF

30% off + free gift in every delivery

And The Winner Is: HelloFresh

Although it was a close call, HelloFresh takes my top spot thanks to its easy signup process and portioned ingredients to reduce food waste. It also has really easy-to-follow recipes that make cooking fun for all the family.

Many people prefer HelloFresh's menu of family-friendly recipes and the impressive variety that makes it one of the best meal kits out there. Not only is HelloFresh one of the world's most popular meal kit services, but it also made our list of the Top 10 Best Meal Delivery Services for 2023.


How Do HelloFresh’s Vegetarian Recipes Compare to Hungryroot’s?

Hungryroot’s menu includes more vegetarian and vegan recipes than HelloFresh offers. Thanks to its customizable grocery-store model, Hungryroot stocks up on a wide variety of plant-based proteins and fresh produce that suit any type of vegetarian diet. HelloFresh offers around 15 vegetarian dishes each week, which is still a great selection.

How is Hungryroot Different from HelloFresh?

Hungryroot is a meal kit delivery and grocery delivery hybrid, while HelloFresh is a traditional meal kit delivery. Hungryroot delivers weekly groceries and recipe suggestions based on an extensive quiz about your taste and dietary preferences. HelloFresh delivers meal kits that include only what you need to make the specific recipes you’ve selected.

Does HelloFresh cater to dietary needs?

Yes, HelloFresh caters to vegetarian, vegan, and pescatarian diets. You can exclude certain meats from your meals, but you can’t exclude ingredients that are common allergens like tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, and gluten.

Does Hungryroot deliver to my area?

Hungryroot delivers to the 48 states, but not to all zip codes. You can check whether Hungryroot delivers to your area by typing in your zip code during its sign-up process.

Do Hungryroot or HelloFresh Offer Student Discounts?

HelloFresh offers college students across the US (excluding HI and AK). When researching both companies' pricing, I found you can get free shipping on your 1st box with HelloFresh, plus 15% off all subsequent orders for your 52 deliveries. Hungryroot doesn’t offer student discounts.

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