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Author Mirela Niculae
Mirela Niculae
Updated on Nov 23rd, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

HelloFresh vs. Plated 2023: Main Pros & Cons for Each

In 2017, Plated was acquired by Albertsons, and as of 2019, the company is no longer a standalone meal kit delivery service. HelloFresh, on the other hand, is among the most popular meal kit delivery services on the market and 1 of the top 5 companies on our Best Meal Delivery Services list. For more information, check out our in-depth HelloFresh review.

Plated no longer has a subscription meal kit delivery, but I think it helps to learn about its business model. This is why I decided to run an expert comparison with HelloFresh, a service I find resembles Plated the most. So if you want to know more about pricing, menus, prep times, and other juicy details, you’ve come to the right page.

The clear winner of today’s comparison is HelloFresh, but not just because it’s the only company still in business. HelloFresh has an impressive menu that’s diverse, flexible, and caters to several dietary needs. Plus, HelloFresh is a great family-friendly meal kit delivery service that fits well with the schedule of busy people.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

HelloFresh ($3.32 per serving)

🍔 Menu Variety:

HelloFresh (60+ choices per week)

⏰ Prep Time:

HelloFresh (10 to 50 minutes)

🍴 Customization:

HelloFresh (6 dietary options)

👍 Ordering and Delivery


🙋 Customer Support:


👑 Overall Winner:

Menu Variety

Winner: HelloFresh

When it comes to variety, both brands fare well, but HelloFresh wins with 60+ recipes to choose from each week. Plated’s menu included 30 recipes each week and several dessert options. 

HelloFresh is also the winner when it comes to culinary variety, as the menu caters to several dietary needs. Whether you follow a plant-based lifestyle (vegetarian or vegan), are counting your calories, or embrace the Mediterranean diet – HelloFresh has plenty of dishes to suit your needs.

Most of HelloFresh’s dishes are kid-friendly, but you can also find recipes that fit a more mature palate. From crowd-pleasers like Parmesan Chive Chicken & Potatoes to exotic dishes like Tunisian-Spiced Meatballs and Spicy Dan Dan Noodle Ramen, HelloFresh is the better choice for families and couples who enjoy culinary diversity.

HelloFresh's Pecan-Crusted Trout
HelloFresh's menu also includes Premium Picks, like this Pecan-Crusted Trout recipe

I also like that HelloFresh offers recipes for a wide range of tastes and preferences. For instance, there are around 6 Premium Picks every week for those evenings when you want a restaurant-worthy dinner. Also, there are options for brunch and lunch.

HelloFresh gets another point due to its extensive Marketplace section. Here, you can find a wide range of lunches, breakfasts, cooked proteins, desserts, meal kits, ready-made meals, and so on. This section is perfect for when you want to spice up your subscription.

Plated, on the other hand, had dessert options every week, which is definitely a point in its favor. The menu also offered a wide range of entrees inspired by American and international cuisines. Recipes like Broccolini Grilled Cheese and Duck Fried Rice were common on the weekly menu, but you would also find crowd-pleasers like Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder.

I like that HelloFresh offers meal kits with various prep times, ranging from 10 minutes to 45 minutes. The recipes range from 10-minute lunch options and 15-minute Fast & Fresh kits to 45-minute Premium Picks. But most meal kits need between 20 and 35 minutes to prep and cook, which is great!

Plated's Korean Tacos
Plated's menu included a wide range of international-inspired dishes

Plated also offered a range of prep times, with most meal kits needing between 20 to 40 minutes. To reduce prep time, some of the ingredients would arrive fully prepped, such as chopped or peeled veggies.

The Plated menu was designed to cater to several dietary needs, such as gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-carb. Plus, you could also choose meal kits with different levels of difficulty, depending on your cooking skills or your availability.

Every HelloFresh recipe comes with detailed nutritional information. This means you have access to all essential details like ingredients, allergens, proteins, carbs, fats, and more. It ensures you stay informed about what you're eating, allowing you to make health-conscious decisions.

a screenshot of hellofresh's nutritional label
You'll find most nutritional info you'll need on the primary HelloFresh menu including a full list of ingredients

Both companies use responsibly raised pork and poultry, free of antibiotics and hormones. Also, the seafood is always sourced from sustainable fisheries that practice the latest farming standards.

However, unlike Plated, HelloFresh incorporates some organic ingredients. While not all its ingredients are organic, it does make an effort to include them when possible. Though, I would have liked to know which ingredients exactly are or aren’t organic.

Overall, HelloFresh wins this category due to its larger menu, higher-quality ingredients, and culinary diversity. I also appreciate the extensive Marketplace and the wide range of meal kit prep times.

Meal Customization

Winner: HelloFresh

HelloFresh is the clear winner of this category due to its HelloCustom feature. You can swap, upgrade, or change the sides and proteins of 12+ meals each week. As a result, the menu becomes a lot more flexible and easy to tailor to your needs.

You can sometimes upgrade to more premium ingredients in HelloFresh recipes. For example, if a dish includes chicken, you might have the option to replace it with steak. This flexibility allows you to customize your meals to suit your preferences and dietary needs.

HelloFresh's HelloCustom feature
With HelloCustom you can change the protein and side of 12+ meals each week

Both services offer some sort of filtering system that helps identify specific meals. However, I don’t think either of the 2 services is a great fit for people with strict dietary restrictions or food allergies.

HelloFresh uses tags to tell you more about each recipe while browsing the menu. This comes in handy with such an extensive menu, as it lets you find what you need a lot faster. Still, the only diet-related tags are Calorie Smart, Carb Smart, Protein Smart, Mediterranean, Veggie, and Vegan.

HelloFresh's system of tags and labels
You can easily find the meal kits you want with HelloFresh's clever system

Other tags let you know about the level of difficulty, prep time, seasonal ingredients, and so on. HelloFresh also uses labels to create menu categories such as Hall of Fame, 10-Min Lunch, Fast & Fresh, Better than Takeout, and so on. 

Plated also had a system of tags that allowed you to filter the food based on your dietary preferences. You could identify gluten-free, paleo, low-carb, low-calorie, and vegetarian dishes. There wasn’t a way to quickly find vegan meals, even though the menu included several of them each week. 

HelloFresh offers 6 meal plans: Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, Fit & Wholesome, Quick & Easy, and Pescatarian. When placing your order, you can choose from a single meal plan or a combination of any or all meal plans.

HelloFresh lets you mix up its 6 plans
You can choose meals from all 6 HelloFresh meal plans

Plated offered 3 meal plans (plus dessert) and you had full access to the core menu. You could also indicate your preferences when signing up, and the service would put together a menu recommendation according to your selection. You could change any of the meals if the recommendation didn’t fit your needs.

Plated's meal plans
Plated allowed you full access to the core menu when choosing your meals

Both companies offer ways to customize the menu, but I think HelloFresh does it better. Also, HelloFresh has more options, so even if you are on a specific diet, you are not limited to only a couple of choices per week.

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: HelloFresh

HelloFresh easily wins this category. It offers a smooth ordering process, better delivery coverage, and eco-friendly packaging. However, the ordering process is simple and swift with both companies. 

You can choose your meals from the entire menu, and you can use the company’s website or the app to do so. HelloFresh lets you order for 2 or 4 people, between 2 and 6 meals per week, while Plated let you order for 2, 3, or 4 people, between 2 and 4 meals per week.

HelloFresh's app is easy to use
HelloFresh's app lets you order meals from your phone and has voice-activated cooking instructions

Both companies will allow you to pause, cancel, or modify a subscription – as long as you respect the cutoff time. For Plated, the cutoff date was noon, 6 days before the scheduled delivery day, and HelloFresh’s is 11:59 pm PST, 5 days prior to the next scheduled delivery.

HelloFresh is available everywhere in the US except Alaska and Hawaii. The company offers delivery every day of the week, but only in selected cities. From what I can gather from the website, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday delivery is available across the board. In Fairfax (where I ordered from), HelloFresh delivers every day except Tuesday.

When it was a standalone meal delivery service, Plated delivered almost all over the US. There were a few exceptions, such as Hawaii, Alaska, and several Texas cities like San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Midland. But you could choose the delivery date that best fit your needs, and the delivery was punctual.

HelloFresh meal kits come neatly packed in a recyclable and insulated cardboard box. The ingredients for each meal are packed in brown paper bags labeled with the corresponding recipe card.

This way, you don't have to rummage through the box and find the ingredients for each dish. Also, HelloFresh’s proteins are separately packed and placed at the bottom of the box to avoid contamination.

HelloFresh's boxes are well-organized
Everything inside a HelloFresh box is designed for efficiency and sustainability

HelloFresh is committed to using recyclable packaging materials in order to reduce its environmental impact. You can recycle the insulating liners, gel packs, cardboard boxes, and paper bags that hold the meal kits together.

The HelloFresh box also includes plastic containers and protective covers (especially for fresh produce and animal protein). However, the company makes sure to keep plastic usage at a minimum, and most of it is recyclable (check the instructions on the HelloFresh website).

Plated, on the other hand, was quite generous with the plastic and packaging materials. For instance, the meat for each meal kit was individually sealed in vacuumed-sealed ziplock bags. Also, each meal kit was packed in its own plastic bag, and many of the individual items inside were also wrapped in plastic.

Plated's packaging included a lot of plastic
Food items were wrapped in plastic and placed in plastic bags inside a Plated box

Everything is neatly organized, labeled, and packed in both boxes. Plus, there are physical, well-designed recipe cards in both boxes. However, when it comes to sustainability and eco-friendliness, HelloFresh wins by a landslide. 

Both companies recommend storing the ingredients in the fridge, following the instructions on the labels. HelloFresh recommends that you cook and consume all ingredients, with the exception of seafood, within 5 days of delivery. Seafood should be cooked and consumed within 2 days of delivery

Overall, both companies have similar delivery and ordering systems, but HelloFresh is more eco-friendly. 

Meal Prep

Winner: HelloFresh

Both HelloFresh and Plated offer meal kits, which require a bit of extra time to prepare and cook compared to prepared meals. However, HelloFresh wins this category since it has more speedy meal kits, including 10-minute lunches, on the menu.

Most of the HelloFresh meal kits take as little as 35 minutes or less to prep and cook. Plus, there are many meal kits that fit under the 20 minutes mark, which is great for families and busy people. However, you’d have to be pretty skilled in the kitchen to be able to move around that fast.

If you’re ever in an absolute hurry, you can always get ready-made meals from the Marketplace. You can also find a wide range of cooked protein, homemade lunches, and smoothie bundles if you need more speedy dishes. 

Plated had a similar system, with most recipes fitting in between 20 to 40 minutes of prep and cooking time. The dishes were simple, and the recipe cards were easy to follow, so even complete newbs could put together a delicious meal in no time.

Overall, both companies require some prepping, but HelloFresh offers more variety. The menu includes plenty of One-Pot or One-Pan recipes that are low-prep and easy to clean. Not to mention that it’s easy to find them using HelloFresh’s tag system.

Customer Support

Winner: HelloFresh

In this category, HelloFresh is the winner by default since I didn’t get a chance to test Plated’s customer support. However, I do know that former customers found Plated’s customer service effective and easy to reach.

HelloFresh offers several contact channels, such as contact form, phone, and live chat. The live chat function is active 24/7 and can provide immediate answers, or it can get you in touch with a human representative. If you reach out within working hours, you should be able to get in touch with an agent in a couple of minutes.

HelloFresh's virtual assistant
HelloFresh's virtual assistant can answer questions about the menu variety, delivery, ingredients, and more

You can also use the live chat feature on your phone through the HelloFresh app. If you want to place a call, the customer support team is available from 11 am to 7 pm EST, 7 days per week. 

Both companies have a solid FAQ section where you can find a wide range of information. However, HelloFresh’s FAQ section is searchable, which is a big point in the brand’s favor. 

HelloFresh's FAQ section
You can find answers to most of your HelloFresh questions in the FAQ section

Lastly, both companies try to offer more information and tips in an effort to keep customers engaged. For this, Plated had a blog section where you could get cooking tips and recipes. HelloFresh has a Cookbook section where you can find a plethora of recipes from all over the world (detailed cooking instructions are included).


Winner: HelloFresh

HelloFresh’s meals start at $3.32 per serving for the maximum order. This is quite a tempting offer, but not everyone is willing to order 6 meals per week for 4 people (the maximum HelloFresh order).

In this case, HelloFresh recommends its most popular plan – 3 meals per week for 2 people. With this plan, the price per serving is $9.99, which is still within the range of most meal kits on the market. Don’t forget about shipping, though – it will cost you $10.99 with each order.

Like most meal delivery services out there, HelloFresh has some interesting offers and discounts. For instance, there are often discounts for first-time customers, like money off your first orders and no shipping charge on your first box. Right now, HelloFresh runs this offer: 18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts.

As for Plated, the price range used to fit between $8.95 and $11.95 per plate. Just like with HelloFresh, the prices vary depending on the number of meal kits and the number of servings per order. Plated offered free shipping for $60+ orders.

When you draw the line, it’s clear that HelloFresh has better prices and more variety in meal plans. You also have the option to add items to your order from the Marketplace. Just keep in mind these are priced separately. 

HelloFresh vs. Plated – Quick Overview



Best for

Busy families and couples

People who like a small menu

Starting price

$3.32 per serving

$8.95 - $11.95

Shipping cost


Free for $60+ orders

Minimum order

2 meals for 2 people

2 meals for 2 people

Menu variety

60+ choices per week

30+ choices per week

Prep time

10 to 50 minutes

20 to 40 minutes

Low-prep options

One-Pan, 10-minute lunches, Easy Prep, Quick, Easy Cleanup


Allergies catered to

Doesn’t cater to special allergies 

Gluten-free meals

Special diets

Calorie Smart, Carb Smart, Protein Smart, Mediterranean, Veggie, and Vegan.

Gluten-Free, Paleo, Low-Carb, Low-Calorie, Vegetarian 

Customer support

24/7 live chat, phone, contact form



18 free meals + first box ships free + 3 surprise gifts

No active deal

And The Winner Is: HelloFresh

HelloFresh is my clear winner. After all, it’s actually still in business, while Plated has closed its doors. Honestly, Plated fared pretty well in my comparison. If it were still around today, maybe it would be able to stand up to HelloFresh for certain dieters.

HelloFresh has a massive menu and many convenient features, so almost any household will be able to find anything and everything they might want to eat. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and a number of fun snacks and appetizers.

Despite being a large company, HelloFresh has an eco-friendly mission. I appreciate its efforts to stay carbon-neutral, and it’s actually among the more sustainable meal kits I’ve reviewed. You can order from this service with a clear conscience.

I recommend you give HelloFresh a try if you want a family-friendly meal kit. It won’t break the bank, and it has loads of features. If you’re looking for something different, you might want to take a look at our expert list of The Best Meal Delivery Services before you make your final choice.


How much does HelloFresh cost per week?

HelloFresh meal kits start at $3.32 per serving for the maximum box size. But the overall cost of your order is dependent on how much you order and whether or not you choose to add items from the Marketplace. Overall, the larger your box, the cheaper your price per serving.

Why did Plated shut down?

While Plated is no longer a standalone meal kit delivery service, it hasn’t completely disappeared. The company was purchased by the Albertsons company, and its brand was brought under the company's Own Brands division.

Are HelloFresh meals good for beginners?

Yes, absolutely! HelloFresh’s meal kits are accompanied by detailed recipe cards that provide step-by-step instructions that even a complete novice can understand. The menu also includes a wide range of low-prep meal kits that can help you get better at cooking in no time.

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