Both Home Chef and Hello Fresh are excellent options if you're looking for a good value and solid range of meal options - but which is the better meal kit delivery service for your lifestyle and dietary needs?
I’ve reviewed over 10 meal kit delivery services. Here’s what I thought about Home Chef vs Hello Fresh.
Meals starting from
Meals starting at $6.99
$7.49 for 3 meals a week for 4 people
Free over $45, $10 if under
$6.99 per week
Dietary preference plans?
21+ options per menu
17+ options per menu
It’s a little tricky to compare Home Chef vs Hello Fresh when it comes to the pricing.
Home Chef offers per meal pricing, while Hello Fresh offers a set-price plan, with portion prices changing according to the number of diners and number of meals a week.
So while Home Chef’s meals start from $6.99... in actual practice, these meals are mostly salads, and otherwise, you're looking at around $9.99 per meal. If you want some of Home Chef’s (delicious-looking) gourmet options, those are the most expensive options, ranging from $17-25 a serving.
In contrast, Hello Fresh’s prices start from $7.49 per serving, for 3 meals a week. But, you’ll have to pay a flat shipping fee of $6.99, bringing your grand total to $96.87 per week. For the same amount of food - 4 people with 3 meals each at Home Chef, you’ll be looking at $120 per week, although shipping is included in that.
This means that Hello Fresh is actually cheaper than Home Chef, but how does it compare for 2-person plans?
At Hello Fresh, a 2-person, 3-meal plan from $8.99 a serving, and $6.99 shipping - gives you the grand total of $60.93. The same 2-person, 3-meal plan at Home Chef (providing you don't buy any gourmet meals or upgrades) would cost $59.94 including free shipping, meaning Home Chef is actually cheaper than Hello Fresh for 2-person plans, but Hello Fresh is cheaper than Home Chef for 4-person plans.
Both Home Chef and Hello Fresh deliver your meal choices weekly - although that wasn't my experience. Perhaps due to the Christmas rush or where I’m located, Home Chef only offered me three week days to receive my delivery box. Hello Fresh offered me every day of the week.
Still, Hello Fresh gave me an online tracking link which allowed me to track my delivery right to my front door. Home Chef doesn’t do this, although it does win out when it comes to packaging.
I try my absolute hardest to be plastic-free, so I appreciated Home Chef’s attempt to reduce its plastic use. There was some really nice use of recyclable plastic containers, which I washed out and saved for reuse. The loose ingredients were presented in these or paper bags, for the most part.
Hello Fresh was more disappointing, in this regard. Its packaging was mostly recyclable but I did notice that the individual ingredients were each wrapped in plastic bags...and this was especially bad as the number of diners increased. My order for 4-people, for example, came with double the plastic, with two lots of individually-packaged, plastic-wrapped loose ingredients. It was a real waste of plastic.
In this case, again both companies ‘win’: Hello Fresh wins for its cool ability to track your delivery, while Home Chef wins for its relative lack of plastic use.
Here’s where things are pretty different in my Home Chef vs Hello Fresh comparison.
In fact, I’ll just come out and say it: Home Chef has a lot more on offer, in terms of number of meals, as well as better customization and upgrade options. Home Chef has about 20 meals on offer for each plan (including Vegetarian and Low Calorie, so kudos!). There’s mostly standard American fare on offer here, although I did find some more slightly adventurous options, such as Cajun Shrimp Tacos and Thai Fish Cakes.
Home Chef also has some upgraded gourmet options, which cost around $20 per meal (which is probably slightly less than you'd pay for the same meal in a restaurant), but otherwise, they stay to around $9.99 per serving. The key thing here is that Home Chef allows you to customize your servings, so if you’d like more of a certain protein, e.g. chicken, you just upgrade your meal for an extra few dollars, or switch out the protein (such as chicken for turkey) for another few dollars. It makes for the most customizable meal kit I’ve ever seen.
Hello Fresh is pretty good, but it doesn’t have the customization options, or the meal upgrade options that Home Chef does. You’ll start by choosing one of 4 food preference plans -
But actually, there are even more options; finish the sign up process to these extra options to choose from:
I played around with each plan, and there were always 17-20 options to pick from, no matter the plan I took. I also really liked that, in each recipe card, the allergen information and nutritional facts are clearly displayed, and Hello Fresh even give you a suggested wine pairing (which you can add to your order).
Cooking-wise, I’d also say that Home Chef was just a little more straightforward than Hello Fresh. At times, Hello Fresh’s instructions confused me - there was one which told me to cook my meat to my “desired doneness”, which I didn't really understand, and I ended up burning the meal. The meat still tasted fine, but it wasn't perfect, as I had come to expect.
I think Home Chef just beats out Hello Fresh here, for both the meal variety and the customization options.
Winner: Home Chef
As you’d probably know only too well if you had any dietary preferences, finding a meal kit delivery service that caters to your needs is going to be tricky.
This is certainly the case with both Home Chef and Hello Fresh - but, luckily, there are some ways around it.
Home Fresh is by far the more limited of the two options. At sign up, you get the choice of selecting whether you're an omnivore, carnivore, pescatarian or vegetarian, low calorie or low carb, and on the next screen, you see these options:
It’s still not quite enough if you have a serious allergy or dietary preference (such as if you wanted to customize your options to make them vegan. There’s no option to exclude egg, for example), but if you're paleo, you might be able to make do with these options.
Things look a little better at Hello Fresh, you can choose from a range of “free” plans (beef-free, pork-free, seafood free), as well as these:
But still, if you're very strict about your dietary preferences (such as with the example I gave above with vegan’s omitting eggs at Home Chef), you might still find it tricky.
I think Hello Fresh just about wins over Home Chef here, just because of those extra few plans.
Winner: Hello Fresh
Home Chef and Hello Fresh are both pretty easy to order from, although with Hello Fresh, you can easily track your delivery as it leaves the warehouse, right to your front door.
There’s nothing like that at Home Chef, but then again, would you really want to track your delivery? In both of my Home Chef and Hello Fresh reviews, I found that both deliveries arrived when they said they would, and both remained nice and cool outside my front door until I retrieved them in the evening.
Both Home Chef and Hello Fresh are easily winners here.
Home Chef vs Hello Fresh was always going to be a tricky one - I enjoyed both meal kit delivery services, and both are pretty similar in what they offer; the only real difference is the pricing structure, and as I pointed out above, one is actually cheaper for 2-person plans, while the other is cheaper for 4-person plans.
There really isn’t an overall winner here, although remember that Hello Fresh has a $6.99 shipping charge, which if you’re anything like me, might annoy you.
Both Home Chef and Hello Fresh do things really well in terms of meal options, although if you’re a serious vegan or have a different dietary need, neither are really a perfect fit, and maybe you should consider a different meal kit delivery service altogether.Winners: both Hello Fresh and Home Chef