Marley Spoon and HelloFresh are well-known for healthy, good-quality meal kits. Plus, both companies feature massive menus, with plenty of options for the most common dietary needs. I understand why you may feel a bit confused when trying to decide which one to choose.
I faced the same challenge, so I decided to write this Marley Spoon vs. HelloFresh comparison. Using my own observations, our culinary experts’ tips, and reviews from other customers of both brands, I put together a comprehensive comparison.
If you’re in a hurry, I’ll tell you that HelloFresh comes out on top. While it doesn’t beat Martha Stewart’s ingenuity in the kitchen, HelloFresh features more easy-to-cook and family-friendly meal kits that make your life a lot easier.
So if you want to know about menu variety, prices, and more, make sure to keep reading. Both brands have a lot to offer, and the information I managed to find will help you put things into perspective.
Both HelloFresh and Marley Spoon have their strengths, but the HelloFresh comes up on top. While Marley Spoon’s menu boasts over 100 recipes per week, HelloFresh takes the lead in diversity. The balance is also tipped by the HelloFresh Marketplace section, where you can find extras, sides, and proteins.
Both services offer kid-friendly meals, but HelloFresh's are better tailored to families. HelloFresh offers a multitude of recipes that are simple and easy to put together, such as burgers and pasta dishes. Also, there’s a good mix of red meat, poultry, seafood, fish (especially salmon and tilapia), and vegetarian recipes.
Most of HelloFresh’s recipes follow the formula veggies, starch, and protein. Overall, the company is focused on using fresh ingredients and flavors that turn lunch or dinner into a culinary adventure.
Since it’s a family-friendly meal kit service, you’ll find lots of recipes for kids and adults. For instance, you can have a serving of the flavorful Sheet Pan Dijon Onion Crunch Chicken recipe, while Junior can enjoy a healthy and delicious Old-School Deli Burger.
HelloFresh's menu offers a good representation of various global cuisines. With around half of the recipes falling under Classic American, you can also expect Italian, Asian, and Mexican dishes in their lineup. There are also plenty of options for vegetarians (around 10 options each week) and vegans (around 4 choices).
HelloFresh even provides special meal kits that cater to those short on time. From 10-minute and 15-minute lunch options to meal kits that only take 20 minutes to prepare, the company has you covered.
For regular meal kits, cook times can range from 25 minutes to up to 55 minutes. And while there are some complex recipes, most fall into the easy category for hassle-free cooking enjoyment.
Lastly, the HelloFresh Market section expands your options to new horizons. Here, you can find a multitude of meal kits, ready-made meals, smoothies, desserts, bundles, and so on. Also, there are options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you can get sides, boards, or specials. So make sure to check it out!
Marley Spoon sets itself apart with a larger menu featuring over 100 weekly recipes. In all fairness, this is one of the most generous menus I’ve seen on a meal kit service. I also like the cuisine diversity – while there are plenty of classic American dishes, you can find plenty of Mexican, Asian, French, Italian, and Middle Eastern recipes as well.
The menu is mostly focused on dishes that cater to an adult palate. Even though most recipes are marked with the Kid Friendly tag. Of course, it all depends on taste, but I don’t really see many kids enjoying Cashew Chicken Noodle Stir-Fry. Among recipes that kids would enjoy, I have to mention burgers and BBQ Turkey Meatloaf.
The menu is immense, but only because you can find several versions of the same recipe. For instance, in 1 week, you can find several versions of the Tamari-Glazed recipe – with steak, chicken, salmon, Coulotte steak, or organic steak.
Marley Spoon offers a range of special kits that cater to different needs. Each week, you’ll find at least 3 ready-made meals, perfect for when you need a quick and easy option. There are also several almost oven-ready recipes (marked with Tray Baked) and plenty of one-pot recipes that make meal preparation hassle-free.
For those with a sweet tooth, Marley Spoon includes a few sweet recipes like pies and cakes. And when it comes to dietary needs, you’ll find around 30 vegetarian and 7 vegan options each week. Unlike HelloFresh, Marley Spoon doesn’t offer extras.
The cook time for Marley Spoon recipes typically falls between 20 and 50 minutes. Around half of the menu falls under the Under 30 Minutes category, making it perfect for those busy weeknight meals. In terms of difficulty, Marley Spoon provides options for all skill levels, but the majority of the meal kits are easy.
HelloFresh’s menu is quite large, but you can easily find what you’re looking for. Each meal kit is marked with a series of tags and sometimes a label that gives you a clear idea of the recipe’s main characteristics.
For instance, a meal labeled with Hall of Fame is clearly among most customers’ favorites. Also, tags like Easy Prep, Quick, or Easy Cleanup indicate recipes that are fast and easy – perfect for those nights when the last thing you want to do is spend time in the kitchen.
I found all dishes on the menu interesting, and I don’t think I’d say pass to any of them. However, if I had to pick a few favorites, these would be my choices:
Best family-friendly recipe: Sweet Chili Pork Bowls with Bell Pepper and Candied Peanuts
Best quick-prep recipe: One-Pan Cheesy Chicken Tortilla Melts with Chicken Thighs, Green Pepper, and Spicy Cream Sauce
Best vegetarian recipe: Lemony Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts sprinkled with Toasted Panko and Scallions
Best Premium Picks recipe: Miso Maple-Glazed Salmon with Toasted Sesame Rice and Sweet Potato Jumble
Marley Spoon’s menu is even larger, but you can still find your way due to recipe tags and labels. For instance, if you’re looking for vegetarian recipes, you should follow the tag Vegetarian or the label Veggie. If you want quick and easy recipes, look for the Under 30 Minutes or One Pot Meal tags.
However, you can’t see the cooking times and main ingredients while browsing the menu. These details are readily available on HelloFresh’s menu, so I have to say Marley Spoon’s menu takes a bit more work.
Best kid-friendly recipe: BBQ Chicken Sloppy Joe with Wedge Salad and Pickles
Best quick-prep recipe: Cashew Pork Noodle Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers
Best vegetarian recipe: Hummus and Curried Veggie Wrap with Za'atar Side Salad
Best Premium recipe: Tandoori Chicken and Turmeric Cauliflower with Rice and Mint Raita
Overall, both companies have a large and diverse menu with options for special dietary needs. You can also find meal kits for all types of cooks, from newbies to experts, and for all types of occasions, from fancy family dinners to something quick and easy.
HelloFresh wins due to its HelloCustom feature, which lets you swap sides and proteins and its menu plans that can be used to organize the menu. Marley Spoon does have a customization feature, but you can’t find out any possible customization options until you’ve signed up.
The HelloCustom feature allows you to change, swap, or upgrade 12+ sides and proteins. Therefore, it’s not as advanced as Home Chef’s Customize It feature, but it’s still useful. If you don’t feel like having chicken in your roasted veggie salad, you can easily replace it with steak.
When it comes to navigating the menu, HelloFresh uses a system of tags and labels. The labels are used to highlight the most popular items on the menu (Hall of Fame), premium entrees (Premium Picks), or special items (Better Than Takeout, Summer Seafood, or New Veggies).
Tags are used to indicate dietary needs, cooking difficulty, taste preferences, and more. So, if you want a vegetarian dish that’s high in protein and easy to cook, you should search for the tags Protein Smart, Veggie, Quick, and Easy Prep.
HelloFresh’s massive menu means that the service can cater to several dietary needs. Vegetarians and people on low-calorie or high-protein diets have the most options. There are also a few meals for vegans and low-carb diets, but I don’t think there are enough options to sustain a healthy diet.
Allergens are mentioned in each recipe, but you can’t remove them in most cases. In order to swap an ingredient, it has to be a protein or a side dish, and even then, this option isn’t available for all recipes.
Each ingredient is individually wrapped, so you can remove the allergens while cooking. Still, keep in mind that HelloFresh prepares all the meal kits in the same facility. This means that there’s a risk of cross-contamination.
HelloFresh has a section called Our Plans, and here you’ll see a list of 6 plans. These are Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, Pescatarian, Fit & Wholesome, and Quick & Easy. You’ll always have access to the full menu, but you can select 1 or more preferences to help re-order the menu to meet your needs. If you select Veggie, then the vegetarian meals will appear at the top of the menu, making it easier to find meals you like.
Marley Spoon’s has a customization option, but there are no details of what the customizations are until you sign up. Sometimes the customization is the option of a larger helping of protein, but other times, it could be a swap to a higher quality protein or a different side.
If you don’t have allergies or follow a special diet, Martha Stewart’s recipes are too delicious to change. Plus, you can find different versions of the same recipe (with different proteins or side dishes) throughout the menu.
Just like HelloFresh, Marley Spoon uses labels and tags. In this case, the labels indicate the type of protein (Meat, Veggie, Fish), and the tags indicate other dish characteristics, such as speedy cooking (Under 30 Minutes or One Pot Meal), dietary specifications (Low Carb, Low-Calorie, No Added Gluten), and others (Kid Friendly or Healthy Nutritious).
Speaking of dietary needs, Marley Spoon offers options for a more diverse bunch. The menu is generous for vegetarian, low-carb, low-calorie, dairy-free, and pescatarian diets. Also, just like HelloFresh, the allergens are listed on each recipe. Ingredients are individually wrapped, so you can remove allergens at home, but there’s the risk of cross-contamination.
Marley Spoon doesn’t have a plans or preferences section, so you’re only option is to browse the entire menu to find recipes that suit your tastes. With over 100 items on the menu, this could take time.
Both HelloFresh and Markey Spoon offer limited options for vegans or Keto followers. So if you’re on a fully vegan diet, you may want to consider other options, such as Purple Carrot or Green Chef (also great for Keto).
HelloFresh gets a slight edge due to better supplier transparency and a focus on sustainability. HelloFresh is also more open with the suppliers it uses. The company even names its suppliers and talks about the agricultural and farming practices of its most important collaborators.
The team at HelloFresh is committed to ensuring all the ingredients are of the highest quality. The white fish is ocean-farmed and Fair Trade-certified, and the meat is produced following constantly evolving animal welfare policies. Moreover, the company is deeply focused on a sustainable and eco-friendly way of doing business and reducing food waste.
HelloFresh also has a more detailed nutritional values section. Each recipe features detailed information not only on the main macronutrients and calories but also on saturated fat, sugar, cholesterol, sodium, and more.
You’ll also find plenty of meals marked with the tag Seasonal. Since the menu changes weekly, HelloFresh wants to make sure you have access to ingredients that are in season. This way, you get access to the best nutrients in a natural way.
Marley Spoon is also extremely careful in selecting only the highest-quality ingredients. The fruits and veggies are fresh, and the chicken is NAE (No Antibiotics Ever). All the meats used are antibiotic-free at the moment of harvest. All the meats come from the USA, except for some premium grass-fed beef from Australia.
There are even some organic products sourced from local suppliers (when possible). However, this isn’t an organic-certified service like Green Chef. Also, there’s no added MSG, and all dairy products are pasteurized for your safety.
All Marley Spoon recipes display the basic nutritional values (calories, fat, proteins, and carbs). There’s also a detailed list of ingredients, information on allergens, and other details that tell you more about the meal.
Still, Marley Spoon isn’t as transparent with its suppliers. The company only mentions that they work with a wide variety of suppliers and that they strive to build a transparent and sustainable supply chain. There’s also a mention that all animal protein is sourced from local suppliers that show adherence to high animal welfare standards.
The fish and seafood are sourced from responsibly managed fisheries and aquaculture. In terms of sustainability, Marley Spoon supports several carbon offset projects. Both companies have premium meal kits that include top-of-the-line recipes with higher-quality ingredients. This is why these kits come with a surcharge.
Winner: It’s a tie
Both companies make it easy to place an order and manage your subscription using your online account. You can change an order, pause or cancel your subscription, skip a week, and update your contact details without having to get in touch with customer support.
But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a cutoff date you must respect. For HelloFresh, you have to make your edits by 11:59 pm PST, 5 days prior to your next scheduled delivery. Otherwise, your current order will stay as is, and the changes will apply after it’s been delivered.
Marley Spoon says it won’t be able to make any changes once your box is billed. This happens 6 or 7 days in advance of your delivery day, depending on your location. The good news is that you can check your account and see how many days you have left to make changes.
Both Marley Spoon and HelloFresh offer flexible meal plans with your subscription. HelloFresh has plans for 2 and 4 people, and you can order between 2 and 6 meals per person per week. The company’s most popular plan is 3 meals for 2 people per week.
Marley Spoon’s offer is similar, except you have the option to make your box vegetarian. You can order for 2 or 4 people, and the minimum order starts at 2 meals per person per week. The maximum order is 6 meals per person per week, which for 4 people means 24 portions in total.
HelloFresh delivers 7 days a week to all states across the continental US. The company also delivers to select zip codes in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Anchorage, Alaska. Whether or not HelloFresh will be able to deliver to you depends on your zip code, so make sure to introduce it correctly when placing your first order.
Your delivery day also varies depending on your location, and you can’t choose a time slot. All HelloFresh has to say about this is that deliveries typically arrive between 8 am and 8 pm. The company uses couriers such as UPS, FedEx, and others to ensure timely deliveries.
Marley Spoon delivers to most of the contiguous US states. The boxes are shipped from 3 centers across the country (New Jersey, Texas, and California), and delivery days and times vary depending on your location. Therefore, you’ll only see which days are available in your area when you place an order and have to introduce your zip code.
Once you have your delivery day(s), you can choose one of the time slots available. These can vary depending on the courier assigned to your area. Marley Spoon works with several delivery partners, such as FedEx, UPS, AxleHire, UDS, and others.
Both companies will send a tracking number via email once the order is shipped. Also, it’s easy to reschedule a delivery as long as you respect the cutoff dates mentioned above.
Inside both boxes, you’ll find each meal kit’s ingredients bundled together in a recyclable paper bag. Each paper bag is labeled and marked with the name of the recipe. The meat and other ingredients that need to be kept cold are usually at the bottom, under the ice insulation, and individually wrapped in plastic (for food safety reasons).
You’ll find several other ingredients wrapped in plastic, but both companies work on reducing use. Recyclable items like cardboard boxes, paper bags, insulation liners, and more are marked and easy to dispose of. Also, some of the plastic wrappers are recyclable, but it’s best to check each company’s instructions on their website.
All the ingredients arrive fresh, and you must place them in the fridge for storage. Fruits and veggies can be stored in the pantry or on the countertop, but make sure to check the storage instructions available on the packaging or website.
Both companies recommend preparing and consuming seafood dishes within 2 days of delivery. The rest of the ingredients will stay fresh if stored properly for about 5 days. But make sure to check the Best By dates printed on each ingredient’s packaging.
Winner: It’s a tie
Both HelloFresh and Marley Spoon lay out the serving time and level of skill needed. You’ll also be provided with a list of any pantry items or equipment you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared.
HelloFresh features simpler recipes, but both companies are great for beginners and advanced cooks. You’ll find that both menus feature several easy prep meal kits that don’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes to put together.
HelloFresh has 10-min and 15-min lunches, while Marley Spoon has ready-made meals. On the other hand, both have premium meals that, on average, take longer to prep and cook. This way, you can choose whichever type of meal kit fits your skills and time availability.
All the sauces and seasonings come pre-made and pre-mixed, which can be a big help. However, the veggies and meat need a bit of work since they don’t come pre-chopped or peeled. But this activity doesn’t usually take long.
Both companies focus on 6-step or less recipes that are easy to put together. You may have to add a few kitchen staples, such as salt, pepper, olive oil, sugar, and so on. And you’ll be the one providing the cooking utensils, so make sure you have everything you need before you get cooking.
Winner: It’s a tie
Both customer support teams are professional, with friendly, knowledgeable representatives. You can contact both teams via phone, email, or contact form, and you’ll receive a reply as soon as possible, depending on the team’s availability and working hours.
However, both companies make sure that you can find most of the answers yourself. You can do this by browsing HelloFresh and Marley Spoon’s FAQ databases. HelloFresh calls its FAQ section a Help Center, while Marley Spoon bundles everything under Customer Support.
Both FAQ sections are searchable and offer well-detailed information on a wide range of topics. Also, HelloFresh features several self-help action buttons that’ll help you perform various account management tasks, such as changing your delivery address, updating payment details, or editing a delivery.
Marley Spoon’s FAQ section is simpler, but it looks friendlier. Both companies have apps for Android and iOS. This means that you can manage your account and find out the information you need using your smartphone.
Whether you’re using the app or the website, you’ll have access to the virtual assistant feature. HelloFresh’s virtual assistant is called Brie and can help you find information on various topics a lot faster. I asked it about people with special dietary needs, and Brie provided a comprehensive summary of HelloFresh’s offers and policies for special diets.
Marley Spoon’s assistant doesn't have a name, but it’s just as helpful. It’ll offer detailed information on a variety of topics, such as subscriptions, account management, dietary needs, and so on.
Both companies offer extra information on sustainability, recycling, and more. Moreover, HelloFresh and Marley Spoon each have great culinary blogs where you can find new and interesting recipes and learn more about healthy eating.
Canceling your Marley Spoon or HelloFresh account is very easy and can be done online. For Marley Spoon, just log into your account and click the Stop Subscription button. For HelloFresh, the process is very similar. The button to look for in this case is Cancel Plan. Just remember to cancel before the cutoff date for both services so you don’t receive another box.
Winner: It’s a tie
HelloFesh and Markey Spoon have similar ordering and pricing systems. This means that the cost will be pretty much the same regardless of which company you choose. The only significant difference shows up when you order from HelloFresh’s Market section.
HelloFresh’s best price per serving is $3.32 for 6 meals for 4 people per week. If you don’t have that many people to feed or just want to try things out, you can choose the minimum order (2 meals for 2 people each week) and pay $12.49 per serving. The company’s most popular plan (3 meals for 2 people per week) is $9.99 per serving.
Prices in the HelloFresh Market vary depending on the type of items you purchase. For instance, ready-made meals cost between $7.99 and $9.99 per serving, while snacks and sweets can cost $4.99+ per item. The shipping fee will be calculated based on your location, but it should be around $11 per order.
Marley Spoon’s best price per serving is $2.99 for 6 meals for 4 people per week. If you choose to order the minimum amount (2 meals for 2 people each week), you’ll pay $12.99 per serving. Shipping is $11.99 per order.
Special dietary needs and classic recipes
Family-friendly recipes and Quick and Easy meal kits
$2.99 per serving
$3.32 per serving
2 meals for 2 people each week
2 meals for 2 people each week
100+ choices per week
75+ choices per week
5 to 55 minutes
10 to 55 minutes
Ready-made, Tray Bake
10-minute lunch, 15-minute lunch
Allergies catered to
Allergens listed on each recipe
Allergens listed on each recipe
Low Carb, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy Free, Low Calorie
Vegetarian, Vegan, Carb Smart, Protein Smart, Calorie Smart, Mediterranean, Pescatarian
24/7 live chat, email, phone, contact form, FAQ section, blog
24/7 live chat, email, phone, contact form, FAQ section, blog
Both brands have much to offer, but in my opinion, HelloFresh takes the lead. The reasons include its more family-friendly meal options and simpler meal kits. HelloFresh suits a wide range of people, including busy professionals and parents, and you don't have to be proficient in cooking to enjoy its service.
Of course, Marley Spoon is still a great option, especially if you like classic recipes. You can clearly see Martha Stewart’s influence on the menu, and you’ll have the chance to taste some really interesting recipes.
Both brands are in our top 10 best meal delivery services of 2023, and HelloFresh is in the top 3! So if you want to see which brand is our top choice, make sure to check this list out.
The final cost depends on whether you order 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 servings per person. If you choose the 6 servings per person per week option, you’ll pay $8.99 per serving. This brings the total to $215.76 plus shipping. If you choose the 2 servings per person plan, your box will be $78.32 plus shipping.
Marley Spoon ships its insulated boxes from 3 locations in the US, called fulfillment centers. These are located in New Jersey, Texas, and California, and your box will come from the center that’s nearest to your location.
Both companies strive to use the freshest and most nutritious ingredients. And, while each company has its own suppliers, the quality of the ingredients is quite similar. In fact, from time to time, you may find some organic ingredients in both boxes.