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Tempo Meals Review 2023: Home Chef’s New Brand

Our Top Choice For 2023
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Author Mirela Niculae
Mirela Niculae
Updated on Nov 23rd, 2023
Fact checked by Deborah Leigh

Overview

Tempo is a new brand from Home Chef, one of the best meal kit delivery services in 2023. However, Tempo strays from the Home Chef way. Behind this concept, there’s a desire to offer fresh, flavorful meals that can be prepared in minutes. The service features ready-made single-serving meals that cater to a wide range of preferences.

I analyzed Tempo’s offerings, and the result was truly impressive. I found that Tempo proves to be a valuable service, especially for those bustling weeknights when spending time in the kitchen feels burdensome.

The service focuses on healthy, calorie-conscious, and protein-rich ready-to-heat meals. All the meals are delivered fresh and made using carefully selected, high-quality ingredients. Just pop the container in the microwave for about 5 minutes, and your meal is ready to eat!

Pros

Cons

Personalized meal recommendations

Plastic food containers

No cleanup necessary

Limited options for vegetarians

Protein-packed meals

Small menu size

Current deal – 50% Off + 20% Off Your Next Month!

What’s on the Tempo Menu

Tempo features a weekly selection of 12 single-serving, ready-to-heat meals. Each meal is nutrient-rich, meaning every meal has plenty of protein (most meals have 30 g of protein per serving) and veggies to fill you up with feel-good food. Moreover, you get delicious meals with no extra calories – most meals have under 600 calories per serving.

A picture of Tempo's partial menu
Tempo's meals includes high-quality animal and veggie proteins that keep you full and energetic

All the ingredients used to cook the meals are fresh and of high quality. Tempo makes sure that half of your plate is covered with delicious veggies – there’s at least half a cup of cooked or a cup of uncooked veggies in each recipe. The other half is divided between animal or vegetable proteins and starches.

Meal Options

While it’s true that 12 options per week isn’t much, there’s some level of variety. The cuisine is mostly American, with some Mediterranean inspirations here and there. Still, the recipes are refreshing and packed with energy.

Most of the animal proteins available on the menu come from chicken, pork, or beef. For vegetarian recipes, the proteins come from beans, chickpeas, or quinoa. Meals that contain meat are more protein-packed (30+ grams of protein per serving), while vegetarian meals have at least 15 g of protein per serving (which is still great).

Tempo also tries to use the healthiest version of ingredients whenever possible. For instance, its chefs will opt for wholegrain pasta or quinoa instead of similar ingredients that are more refined. For now, there are no extras on the menu.

The menu rotates weekly, and you can see the meal plan 5 weeks in advance. However, you’ll notice some of the recipes repeat from 1 week to another, so you may have to eat the same meals 2 weeks in a row.

Diet

Is Tempo Good For This Diet?

Omnivore

Yes, Tempo has a great selection for people without dietary restrictions.

Vegetarian

Barely – each week, you’ll find a minimum of 2 vegetarian meals.

Vegan

No. Some of the vegetarian meals can be vegan, but there’s no guarantee.

Keto

Not really – there are some low-carb meals, but they’re not marked as keto-friendly.

Gluten-free

No. While there may be some options, Tempo’s facilities aren’t certified allergen-free.

Low Calorie/Calorie Conscious

Yes, all meals are under 600 calories.

High-protein

Yes. All meals containing meat have 30+ grams of protein per serving, and all vegetarian meals have 15+ grams of protein per serving.

Customization

Unlike Home Chef, Tempo doesn’t offer any customization options. Since the meals are already cooked when they reach your doorstep, it would be too challenging to accommodate everyone’s tastes and preferences.

Nutritional and allergen information is available for each meal on the website and on the meal’s packaging. However, Tempo doesn’t cater to any specific diets. Since the facilities where the meals are cooked aren’t certified allergen-free, Tempo can’t guarantee the meals are free from cross-contact.

To see the allergens for each recipe, click on it and check the information under the dish’s image. This is also the section where you find the meal’s nutrition facts and calorie content.

Tempo's available information for each recipe
Tempo makes it easy to find the information you need on each recipe

In an attempt to make your journey to your perfect menu easier, Tempo offers meal recommendations. For this, you have to provide some details about your taste preferences when you join Tempo. Once you do this, Tempo will recommend weekly meals based on your selections. You can update these in the “Taste Profile” tab of your account settings.

Tempo's steps for creating your taste profile
To deliver accurate recommendations, Tempo will ask about your taste preferences and food interests.

While creating your taste profile, you’ll be offered the opportunity to select your dislikes. Here, you can choose all the foods you’d rather not see on your menu recommendations. However, until the menu expands a bit more, you may see some recommendations that don’t entirely fit your profile.

But you don’t have to stick to the recommendations – you can edit your order and select the meals of your choice. Also, considering the low number of options, chances are you’ll get to try all the recipes if you want a lengthy relationship with the service.

In my view, Tempo is great if you don’t have any specific dietary preferences. The menu is designed to fit a general palate with an inclination toward low-calorie, protein-packed meals. Note that most of these recipes contain meat, so Tempo isn’t a good choice for plant-based eaters.

Unboxing

Your meals arrive in microwave-safe sealed plastic trays wrapped in a paper sleeve. On the sleeve, you’ll find the heating instructions, list of ingredients, “use by” date, and other important details.

The containers are neatly stacked on top of each other inside a cardboard box lined with ice packs. Tempo doesn’t freeze any of its meals to avoid any loss of taste or freshness. This is why it’s crucial that you store the meals in the refrigerator as soon as the box arrives.

The image of a Tempo meal container
Tempo's containers are microwave-safe, so you can completely eliminate any need for cleanup

If stored properly, the meals will stay fresh for between 2 and 5 days in your fridge. Just make sure to check the “use by” date on the sleeve for each food container. Eat those that have a shorter shelf life first. You can freeze your meals, but Tempo doesn’t recommend it due to a loss of texture.

Tempo also recommends thoroughly inspecting each food tray and the box’s insulation. You can also use a food thermometer to make sure the temperature is 40° F or below for all the dishes before placing them in the fridge. If you find any damage to the box or the food inside, or if the food is warm, contact the customer support team and discard the food.

You can recycle or reuse most of the packaging materials. The box is made from partially recycled cardboard, and the PET liners are made of recycled cotton and denim – both are recyclable.

Image of Tempo's cardboard box
Tempo's cardboard box is curbside recyclable

The ice packs can be rinsed off and reused, or they can be recycled. Follow the instructions available on Tempo’s website about packaging materials and recycling to make sure you dispose of these items properly. Lastly, all the plastic containers and trays are curbside recyclable.

Cooking with Tempo

All Tempo meals arrive at your door already cooked and cooled. The only prep needed is to remove the paper sleeve (after checking the heating instructions) and the plastic seal. Pop the tray in the microwave and heat according to the instructions on the sleeve.

Tempo also provides heating instructions for conventional ovens. So there’s no problem if you don’t have a microwave or don’t like heating your food in it. Just make sure to follow the steps needed for your heating device.

Instructions for heating the food from Tempo
Tempo offers 2 methods for heating the meals

Since the tray is microwave-safe, you can use it as a plate or bowl. I found it’s a lot easier to eat from the tray and then wash it and place it in the recyclables pile. But if you want to feel a bit more fancy, you can transfer the food to a plate or bowl once it’s out of the microwave or oven.

Shortlist of My Favorite Meals

I have to admit that all the meals on Tempo’s menu look appetizing. I don’t think there’s any I wouldn’t try. Still, if I had to choose only 3, these are the recipes I found the most interesting.

Basil Pesto White Bean Primavera

Tempo's Basil Pesto White Bean Primavera
While Tempo offers few vegetarian meals, this Basil Pesto White Bean Primavera recipe is worth trying!

  • Prep & Cook Time: less than 5 minutes
  • Spice Level: Not Spicy
  • Calories: 570 cal per serving
  • Protein: 25 g

This is one of the few vegetarian recipes available on the Tempo menu. But this doesn’t mean it’s in any way below the meat dishes! The flavorful basil pesto combines nicely with the sturdiness of the pasta and the smoothness of the beans, creating a symphony of textures and tastes. However, keep in mind that it’s quite high in carbs (81g per serving) and salt.

Tuscan-Style Chicken with Stewed White Beans and Kale

Tempo's Tuscan-Style Chicken with Stewed White Beans and Kale
The Tuscan-Style Chicken with Stewed White Beans and Kale is a healthy recipe, rich in veggies

  • Prep & Cook Time: less than 5 minutes
  • Spice Level: Not Spicy
  • Calories: 450 cal per serving
  • Protein: 39 g

If you want to introduce more veggies to your diet, this recipe is a great start. It has only 24 g of carbs per serving and 16 g of fat, and you get to enjoy a deliciously cooked chicken accompanied by kale and stewed beans.

Savory "Braised" Beef with Cauliflower Grits

Tempo's Savory "Braised" Beef with Cauliflower Grits
A wonderful combination of flavors and juicy beef make this Savory Braised Beef with Cauliflower Grits perfect for special occasions

  • Prep & Cook Time: less than 5 minutes
  • Spice Level: Not Spicy
  • Calories: 420 cal per serving
  • Protein: 34 g

Light on carbs and rich in protein, this recipe is the perfect dinner after a long day. The cauliflower grits add a nice texture to the meal, and the lack of starches makes this a keto-friendly recipe. Lastly, the green peas add a bit of sweetness and combine nicely with the juicy and tender beef.

Prices

Starting From

Order Size and Price (Before Shipping)

Shipping Fee

$13.49 per portion

6 meals for 1 person/week: $80.49 

$10.99

$12.99 per portion

8 meals for 1 person/week: $103.92 

$10.99

$12.49 per portion

10 meals for 1 person/week: $124.90

$10.99

$11.99 per portion

12 meals for 1 person/week: $143.88 

$10.99

$11.49 per portion

14 meals for 1 person/week: $160.86

$10.99

$10.99 per portion

16+ meals for 1 person/week: $175.84 (for 16 meals) 

$10.99

Tempo offers 6 different size plans of 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 or 16+ single-serving meals. The price per serving starts at $10.99 for the 16+ meals plan and goes as high as $13.49 per serving for the 6 meals plan. These prices are on the same level as Factor, which also offers ready-made meals but has more dietary variety and a larger menu.

If you find the price to be a bit too steep for the first order, try our discount coupon –  50% Off + 20% Off Your Next Month!. It’s a great way to try an interesting meal delivery service and save some money.

The shipping fee is fixed at $10.99 per order. So, if you want to test Tempo out and place an order for the smallest plan size, your final cost will be $91.49. This is a bit more expensive than what the parent brand, Home Chef, offers. However, considering these are ready-made meals, it’s easy to see why they’ll be pricier.

Shipping & Delivery

Tempo says it delivers to 98% of the United States. To test it out, I introduced the zip codes for several cities in Alaska and Hawaii, and there were no issues. So, I guess it’s true – they do deliver almost everywhere in the US.

The only way to see if Tempo truly delivers to your area is to start the signup process. At the first step, you’ll be asked to provide your zip code, and Tempo will let you know if your location is on their map.

Tempo's first step in the signup process
Tempo delivers to most of continental US and cities in Alaska and Hawaii

Tempo sends weekly deliveries, and you can select the day of the week that’s most convenient. However, the available delivery days vary according to where you live. The same is true about the time of delivery since Tempo uses different delivery partners for different regions.

On the scheduled delivery day, you’ll receive an email with the tracking number of your order. You can also find this number in your account under the Order History section. You can use the Tempo app on your phone to access your account and tracking information.

Your Tempo account is also great for rescheduling, editing, or skipping an order. You can cancel your subscription as long as you respect the cutoff date, which is 12 pm CT on the Friday prior to the scheduled delivery day.

Tempo allows you to reschedule your first order, but the process is a bit different. Your first order is automatically scheduled once you complete the signup, so it goes to processing right away. In this case, Tempo recommends removing all the meals from the order or contacting support for help.

You can adjust the frequency of your deliveries from weekly to biweekly or monthly. Just like with the other changes, there’s no need to call support. Just use your account to make the desired changes.

How Tempo Meals Works

Your account and taste profile are created at the same time as your first order. Overall, the signup process is quite easy.

How to Sign Up

  1. Start by clicking on the Get Started or Pick Your Meals buttons on the Homepage.

Pick Your Meal and Get Started visible on homepage
There are 2 buttons you can choose to get started

  1. The next step is to fill in your email address and find out if Tempo delivers to your location.

Step 2 of sign up showing the zip code and email address boxes
You need to enter your zip code to find out if Tempo delivers to your area

  1. You can select ingredients you don’t want in your meals and specify if you’re vegetarian.

There are 9 ingredients you can exclude
Choose up to 9 ingredients to exclude from your meals

  1. Next, choose your box size (you also get a cost estimation).

There is a range of box sizes from 6-16 meals per week
You can choose from 6 to 16 single serve meals per week. At this stage you'll see the cost estimate and shipping cost

  1. Fill in your billing information. Once these are added, you get to pick your meals. And that’s it!

Billing and shipping info screen
Fill in your address and billing details before you choose your meals

Managing Your Subscription

You can manage your subscription entirely from your Tempo online account. You can change, skip, or reschedule orders. You can also change the delivery frequency and cancel your subscription. Just make sure to remember the cutoff date, which is 12 pm CT each Friday.

Your account also holds a history of your orders and the tracking details for the current order. Overall, you get full control over your account.

Customer Service

You can contact Tempo’s customer service team via phone, contact form, or chatbot. The phone lines are open from 9 am to 6 pm CT Monday-Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm CT.

When the phone lines aren’t open, you can use the other 2 contact methods. However, don’t expect much from Herb, the chatbot. It isn’t particularly smart, so it can only offer answers based on the content already at its disposal (which is also available in the FAQ section).

Images of a conversation I had with Tempo's chatbot
Herb, the chatbot, is not too intelligent, so it can't provide complex answers.

Tempo also has 2 social media pages, on Instagram and Facebook. However, if you want to solve a problem or get a more complex answer, you should contact the customer service team via phone. The team is efficient and friendly, so there are no long waiting queues.

How Tempo Compares to Other Meal Delivery Services

Tempo vs. Factor

Factor is also a ready-made meal delivery service, but with a larger menu (35+ weekly options). Unlike Tempo, it caters to several specialized diets, including keto, vegetarian and vegan, high-protein, and calorie-smart. Factor also offers a diverse selection of extras, which enriches the overall menu. Find out more from our Factor review.

Tempo vs. Green Chef

Green Chef is an organic certified meal kit delivery service with a culinary-diverse menu. Besides American dishes, the company also features recipes from famous international cuisines. Moreover, it caters to various specialized diets, such as gluten-free, keto, and plant-based. Learn more by reading our in-depth Green Chef review.

Tempo vs. Home Chef

Home Chef is Tempo’s parent brand, so the quality of ingredients is the same. However, Home Chef features a more diverse menu, with options for vegetarians, families, carb-, and calorie-conscious. Plus, it offers plenty of recipe customization options. Read more about this in our comprehensive Home Chef review.

The Bottom Line: Is Tempo Worth It?

I think Tempo works well for busy professionals who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. While it doesn’t cater to specialized diets, the menu is varied enough to keep you interested. Also, most meals are packed with high-quality proteins and veggies.

I also like that Home Chef is its parent brand. This gives me peace of mind when it comes to ingredient selection and cooking practices. Still, Tempo can be a bit pricey for a menu this small. So, if you want to keep searching, check out our best meal delivery services list.

FAQ

Is Tempo a Home Chef brand?

Yes, Tempo is the newest brand under the Home Chef umbrella. However, unlike Home Chef, Tempo offers ready-made meals that only need around 4 to 5 minutes in the microwave. The meals are delivered to your door fresh, so you can enjoy them right away.

Are Tempo meals healthy?

Tempo was designed to offer quick, fresh, and flavorful meals that support a healthy lifestyle. Most of the recipes contain over 30 g of protein and lots of delicious veggies. Also, Tempo uses healthier substitutes for kitchen staples like rice or pasta.

How much does Tempo cost?

Your overall cost depends on how many meals you want to order per week. For instance, if you want the smallest order, you will pay $90+, including delivery. In this case, the price per serving is $13.49 per serving, which is a bit steep.

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