The Best Meal Delivery Service for No-Sweat MealsThe Best Meal Delivery Service for No-Sweat Meals

The Best Meal Delivery Service

Or how to hide the fact you’re a terrible cook.
Sarah Idle
Words by 
Sarah Idle
Updated 
Nov 5, 2020
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At a glance

If you know your sauté from your flambé, you can probably skip over this guide. For everyone else, there are meal delivery services. The best meal delivery service delivers you delicious meals, straight to your door. Whether you have to make your own meal from ingredients provided or just stick a ready-meal in the microwave, it offers a wide range of meal options. This includes different cuisines and catering for different diets, like vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. The ordering and pricing system is simple to use and understand. Here’s the best meal delivery in Australia, picked from hours of research, including online window shopping, expert testing and consumer insights.

How we picked

We had a big job ahead of us with choosing Australia’s best home delivered meals. Because there are literally hundreds of options. We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. They tested 9 popular meal delivery plans, rating them for ease of ordering, presentation, ingredient freshness, recipe accuracy and more. This gave us some idea of how these services performed.

Next, we turned to ProductRevew.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website, to see how these services performed in real Aussie kitchens. This gave us even more options. We then dug a little deeper with some online shopping.

A final spin by Canstar Blue gave us 4 meal delivery service brands that delight Aussies. Then came the real challenge - selecting the best ones. We wanted to ensure a good spread of types - those you need to cook yourself vs ready made you simply heat and eat. We wanted to ensure a good coverage of diets, especially vegetarian, vegan and allergy-friendly. We also wanted good coverage across Australia and a range of prices.

This together gave us the 8 best meal delivery plans in Australia.

The 8 best meal delivery services in Australia

Best DIY meal kit -> HelloFresh

HelloFresh

If you like cooking dinner, but don’t like planning dinner, or shopping for it, meet HelloFresh, what we reckon is Australia’s best meal kit. Each week, you can choose your own recipes from around 25 options. HelloFresh uses local suppliers as far as possible, keeping imported ingredients low.

Every meal is supplied in brown bags with pre-measured ingredients, although they’re not pre-chopped. HelloFresh is the world’s first carbon-neutral meal kit company, so if sustainability is important to you, it’s a great choice. 

They offer meat and veggie, veggie only and family-friendly boxes which range in size from 2-4 people and from 3-5 meals per week. There’s a decent range of meal types, including gourmet, fresh and fresh and balanced. There aren’t any paleo or vegan options. You can only choose ‘naturally gluten-free’ (i.e. no added gluten) meals with the 3-day meat and veggie plan. 

HelloFresh has been put through its paces by CHOICE testers, where it comes out on top with 87%. It gets almost 4 stars from over 6,000 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. HelloFresh is also Canstar Blue’s 2nd most popular healthy meal delivery service. It gets 5 stars for taste and quality of ingredients, with 3 stars for value for money.

HelloFresh delivers to areas in NSW, NT, QLD, SA, VIC, WA, and ACT. Prices start from $75.93 per week for 2 people eating 3 meals. 

Choose this if...

You want to get hands-on making dinner and you don’t have any special dietary needs, other than being vegetarian or ‘naturally gluten-free’. 

Best meal kit for choice -> Marley Spoon

Marley Spoon

Looking for plenty of choice? We reckon Marley Spoon will suit you best. It’s really simple to navigate and choose your faves, from around 30 weekly options - the highest number of weekly options we found. All you need to do is choose how many people you’re cooking for (2 or 4) and how many meals you want (2-5). This means there are no complex meal plans and pricing to figure out. 

They have a great range of recipes, including meat and fish, fast, healthy, vegetarian, vegan, family-friendly, low carb and no added gluten options. You can make your box fully vegetarian, for no extra charge. We love that their recipes make the most of seasonal ingredients, which they source from over 60 Australian suppliers. They have a grading system that shows you the percentage of Australian ingredients used in each meal. 

Like HelloFresh, you get pre-measured ingredients that you’ll need to chop yourself. Like all meal delivery services, they’ve got a good focus on being environmentally friendly. Chill packs use natural sugar cane and are reusable. Packaging is 100% recyclable. 

Marley Spoon comes second in CHOICE testing (with 86%) and is Canstar Blue’s #4 most popular healthy meal delivery service. It gets 5 stars for freshness and 4 stars for taste and quality, variety of meals, delivery and ease of ordering. On ProductReview.com.au it racks up over 3.5 stars from around 750 reviews. Customer service seems to be a bit of a bugbear with customers struggling to get payments and poor ingredients fixed. 

Marley Spoon delivers to Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Launceston, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, Darwin and NSW's Central Coast. Prices start from $58.95 per week for 2 people eating 2 meals. 

Choose this if...

You want lots of meal choice.

Best budget meal kit -> Dinnerly

Dinnerly

Dinnerly reckons it’s Australia's best value meal delivery service - and our research backs this up. Owned by Marley Spoon, Dinnerly is its more affordable sibling. It’s also a simpler option than most meal kits. That’s because it features 5-step easy recipes, with minimal ingredients (that are still mostly Australian grown). 

It offers around 20 recipes a week that cater to a range of tastes and diets including vegetarian, dairy-free, healthy and family-friendly. Like all the meal kits we feature, ingredients are pre-measured but not pre-chopped and most of the packaging is reusable or recyclable. 

Dinnerly saves money by not providing hard copy recipe cards. Instead, you need to look online for that week’s recipe or print it yourself. Plus, rather than ingredients being split into separate meals, you’ll need to sort this yourself. 

Dinnerly comes third in CHOICE testing (with 85%). CHOICE points out that you need to be well-stocked with pantry staples. It gets over 4 stars from almost 400 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. 

Dinnerly delivers to most of NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, NT, ACT and TAS. Prices start from $52.45 per week for 2 people eating 3 meals. 

Choose this if...

Price is your biggest consideration and you want easy 5-ingredient meals from a small-ish weekly range.

Best ready meals for choice -> Youfoodz

Youfoodz

Don’t want to be tied into plans? We hear ya. Enter Youfoodz, a huge range of fresh ready meals that you simply choose what you fancy, add to your cart and buy - no contracts, no plans. (Although there is a minimum spend of $49 per order. You can also set your order to repeat if a weekly Youfoodz shop seems like too much effort. We like.)

As well as lunch / dinner options, there are breakfast, snacks and drink options too. You can search by dietary needs, like vegetarian (but not vegan) plus no added gluten, nuts, eggs or dairy. There are also ‘clean’ options.

The meals come in 2 sizes, although they’re all for 1 person. There’s a standard size, plus their ‘large’ range for bigger appetites. Youfoodz reckon their meals have a 6-9 day shelf life and most of them are freezable. Not keen on your meal? Check out the YF promise which gives you a refund on a meal you’re not happy with. 

Youfoodz comes fourth in CHOICE testing of prepared meal delivery services (with 77%). CHOICE reckons that the meals are “only OK - the presentation didn't look very appetising with unevenly chopped vegetables and the protein was cut into small pieces usually covered in a sauce”. Seems like Aussies don’t agree. Youfoodz gets 4.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au from a whopping over 12,600 reviews - it’s an award winner 2018, 2019 and 2020. It’s also Canstar Blue’s 3rd most popular healthy meal delivery service, with Aussies giving it 4 stars for overall satisfaction, value for money and freshness. 

Youfoodz delivers to areas in NT, QLD, NSW, VIC, ACT, WA and TAS. Prices start from $9.95 for 1 meal for 1 person. 

Choose this if...

You want tonnes of fresh meal choice and don’t want to be locked into a plan or contract.

Best for special diets -> Chefgood

Chefgood

Another proudly Australian owned and operated business, Chefgood offers good choices for different types of eaters. For starters, you can choose a healthy everyday plan or a weight loss plan (meals with around 350 calories). Within those 2 plans, you have the choice of vegetarian (10 meals a week), vegan (7 meals a week), no added gluten (10 meals a week) or no added dairy (10 meals a week). 

Whichever type you choose, every Chefgood meal has no hidden sugar and all natural ingredients - which means there are no fillers or additives. The meals are made from locally sourced ingredients, where possible. You can choose from dinners plus lunches, breakfasts and snacks. You can also choose from 5, 7, 10 or 14 meals a week. Most meals will last 7-9 days in the fridge and most are freezable too. 

Chefgood gets a great over 4.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au, from almost 200 reviews. It delivers to areas in VIC, NSW, QLD, SA and ACT. Prices start from $57.50 per week for 1 person eating 5 meals on the weight loss plan 

Choose this if…

You want the deliciousness of fresh vegetarian, vegan or no added gluten or dairy ready meals from an Aussie company.

Best meal kit for supporting local -> Pepper Leaf

Pepper Leaf

Out of all the meal delivery services we reviewed, Pepper Leaf stood out most for its commitment to supporting local. Unlike other services, Pepper Leaf is an Aussie owned family business that tries to use as much quality, local produce as possible. This includes free-range grass-fed meat, seasonal veg and herbs and sustainably caught Australian seafood. 

Ingredients come pre-measured (but, you guessed it, not pre-chopped). To minimise wastage when preparing your ingredients, Pepper Leaf gives any green waste to a local goat farmer to feed the animals. We really rate that commitment to local love and happy goats. Plus, they focus on less plastic and more recycled boxes and paper bags. 

You get 8 recipes to choose from each week, for the classic or family box. You get 3 recipes for the vegetarian box. Their recipes feature a good range of cuisines, although dietary type is limited a little. There are a few vegan options, although there are plenty of vegetarian. Special dietary needs beyond that (like dairy- or gluten-free) aren’t catered for.  

Pepper Leaf comes 4th in CHOICE testing (with 83%. The top-rated service, HelloFresh, gets 87% so there’s not much between them). CHOICE points out that you can’t view the recipes online, only via your recipe card. Plus you need to sort the ingredients into meals yourself. It’s not on ProductReview.com.au yet.

Pepper Leaf delivers to areas in ACT, NSW, SA and VIC. Prices start from $61.90 per week for 2 people eating 2 meals. Oh, and Pepper Leaf is the only meal delivery service we reviewed that offers a 1-person option, although you have to choose the classic box for 4 or 5 nights. 

Choose this if...

You want to support local, don’t have many dietary needs or only want to order a meal kit for 1 person.

Best for plant-based eating -> Soulara

Soulara

Whether you’re a full-blown vegan or vegetarian or you’re a casual or committed meat eater, we reckon Soulara will turn you on to the benefits of plant-based eating. Their range of fresh ready meals are stuffed full of superfoods and healthy goodness. Protein-rich wholefoods like legumes, tempeh, nuts and seeds mean you won’t even miss meat (maybe).

They’ve got over 50+ plant-based options available fortnightly, all of which are vegan. They have gluten-free options too. As well as lunch or dinner options, they offer breakfast (including some Insta-worthy breakfast bowls), healthy drinks (like kombucha) and snacks. Your fresh meals should last for up to 7 days in the fridge and most of them are freezable.

Like most meal delivery services, they prioritise local produce and minimal packaging, including recyclable boxes. You can choose between 7 and 24 meals a week and each meal serves 1 person. There aren’t different serving sizes so you might find the meals are either too much or too little for you.

Soulara comes third in CHOICE testing of prepared meal delivery services (with 79%) and gets around 4.5 stars from over 500 reviews on ProductReview.com.au. 

Honestly, it’s really not clear where Soulara delivers to but CHOICE reckons it delivers to areas in NSW, SA, VIC, ACT, QLD, NT, WA, TAS. Prices start from $80.50 per week for 1 person eating 7 meals. 

Choose this if...

You’re into plant-based eating or are vegan.

Best for fitness fans -> My Muscle Chef

My Muscle Chef

Nutrition plays a big role in fitness. My Muscle Chef gets that, which is why they offer a great range of fitness goal-based packs. Definitely more for athletes and active bodies, rather than everybody,  there are over 50 high protein meals to choose from.

The goals-based packs let you tune your nutrition to your needs. These include muscle gain, performance and calorie control. For maximum flexibility, you can even build your own. If you do that though, be aware there’s a $95 minimum order value. 

If choosing a plan seems too tricky, check out the fixed sets. These come in 10, 14 or 20 meal packs and are targeted to keto-friendly, low carb, high calorie and vegan. If you believe that the couple that sweats together stays together, you’ll appreciate the couples sets. Your meals last up to 7-10 days in the fridge and most are freezable. 

My Muscle Chef is the top rated food delivery service on ProductReview.com.au currently. It gets over 4.5 stars from over 830 reviews. It’s available in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Geelong, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and more.

Fixed sets start from $99.95 for 10 meals for 1 person. Meal plans start from $96.35 per week for 10 meals for 1 person. (That’s lunch and dinner for 1 person for 5 days.)

Choose this if…

You’re serious about smashing your fitness goals and need carefully crafted meals that are going to support these.

How we picked

We had a big job ahead of us with choosing Australia’s best home delivered meals. Because there are literally hundreds of options. We started with CHOICE, Australia’s leading consumer advocacy group. They tested 9 popular meal delivery plans, rating them for ease of ordering, presentation, ingredient freshness, recipe accuracy and more. This gave us some idea of how these services performed.

Next, we turned to ProductRevew.com.au, Australia’s first consumer opinion website, to see how these services performed in real Aussie kitchens. This gave us even more options. We then dug a little deeper with some online shopping.

A final spin by Canstar Blue gave us 4 meal delivery service brands that delight Aussies. Then came the real challenge - selecting the best ones. We wanted to ensure a good spread of types - those you need to cook yourself vs ready made you simply heat and eat. We wanted to ensure a good coverage of diets, especially vegetarian, vegan and allergy-friendly. We also wanted good coverage across Australia and a range of prices.

This together gave us the 8 best meal delivery plans in Australia.

Frequently asked questions

How environmentally friendly are meal delivery services?

All meal delivery services will tell you how sustainable they are. The DIY meal kits come with pre-portioned ingredients for example, for no food waste. Which means you get exactly what you need, with no carrot left to shrivel in the crisper drawer. Plus, a lot of the services we reviewed prioritise local, seasonal ingredients. This helps to reduce food miles. But what about the fact that those ingredients come wrapped in multiple plastic bags? Or that your box is full of plastic covered chiller blocks? 

In fairness, they’ve come a long way since when they started. All the meal delivery services we reviewed mentioned their commitment to being eco-friendly. This usually means that most of the materials your meals are packaged in are recyclable. That’s either in your own recycling bin (cardboard and brown paper bags) or at the local supermarket or recycling point (soft plastics from ingredient bags and chiller blocks). 

There is some effort involved. Rather than chucking out chiller blocks, you need to cut them open, empty the contents (apparently they’re good for flower beds as they help them retain water) and then find somewhere to recycle the soft plastic. With plastic containers from ready meals, you need to separate the different elements (the tray, the plastic film, the cardboard sleeve) and recycle these individually.

So, overall we reckon they’re pretty environmentally friendly. This is as long as you’re happy to put the work in to recycle all the packaging, as not all of it can be put into your home recycling bin.

What are the different types of meal delivery services?

We found 2 main types of meal delivery services:

  1. DIY meal kit. This is when you’re delivered all the pre-portioned ingredients you need to make your meal. These are usually in a brown paper bag with a colour-coded label that matches the recipe card. But you need to do the chopping and cooking. The more affordable meal delivery services don’t split your ingredients into different meals, you need to do this yourself. With DIY meal kits, you can choose the number of people you’re cooking for, plus the number of meals a week you want. You can normally have meat, fish or vegetarian options. 
  2. Prepared meals. This is when you’re delivered ready made meals, that you simply heat and eat. These meals are usually fresh, although occasionally frozen, and can be kept in the fridge until you’re ready for them. You can normally freeze them too. Prepared meals tend to serve only 1 person and come in 1 size. Which honestly, isn’t ideal as it’s very unlikely that 1 size fits all when it comes to serving size. Prepared meals also ideally need a microwave for heating.

How do meal delivery services work?

Most meal delivery services work on a subscription basis. Although all the services we reviewed are keen to point out this isn’t a contract you’re locked into. Which is true, but there is some planning involved.

Once you’re signed up, your weekly deliveries start. You have a cut-off date to make any amendments to your order - like choosing that week’s recipe. Then you wait for delivery and the whole cycle starts again. Payment is normally taken automatically and weekly.

Some services let you pause your subscription, like if you’re going on holiday. Cancelling them requires you to do it at a certain time, otherwise you’ll be charged for that week’s delivery.

With prepared meals, you normally have the flexibility to do 1-off orders. Although watch out for the minimum spend. 

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