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.
Related: EveryPlate Review
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:
- 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.
- 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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