Meal Kits – are they really a better option?  Does it depend on which company you go with? I’ll share my first experience and my thoughts so far.

I was really curious to try a meal kit service.  I see them everywhere, in the media, and even in my mailbox.  I looked into Hello Fresh, Chef’s Plate, and GoodFood.  When making my decision I decided to go with Hello Fresh because there were more meal options that I was interested in.  

I am going to share a little about my experience with Hello Fresh, the good, the bad and yes, even the ugly.  

After making the decision on which meal kit to go with, it was time to sign up.  I had received a coupon for $90 off across my first 3 boxes.  This part was fairly straightforward.  It was easy and quick to sign up and determine my delivery date and include my coupon code.  There were multiple options to choose from including the number of meals, as well as number of servings per meal.  You could also choose between meat & veg, quick & easy, veggie, and family-style recipes.  They have since added more options including pescetarian and options for no pork, no fish and several more.  

Now comes the hard part, choosing my recipes.  This was difficult for me.  Due to my dietary restrictions I was restricted to just a handful of choices. on the plus side – they all looked really good.  I went with Roasted Salmon, Sheet Pan Mediterranean Turkey, and Warm Mexican Bean Bowl.  

I have to say, I am not much of a cook. It’s not exactly my favorite activity, but using the meal kits got me excited and wanting to try more.  The recipes had amazing flavours and there were no issues.  The only major downside for me was having to clean the kitchen when I was done! 

As I was cleaning up I realized the excessive amount of packaging that I had to put in the garbage. Minus one for meal kits.

All in all I was impressed by what I got, and I loved that there was no food waste, which I hate to admit is often a problem for me.  The next 2 weeks I also really enjoyed my meals.  My discounts were done and I still decided to continue because it was working well for me.  

This is where things start to take a bit of a turn.  With each week I would check my meals as they arrived and I was getting sub-par ingredients. Not all but each week there was 1 ingredient that I could not use and would have to go to the grocery store to replace.  This became quite an annoyance.  They do have a system in place that will provide you with an automatic $5 credit when something like this happens, but 1 each and every week was too much.  I’m not talking just an ugly potato, but items like moldy green beans,  yuck! Minus two for meal kits.

In total, I did 11 weeks’ worth of meals.  I was able to skip a few weeks here and there which was really easy to do.  I recommend that you choose your meals weeks in advance so that if you do happen to forget to cancel a week at least you will get the meals that you want instead of the ones that they suggest for you.  

One bonus was that they have an app that you can use to access your account.  This was good for me because I would put an alarm on my phone each week to remind me to decide if I wanted any meals for the week, and if I was out I was able to skip easily from my phone.  Score one for meal kits.

Looking back at the experience, one thing that stands out for me is the packaging. From an environmental standpoint, meal kits in general are not a great idea.  Very little of their packaging is actually recyclable.  This makes it difficult to get behind as a person who wants to reduce waste and help our planet. 

I know there is a company based in B.C. called freshprep, that has taken meal kit delivery to a whole new level by offering zero-waste kits. Yes, it is possible!  I just wish more companies would make the move to this as well. They have also added Alberta to their service area. 

Hello Fresh do say that they are trying to become more eco-friendly but it’s not happening fast enough in my opinion.  I will give them credit however based on their website they say that “100% of carbon emissions are offset, including the shipping of every box to your door.”

The Verdict… 

Personally, I really enjoyed having my meals delivered each week.  It was one less thing I needed to worry about, but I struggled to get past the excess packaging that goes into the garbage, and the bad ingredients were very off-putting and that is what prompted me to cancel my subscription. 

If Ontario were to get a zero-waste kit I would likely want to give that a try, but until then I will be sticking with trying to better meal prep so that I have less food waste.  

I loved the meals so much that if they offered a cheaper option to just have access to the recipes alone I would most definitely be interested in that.  Comment below if you think this would be an idea that you would be interested in as well.

I did save all of my recipe cards so that I can make them myself, which I have done now several times and each time it comes out just as well as it did the first time when they provided the ingredients.  

Meal kits are a good idea, I just haven’t found the one that’s right for me yet.