Want to eat healthy, nutritious meals at home without all the fuss of shopping for ingredients and cooking? Compare healthy meal delivery services with our review and ratings.
* Overall satisfaction is an individual rating and not a combined total of all ratings. Brands with equal overall satisfaction ratings are listed in alphabetical order.
Canstar Blue research finalised in November 2016, published in December 2016.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is much harder than it sounds for some people, especially those with busy lifestyles which make preparing hearty, nutritional food every day of the week a significant challenge. That’s why healthy meal delivery services have increased in popularity, with consumers able to simply order their meals or the ingredients required to make them ahead of time, before returning home from work to an ideal, nutritious solution to healthy eating.
Two of the most widely used healthy meal delivery services are provided by Lite n’ Easy and HelloFresh, which have featured in Canstar Blue’s inaugural customer satisfaction ratings. The star ratings above have been determined by a survey of more than 300 Australian adults who have used one of these food services at least once over the last six months.
As you can see, both providers performed reasonably well, but only Lite n’ Easy received a five-star review from its customers for overall healthy food delivery satisfaction. It also rated five stars on value for money, customer service, variety of meals, delivery time, delivery reliability and freshness of food. HelloFresh scored four-star reviews in most categories, except for taste of food and freshness of food, where maximum ratings were achieved.
Healthy meal delivery services are clearly a great solution for people who don’t have the time to prepare meals themselves, but they might not be right for everyone. While the two brands in our ratings were scored favourably with regards to the value for money they offer, these services usually don’t come cheap. Our research found that consumers who regularly use healthy meal delivery services spend an average of $241 per month on their meals. So, what are the main reasons Aussies choose to use these services?
While these services provide a convenient solution when you don’t have time to shop for ingredients or cook, the emphasis is also put on healthy eating, which attracts those who want to lose weight. Indeed, whether it was their intention or not, almost half of survey respondents (46%) reported weight loss when using healthy meal delivery services. However, 40% of consumers said they are often left unsatisfied (i.e. still hungry) after eating their meals, which are generally low in calories.
Nevertheless, our customer ratings seem to reflect fairly well on these healthy meal delivery services. So let’s take a look at exactly what Lite n’ Easy and Hello Fresh have to offer:
Marketed around weight loss and weight management, as well as for those too busy to cook regularly, Lite n’ Easy is one of the longest-running healthy meal delivery services in the country. It services most metro and suburban areas of Australia – and you can find out whether Lite n’ Easy delivers to you through its website. Delivery is free within ‘standard’ zones, but fees will apply for some more remote areas. There’s also no subscription requirement – you can order as you go, or sign up for regular deliveries which can be cancelled with no charge until the day before delivery.
Lite n’ Easy meals are pre-packaged into single servings that are either ready to eat straight away or just require heating in the oven or microwave. These are designed to fit into one of three different calorie plans (with a total daily limit of 1200, 1500 or 1800 calories), which you can follow yourself using a combination of Lite n’ Easy products and other foods such as extra vegetables and fresh fruit. All dinners are frozen, while breakfasts, lunches and other menu items are a combination of fresh and frozen products.
Lite n’ Easy’s menu cannot accommodation special dietary requirements such as allergies or vegetarianism. If you don’t have any special requirements, though, it has a decent-sized menu which changes seasonally.
A variety of healthy meal packages are available, with various combinations of meals in different quantities and tailored for the three different calorie plans. Prices range from $6.85 to $12.80 per meal, depending on the type of pack you choose. Lite n’ Easy also offers other food items such as snacks, soups and desserts that are priced from $2.25 to $6.50 per serve.
Instead of supplying fully prepared meals, HelloFresh delivers a box full of ingredients for you to use to cook its recipes. It’s marketed as a way to make healthy home cooking using fresh ingredients easier. HelloFresh is a relatively new company but quickly spread across the world from its origins in Germany in 2011. Currently, HelloFresh delivers to major metro and rural cities in the eastern states of Australia, with plans to expand further.
There are three types of boxes available. The ‘Classic Box’ comes in either three or five meal packs to feed either 2 or 4 people, while the ‘Veggie Box’ makes three meals to feed either 2 or 4 vegetarians, and the ‘Family Box’ makes up four meals to feed 2 adults and 2-3 kids. The recipes assume you already have certain food staples in your pantry (e.g. salt, pepper, soy sauce, white wine vinegar, eggs, milk), but gives notice of what items you’ll need in advance of delivery.
While HelloFresh caters well to vegetarians, you’re out of luck if you have any other dietary requirements. However, as each ingredient is separately packaged, you could just not use any that are a problem for you and find a substitute if necessary. This may not be a viable option for those with ethical or religious oppositions to certain foods though. The other drawback is that, if you’re not diligent and use your ingredients quickly, they may go bad and end up being a waste of money.
To use HelloFresh, you’ll need to sign up for a subscription, which can be changed, paused or cancelled without charge up until a certain time before delivery. The cost depends on which box you choose and for how many meals and people, ranging from $8.75 to $11.66 per meal, with free delivery. If you’re not sure but want to give it a go, you can order a one-off sample box. However, these are priced higher than the subscription equivalent, at $9.37 to $13.33 per meal.
Canstar Blue commissioned Colmar Brunton to survey 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have used a healthy meal delivery service in the last six months – in this case, 324 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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