Canstar Blue’s healthy meal delivery review has seen Lite n’ Easy, Choice Fresh Meals, Dinnerly, HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Youfoodz compared on their variety of meals, taste & quality of ingredients, freshness, ease of ordering, delivery, customer service, value for money and overall satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
For some, cooking is the chance to flex their culinary skills, creating mouth-watering meals from scratch to impress house guests. But for others, cooking is another chore to add into a busy day, something that only results in more washing up. Regardless of which camp you belong to; the sudden rise of the healthy meal delivery industry has been a saviour for households often pressed for time or too tired after a hard day’s work or play. Plus, getting a variety of tasty meals delivered straight to your door can be a handy alternative to fighting for a parking space outside your local supermarket.
Canstar Blue has again surveyed more than 900 Australian adults who’ve rated the healthy meal delivery service(s) they have used over the last six months. Respondents weighed in on factors including taste & quality, variety of meals, freshness, ease of ordering, delivery, customer service and overall satisfaction. Brands that received the minimum sample size (30 responses) are featured in our latest ratings.
In 2021, Lite n’ Easy takes the cake as the best-rated healthy meal delivery provider for the second year in a row. It whipped up five-star reviews for taste & quality, freshness, variety of meals, ease of ordering, delivery, customer service and overall satisfaction.
Rated #1 Two Years in a Row!
Lite n’ Easy has once again been rated #1 for Overall Customer Satisfaction by Canstar Blue, scoring 5 stars for taste & quality, variety, freshness, delivery and overall satisfaction.
Here are the best healthy meal delivery services in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Lite n’ Easy earned its second win in our annual ratings for healthy meal delivery services, once again rated best for overall satisfaction, as well as customer service, meal variety, delivery reliability and food freshness. Choice Fresh Meals and Dinnerly trailed closely behind on four stars, while HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Youfoodz got three stars overall.
It’s worth mentioning that Choice Fresh Meals was the only brand to get the edge over this year’s champion, leading the way on value for money. HelloFresh and Marley Spoon similarly got full marks for taste and quality of ingredients. Marley Spoon even scored an additional five stars for ease of ordering, alongside Youfoodz.
There are plenty of reasons why people enjoy healthy meal delivery services, whether it’s for convenience, to count calories, or for an easy way to try new foods. Here’s what survey respondents had to say:
Here are some more findings from our latest research.
It seems people are willing to pay a little more for something which suits their tastebuds, with the monthly average spend on healthy meal deliveries climbing to $186 compared to last year ($176). The COVID-19 pandemic might have played a part in the spike, especially as nearly 15% of respondents said they used a meal delivery service because they felt anxious about visiting a supermarket during the period. A similar number of respondents also admitted to trying a healthy meal delivery service for the first time during COVID-19 (19%).
Clearly, price is a big factor when choosing a meal delivery service. It’s worth mentioning that the number of respondents who said they have only tried a meal service because they had a discount or promotional offer has continued to remain fairly consistent (29%), suggesting a cheaper price tag also tickles the tastebuds.
If you’re looking to foray into fresh food, delivered to your door with minimal fuss, we’re here to help you find the right service for you.
One of the most well-known names in the market, Lite n’ Easy tends to be marketed towards people looking to lose weight, with the brand offering a number of meal options and plans to suit all budgets and tastebuds. Delivering nationwide, Lite n’ Easy claims it uses the expertise of dieticians to ensure consumers get the optimal nutritional intake for their health goals.
Customers can choose between five-day or seven-day meal plans, which include meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks. Some menu items include vegetarian potato and chickpea curry, flame-grilled meatballs with mushroom gravy, rigatoni, cauliflower and cashew nut soup and raspberry & apple crumble.
However, you may have to look elsewhere if you have specific dietary requirements, although Lite n’ Easy’s menu does cover a range of cuisines, helping to spice up mealtime. Prices will vary from state to state (although a full seven-day plan will generally cost you under $200), with Lite n’ Easy listing the full price range on its website, making it easy to factor your meal plan into your budget.
Choice Fresh Meals has been operating for more than 20 years, mainly catering to seniors, those unable to cook due to an illness, as well as busy professionals. This healthy meal delivery service is said to offer more than 80 ‘generous portion size’ dishes, each apparently containing locally-sourced ingredients. Some items you might see on the menu include Asian braised beef short ribs, steamed barramundi and citrus butter, meatloaf and rosemary gravy, vegetarian paella, roast pork with apple sauce, mango cheesecake and bread & butter pudding.
While Choice Fresh Meals doesn’t require customers to enter a contract, unlike some meal delivery services, there may be a minimum spend of $50 with each order. The service additionally allows for multiple delivery days for certain suburbs.
Prices usually start from $6.50 for an omelette or $6.70 for sandwiches, and reach up to $15.80 for ‘premium’ menu items like aged porterhouse steak and confit duck. Many of the meals also come in either a regular or large size, with the larger alternative usually costing around $2 more. Diabetic-friendly, gluten-free and low salt options are also available.
Love meal planning but can’t seem to get your head around it? Dinnerly markets itself as an affordable, flexible, subscription service which helps make cooking every day easy. Although unlike some other healthy meal delivery brands, Dinnerly only provides meals for dinnertime and does not offer breakfast, lunch or dessert.
There are a couple of box sizes to choose from, a two-person box or a four-person box. Two-person boxes typically cost between $52.45 and $86.35 (including shipping), and are said to serve two people for either three, four or five nights per week. The four-person ‘family box’ is alternatively designed to feed four people three, four, five or six nights per week. This larger option is usually priced between $83.95 and $125.35 (including shipping). Keep in mind that you will also need to pay $8.95 for shipping. If you don’t want Dinnerly every week, the ‘flexible subscription’ means you can choose which weeks to receive Dinnerly deliveries and only pay for what you receive. Dinnerly also caters to non-meat eaters, or anyone looking to have a meat-free night.
Dinnerly currently ships to most areas in NSW, VIC, QLD, SA, NT, ACT and TAS. Delivery specifics depend on each location, so make sure to check the website to know when you can expect your next fix!
First launched in Germany, HelloFresh has expanded on a global scale. Offering four plans, including the Veggie Plan, the Meat & Veggie Plan, Family-Friendly Plan and Calorie Smart. HelloFresh may be a handy option for those with multiple mouths to feed. Instead of delivering pre-made meals, HelloFresh provides all of the fresh ingredients to help cut down on preparation time, rather than the cooking itself. Like its competitors, HelloFresh has a rotating menu, meaning you’ll get plenty of options to choose from during your subscription.
Each plan contains a number of meals for each person, with the costs coming down to about $10.99 per meal, depending on what you get. In addition to the ingredients, you’ll also receive a recipe to follow, with HelloFresh outlining the preparation time and cooking difficulty of each meal, making it easier to choose which meals you’d like to try.
Marley Spoon offers another option for those who still enjoy spending time in the kitchen, but don’t enjoy venturing out to the supermarket or farmer’s market. With a menu that changes on a weekly basis, Marley Spoon includes dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and low-carb meals to suit the whole family.
In the box, you will find recipes in addition to the fresh ingredients, although the meals are more cantered towards dinner options than other meal times.
Offering a two-person or four-person box (with each meal costing around $10 depending on which option you select), you can pick how many meals a week you would like, making family mealtime easier for busy households. Additionally, if you’re going away for a week – or the fridge is running out of space – you can put your subscription on hold, or simply skip a week, making it easy to work around your lifestyle.
While it offers free delivery, Marley Spoon is only available on the East coast of Australia, meaning those elsewhere may miss out, although the brand states on its website that there are more delivery options on the way.
Youfoodz is another popular option for busy (and ‘hangry’) households. Like most brands within the industry, the majority of Youfoodz’s range includes healthy recipes designed to help you lose a few kilos, while also coming in handy when you’ve forgotten that it’s your turn to cook.
Shoppers can either stack up on individual meals, or can order plans to suit your lifestyle or eating habits. Meals are broken into the three major meals of the day, as well as snacks and drinks for those looking for something a bit extra. Youfoodz meals are claimed to be cooked by chefs and vacuum-sealed to stay fresh for up to nine days, meaning those prone to forgetting about their food in the fridge are covered.
Food starts from $2.99 for snacks and $9.95 for meals. The Clean & Lean Bundle will set you back just under $70, while the Muscle Builder Bundle costs slightly more than $60. If you struggle to stick to diets or eating plans, Youfoodz additionally provides the 70/30 plan, with 70% of your order healthy, low-calorie meals, while the other 30% are foods that might soothe your sweet tooth and cravings.
While the above healthy meal delivery services made the cut for inclusion in our ratings this year, it doesn’t mean there aren’t others worth checking out. Here are a few others you might want to feast on.
The Cook’s Grocer seems to find the middle ground when it comes to what’s in the box, with ingredients and pre-made meals available across its menu, making it handy for those nights when you just don’t feel like cooking. The Cook’s Grocer currently only delivers to addresses in major NSW and ACT cities, although more locations are set to be added in the future.
Consumers can either sign up for a weekly delivery (with meals costing $8 with free delivery), as well as a one-off delivery, which works out at $8.75 per meal, plus delivery. Boxes include two-person, four-person and Family sizes (two adults, two children), with subscriptions able to be paused or cancelled at any time, with no contracts. Fruit & Veg Boxes are also available, ranging in size and price to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals, as well as helping to mix up what’s on the menu.
Nourish’d is a relative newcomer to the healthy meal delivery market, although it has made a big impact on consumers with its good range of healthy meal alternatives. With options for paleo, keto and low-carb diets, as well as meals for those who suffer with dairy or nut allergies, Nourish’d may be the option for shoppers looking to stick to that clean lifestyle, although the company only currently deliveries to cities and towns on the East coast of Australia.
The menu regularly changes, meaning plenty of variety when it comes to meal times, with Nourish’d also offering multiple portion sizes to suit your personal appetite, including ‘Athlete’ portion sizes for those who are constantly in the gym, or the Mix & Match option for those buying for multiple people.
Nourish’d provides a number of payment plans, ranging from small five-meal orders up to 28-meal orders for those ordering for the whole house. You can build your own order, with prices starting from just under $13 per meal. Snacks are also available, making it a handy option for those who suffer from sugar cravings, or need an afternoon pick-me-up.
Another brand that delivers fresh ingredients to your door, Dinner Twist may be the go-to option for consumers on the West Coast of Australia, exclusively delivering to addresses in and around metro Perth. Coming in either weekly or fortnightly deliveries, Dinner Twist also works around your schedule by allowing users to skip a week or cancel your subscription at any time.
Hungry consumers are treated to plenty of options, all of which come out around $10 per serve. Options include the Express Box (which you can create a meal from in less than 20 minutes), as well as the Family Box, Wholesome Box and Plant-Based Box for those looking for specific dietary requirements. If you’re looking for something a bit extra in your meals, you can also add fruits and gluten-free breads, as well as upsize your protein, although it’ll set you back at the checkout.
Dinner Twist does not include the nutritional or calorie intake of its foods on its website, instead steering towards a holistic approach to eating, although all recipes are said to be overseen by a qualified nutritionist to ensure that you still end up with a healthy meal at the end of your fork.
It’s hard to argue against someone else preparing and cooking your dinner, especially with healthy meal deliveries also cutting down on the guilt you feel when you order takeaway foods. And if you’re looking to switch up your eating habits, try new foods, or lose a few kilos, healthy meal deliveries could just be worth looking into. But the service often doesn’t come cheap, so keep an eye on costs if you’re looking to make regular orders.
Ultimately, which provider you go with will come down to your personal preferences, as well as how much time you have on your hands. Those rushed off their feet may prefer pre-made meals, while those who feel at home in the kitchen should have no issue with the fresh ingredient varieties, leaving you to keep your hands dirty and do the cooking.
They say variety is the spice of life – and that’s certainly true when it comes to food. But like eating the same old foods, don’t just stick with one meal delivery provider out of convenience if it’s leaving you feeling a little underwhelmed at the end of mealtime. Try new providers, new meals, and shop around to make sure you’re getting great food, and value.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Elenadesign/shutterstock.com, Vladislav Noseek/shutterstock.com, Clovera/shutterstock.com, SUPREEYA-ANON/shutterstock.com
Our 2021 review of healthy meal delivery services saw Lite n’ Easy dominate most categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 6,163 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have used a ready-made meal delivery service in the last six months, including services that prepare and deliver to your doorstep, pre-prepared meals and meal kits, and excluding restaurant delivery services such as UberEats – in this case, 944 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.
Here are the past winners of Canstar Blue’s healthy meal delivery ratings:
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