Not all meal kit services were created equal, especially for people with restricted diets. In this growing industry, I wanted to explore which of the current meal kit providers provided the best service for people on a gluten free diet. Through close analysis of their food preparation policies and menus, I’ve uncovered a few key insights to recommend which meal kits are best for a gluten free diet.
For most people, Marley Spoon provide the easiest way to find gluten free meals and offer 13 different choices every single week. If you live in Western Australia, YouPlateIt offer a great service with the best gluten free policy.Get up to $190 off Marley Spoon across your first 6 boxesOffer available to new customers only, redeemed by clicking on this link
Check out the rest of this article to see which other services you might want to consider.
What is a gluten free diet?
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found most commonly in wheat, as well as barley and rye. For some people, ingesting gluten can cause an adverse reaction in the stomach, or even cause more systemic symptoms (scientific study). Most commonly, a gluten intolerance manifests as uncomfortable bloating, cramping and gas.
To help relieve symptoms, people may decide to follow a strict gluten free diet which completely restricts the intake of any gluten containing foods. This can be challenging to follow and makes it more difficult to be adventurous with food intake.
Coeliac disease most commonly causes a complete intolerance to any gluten containing foods, including what is generally seen as innocuous cross-contamination. Due to the added risk, most meal kit services do not promise to be suitable for coeliacs and those people should look for specialist food providers.
How can meal kits help keep to a gluten free diet?
Having spent much of the last 5 years on restricted diets myself, I’m highly familiar with the constant effort it takes to ensure what you’re eating is safe. As a result, it’s much easier and lower stress to restrict your diet to a small set of meals that you know are gluten free. This provides convenience and peace of mind at the expense of an exciting, exploratory diet.
Meal kits can help combat this by helping gluten free dieters find appropriate meals to add to their recipe list. I find that being able to try 3-4 new recipes each week that I know for certain are gluten free is exceptionally freeing.
Much like having a standard repeatable set of meals, meal kits take away the stress of finding new recipes and buying new ingredients. You’re able to cook dinners with peace of mind that they won’t trigger any symptoms.
For anyone new to a gluten free diet, who hasn’t yet worked out a large repertoire of meals they like, meal kits are especially useful for exploring new foods.
Which meal kits offer gluten free meals?
To help identify the best meal kits for supporting a gluten free diet, I have provided a few helpful bits of research for each of Australia’s meal kit providers. This includes their current gluten-free policy (as of July 2020), the number of meals available each week that are gluten free and if there’s any additional cost for gluten free meals.
HeloFresh have a very clear statement on their website concerning the availability of gluten free meals:
NATURALLY GLUTEN FREE – This is only available for customers receiving a Classic Box, 3 meals per week. When selecting this preference, customers will receive 3 naturally gluten free recipes. This means that no ingredients in these recipes should contain gluten (e.g. rice does not contain gluten, so it is naturally gluten free). However, some suppliers may pack ingredients containing gluten for other customers, so we can’t guarantee that there will be no cross contamination.HelloFresh FAQ
Rather disappointingly, I wasn’t able to find anywhere on the website with a ‘preference’ setting for gluten free food. That means you’ll need to check each individual meal for their gluten-free suitability. Fortunately, HelloFresh do make this easy by adding the ‘Naturally Gluten Free’ attribute to meals where appropriate.
Due to the packing process, HelloFresh isn’t suitable for Coeliacs. They’re clear about this fact with a label on every meal.
During our test period, HelloFresh averaged 8 Gluten Free Meals on offer every single week. This represented around 40% of all the meals available, suggesting that whilst your choice is limited there’s still plenty of variety available.
Marley Spoon don’t have a specific statement regarding the robustness of their gluten free procedures (that I can find!).
Fortunately, they make it very easy to filter down to only view meals that are gluten free.
During our test period, Marley Spoon averaged 13 Gluten Free Meals on offer every single week. This represented just under 50% of all the meals available, providing any gluten-free dieters with a huge range of different meal choices.
This, in my opinion, is where Marley Spoon really stand out as a meal kit service. I find that being able to have a wide range of options whilst on a restricted diet is something really freeing.
Since Dinnerly and Marley Spoon are owned by the same company, their approach to a policy on Gluten Free food is the same – nothing to be found!
The Dinnerly menu differs slightly because it doesn’t allow you to filter by gluten free recipes, instead you need to look for recipes listed as ‘No Added Gluten‘. I personally think this is a little hard to spot at first, though the information is there if you know where to look.
During our test period, Marley Spoon averaged 10 Gluten Free Meals on offer every single week. This represented exactly 50% of all the meals available, providing any gluten-free dieters with a huge range of different meal choices.
I was quite pleasantly surprised by these findings. My expectation was to see a higher proportion of meals bulked out by cheap carbohydrates, which clearly isn’t the case in reality. I do think that Dinnerly can offer a really positive service to anyone following a gluten free diet.
Pepper Leaf are a small, family run meal kit business operating out of Melbourne and serving cities across South and East Australia. Due to their scale being much smaller than other meal kit services, it’s understandable that they can’t absolutely commit to there being no cross-contamination. Here’s their statement:
If you have an allergy or intolerance to any ingredient, we can’t guarantee that our recipes don’t contain it. You can swap out those ingredients, but that will be up to you.Pepper Leaf FAQ
Pepper Leaf provide no information on their website regarding the presence of Gluten in a dish. It would be possible to use your own judgement and order meals that are unlikely to contain gluten, then double check each ingredient when you cook. However, this is likely to be a frustrating experience.
It’s hard to recommend Pepper Leaf for anyone following a gluten free diet.
Dinner Twist are a local delivery service providing meal kits for the Perth area. As I don’t live in Perth, I haven’t been able to try this service out but the reviews are generally very positive. They also provide the most comprehensive statement on gluten free meals.
Dinner Twist offers Gluten Free as an optional extra when ordering the Express & Family boxes (the Wholesome & Plant-Based boxes contain ingredients which are gluten free as standard). Upon receiving your order, make sure to look for the sticker on your box stating your dietary preference (gluten free customers will have a sticker saying “GLUTEN FREE”). Although we provide ingredients that are gluten free, we pack our boxes in an environment that may contain traces of gluten. If you have an allergy or medical condition, this may not be the best option for you.Dinner Twist Terms & Conditions
Dinner Twist are unique in the way they don’t allow you to pick your meals. You can only set your preferences and they’ll decide which recipes to send you! When you sign up, you’ll be able to opt-in to gluten-free ingredients. Simple, quick and easy to do.
As DinnerTwist don’t allow you to choose from different meals, 100% of the meals you receive will be gluten free! That’s perfect for the adventurous foodie inside of you.
Similar to DinnerTwist, YouPlateIt only operate in the wider Perth area. They have a very clear statement on gluten free food:
Recipes are packed in a facility that handles gluten as well as all major food allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. Our gluten-free and low-gluten recipes are prepared in the same facility as our other meals, and therefore, may not be suitable for those diagnosed with celiac disease. We take great care to ensure our food is packed safely, and all the ingredients are listed, but if you have a very serious food allergy or intolerance, we recommend that you do not order.YouPlateIt FAQ
YouPlateIt have a very handy filter for gluten free meals, make it very easy to find all the meals suitable for your diet.
During our test period, YouPlateIt averaged 7 Gluten Free Meals on offer every single week. This represented around 58% of all the meals available, showing that the company is taking their gluten free offering very seriously. I’d be very confident ordering meal kits from YouPlateIt that they’re careful about the ingredients that go into their food.
Which meal kits are best for a gluten free diet?
Meal kits can be a fantastic option for sticking to a restricted diet whilst continuing to be adventurous with your cooking. Based on my analysis of the biggest 6 meal kit services in Australia, 2 stand out to me as the best options:
- Marley Spoon (except WA) – With the highest number of gluten free meals available each week, you’ll have no problems finding meals you love. This is especially important if you have picky eaters in your household or there are other dietary restrictions you need to follow. Gluten free meals are incredibly easy to find by using a simple filter so you’ll never end up with a meal containing gluten by accident.
- YouPlateIt (WA) – Having shown a clear amount of care and attention to providing strong gluten free options, I’d definitely recommend YouPlateIt for anyone who’s gluten free in Western Australia. I was impressed by the ability to filter their meals and the high proportion that were naturally gluten free.
It’s definitely worth considering Dinnerly, HelloFresh and Dinner Twist as well as they all offer gluten free options. Sometimes it’s important to try a few different services to discover the one that suits you best. See if we have any current promotions on our discounts page.