Welcome to Food Box Mate’s ultimate Meal Kit Guide (or Recipe Kits as they’re also known). We hope to cover any potential questions or concerns you might have about Meal Kits in this guide, so if there’s something we haven’t covered then just let us know through our Facebook page. Our site has plenty of other content for you, so feel free to also check out our Blog, Reviews and Comparisons all about Food Boxes in Australia.
What is a Meal Kit?
A ‘Meal Kit’ is any service that sends pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to customers, usually as a subscription service. This allows you to cook fresh, homemade meals without the stress/hassle of planning and purchasing ingredients from the supermarket. In Australia, the most popular Meal Kit services are HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Dinnerly along with smaller competitors such as PepperLeaf or DinnerTwist.
Why are Meal Kits so great?
Meal Kits provide lots of benefits including convenience, learning, variety and health benefits. We even wrote a blog post about 10 reasons you should give Meal Kits a try. Here’s a brief summary:
- Convenience – Meal Kits arrive at your front door (you don’t need to be in) with pre-measured ingredients so you’re always ready to start cooking. There’s no more need to make a last minute dash to the shops!
- Learning – You’ll be encouraged to try new dishes and learn to cook with new ingredients that you may not experience otherwise – this all expands your foodies horizons. That definitely can’t be a bad thing.
- Variety – Each week will bring new, exciting meals to try and you’ll never run out of recipes that you’ll want to explore. No more relying on the same few dishes to get you through every week.
- Health Benefits – All Meal Kits provide healthy, farm fresh ingredients without any of the nasty, processed stuff you get from takeaways. You can see what goes into your meal and you know that it’s good stuff, especially since the recipes are designed with a balanced diet in mind.
Why do I need to ‘subscribe’ to a Meal Kit?
All Meal Kits in Australia (and most around the world) work on a subscription model, where you receive regular weekly ingredient deliveries. This makes sure it’s super easy for you to plan your meals without worrying about whether you’ve ordered your ingredients in time. This is great when you want to receive food every week, but not so great when you don’t. That’s why all Meal Kit services offer the ability to Skip or Cancel your order at no extra cost.
That means, if you’re away for a week then it’s really easy to ‘skip’ that delivery and resume your subscription the week after. If you’ve decided that you no longer want to receive your Meal Kit then cancelling is always really easy to do online and you won’t be charged. However, be aware that if you have any discounts applied to your account, you might lose these if you cancel.
Always remember to Skip/Cancel at least 7 days before that order is due to be delivered. Each service has a different policy, but planning a week ahead makes certain you won’t be paying for food you don’t want.
How do Meal Kits get delivered?
Meal Kits are always sent in chilled boxes. These boxes have any cupboard/vegetable ingredients stored in the box, whilst any meat or dairy is stored in a cold bag with an ice block. This storage method ensures each delivery can last safely for at least 12 hours after being delivered. As a result, it’s perfectly safe to have your box delivered whilst you’re at work and pick it up when you get home in the evening.
What Meal Kits are available in Australia?
There are 3 major players across Australia: HelloFresh, Marley Spoon and Dinnerly. These account for a vast majority of Meal Kits delivered each week. Click on their logos below to check out or review of each service.
Some smaller, more local companies also provide a Meal Kit services. These often provide a more personalised service and your custom can really support local businesses. They often have much more constrained deliver areas, so it’s worth checking our Food Box Comparison to see where they deliver.
Are Meal Kits good value for money?
This really depends on your priorities and how you measure ‘value’ to you. From a purely monetary standpoint, it’s clear that Meal Kits are going to be more expensive than picking up the ingredients from you local supermarket. However, it’s also important to consider how you value the convenience of Meal Kits being delivered to your front door, bringing variation to your weekly meals, having pre-portioned ingredients and reducing your food waste. These are really hard to quantify and we recommend you think about what’s most important to you.
If, like me, you’re partial to a couple of takeaways each week then Meal Kits can save you money and get you healthier. It’s really hard to justify ordering a takeaway when all your ingredients are ready to go in the fridge. We conducted a full cost analysis of the available Meal Kits to see which one was cheapest, so it’s worth checking that out to help inform your decision.
Can I choose which meals I receive with a Meal Kit?
You can always choose which meals you receive! Every service allows you the ability to choose which meals you want to cook, from a list of meals available that week. Each service provides different numbers of options each week, with Marley Spoon (review) offering the most choice. You can even switch to more/fewer meals in a specific week if you know you won’t be eating at home a couple of days.
Most services have a cut-off point for changing meals, 5-7 days before your order is due to arrive. It’s worth setting a reminder in your phone to make your meal selections each week or you might get a random selection.
When’s the cut-off point for ordering a Meal Kit?
This really depends on the service. To be sure, we recommend managing your order at least 7 days before your box is due to arrive. Below are the policies from Australia’s largest Meal Kit providers:
HelloFresh – Changes must be made before 11.59PM TUESDAY (Sydney time) for all states, the week before your next delivery.
Marley Spoon – For those in VIC, NSW and ACT, we require 6 days notice prior to your delivery date to edit your order, skip or cancel deliveries. For SA, NT, TAS and QLD, we require 7 days notice due to overnight shipping and to avoid food waste in the process of getting your produce from farm to plate.
Dinnerly – For VIC, NSW and ACT deliveries, we require 6 days notice prior to your delivery date for address or order amendments (including skipping, pausing or cancelling). For NT, TAS, SA and QLD deliveries, we require 7 days notice prior to the delivery date for address or order amendments (including skipping, pausing or cancelling) due to overnight shipping
How can I get a free Meal Kit in Australia?
Whilst we can’t offer any free boxes on this site, we are able to offer special deals for each Meal Kit provider that will help you save money on your first order.
To see the latest offers, check out our discounts page.
Can I cancel my Meal Kit after my first order?
Yes, absolutely. All Meal Kits in Australia have what’s called a ‘rolling subscription’ which means you can cancel at any time. This means you can get just one box to try out the Meal Kit and see if you like it. As above, just remember to cancel your subscription at least 7 days before your next delivery is due.
Please be aware that if you have a discount that applies to more than just your first order, cancelling will remove this discount!
Meal Kits for Everyone
Can I get a Meal Kit for one person?
Few companies offer a Meal Kit for one person (Pepper Leaf being one), however it’s definitely possible to use Meal Kits if you’re only cooking for yourself. This is because the ingredients all arrive separately ready to be cooked, so order a set of 2 person meals. You’re able to either save half your ingredients or cook the full meal and reheat the 2nd portion.
From my experience, which method you should use depends on the ingredients. In general, I follow:
- Salads, Fresh Ingredients or Steak/Chops – Save half a of these and make your second portion when you need it.
- Sauces, Curries and One-Pot Dishes – Cook all of the ingredients at once and save half. Reheat in the microwave for a few minutes.
Can I get a Meal Kit if I have food intolerances?
This really depends on the intolerance and the severity. For more common intolerances such as Gluten and Dairy, all Meal Kits provide options to select dishes without these ingredients. However, they are unlikely to promise 100% non-contamination due to the way ingredients are processed and stored.
When you select your meals, you’re always able to check the ingredients that will be delivered. So, if you have any intolerance you will be able to select dishes that don’t have certain ingredients. Unfortunately you can’t ask for a specific ingredient not to be packed in your box.
We recommend Marley Spoon (review) for anyone with intolerances due to the wider variety of meals provided each week. As a result, you’re more likely to find meals you can cook.
Can I get a Meal Kit if I’m vegan / vegetarian?
Meal Kits are perfect for anyone following a Vegetarian diet. All Meal Kits offer a selection of Vegetarian meals each week, although you may find yourself slightly more limited in terms of options. Meal Kits can be a fantastic way to discover new ways to create delicious meals with vegetarian ingredients.
Unfortunately, this is much more difficult for Vegans, with no Meal Kits providing specific plans for a Vegan diet. This seems like a gap in the market and hopefully someone will offer Vegan plans soon.
Meal Kit Advice
How do I make the most of my Meal Kits?
There are so many ways to get the most out of your a Meal Kits. We’ll try to summarise as many of them as possible here:
- Select meals you’ve never had before – Meal Kits are perfect for exploration and experimentation. Try out new dishes each week!
- Check your ingredients when they arrive – Just in case there are any ingredients bruised or missing, it’s better to find out when you receive your box instead of when you’re halfway through cooking.
- Buy extra of ingredients you like – Although this makes things a little more expensive, one hack to get more meals out of your kit is to buy more of the ingredients you like, such as meats.
- Cook things the way you like them – Recipes are merely suggestions on the best way of using all the ingredients. If you have a preferred way of cooking something, go ahead and use that method. For example, I always fry off my baby potatoes (yum!)
- Eat your meals in the right order – Some ingredients go off quicker than others, so the best advice is to eat meals in the right order to ensure freshness. Generally this goes: Fresh Salad, Chicken, Fish, Pork, Lamb and Beef.
- Save some for lunch – Sometimes you’ll find yourself with large portions, so these meals are perfect for setting some aside for lunch the day after.
- Try all the different Meal Kit services – They all have their pros and cons, so it’s worth trying them all out to see which one you personally like most. Use our discount links to save money on your first boxes as well 💰.
- Impress your friends – Meal Kits will have you cooking some of the most adventurous and tasty meals you’ve ever had, so they’re a perfect opportunity to share your new culinary skills with friends.
Can I freeze the ingredients from my Meal Kit?
The beauty of a Meal Kit subscription is that you can change your order every week based on when you think you’ll be able to cook your meals. This means that most weeks you shouldn’t need to store your ingredients for very long at all.
However, life does have a way of changing at the last minute and you find it impossible to get through all your meals. If this is the case, then it is definitely possible to freeze the meat that you get in a Meal Kit, though you must eat it quickly after defrosting. I wouldn’t recommend freezing any of the vegetables though, so those should be used up in one of the other dishes, or shared with neighbours.
Which Australian Meal Kit is best?
Everyone has a different opinion on this because each service has its pros and cons! We hope to have enough content on this site to help you understand which Meal Kit is the best for you, so do check out our Reviews and some of our comparison articles HelloFresh vs Marley Spoon, HelloFresh vs Dinnerly, Marley Spoon vs Dinnerly.
Our personal favourite, that we’ve rated the highest, was HelloFresh (review) due to the taste and quality of the food we were able to cook.
Which Australian Meal Kit is cheapest?
Dinnerly (review) is the cheapest Meal Kit in Australia by some distance. We found that it was a massive 35% cheaper than HelloFresh and Marley Spoon. Although they have simple meals, fewer ingredients and require a few more staple foods, we still loved the Dinnerly experience and found them the best value for money. We did a full analysis of the costs associated with Meal Kits on our blog – investigating which is Australia’s cheapest meal kit.
Can I send a Meal Kit as a gift?
Yes, you absolutely can and we think they make great gifts. It’s a really exciting moment when the box arrives at your door, so that’s definitely something worth sharing. You can buy gift cards at the following companies : HelloFresh, DinnerTwist.