YouFoodz launched their spin-off high protein ready meal service in 2021, naming it FUEL’d and getting Daniel Ricciardo as the big-name celebrity promoting the new range. Having tried YouFoodz a few times, they excel at delivering cheap meals with plenty of variety. Unfortunately, their meals can lack quality ingredients and have some funny tastes & textures.
That’s why I was excited to see if they’ve learnt anything in the kitchen for the launch of YouFoodz FUEL’d. I ordered myself the new meals for a few weeks, trying most of the new range. My YouFoodz FUEL’d review will go through the whole experience and hopefully help you decide if their service is right for you.
YouFoodz no longer offer a separate subscription to their FUEL’d service. Instead, you can access FUEL’d meals via their normal YouFoodz subscription, which I’ve also reviewed. As a result, this review may contain information that is not up-to-date.
YouFoodz Prepared Meals Review
YouFoodz FUEL’d deliver tasty dishes at bargain prices, whilst lacking any real variety and providing a service that’s rough around the edges.
Ordering - Website - 9/10
Food - Quality - 5/10
Ordering - Meal Choice - 8/10
Food - Taste - 5/10
Ordering - Delivery - 9/10
Value For Money - 10/10
- Incredible value for muscle/weight gain.
- Simple, easy to use website without a lock-in.
- Free delivery (over $69).
- Lots of chicken-based meals.
- Thin plastic containers.
- Issues with short ‘use by’ dates
Getting started with YouFoodz FUEL’d
YouFoodz FUEL’d is not totally separate from normal YouFoodz meals, as they can all be bought together in a single order. However, you can easily filter your selections down to just the FUEL’d range if you’re specifically aiming for larger, high-protein meals.
In my original YouFoodz review, I commented how I felt the portion sizes were too small and left me hungry. That meant that YouFoodz struggled to compete with companies like My Muscle Chef for anyone looking to gain lean muscle/weight. I’m glad to see they’ve rectified this with the FUEL’d range, with meals weighing around 425g on average compared to 326g in the normal range.
In 2022, YouFoodz transitioned to a Subscription model instead of their previous one-off ordering system. You can still order an individual box but you have to actively cancel your subscription after your order. This is YouFoodz moving towards the HelloFresh model (their parent company).
Each week, you have access to the full YouFoodz catalogue and can choose between 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16 and 18 meals a week.
I find the YouFoodz website incredibly easy to use and manage your order. Each meal has detailed nutritional information and individual reviews from TrustPilot, making it easier to choose which meals you want.
If you don’t want to navigate the YouFoodz website, the FUEL’d range is also available at selected Coles, IGA, Drakes, Foodworks and Foodland stores. You won’t get the same selection as online but this can be a good way of trying FUEL’d meals.
Meal variety and options
At the time of writing, FUEL’d had 15 meals available online. Whilst this clearly isn’t as extensive as competitors like My Muscle Chef, it’s a reasonable selection. I can imagine YouFoodz expanding this offering over time so you may see more by the time you read this!
There are some interesting meals available including:
- Steak, Chips & Gravy
- Loaded Mac & Cheese
- Jerk Chicken & Rice
- Salmon Fettucine
- Karaage Chicken Poke Bowl
There is a good variety of different cuisines available and I’m confident anyone would be able to find quite a few meals they like. Since a lot of prepared meal services tend to rely on chicken as a cheap source of protein, let’s check out the split of meals for YouFoodz by protein source:
As might be expected for a budget meal delivery service, over 70% of the meals get their protein source from chicken. That may be an issue for some people who like a bit more variety with their meats. However, I didn’t feel it was a major issue because chicken is so versatile I rarely get bored of it.
To match the high-protein meal options, YouFoodz has also introduced a small range of protein powder packs and snacks. At the time of writing, this was limited to just vanilla/chocolate protein powder and 4 small protein ball snacks.
Special diets and food intolerance
As you can see from the breakdown of protein sources above, there’s no space in the FUEL’d range for vegetarian meals. They clearly didn’t think that was an important offering, which I highly disagree with. Check out my favourite food boxes for vegans or meal delivery services for vegetarians for some services that will cater to the plant-based lifestyle!
On the plus side, you can filter their menu by the following allergies:
- No gluten added (10 options)
- No nuts added (26 options)
- No eggs added (8 options)
- No dairy added (5 options)
Anyone following a nut-free diet has a reasonable choice of options, whilst everyone else becomes severely limited. It’s also important to note that YouFoodz say this about their allergy information (emphasis mine):
Please be aware that due to other foods sources used in our kitchen, there may be traces of products such as milk, eggs, gluten, seafood, peanuts and other nuts in the meals. Therefore, we cannot guarantee a total absence of these contents in any of our meals. Customers with food allergies must be aware of this risk and we will not assume any liability for adverse reactions from the meal consumed.YouFoodz Allergy Disclaimer
This is very standard for most prepared meal services, so it’s not something to be too worried about. I would always advise people with allergies to exhibit caution though.
YouFoodz is one of the easiest services to order from because they have a very wide delivery network that runs on most days. This means you can order your food and have it arrive on any day you want.
The options are slightly more limited to just a few days each week in rural areas, but even this is better than most services that deliver just once a week.
YouFoodz charges a standard delivery fee of $9.99 for all orders, regardless of location.
How much does YouFoodz FUEL’d cost?
I always consider YouFoodz to be a budget prepared meals service, so how do their high-protein FUEL’d meals compare?
Each meal is priced at a $1.99 premium on a standard YouFoodz subscription. That feels like a bargain for meals with 30% more food in them. This is a price point that compares well with other cheap prepared meal services.
It also makes YouFoodz the cheapest price, per gram of food, of any prepared meal service in Australia even before you apply any discounts. You should still always be looking for discount codes that save between 10% – 25% on the cost each week.
My YouFoodz FUEL’d box
There’s nothing special about the box YouFoodz uses, with big green lettering on a white cardboard box. Inside is a foil insulator and a few ice packs to keep meals cool. This means the box is rated to keep meals cold for up to 8 hours and I have no doubt it can achieve this.
I got a notification saying my delivery was due at around 08:30 am, so I decided to wait at home to pick it up. That time kept getting further and further delayed until it was eventually delivered around 11 am. It’s great that they offer a tracker but it can be more harmful than useful when it’s giving incorrect information.
I quite like the FUEL’d branding, with the “X” shaped cardboard slips for each meal. The black design looks quite premium and still allows you to see the food, which has clearly been designed for displaying on supermarket shelves.
They’re always packed with good care and I’ve had no issues with any damaged or missing meals. The delivery drivers get an 8-hour window to deliver food in and they’ve always delivered it within that window. That’s the bare minimum of service and they’ve passed with flying colours on every delivery.
Use By Dates
I think it’s a reasonable expectation to have at least 7 days to eat each meal in your delivery. Sometimes you eat out a few times in a week and you need the meals to last a bit longer.
One of my deliveries had meals that needed to be eaten within 2 or 3 days. Whilst I don’t believe these meals should go to waste, YouFoodz should pro-actively inform customers when they’re receiving meals with a significantly short use-by date. This is a reminder to check those dates when you get any delivery and freeze meals if necessary.
Recycling the contents
With YouFoodz, all of the packaging is fully recyclable. I do think the cardboard slips are a bit unnecessary though, there must be more sustainable ways of displaying all the required information.
Even the plastic meal containers are fully recyclable and the ice packs can be drained into the sink. Check out my blog on the environmental impact of food boxes for more information.
How’s the food?
I was actually very surprised by how tasty most of the YouFoodz FUEL’d meals have been. Considering my low expectations based on the normal YouFoodz range, it feels like they’ve really upped their quality on the FUEL’d range. Let’s start with those positives.
All of the meals I tried had big portions of their protein, such as the Chicken Spaghetti which has a sweet tomato sauce and plenty of chicken mixed throughout. There were good textures throughout, with most meals retaining some bite (e.g the Chicken & Pumpkin Risotto). In fact, there hasn’t been a single FUEL’d meal that I genuinely disliked.
I was never left hungry after a meal, so the portion sizes were perfect for me. Some meals like the Salmon Fettucine felt like the was portion was actually too big!
The news can’t all be good though. There were struggles with some ingredients that probably just shouldn’t belong in a microwave meal. The egg in the Big Breakfast was rubbery whilst the Chicken Katsu wasn’t crispy in the slightest. I’m not sure it’s possible to get these right when reheating in a microwave, so I’m not sure why YouFoodz has insisted on using these ingredients.
Sometimes I felt that the taste was a little lacking or a little odd. More in an unexpected rather than a bad way, such as the Chilli Con Carne being quite acidic. The strangest meal was the Chicken & Chorizo Paella which was weirdly dry and had a random chunk of potato in it. Somehow, it still tasted nice.
Cooking the prepared meals
Each meal was super easy to cook, needing 3.5 minutes in the microwave. This felt like it might have overheated a few meals in my microwave, so you may want to experiment with slightly less time.
It is possible to reheat these meals in other ways, including pan, hob and oven although this isn’t something I’ve ever experimented with.
Dishes I loved
- Chicken Spaghetti
- Jerk Chicken & Rice
- Salmon Fettucine
- BBQ Mac & Cheese
Dishes I wouldn’t recommend
- Chicken & Chorizo Paella.
A quick note on the plastic containers that YouFoodz uses, as they are very thin. This isn’t usually an issue but I have managed to stick my fork through the plastic a few times whilst eating. You might like to tip your meals onto a plate before eating, which is a much more refined way of having dinner anyway.
YouFoodz offers a partnership with AfterPay, meaning you can order now and pay in 4 fortnightly instalments. This must get a bit messy if you get weekly or fortnightly deliveries and then get charged over the next 8 weeks. You’ll end up getting charged the full amount for a box after a while anyway.
In January 2020, YouFoodz partnered with Virgin Australia to allow you to earn Velocity points on every order you make over $49. There’s even an added bonus of 1,000 points when you make your first qualifying purchase. Our calculations reckon that this is worth an extra 2.5% cashback, making YouFoodz even better value.
My Final Thoughts
I really do think that the FUEL’d range is an improvement over their standard meals. The meals have consistently exceeded my expectations and still come in at a great value price. With the extensive delivery network and year-round discounts available, it’s hard not to be enticed by YouFoodz FUEL’d.
The FUEL’d experience is still held back by a few problems though, mainly being the limited range for anyone with dietary restrictions and the slightly odd flavours found in some of their dishes. They should focus more on the dishes that make great microwave meals, rather than trying to sell karaage chicken which is just never going to work.
If you’re looking for some bargain, high protein, filling and tasty meals, then you shouldn’t look too much further than YouFoodz FUEL’d.