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You’ve probably seen the commercials by now. There seems to be a bunch of new meal kit providers popping up every day. As someone that enjoys cooking my own healthy meals from scratch, I was interested in the idea that I could simply order specific meal ingredients ahead of time and follow a ready-to-go recipe card from one of these services. I maintain that cooking your meals from scratch is an important habit because it helps hone the skill of cooking, so, with this in mind, is the convenience that comes with having your ingredients delivered to your door worth your money? In this post, we’ll look at HelloFresh vs Mindful Chef.

The two most popular meal kit services right now appear to be HelloFresh vs Mindful chef, both promising to make your life easier with a simple subscription fee. Whilst these services look very similar on the surface, I did find there are some key differences under the hood.

If you’re not interested in food shopping and you want to save time at home with your family, these meal kit services might be worth your money. Here’s an overview of what both of these services offer.

Quick overview: Both HelloFresh and Mindful Chef offer a weekly subscription service that allow you to cancel anytime.

HelloFresh VS Mindful Chef: Overview

Overview

HelloFresh

Mindful Chef

Subscription model

YES

YES

Cancel anytime

YES

YES

Delivery frequency

Once a week or customisable

Once a week or change to a preferred day

Number of recipes to choose from

44+ a week

20 a week

Maximum meals per week in a box

20

16

Vegan option

Vegetarian

YES

Cheapest box option per week

£33.48

£37.50

HelloFresh VS Mindful Chef: how they work image: hellofresh.co.uk

HelloFresh and Mindful Chef both work much in the same way, sign up to receive a weekly meal kit where you’ll be charged on a weekly basis.

When you go to the HelloFresh website, you’ll be prompted to select the type of box you’d like each week. This is done by selecting the number of people you want to create the meals around and the minimum you can choose is 2 followed by 3 or 4.

The next thing you’ll need to do is choose how many different recipes you want each week. You can select 2,3,4 or 5 meals each week. For example, you can create a box for 4 people across the working week (5 different meals for 4 people) totalling 20 meals in a box.

Then you will need to create an account, and enter your address and payment details before you can select the recipes you’d like to include in your weekly box.

Mindful Chef works much the same. Visit their website and choose how many people you’d like to feed. This ranges from one person to 5 people. You can then browse the recipes on the homepage, selecting 2 – 5 different meals in your weekly box. If you’re selecting just 1 or 2 people, you can get the maximum of 5 meals in a box however if you’re a family of 4 or 5, the maximum number of meals in your weekly box is 4.

Mindful Chef has a handy vegan category whereas I had trouble finding something similar on HelloFresh’s recipe page where the focus was more on vegetarian meals. Furthermore, I did find that HelloFresh note they can’t always guarantee vegan recipes each week so this could be a deal breaker if you’re vegan.

The recipes image: mindfulchef.com

HelloFresh has a vast amount of meals to select from and put in your weekly box, in fact, they have over 44 meals to select from each week that includes quick meals, family-friendly meals, veggie meals, calorie-smart meals, desserts, sides, lunches, brunch and more.

You’ll need to select your weekly meals for the following week 6 days before or HelloFresh will auto-select them for you which might not always be a bad thing after you initially tell Hello Fresh what kinds of meals you enjoy. Every week you’d get a bunch of surprise meals delivered to your door which might make things easier if you don’t want to spend time customising your meal plans.

If you’d like, you can also add extras like fruit and desserts each week but of course, you’ll have to pay extra for them.

Mindful Chef has 20 recipes to choose from on a weekly basis that change every week. 20 recipes is a lot less than Hello Fresh’s 44 a week however the recipes they offer are still quality and I like how they show the macros for each meal including the overall calorie content. Mindful Chef’s meals focus on high protein and high fibre ingredients whilst staying away from stodgy carbs.

Alongside the customisable meal kit boxes Mindful Chef has a whole host of extras you can purchase and add to your boxes including, 43 high-quality frozen ready meals, 46 smoothie kits, 20 soup products, 8 desserts, 9 breakfast items and 29 snacks and vitamins. Like HelloFresh, you’ll have to pay extra for these.

Something I like about Mindful Chef deliveries is the fact you also recieve their weekly magazine for further recipe inspiration.

You can customise your weekly meal boxes each week but you’ll need to do it at least 4 days before your next delivery date to make sure the ingredients are ready.

Sustainability image: hellofresh.co.uk

Both of these meal kit services pride themselves on being sustainable. From what I’ve seen and experienced first-hand, HelloFresh and Mindful Chef both keep this at the forefront of their services. When you use HelloFresh or Mindful Chef you can be sure that food waste will be at a minimum. How often do you cook a big meal only to throw half of it away or put it in the fridge and leave it to spoil?

The great thing about these meal kit services is that you only get what you need and no more. There’s not much difference between HelloFresh and Mindful Chef in terms of sustainability because they both use quality British ingredients and bring the foods straight from the suppliers to their warehouse before they deliver them to you, unlike supermarkets that have larger supply chains that also have bigger carbon footprints.

HelloFresh and Mindful Chef deliver your meals in robust cardboard boxes that can be recycled. They also provide large ice packs and coolers within your boxes to keep your food cooler for longer. Both of these services are Certified B Companies which means they have voluntarily reached and maintained the highest standards for social and environmental performance.

I must admit that when I recently received my first box of HelloFresh, it felt like a very high-quality item. The food itself was wrapped in brown paper bags instead of plastic ones and along with the flavourful food, made it feel like I’d just had a trip to the farm shop. It was a great experience and I loved how I had to follow a few steps on the recipe cards before plating up perfectly portioned meals.

It made me realise that services like HelloFresh and Mindful Chef might also benefit those looking to cut down on the amount they eat each week. I must admit, when I looked at my plate, it looked like I might not be satisfied, being someone that usually eats larger meals, however, this wasn’t the case at all. The volume of food was just right and I was completely satisfied.

I couldn’t fault the quality of the service but it did make me wonder if the pricing would be sustainable if I wanted to make it a long-term arrangement.

Pricing

When it comes to choosing HelloFresh or Mindful Chef, it will probably come down to the pricing for most people. Extras aside, the pricing for your standard boxes is quite different.

HelloFresh

HelloFresh boxes start at 2 people per box with 3 recipes.

2 people x 3 recipes per week @ £33.48

2 people x 4 recipes a week @ £39.48

2 people x 5 recipes a week @ £45.48

3 people x 2 recipes a week @ £34.98

3 people x 3 recipes a week @ £43.98

3 people x 4 recipes a week @ £52.98

3 people x 5 recipes a week @ £61.98

4 people x 2 recipes a week @ £37.98

4 people x 3 recipes a week @ £47.98

4 people x 4 recipes a week @ £57.98

4 people x 5 recipes a week @ £67.98

Mindful Chef

Mindful Chef plans start at 1 person and 3 recipes a week. Family boxes are for 4 people.

1 person x 3 recipes a week @ £37.50

1 person x 4 recipes a week @ £47.50

1 person x 5 recipes a week @ £59.50

2 people x 1 recipes a week @ £14.50

2 people x 2 recipes a week @ £34.00

2 people x 3 recipes a week @ £51.00

2 people x 4 recipes a week @ £68.50

2 people x 5 recipes a week @ £84.50

Family box x 1 recipes @ £26.00

Family box x 2 recipes @ £52.50

Family box x 3 recipes @ £80.00

Family box x 4 recipes @ £98.50

As you can see, HelloFresh is the clear winner when it comes down to price. Mindful Chef does feel a little expensive but this is likely due to their 100% British beef costs factored in. It may also be because they are a smaller company.

HelloFresh has a delivery charge of £4.99 and you can select the day of the week you’d like your boxes due to the fact they deliver 7 days a week between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm and it’s not clear if you can decide what time you’d like your delivery. If you’re not home, you can upload a photo of an area you’d like your box placed until you get back.

Mindful Chef also allows you to change your delivery day to a day that suits you best. Mindful Chef delivers between 8 am and 7 pm and again, I don’t think you can choose a specific timeslot, however, you will be texted an estimated delivery time on the day of your delivery. Mindful Chef has a cheaper delivery charge than HelloFresh of only £2.99.

The Cookbooks

If you’re not interested in subscribing to a weekly box from either of these meal kit services, they both have cookbooks you can find on Amazon. This way, you can still create their recipes with your own store-bought ingredients if you enjoy them.

HelloFresh’s cookbook features 100 of their tasty recipes whilst Mindful Chef’s cookbook includes their best 30-minute meals using only 10 ingredients.

HelloFresh VS Mindful Chef: which one’s worth it? image: mindfulchef.com

Both of these meal kit services provide introductory deals when you buy your first box which makes them both worth trying, in my opinion, however, if you’re looking to use a meal kit service long-term, it might make sense to use HelloFresh due to the cheaper price. For example, for 2 people wanting 5 recipes a week, you’ll end up paying £45.48. For the same amount of recipes for 2 people, Mindful Chef will cost you £84.50.

The next question is whether using one of these meal kit services is cheaper than buying your own food from a store. As I’ve already mentioned, the quality of the food you get from HelloFresh and Mindful Chef is going to be better than store-bought in general. However, meal kit services do feel premium. The only way you can personally find out if they’re cheaper than buying your own ingredients is to go and make the recipes from store-bought foods and then compare the costs against each other.

If you’re a couple then £45.48 for 5 meals by HelloFresh might not seem like it’s too much for the quality. However, it’s important to remember this is only 5 meals. How many meals do you eat a week? On average, most people will eat 21 meals a week before you even factor in snacks.

If you’re a family of 4 or 5, these meal kit services began to get very expensive because you’re looking at £67-£100 a week for only 5 dinners, for example. Therefore, they’re not going to be for everyone unless. A lot of people will likely find it much more cost-effective to cook their own store-bought ingredients once they learn the tasty recipes.

Still, I think at least trying these services is worth it. I personally loved the meals in my HelloFresh box and they inspired me to look at my portion sizes for all of my meals. Furthermore, because these services have introductory offers, there’s no reason not to give them a go.

Visit HelloFresh here or Mindful Chef here.

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