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HelloFresh vs FED.
How do they work? And what's the difference?
More and more meal delivery kit services are emerging within New Zealand, each promising to help you eat well and eat conveniently. Since HelloFresh and FED. are two of the more popular meal delivery services in New Zealand, we thought an in-depth comparison would be beneficial. While we are not comparing apples for apples, you can get a feel for which option is right for you and your household before you test the waters.
How do meal delivery services work?
Most meal delivery options like HelloFresh do not come pre-made. You have to cook the food yourself. The idea behind these services is that you get everything (apart from pantry staples like salt and oil) that you need to make delicious and interesting food yourself – no grocery store trips required. This option is suitable for people who like to cook, have time to do the prep work but not necessarily the meal planning and who want to try out new flavours, cuisines and dishes.
Then you have the pre-made meals from companies like FED., that deliver healthy and nutritious meals ready to heat up and eat – no preparation needed. This option is ideal for busy people who don’t have time for planning, preparing or cooking, but still want a tasty yet nutritious meal at the end of the day. It’s also a handy option for new parents or people who are unable to cook for themselves due to illness or injury.
Both variations offer convenience as a selling point (one more so than the other) and allow you to set up a weekly subscription. You can choose which meals you’d like across a range of cuisines and experience different recipes that you wouldn’t otherwise try out.
In this meal delivery service review, we’ve looked at the types of meals on offer, packaging, cooking time, quality of ingredients and more. Let’s dive in and take a look at how HelloFresh and FED. stack up against each other.
Which recipes/meals are better?
FED. meals are more like comfort food, while HelloFresh mixes things up with a variety of cuisines.
HelloFresh covers most major cuisines in its meal plans. Whether you are a fan of Chinese, Italian or American, or want to try something new like Mexican, Vietnamese or Moroccan, there are plenty of options to mix things up and tempt your tastebuds.
One thing that FED. meals don’t include is salads. Since meals come in one container and need to be heated up, everything in the dish is hot and more along the comfort food lines. Think pasta, mash, rice, potatoes and pies. While that may sound unhealthy, the meals are actually not high in calories and the portion sizes are not huge.
Both services have delicious recipes, but you will get more variety with HelloFresh. However, it’s important to note that even though most of the ingredients you’ll need for each recipe are included, there are some pantry basics that you’ll need to supply yourself such as flour, butter, salt, vinegar and olive oil.
Meal plans and recipe choice
FED. has 12 pre-made meals on offer each week.
You can order 6, 8, 10 or 12 single meals each week, catering for a single person or a couple. Regular meal sizes are 400g, but you have the option to upgrade to Ravenous meals which are 480g.
Families can order the FED. Family pack, which includes enough meals to serve four people for either three or four nights per week.
You can also opt for mini meals which come in a pack of eight, plant pots, care boxes and special Christmas meals.
FED. gives the option of signing up for a regular subscription or, unlike HelloFresh, you can place a one-off order. It offers more flexibility and allows you to choose different meals in sizes ranging from 250g through to the family-sized 1,600g to cater for your needs throughout the week.
Most meals are freezer-friendly, so you can order additional meals and put them straight in the freezer to defrost when you need.
HelloFresh has four meal plans to choose from:
- Meat & Veggies. The largest selection of recipes that contain seasonal produce and quality proteins.
- Veggie. Wholesome and creative meals without meat.
- Family Friendly. Meals that are suitable for families with young children who may be fussy eaters or are happy with more basic yet wholesome recipes.
- Quick & Easy. Recipes that take less time and effort to prepare than with other meal plans.
Once you have chosen the right meal plan, you can select three, four or five meals per week for two or four people. You’ll then be asked to decide on the recipes that you want to make. HelloFresh has about 30 recipes each week to choose from, but this includes all types of meals such as veggie and family friendly.
Recipes change from week to week. You can look at the selection here before you sign up and get an idea of the type of kid-friendly, low-calorie or quick recipes that are on offer.
Preparation and cooking time
Since FED. meals are already fully prepared, all you need to do is follow the cooking instructions on the packaging. Cooking time is five minutes or less.
The first time we tried HelloFresh, we were unable to cook the recipes in the prescribed times. 30-minute meals were taking close to an hour to prepare and cook.
Cooking times can vary and it depends on how detailed the recipe is and how much time you’ll need to prepare. Meal delivery kits are sold as a way to save time, but if you are not much of a cook and usually prepare more basic meals, you’ll likely find things a bit slower to begin with. You can see on the recipes how long the cooking time is and if you would prefer to keep things as short as possible, you can always opt for the Quick & Easy meal plan.
We did find that often we can end up with a messy kitchen – with numerous bowls and utensils. Try to tidy as you go or put dirty dishes in the kitchen sink so you feel less overwhelmed. However, it can be fun preparing meals with your partner – with two people you can cut the prep time down and enjoy spending some quality time together.
HelloFresh works out cheaper than FED. on price, but this is to be expected since you have more work to do to prepare your meals.
If we compare a box that has three meals for two people*:
If we compare a box that has four meals for two people*:
*Prices are correct as of 20 April 2021 and do not include any current promotional discounts. Delivery costs are not included.
Delivery and skipping boxes
Both services run on a subscription basis with weekly deliveries, but FED. also allows you to place one-off orders.
Fortunately, both services allow you to pause as many weeks as you like. You can log in to your account and skip the service so that you won’t receive or pay for a box for the selected week. HelloFresh has an app that allows you to do this. With FED. you can do this via its website.
It’s important to understand what the cut-off times are for weekly subscription deliveries. Once the time has passed, you won’t be able to cancel or change your order – even if you have a last-minute invite out of town.FED. only delivers to Auckland, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington and Hamilton in the North Island. It makes deliveries on Sundays to each of these cities, with Auckland deliveries also on Thursdays. Delivery windows can be as long as 10 hours, but you will receive an email when your delivery is on its way to you.
HelloFresh delivery times and days depend on your location. You may have more than one time slot to choose from each week. It delivers to most places in the North and South Islands, and if it doesn’t at the moment, it might in the future.
Meals are packed in temperature-controlled boxes with icepacks so if you’re not home, you can have peace of mind that they won’t go off sitting outside for a few hours.
Quality of ingredients
We can’t fault the quality of the ingredients on either side. HelloFresh deals directly with small family businesses and imports as few ingredients as possible. FED. supports local businesses to sustainably source fresh and seasonal produce. Both services provide top-quality red meat and free-range chicken. The fruit and vegetables usually smell fresh and look much nicer than what you find at a grocery store.
If there was anything to separate the two, it would be that being an international company, HelloFresh does import some basic ingredients for its meal kits, whereas FED. deals solely with Kiwi farmers and food producers.
HelloFresh has about five vegetarian options a week to choose from and you can simply select the veggie box option to get easy access.
FED. has two or three vegetarian options a week, but these are not clearly labelled on the page where you select your meals.
However, FED. does cater for vegetarians with its Plant Pots. These are 300g pots layered with beans, pulses, grains, fresh vegetables and sauce. There are five to choose from and you can order individually or as a pack of five.
Special diet, allergies and intolerance options
If you’re on a special diet for whatever reason, unfortunately, your choices are limited.
Each of HelloFresh’s meals contain around 2,000–3,000kJs, but you can find more specific information on calories, proteins, fats and carbs on the recipes. It does have about six low-calorie recipes each week, which are labelled as being under 650kcal. It also has a couple of recipes that have under 30g of carbs if you are on a low-carb diet.
HelloFresh doesn’t cater for food intolerances or allergies with specialised meal plans, but you can check what allergens are in each recipe when you are choosing your meals. Only unprocessed ingredients are included, so you may be able to substitute an item to make a recipe.
Since FED.’s meals are pre-prepared, there isn’t an option to leave out foods that you may react to. While a meal may not include wheat, nuts or dairy, FED. can’t guarantee that your meals won’t have traces of an allergen since cross-contamination in the kitchen can occur.
For nutritional information, click on the “Details” button when viewing your meal options for the week. FED. regular meals typically have between 1,700 and 2,500kJs, while Plant Pots have between 700 and 1,300kJs.
Sustainability and packaging
Both companies appear to be quite switched on in regard to recycling and waste. But, neither of them make it as simple as putting all packaging in your recycling bin.FED. uses eco-friendly materials and all packaging items can be recycled or reused. Meal trays are made from recyclable aluminium foil, which can be placed into your household recycling along with broken-down boxes. Lining your delivery box you’ll find Woolcool insulation made from sheep’s wool, which you can reuse as mulch or to insulate garden plants. If you live in Auckland, leave this out on your doorstep for your next delivery driver to collect. Pottles for herbs and condiments are certified commercially compostable – you can put these in your green waste bin since they are made from plants. Finally, the gel packs which help to keep things cool contain gel that is non-hazardous and non-toxic. This can be discarded in your rubbish bin and you can pop the plastic pouch in your local supermarket’s soft plastics recycling.
HelloFresh boxes, meal kit bags and recipe cards are all made from recyclable materials and can all be recycled in your paper bin. The icepacks and “cool pouches” can be reused in your chilly bin, but they can’t be put into your recycling bin. The gel from the icepacks needs to be disposed of in your regular bin, then you can take the outer layer along with the cool pouches and any plastic wrappers to be recycled through Soft Plastics New Zealand.
Other points to consider
HelloFresh often has discounts for first-time customers so you can try the service at a cheaper rate. An example of a discount that could be on offer is $59.99 off your first delivery plus free shipping. Loyal HelloFresh customers receive free boxes to give away to friends and family to try, which is certainly a welcome surprise.FED. provides care boxes that you can order as a one-off surprise for someone in need. There are different boxes to choose from including a new parent meal box, a freezer-friendly meal box and a grey power meal box. When you place your order online, you can write a note that FED. will include with the delivery to your loved one. Alternatively, you can order a gift card.
Meal delivery services are marketed to you as a way to save time and money and let you try new recipes. While the latter is true, we don’t believe they save you time unless you go for FED., which really makes things easy for you.
Both HelloFresh and FED. work out more expensive than what you would pay if you were to source the ingredients yourself (in most cases), so you are just paying for the convenience. But when you consider that you still need to go to the supermarket to get what you need for breakfast, lunch, snacks etc, are you really saving that much time?
Whichever option you choose will depend on your personal circumstances and taste. As mentioned earlier, we are not comparing apples for apples.
We’ll leave you with the pros and cons of each instead, so you can decide for yourself which is the better option for your household.
- Great-tasting and nutritious meals
- It delivers to most major towns and cities in the North Island and South Island
- It has different meal plans to cater for different needs and a good range of recipes to choose from each week
- Frequent discounts for new customers
- Low-calorie and low-carb recipe options
- Wide variety of cuisines to try
- Cooking and prep time can be longer than what is indicated on the recipe sheet, so won’t necessarily save you time
- Not all ingredients are sourced in New Zealand
- Ingredients can go off if you don’t cook meals – some meals are labelled to be made first
- Some people may find that recipes are complicated or too much work for what they’d like
- You need to provide some ingredients yourself, such as milk, flour and oil
- Doesn’t cater for intolerances or allergies
- Easy and convenient for busy people who don’t have time or energy to cook
- Sign up for a subscription or order a one-off box
- All ingredients sourced in NZ
- Care boxes and gift cards to surprise loved ones
- Mini, Regular, Ravenous and Family size meals
- Only delivers to some parts of the North Island
- Doesn’t cater for food intolerances or allergies
- Meals work out more expensive since they are pre-prepared
- No salad options since meals need to be heated
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