I personally tested and compare all four major Canadian meal kit companies. Here are the results of the Canada meal kit comparison 2020, my four favourite recipes from the meal kits - plus discount codes for you to use.
The Meal Kit Comparison
When getting to the grocery store is too difficult, dinner inspiration has run dry or your favourite products are out of stock, there are meal kit delivery companies.
But which ones have tastier meals? Whose instructions are clearer? Which meal kit company has the best photography? Which considers dietary restrictions? And which Canadian meal kit is the most environmentally friendly?
During COVID-19, getting out of the house was a special challenge. Getting through the grocery store was even worse. Add to that a screaming infant, and you've got yourself a recipe for several dinners made up of tortillas with cheese and avocado.
So to combat this, we decided to run our own Canada meal kit comparison, and to test what the different Canadian meal kit companies have to offer.
We have compared the Canadian meal kit companies on: deliciousness, recipe clarity, ingredient quality, food photography and branding, price and environmental sustainability.
Here are the results Canada meal kit comparison 2020:
|HelloFresh||Chefs Plate||Cook It||Goodfood|
|Deliciousness||Good. Small twists that elevated recipes, but several dishes were so-so.||Good. Simple, delicious recipes that tasted good.||Mediocre. Several dishes were so-so, few stand outs.||Best. Small twists gave recipes a gourmet feel; dishes had many components.|
|Recipe clarity||Best. Clear, simple instructions; icons for ingredients.||Good. Clear, simple instructions.||Bad. Confusing instructions in weird order.||Bad. Confusing instructions and order.|
|Ingredient quality||Mediocre. Had a couple of instances of bad ingredients. However, the only one to use Beyond Meat.||Good. Ingredients were fresh but simple.||Best. Perhaps because this was based in Quebec, the ingredients were always fresh and many were local. Often gave very large portions.||Mediocre. Mostly good ingredients, but had a few issues with freshness.|
|Photography and branding||Best. Beautiful branding and photography.||Mediocre. Consistent, simple branding and nice photography.||Bad. The branding was nice, but the photography of the stages was low res and badly styled.||Good. Good photography and branding.|
|Price||$68.94 / week (+$9.99 shipping)||$59.94 / week (free delivery)||$84 / week (free delivery)||$66.95 / week (free delivery)|
|Environmental sustainability||Low. Compostable bags and water cooling bags. No reusable containers.||Low. Compostable bags and water cooling bags. No reusable containers.||Best. Reusable containers were good, but recyclable bags and cooling bags with gel beads were a problem. However, they have a sustainability kit that is fully reusable.||Good. Reusable containers and small recyclable bags were good, but recyclable bags and cooling bags with gel beads were a problem.|
|To Subscribe||Get $80 off your first 3 boxes with the code AFF80.||Get 50% off your first Chefs plate order with the code 50X1CHEFSPLATE2020.||Get 50% off your first two boxes of Cook It with the code KSENIAP305.||Click here for $40 off your first basket.|
And now, let's delve a bit deeper into our Canada meal kit comparison.
HelloFresh is the biggest Canada meal kit company. It was also the first Canada meal kit that we tried. We used it for four weeks.
We were highly impressed with the graphic design, the photography, and the use of quality products like Beyond Meat, mussels and stracciatela cheese.
Most of the recipes we made were exceptional, though quite easy. What stood out to me at HelloFresh as a cook was their use of little "tricks" - like adding flavouring to cooking rice - and the delicious sauces. Those things helped elevate the recipes to a gourmet experience, and kept us coming back for more. However, there were a few recipes that felt bland, and several ingredients past their prime - but any time we complained we received a small discount from our next order, which helped mitigate the frustration.
What disappointed me the most was the multiple throwaway packages. It would have been better to receive ingredients in small reusable containers, like those provided by some other Canada meal kit companies.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Beyond Meat Gyro Wrap. To get this recipe, please subscribe to my mailing list - you will receive all four recipes featured in this post as a free sign up bonus!
DISCOUNT CODE: Get $80 off your first 3 boxes with the code AFF80. ($40 off your 1st box, $20 off your 2nd box and $10 off your 3rd box, plus free shipping).
The recipes here were quite tasty, but also quite simple. We were satisfied with everything we made, but few things had that 'wow' factor that HelloFresh had.
However, we liked the use of small reusable containers. We were a bit disappointed with the lack of gluten-free options - many things required adaptations and substitutions.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Penang Turkey Curry. To get this recipe, please subscribe to my mailing list - you will receive all four recipes featured in this post as a free sign up bonus!
Cook It is the entrepreneurial start-up of Montreal-based Judith Fetzer, her partner Patrick and best friend Thomas. They had a slow start but eventually acquired Miss Fresh, which helped boost them in the right direction. We tried this service for four weeks.
The first thing that stood out to us in Cook It was the extensive focus on the founders of the company, and the brand's commitment to local ingredients and producers. This made ordering from Cook It feel like inviting a chef friend or blogger into your home - you cooked with someone you could relate to and get to know. It also made us happy to support local producers at this difficult time.
The second, related thing is that Judith Fetzer is a mom. This is reflected in the brand's attention to healthy recipes, and to providing suggestions for how to engage kids in the cooking and eating of their recipes. Most Cook It recipes we tried had adaptations for children, or a box highlighting what kids of different ages can do to help make this recipe. As new parents ourselves, we loved this!
The recipes themselves were delicious and often surprising. An unexpected twist was that many ingredients came in large size or quantity. Thus, most recipes made a lot more than the expected two portions, giving you more bang for your buck. We also found their sign up promos to be quite generous. They were also the only ones to clearly outline which recipes were gluten-free at the time of selection - a big bonus when dealing with allergens.
Finally, we also appreciated that Cook It was the only company to offer a sustainable kit. Equipped with all reusable dishes, cutlery and packaging and delivered by bike, this is an environmentalist's dream when it comes to meal kit delivery. You just wash your containers, and give them back next week when you get your next delivery! For obvious reasons, the Cook It Sustainable Kit is dependent on availability and is only possible in certain areas in Montreal.
Unfortunately, the design and photography left much to be desired. The recipes were confusing in how they were written, the layout of the recipe cards was unappealing and inconsistent, and the photographs of the stages were badly lit and styled. This detracted from what was otherwise a very good Canada meal kit service.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Pan cooked salmon with yogurt and dill baby potatoes. To get this recipe, please subscribe to my mailing list - you will receive all four recipes featured in this post as a free sign up bonus!
From the first look, Goodfood looks like the most elegant and grown-up meal kit. Their meals are delicious, and have the most variety in terms of food basket choice. We tried this service for three weeks.
Goodfood's branding is clean, beautiful and understated. All their packaging is printed and stamped with their logo and colours, making their look the most streamlined of the meal kit services we tried.
But how is the food? Well, I'm happy to report the food is excellent! Everything we tried was delicious, the recipes were unique, and some of their sauces were our favourite of the bunch.
We were also happy with the overall quality of the ingredients. However, some last-minute substitutions of herbs left us wondering (parsley in pico de gallo?), and a few green beans began wilting at the edges by the time we got to cooking one basket.
Another brownie point was scored on the sustainability package, with the use of plastic reusable containers for things, instead of disposable packages. However, we would have liked to see them use compostable paper bags for their meals in place of the recyclable plastic ones.
FAVOURITE RECIPE: Saag Halloumi. To get this recipe, please subscribe to my mailing list - you will receive all four recipes featured in this post as a free sign up bonus!
DISCOUNT CODE: Click here for $40 off your first basket!
The Canada meal kit comparison: The verdict
Overall, there are good and bad parts to all the meal kit services we tried. However, we felt that we can recommend each one based on what you're looking for in the kitchen.
For the beginner cook: Chefs plate or the easy prep line of Goodfood. With their simple but delicious recipes, both these services ticked all the boxes for a novice cook to gain some confidence and experience in the kitchen.
For the global foodie with the adventurous palate: HelloFresh. The unique ingredients, variety of recipes and clear recipe cards make this the perfect service for someone looking to experiment with international flavours.
For the elegant diner, or the mature cook: Goodfood. Their beautiful design and delicious recipes were great - though they lacked a bit of the 'wow' and surprise factor of some of their competitors.
For the locavores, or those cooking with and for small children: Cook It. This service stayed true to Quebec products, which we loved. We also found some of their recipes really special - a salad with grapes, oranges, walnuts and rice? Delicious! Another high point was the focus on cooking with little ones - I am a sucker for anything that tries to get kids more involved in the kitchen.
Want to try these services? Use my discount codes for your first sign up:
HelloFresh: Get $80 off your first 3 boxes with the code AFF80.
GoodFood: Click here for $40 off your first basket.
Full disclosure: I received no monetary compensation in exchange for this post. However, this post contains affiliate links, and I will receive a small monetary reward if you use my links to subscribe. And as always, all opinions expressed here are my own; you can always expect me to be honest with you guys!