If you’re the type to spend hours at the grocery store and in the kitchen prepping home-cooked meals only to devour them in minutes, meal kit services might be for you. You get to eat delicious home food without spending ages making it!
Marley Spoon and HelloFresh are currently two of the more popular meal kit delivery services in the market. Below, I’ll hash out their differences and similarities to see which one better fits your needs.
Martha and Marley Spoon
Right off the bat, Martha and Marley Spoon’s key differentiator from other meal kit services is that their meals consist of recipes straight from culinary queen Martha Stewart’s kitchen. This subscription-based service delivers easy-to-cook meals that can be prepared in 6 steps or less. They currently operate in 6 countries, including the U.S., Australia, and Germany.
HelloFresh was founded in 2011, making it one of the first meal kit services on the market. Known for their fresh, high-quality ingredients, this subscription-based service also delivers recipe kits designed by professional chefs and nutritionists that can be prepared in 6 steps. HelloFresh currently operates in 19 countries, including the U.S. and Canada.
Marley Spoon vs. HelloFresh: A Comparison
Both Marley Spoon and HelloFresh offer the same core service but differ in many ways. Let’s compare each of their features to see how they fare against each other.
Both Marley Spoon and HelloFresh allow you to choose anywhere between 2 to 6 meals per week, with the choice to pick servings that feed either 2 people or 4. However, the price they charge per serving differs slightly.
Here’s a detailed price breakdown based on the number of servings you choose per week:
|Servings Per Week
|Marley Spoon (Price Per Serving)
|HelloFresh (Price Per Serving)
Marley Spoon is more cost-efficient than HelloFresh for 10+ servings a week, while HelloFresh’s pricing is consistent.
For shipping, Marley Spoon charges a flat fee of $11.99 per week, no matter how many servings you order. HelloFresh’s shipping fee varies based on the number of servings ordered weekly, but you can typically expect to pay $10.99 per box.
When you add both the costs together, Marley Spoon and HelloFresh end up costing roughly the same.
Winner: It’s a tie!
Looking for a cheaper alternative to HelloFresh? Check out EveryPlate, created by HelloFresh.
Meal Plan Options and Customization
Marley Spoon’s menu boasts 100+ flavorful gourmet recipes designed by Martha Stewart herself. You’ll find plenty of American classics like Honey BBQ Chicken Thighs with some international cuisine sprinkled in, like Nigerian Pepper Stew. There are also dessert options like snacking cakes, cookies, and brownies to round out your meal. Marley Spoon’s recipes fall on the gourmet side, more suitable for refined palates and experienced cooks than beginners or picky eaters.
Meals can’t be customized according to dietary restrictions, but the menu includes tags like “gluten-free,” “kid-friendly,” “low carb,” and “vegan” to help you make your choice. All boxes can be made vegetarian.
Meals are also tagged with “ready-made” or “fast,” indicating quick cook time.
Fresh ingredients and fresh recipe ideas. I am a good cook, but the Marley Spoon cooking experience has introduced new flavors and cooking methods. The results are delicious and the cooking is fun!
– Carla, TrustPilot
Try Marley Spoon and get up to $100 off + free shipping on your first box!
HelloFresh offers 50-75 recipes per week with the option to filter the menu based on your dietary preferences, like pescatarian, family-friendly, fit and wholesome, and meat and veggies. You can also customize your meals according to your preferences using the ‘HelloCustom’ feature. However, there are no nut-free or gluten-free options.
Like Marley Spoon, HelloFresh also offers a wide variety of international cuisine. Unlike Marley Spoon, however, HelloFresh’s recipes are less ‘gourmet’ and more ‘fun and simple’—meals that the whole family is bound to enjoy. Some examples include burgers, enchiladas, pasta bakes, and tacos.
HelloFresh displays nutritional and allergen information and meal prep time as you browse the menu. For special nights, you can choose premium dishes like Onion Crunch Salmon or Steak for an extra fee. Desserts and snacks are also available.
Great service – no waste! Saves time as everything is delivered in one box. Occasionally a recipe card or an ingredient may be missing but the recipe can be found online. HelloFresh has made me more imaginative with food and cooking and the meals are delicious!
– Emily, TrustPilot
Try HelloFresh and get up to 20 meals for free when you sign up!
Recipes and Ingredient Quality
Marley Spoon sources farm-fresh ingredients from trusted suppliers and organic produce whenever possible. Meats are antibiotic-free from the U.S., with some grass-fed beef from Australia. There’s no MSG added to the produce, and all dairy products are pasteurized. All seafood is sourced from responsibly managed fisheries and aquaculture. Despite mentioning all of this, however, Marley Spoon isn’t transparent about who their suppliers are.
All the ingredients come pre-proportioned with optional printed recipe cards that include step-by-step cooking instructions and photos. Regular dishes take 30-40 minutes to prepare, while premium dishes take longer—around 50-60 minutes. There have been some customer complaints about the vegetables arriving damaged and wilted. If this happens to you, contact Marley Spoon support and they should be able to get this sorted out for you.
Like Marley Spoon, HelloFresh sources farm-fresh, seasonal, and high-quality produce. Meat is hormone-free and sourced from local suppliers who follow all USDA inspection guidelines. HelloFresh personally conducts frequent on-site audits to ensure quality as well. They have a dedicated animal welfare policy in place and seafood has either an MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) or BAP (Best Aquaculture Practices) certification.
HelloFresh’s ingredients also come pre-proportioned with printed recipe cards containing step-by-step instructions along with pictures. Their meals take no more than 40 minutes to prepare. However, some customers have complained about the produce arriving rotten, or the sizes being too small. If you face any of these issues, get it resolved with HelloFresh’s (very responsive) customer service.
Not convinced HelloFresh is for you? Check out 5 of HelloFresh’s competitors.
Delivery Times and Locations
Marley Spoon delivers 7 days a week across the contiguous U.S. They don’t specify delivery times, but they do mention that you can pick between a morning or afternoon slot. You’ll be able to choose a delivery day and time that works for you once you enter your zip code.
HelloFresh also delivers throughout the week between 8 a.m to 8 p.m. However, in addition to delivering across the contiguous U.S, they also deliver to some areas in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Anchorage, Alaska. When you enter your zip code, you’ll be able to pick your delivery dates.
Packaging and Sustainability Efforts
Marley Spoon used to pack the ingredients for each recipe in separate paper bags, but has now shifted to putting everything together in the same cardboard box to cut down on packaging. Pantry items come in a separate paper bag and some vegetables are packaged inside separate plastic bags. Their ice packs, made of 98% water, keep the produce fresh in transit.
Marley Spoon’s cardboard boxes, produce, and pantry trays are SFI and FSC-certified, which means the paper is sourced from sustainably managed forests. Liners are made with plant-based renewable foam, and packaging items are curbside recyclable.
Look out for the ‘climate-friendly’ labels on certain recipes which indicate a smaller carbon footprint. You can also opt out of receiving printed recipe cards and have one sent to your email instead. I liked this from a sustainability point of view. In addition to this, more than 91% of their electricity comes from renewable sources, and they offset all their carbon emissions from the previous year.
HelloFresh packs all the ingredients according to the recipe inside specially designed boxes with insulated liners and gel packs to keep them fresh in transit. Like Marley Spoon, they also package certain vegetables inside plastic bags. However, they don’t freeze their meat, which often leads to the juices leaking by the time they reach you.
HelloFresh has a Box Fit system that determines the ideal box size based on your order to cut down on unnecessary carbon emissions. Insulating liners are made from honeycomb paperboard, recycled cotton, jute, and kraft paper. Their main box is made using a mix of recycled and virgin fibers. Like Marley Spoon, all packaging–right from the box to the separators and liners–is recyclable. Additionally, HelloFresh uses 100% renewable energy and offsets all of its carbon emissions.
Really tasty recipes. Never fails to deliver on quality and taste. It stops the headache of what to cook every evening. No wastage, so better for the environment. I have recommended HelloFresh to all my family and friends.
Ease of Use
Both Marley Spoon and HelloFresh make it easy to sign up, pick your meals, and place an order. You can view the menu in advance to make your picks, and their flexible subscriptions allow you to cancel, skip, or pause your subscriptions up to 6 days before the next box is due to arrive. Both services send email reminders before the cutoff dates to help you stay on top of things.
One thing I’d like to mention is how easy HelloFresh makes it to search the menu based on categories. While Marley Spoon does have tags, you’ll need to manually scroll through the entire menu to pick out the categories you want.
HelloFresh’s meals are also easier to prepare. Marley Spoon’s dishes might prove to be too advanced for complete novices.
Final Verdict: Marley Spoon or HelloFresh?
Based on my comparisons, HelloFresh emerges as the clear winner due to its ease of use, customization options, sustainability, and supplier transparency. However, that doesn’t mean that Marley Spoon has no place in your kitchen.
Marley Spoon might be better for you if you’re a good cook with a refined palate who enjoys trying new recipes. If you’re ordering more than 10 servings per week, Marley Spoon also comes out to be cheaper. However, if you’re cooking for a picky eater, or those with dietary restrictions, choose HelloFresh.
Try out Marley Spoon or HelloFresh to experience both for yourself and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.