Today’s world is a busy one, and people have less and less time to worry about things like meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.
At the same time, they want to feed themselves and their families healthy home-cooked meals, and that’s leaving many Canadians wondering how to fit the demands of mealtime into their busy schedules.
Meal kits are becoming an increasingly popular option for Canadians who don’t always have the time to shop, prep, cook, and do everything else that goes into making meals.
There are several meal kit services that deliver across the country, and we’ve reviewed the most popular ones and put together this guide that will tell you everything you need to know to choose the right meal kit delivery service for you and your family.
How does meal kit delivery work?
To get started, pick your meal plan and then customize your preferences based on things like dietary restrictions, family size, and how many meals you want per week. After that, you’ll be able to look through the different recipes that are available for the week and choose the meals you want for your family.
Once you’ve made all your selections, a box will be delivered to your door that includes all the things you need to make the meals you’ve selected for the week. The box will include all the ingredients, pre-measured spices and sauces, recipe instructions, and anything else you might need to make the week’s dishes. However, you will typically have to supply certain kitchen staples, like cooking oil and basic seasonings such as salt and pepper.
All the meal kit companies in Canada have a subscription service, but some of them also offer meal kit deliveries without a subscription. Even if you do have to subscribe, you can skip weeks or cancel at any time.
Best meal kit delivery services of 2020
- Best overall – Goodfood
- Best value – Chef’s Plate
- Best recipes – Hello Fresh
- Best convenience and simplicity – Cook it
- Best specialty diet options – LiveFit Foods
Best meal kit services comparison
|Chefs Plate||Goodfood||HelloFresh||Cook it||LiveFit Foods|
|Best for||Value||Overall||Recipes||Convenience and simplicity||Specialty diets|
|Availability||All provinces except NL||All provinces except NL||All 10 provinces||Quebec and Ontario||All of Canada|
|Price of 3 meals for 2 (per serving)||$59.94 ($9.99)||$66.95 ($11.16)||($11.66)||$67 ($11.17)||N/A|
|Price of 3 meals for 3 (per serving)||N/A||N/A||N/A||$92 ($10.22)||N/A|
|Price of 3 meals for 4 (per serving)||$107.88 ($8.99)||$123.60 ($10.30)||($10.82)||$119 ($9.92)||N/A|
|Vegetarian max price per serving||$9.99||$10.13||$10.67||$10.50||$10.60|
|Diet options (gluten-free, dairy-free, Keto, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Halal, Kosher)||Vegetarian||Vegetarian, low carb||Vegetarian||Vegetarian, gluten-free||Keto, gluten-free, halal, vegan, vegetarian|
|Meals per week||2 to 4||2 to 4||3, 4||2 to 7||24|
|Servings per meal||2, 4||2, 4||2, 4||2 to 4||1|
|Reusable boxes||No||No||No||In some areas||No|
|Ready to eat||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Number of options per week||15||18||25||16||70 (doesn’t change weekly)|
|Prep time range||15 to 45 minutes||15 to 35 minutes||20 to 40 minutes||20 to 35 minutes||2 to 4 minutes|
Best overall – Goodfood
- Excellent customer support
- Recipes are well-organized and easy to follow
- Plenty of meal choices each week
- Owned and operated in Canada
- Goodfood donates a school meal for a child in need for every box that’s purchased
- Individually packed items means lots of packaging to deal with
- Online recipe catalogues don’t display prep times (but you can click on individual recipes to find that out)
Goodfood is headquartered in Montreal, and their service is available in every province except for Newfoundland. You can choose to navigate the site in both French and English, making it accessible to Canadians across the country.
There are three different meal baskets available through Goodfood, and each one has its own serving and meal quantity offerings:
|Basket||Number of people||Dinners per week||Price per serving||Cost per week|
|Clean15 Low Carb||2||3||$14.41||$86.46|
If you want to know what you could be eating through this meal kit company, have a look at their seared pork with vegetable massaman curry over jasmine rice.
Goodfood is great for families, people on low-carb diets, and vegetarians. Their Clean15 basket consists of healthy low-carb meals, like the sizzling sirloin steaks with caper butter over Bloody Mary tomato salad. Many of the low-carb options are also gluten-free/gluten-smart, including the maple-sesame glazed chicken with roasted string beans and baby bok choy.
Goodfood also has about three vegetarian meal options each week, and while none of them is specifically egg- and dairy-free, there’s usually at least one veggie meal each week that’s vegan or can easily be made vegan. Vegetarian meals are creative and offer variety, like curries and bowls, or the roasted sweet potato bowl with feta, quinoa and crunchy cabbage salad.
A unique meal option from Goodfood is their breakfast smoothie menu. Breakfast boxes start at $59.88 per week, and each box comes with 12 ready-to-make smoothies. There are a wide variety of smoothies to choose from, like banana pecan, cold brew crisp, and boreal berry. Beyond that, they also have a few non-smoothie options, like oatmeal bowls and croissants.
One great thing about Goodfood is they have a ton of easy prep meals that take only 15 or 20 minutes to make, but the average time to make any Goodfood meal is about 25 minutes, and the longest is around 30. Further, the easy prep meals are still balanced and complex, but more of the ingredients are pre-prepared (for example, the garlic will already be minced).
You can also filter meal choices by options like classic meals, meals that can be barbecued, one-pot dishes, and easy preparation.
The breakfast smoothies are particularly convenient, because all you have to do is transfer the ingredients to a blender, blend, and your morning meal is ready.
Finally, Goodfood also makes it easy to skip weeks and change your plan or preferences at any time, and they have excellent customer service if you have any issues.
Goodfood boxes are designed to keep your food fresh even if you aren’t home at the time of delivery, thanks to the insulated liners and icepacks inside the cardboard boxes. You can even refreeze the icepacks and use them in the future.
While all the components of Goodfood boxes are recyclable or compostable, there is a lot of packaging with this meal kit service. Every meal in your box will come in its own plastic bag with individually wrapped ingredients – plastic baggies, bottles and containers. Even though you don’t have to throw the packaging in the trash, there’s still a lot to deal with from each box.
Goodfood is great for people who love good food, even if they don’t have a lot of experience in the kitchen. They have fresh ingredients, creative meals, easy-to-follow recipes with photos, and lots of their easy prep meals come with pre-cut and pre-cooked ingredients.
For example, their seared pork with vegetable massaman curry is a delicious and complex meal that’s very easy to prepare and only takes 20 minutes to make, thanks to the pre-diced onion, pre-sliced bok choy, pre-cooked rice, and pre-mixed spice blend.
Plus, the recipe card lays out everything that’s included (the meat, veggies, spices, coconut milk, peanuts, soy sauce, and rice), anything extra you need to provide (oil, salt, and pepper), and the tools you’ll need to complete the meal (one pot and a large pan).
All you need to do to get this meal on the table is toast the peanuts, cook the pork, cook the veggies and spices, and reheat the rice. With a few simple steps, you’ve created a healthy, gourmet meal for yourself and your family.
Best value – Chef’s Plate
- Plenty of meal options that kids will love
- Dinner + Lunch ingredient add-ons give you two meals in one
- Fresh ingredients
- Lots of 15-minute meals
- Most affordable meal kits in Canada
- Great spice and flavour offerings
- Healthy, portion-controlled meals
- Ingredients from local and Canadian farmers/suppliers
- There’s a delivery charge for the 2-person, 2-meal weekly plan
- Some meals require a lot of preparation and cleanup
- Lots of packaging
- Not a huge amount of variety and dietary accommodation
- Longer average cook times for dishes that aren’t 15-minute meals
Chefs Plate is available in every province except for Newfoundland and Labrador. For French-speaking Canadians, the site is available in both French or English.
Chefs Plate was founded in Canada and has distribution hubs in Vancouver and Toronto, but the company is now owned by HelloFresh, a meal kit company that’s headquartered in Germany.
There are a few weekly meal plans available through Chefs Plate, and the prices are the same regardless of the meal type you choose (meat and veggie, vegetarian, or family). Here’s a breakdown of the options and prices:
|Number of people||Dinners per week||Price per serving||Cost per week|
Curious what type of meals are available through Chefs Plate? Have a look at their Mediterranean spinach and feta pasta with roasted red peppers.
Chefs Plate has three different meal plans: meat and vegetables, family-friendly, and vegetarian. A few of their choice veggie meals include roasted beet and feta nourish bowl with maple drizzle and pesto quinoa pilaf, or smoky bean and cheese quesadillas with black bean Pico de Gallo.
They also have some gluten-free and dairy-free meals, but it’s hit and miss if they’re available in any given week. Each meal has ingredients listed online, so you can check each dish to see if it meets your dietary preferences.
After you sign up, you can also edit your taste preferences to remove certain ingredients (such as fish or beef) from your meal options, and this is especially important if you sign up for auto delivery.
Something that people love about Chefs Plate is the large number of 15-minute meals they have. That being said, the majority of their meal offerings take about 35 minutes to prepare, and some are even 40 or 45 minutes in the making.
One thing with Chefs Plate is that most of their meals — even the 15-minute ones — tend to require several dishes, like pots, pans, baking sheets, strainers, and multiple utensils. Even if you opt for a quick-to-prep meal, be prepared for a longer cleanup.
Something that’s unique to Chefs Plate is their Dinner + Lunch recipes. For an additional charge, they’ll throw in some extra ingredients you can use to stretch your dinner meal into lunch for the next day as well, making meal preparation for the week even faster and more convenient.
Chefs Plate does require a subscription, but they make it easy to cancel at any time, and you can also skip weeks if you’re going out of town or have other plans.
Like most other meal kit companies, Chefs Plate doesn’t have a box pickup, but their containers are fully recyclable. Moreover, a lot of the food they send comes in containers that can also be used to store leftovers, so they can be washed and added to your reusable food storage container collection.
Chefs Plate also guarantees the quality of their ingredients by packing their food in insulated containers with ice packs, so even if you’re not home when your box is delivered, your food will still be cold and fresh when you unpack it.
Chefs Plate is one of the most popular meal kit companies in Canada, and a lot of that is thanks to the value, fresh ingredients, healthy meals, and straightforward recipes.
The Mediterranean spinach and feta pasta mentioned above takes just 15 minutes to make, and the recipe card walks you through all the steps for making a delicious and healthy meal.
This pasta dish comes with almost everything you need to make it, including the pasta, cheeses, veggies, herbs and spices, and cream. The only ingredients you need to provide are butter and salt, and the cooking tools you need are a pot, pan, strainer, and knife.
The onions even come pre-sliced and the Parmesan is already grated, so minimal prep and kitchen skills are required. All you have to do is cook the pasta, sauté the onions, slice the tomatoes in half, and heat all the ingredients together and you have yourself a simple, yummy, and nutritious meal in minutes.
Best recipes – HelloFresh
- Seasonal meals available for holidays
- Large portion sizes
- Flexible plan sizes mean you can also accommodate guests
- Large variety of world cuisines to choose from
- You can customize meal preferences
- High-quality ingredients
- Some recipes tend to take longer than the estimated time
- Recipes that take longer can require lots of dishes and cleanup
HelloFresh is available in every province in Canada, and you can opt for French and English service. They are a German company that operates all over Europe, in the U.S., and in New Zealand and Australia.
Like most of the meal kit services in Canada, HelloFresh offers a few different meal package types, including their pronto, veggie, and family plans. Each has its own number of servings per week, meals per week, and prices:
|Plan||Number of people||Dinners per week||Price per serving||Cost per week|
Here’s an example of a delicious and popular meal from their pronto plan: Middle Eastern spiced chicken with almond rice, roasted sweet potato, and garlic-lemon yogurt sauce.
HelloFresh has some of the best menu options when it comes to variety and flexibility. Their dishes are inspired by cuisines around the world, such as Greek, Korean, Russian, Cuban, African, American, and much more. Plus, they have the highest number of meal options per week, so every box is an opportunity to try something completely different.
They have three plan types available: the pronto plan for quick, easy, and delicious meals, a family plan to feed more people, and a veggie plan for the vegetarians. In fact, HelloFresh is currently the only meal kit company in Canada that offers Beyond Meat products for their veggie meals, like the bibimbap rice bowl and spicy sesame sauce with Beyond Meat, zucchini, and carrots.
You can quickly and easily customize your meal preferences once you sign up, and can choose options like no fish or no beef meals. Furthermore, HelloFresh has a sampling of sides and extras you can add to your meals, such as garlic bread to go with your favourite pasta dish.
HelloFresh is one of the most convenient meal kit companies in Canada because they offer some of the most flexible options. You can skip weeks any time as often as you want, choose your meals up to 4 weeks in advance, and can even check your boxes before they’re delivered and swap meals, making it easy for people with dietary restrictions and allergies to manage their meals.
The meals available through HelloFresh are generally pretty straightforward to prepare, especially if you opt for the pronto plan, because meals come with all the ingredients already chopped, diced, sliced, minced, and ready-to-use. HelloFresh meals can take 20 to 40 minutes to prepare, with the average meal requiring about 30 minutes.
HelloFresh guarantees the freshness of their boxes by shipping their meals in lined cardboard boxes with ice packs to keep everything cool. Everything they send can be recycled, so nothing will end up in the trash. Further, they are eliminating unnecessary packaging where necessary, such as with produce that has its own protective skin or peel.
The meals available through HelloFresh range from easy-peasy — especially with the pronto plan meals — to slightly more complex. Overall, the straightforward instructions are easy-to-follow, meals don’t require a lot of expertise to make, and the dishes are scrumptious. Plus, their online cookbook gives a difficulty rating for each meal, so you can avoid certain dishes if they seem too complicated.
When making the Middle Eastern spiced chicken, the box comes with almost everything you need to make the meal in just 30 minutes, including the chicken, spices, vegetables (like pre-cubed sweet potato and pre-chopped onion), rice, and yogurt. All you need on-hand is some sugar, oil, and salt and pepper.
Once it’s time to cook the meal, all you have to do is season and roast the sweet potato, cook the rice with onion and garlic, toast the nuts, cook the chicken, make the yogurt sauce, and then plate and serve.
This meal does require a few dishes, and that’s not uncommon with HelloFresh meals. To make this chicken dish, you’ll use a baking dish, pot, pan, bowls, and some utensils.
Best convenience and simplicity – Cook it
- They have ready to eat meals available
- Wide selection of pantry items you can add to boxes
- You can earn credits and free food by referring friends
- Highest number of meals per week available
- One breakfast meal option each week
- Less cleanup than with some other meal kit companies
- Recipe preparation estimates are accurate
- Not available in most of Canada
- No recipes that are advertised as fast or easy prep, though most meals are simple and quick to make
Cook it is one of the smaller meal kit companies in Canada, and they currently only deliver within Ontario and Quebec. The company was founded in Quebec and is headquartered in Montreal, so the site is available in both French and English.
Cook it has a regular menu plan and a vegetarian plan, and both offer the highest number of available meals per week that you can order, ranging from 2 to 7. That means you could go every night of the week without ever having to worry about buying groceries. Here are some prices from the regular plan (the vegetarian plan is slightly cheaper) to give you an idea of what’s available and how much it’ll cost to get meals through Cook it:
|Number of people||Dinners per week||Price per serving||Cost per week|
If you’re interested to see what eating through Cook it could be like, check out their chicken taco bowl with orzo, guacamole, and fried tortillas.
Cook it has an excellent selection of add-ons, extras, and meal options. For one thing, they’re one of the only meal kit companies that has ready-to-eat meals available. Each week, they have four ready-made meals that include things like mac and cheese or duck shepherd’s pie.
Each week, 4 of the 16 meal options are vegetarian, so you can choose veggie meals if your family is doing meatless Mondays or otherwise trying to incorporate more veggie options into your diet. Finally, they also have one breakfast meal on the menu each week, which means you can enjoy a gourmet breakfast in the morning or a delicious breakfast-for-dinner meal.
Beyond that, Cook it also has an extensive selection of pantry items that you can add to your box each week, such as oil, wraps, cheese, fresh fruit and veggies, yogurt, pastries, and snacks.
The average meal from Cook it takes about 27 minutes to prepare and cook, but some take as little as 20, and others might take up to 35. The online meal catalogue conveniently displays the cook times for each meal, so you’ll know before you order exactly how much time you’ll have to dedicate to any given dish. Plus, they have weekly online tutorials that can help you hone your kitchen skills.
Cook it is very flexible with their plans, and you can skip weeks up to 3 months in advance if you know you’re going away or have other plans. Plus, you can change/cancel your subscription at any time, and can even add portions for specific weeks to accommodate guests.
The boxes and packaging that Cook it uses to pack and ship their meals are all recyclable, so there’s no waste that’ll end up in the garbage. They ensure quality and freshness by using gel packs to keep ingredients cold, and even these can be emptied and recycled. Their boxes also tend to be smaller than what the other meal kit companies use, and that means a little less waste in your recycling bin.
Something unique that Cook it offers is their sustainable kit, which uses reusable containers and a delivery bag that gets picked up by the delivery person each week. Unfortunately, this is only available in certain areas in Montreal.
Cook it’s chicken taco bowl is a delicious meal that the whole family can share. It’s a simple meal to make, but it’s flavourful, fun to eat, and ready to go in just 30 minutes.
Cook it provides almost everything you need, including the veggies, chicken, tortillas, and spices. All you need are salt and pepper, plus a pot, pan, strainer, and bowl.
To make this dish, you start by cooking the orzo. While that’s cooking, you can chop the onions, tomatoes, radishes, and tortillas. Then, you fry the tortillas, cook the chicken and onions, season the meat, and you’re ready to plate and serve your meal.
Best specialty diet options – LiveFit Foods
- Meals that cater to just about every diet
- Excellent selection of meals
- All meals come ready-to-eat
- No subscription required
- Will cater to food allergies and preferences
- Delivery is only free on orders over $200
- There’s an order minimum of $99
You can order meals through LiveFit Foods from anywhere in Canada and have them delivered to your home, work, or even a friend or relative’s house. The company is based in London, Ontario, and the website is available in French and English.
LiveFit is unlike other meal kit companies in several ways, and one of them is that they don’t offer weekly meal plans based on the number of people and the number of servings. Instead, you just choose how many prepared meals you want to order. The quantity you can order typically ranges from 10 to 24, depending on the package. Here are some examples of the prices and quantities for a few of their packages:
|Package||Number of meals||Cost|
Want to know how you could be eating if you ordered from LiveFit? Have a look at their keto-friendly chorizo sausage and veggie skillet.
Of all the meal kit companies, LiveFit by far offers the most in terms of specialty meals, dietary accommodations, extras, pantry items, meal types, and more. Here are a few of the diets they cater to:
Beyond that, they also have special meals for different goals, including weight loss, muscle building, and fat burning. Plus, they have soup cleanse meals, family meals (that come with 2 portions), breakfast options, smoothies, kid-friendly meals, and build-your-own meals.
On top of that, they also have snacks, groceries, kitchen supplies, drinks, and pantry items. Finally, if you have food sensitivities, you can email the company and they’ll ensure the meals you get are allergy-safe.
LiveFit is different from other meal kit companies because all their meals are prepared for you, and all you have to do is reheat and serve. That means you get healthy, tasty, and nutritious meals that are ready in just 2 to 4 minutes. You can also store meals in the refrigerator for a few days, or freeze them for up to 3 months.
Unlike other meal kit companies, LiveFit doesn’t require a recurring subscription, but if you like, you can sign up to have freshly prepared meals sent to you on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
LiveFit meals are shipped in insulated cooler boxes, and the food is kept cold and fresh with biodegradable ice packs. Each meal comes in an individual plastic container that you can wash and reuse for leftovers in the kitchen, or for storing things around the house.
If you want to make your own meals at home without the hassle of grocery shopping and meal planning, then LiveFit isn’t for you. What they offer in convenience they lack in experience, because you don’t get to prepare and cook your own meals — all of that is done for you.
With the chorizo sausage and veggie skillet, for example, all you do is pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and your meal is ready. With other meal kit companies, you’d still get the hands-on experience of cooking the meat, chopping and cooking the vegetables, and plating the meal. LiveFit still promises delicious and healthy homemade meals, but the meals aren’t made in your home.
Meal kits and the environment
While this is a lot of packaging involved, studies have found that meal kits have a lower over overall environmental impact than grocery store meals thanks to a reduction in trips to the grocery store and there being less waste because the meals are pre-portioned. The Resources, Conservation & Recycling journal reported in that on average, grocery meal greenhouse gas emissions are 33% higher than meal kits (8.1 kg CO2e/meal compared with 6.1 kg CO2e/meal kit.
However, this is not to say that meal kits are super green – the reality is that food waste is such a massive problem that if it were a country it would be the #3 global greenhouse gas emitter after China and the United States according to the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
|Chefs Plate||Goodfood||HelloFresh||Cook it||LiveFit Foods|
What to read next
Over to you
Do you have a favourite meal kit company? Give other Canadian families your advice in the comments below to help them choose tasty, healthy, and convenient meal options.