It’s no surprise that the Vancouver meal kit scene (sometimes referred to as subscription box) offers a bevy of delicious options given the hunger for convenient, healthy eating dinner solutions found on Canada’s West Coast.
If you’re new to the idea of meal kits, here’s the reasons why my family are such massive fans:
- Healthy eating mapped out for us. No Googling special “nutritionist recommends” recipes or counting this or that points system.
- Zero food waste to guiltily clean out of a stinky fridge.
- The mental lightness of not worrying about what’s for dinner. No thawing meat, no last-minute trips to the grocery store, and no supper rush hour as you try to throw something last minute. We have reached a state “dinner time zen”.
- $100+ saved on restaurant meals each month!
- New delicious tastes that even a novice (who’s got two thumbs and recently learned how to use them to whisk their own dressing… this guy) can whip up given the simple, visual instruction cards provided with each meal.
If you want an in-depth look at the most popular meal kit companies in Canada, check out our Hello Fresh Review, Chef’s Plate Review, and Goodfood Review or simply refer to best meal kits in Canada page detailing what we look for in a meal kit service.
What’s In a Meal Kit?
Most meal kit companies will deliver their subscription box to your door (or wherever you choose to have the meal kit delivered to). Within the box, the meat products will be chilled/frozen (my Hello Fresh boxes are more than 50% frozen after several hours in the August heat) in a separate package, and the rest of the ingredients for each meal will neatly packaged in an easy-to-store bag.
Presto – supper is done for 3-5 nights that week!
It literally takes less than five minutes of total time commitment to open your app/website, select your meal options, carry the box from your door to your table, open the box, and place the contents in the fridge. No lists, no grocery shopping, no lines, no parking lots, no recipe searches, no getting sick of your “go-to standby meals”. No worries!
The meals take between 15 and 45 minutes to cook up (depending on which meal kit company you choose and which recipes you select for that week). Almost all of the Vancouver meal kit boxes arrive with easy-to-use recipe cards with full nutritional information on them. You can see from the above picture that the Hello Fresh recipe cards that we use come complete with large pictures to illustrate what meal you’re about to enjoy. My meals always look exactly like the professional pictures do 😉
While there is obviously a wide variety of meals available, the vast majority of the recipes that we’ve tried have been very healthy. The fresh ingredients make the meals nutritious, and while there is sometimes a too-heavy reliance on adding oil to meals, the overall calorie total comes in between 500-900 per serving.
Hello Fresh in Vancouver
The most popular meal kit in Canada is available nearly anywhere in British Columbia, and is my personal favourite: HelloFresh.
As the largest meal kit company in the world, HelloFresh works with local farmers and suppliers on several continents, to help consumers bypass the grocery store and get food “from field to table” as quickly as possible. This commitment to delicious freshness and high quality ingredients recently nabbed them the top spot in a recent survey of American meal kit companies done by USA Today. This is noteworthy given the extremely competitive nature of the American meal kit scene.
Ian Brooks, the CEO and Founder of Hello Fresh Canada stated in a recent interview, “This is the food that we prepare and share with our families and friends, using the highest quality, locally-sourced ingredients, which lead to the most delicious meals.”
This commitment to using local Canadian-grown ingredients has not went unnoticed by small business across Western Canada. After launching a distribution center in Edmonton, Conal Gould, the HelloFresh Canadian Head of Procurement shared that their meal kits included peppers from Medicine Hat’s Red Hat Co-op, and Airdrie’s Highline Mushrooms. “Some of these companies tell us they get emails from consumers asking where they can buy more of their product,” Gould said. “I think it’s really cool to be able to offer that scale and reach to suppliers that don’t necessarily have the distribution themselves.”
After using Hello Fresh for almost a year now, I can honestly say that the absolute worst meal delivered to our house would be ranked a 6 out of 10 (and my wife thought it was more like 7.5-8, so perhaps we could even chalk that one up to weird taste buds). By letting you choose from a variety of meals, you can “play to your strengths” as far as choosing meat or vegetarian options that you’re familiar with, or try something new each time. The ingredients are consistently excellent (the worst case scenario for me has been a couple of times when my herbs froze because our box was on our doorstep for 7 hours in -40 weather – so not the end of the world, and not HelloFresh’s fault) and perfectly ripe.
National Meal Kits Available in Vancouver: Goodfood, Miss Fresh, Chef’s Plate
The main competitors to Hello Fresh across Canada are Goodfood, Miss Fresh, and Chef’s Plate. Obviously, as one of Canada’s largest metropolitan centers getting their meal kits into Vancouver was a goal for all of these companies.
You can check out our full reviews of each these companies for more information, but the quick breakdown is:
Chefs Plate: Vancouver’s lowest cost meal kit. If you’re looking to dip your toe into the meal kit waters and see how much it frees up your evening routine, this is the least expensive way to do it. Servings start as low as $8.99 per serving. Chef’s Plate was recently bought out by HelloFresh, and the early indications are that the meal kit companies will stay in separate lanes, as HelloFresh operates as more of premium option and Chef’s Plate targeting the “value” customers in the meal kit world (more on that on our Chefs Plate review).
Goodfood: Based out of Montreal, Goodfood calls itself “Canada’s #1 Meal Kit” and is the decisive third largest meal kit company in Canada. They ship to Vancouver out of their new Calgary facility that was established to handle Western Canada logistics. Doubling down on their Canadian identity, Goodfood has teamed up with food celebrities such as media personality Anne-Marie Withenshaw and pro snowboarder Mark McMorris. Goodfood has tried to differentiate itself by adding more menu options, generally includes smaller portions, and is priced closer to the Chef’s Plate end of the spectrum, than the HelloFresh side of things. (more on that on our MakeGoodFood review).
Miss Fresh: Another Quebec meal kit company that now delivers Vancouver meal kits is Miss Fresh. While they are currently the smallest company out of the four major nationwide meal kit companies, their growth prospects are interesting and if you are a Metro Grocery shopping, this is likely the way to get your meal kit fix. The reason behind that unique target demographic is that Miss Fresh recently became the first Canadian meal kit company to work with a major grocer. (Metro actually purchased a controlling share in the company.) In addition to various Metro-related promotions, Miss Fresh offers unique healthy breakfast and premium health snacks as add-on options to their weekly meal kit delivery. (more on that on our MissFresh review).
Small Meal Kit Companies in Vancouver: FUUD, Eat Your Cake, The Good Stuff, Fresh Prep, and 2 Guys With Knives
Thanks to it’s status as Canada’s healthiest city (and one that attracts folks with a high amount of disposable income) it’s no accident that several smaller Vancouver meal kit companies have sprung up over the past couple of years.