The meal box market is growing, with more players – and cheaper prices.

Really Simple Money has been reviewing them for yumminess and value for several weeks, now.

So when a new player arrived on the scene with even cheaper prices, how could we resist?

There’s a lot of competition out there and just a few weeks ago, Aussie Farmers Direct went under. Now, we’ve discovered two more players, one of which could disrupt the market completely. We also bring you an updated league table to help you decide.

Dinnerly

An offshoot of German meal company Marley Spoon, Dinnerly promises to bring Australian consumers the most affordable dinner box of all. It’s aiming to do this by dispensing with the fancy marketing and complicated packaging. Dinnerly is available in Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria.

What the box costs: $6.49-$7.99 per person per meal (includes $8.49 delivery)

What we did: Unlike the others which label and package up meal ingredients in individual paper bags, it’s up to you to fish the right ingredients out of the fridge when it’s time to cook. But this box is so cheap, it’s worth having to think for yourself.

What we thought: Simple recipes and tasty meals, with leftovers for lunch the next day. What we love is the eco-friendly ice pack, a great solution to what usually goes to landfill.

What’s in the box: Chicken linguine with crispy caper crumbs, Indonesian vegetable curry with vermicelli noodles and beef koftas with sweet potato mash

Thomas Farms Kitchen

Based in Mount Barker, South Australia, farmers Simon and Bruce have teamed up with Thomas Foods International to bring customers premium-quality meals. Produce is sourced directly from Australian farmers and suppliers, and freighted overnight to metro areas in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and SA.

What the box costs: $9.91-$11.65 per person per meal

What we did: Food prep ranges from a one-pot stir fry to a combo of boil, fry and bake. Instructions confusing at times but the result is delicious.

What we thought: Where other companies expect you to have quite a lot in the pantry, TFK provides everything, down to the last pat of butter. Unfortunately, this does mean more unnecessary packaging. Chef-inspired meals, generous portions.

What’s in the box: Amazing Asian duck and mushroom pizza, vego spaghetti with asparagus, mushroom and zucchini and gluten-free lamb and cauliflower fried rice. You can also choose your own meals at $12.50 per person per meal.

Your Kitchen Rules League Table

Considering value, customer service and recipes, this is how we’ve ranked the six contenders. Aside from The Cook’s Grocer and Dinnerly, everyone is priced about the same.

  1. Dinnerly – Outstanding value and a varied menu. We’d like the option of more meals in a week as it was over so quickly.
  2. HelloFresh – A well-established player who keeps getting better. Good value with great recipes.
  3. The Cook’s Grocer – Recipes are simple and delicious. If they were cheaper, they’d be our number one choice.
  4. Thomas Farms Kitchen – We like supporting local suppliers. Priced at the premium end.
  5. Marley Spoon – The “posh food” choice. Very good food and easy-to-follow recipes.
  6. Pepper Leaf – We love the ethos of fresh. And great customer service from the CEO himself. Portions are a bit small.