Top 5 Meal Kit Delivery ServicesSep 8, 2021 | 0 Votes by Mel - rate While there are dozens of meal kit delivery and subscription services out in the market today, they are not created equally. In this article, we explore several services, each with their own unique advantages and features, so that you can choose the best one that suits your family’s particular budget, dietary needs, and cooking skills. So whether you’re a student cooking for one in a tiny apartment kitchen, a whole family of vegans, or frustrated parents of super fussy kids, there’s sure to be a meal kit out there that clicks all your boxes.
Meal kit delivery services have been hitting their stride these past few years due to busy families wanting to provide healthier, home-cooked restaurant-quality meals for their families. They have especially become more popular than ever in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, as concerned, safety-conscious people socially-distanced themselves, scaled back on grocery shopping, or even went on self-imposed lockdowns in the effort to avoid infection.
And even as the pandemic is winding down and society is slowly opening up to pre-coronavirus normalcy, meal kit delivery services are projected to remain aa big part of many families’ lives, especially with the growing number of meal types, recipe options, and special features that are constantly being introduced in order to make each box exciting and looked forward to every week so that satisfied customers keep coming back for more.
Below are five meal kit delivery services we think are heads above the rest when it comes to offering the best value for your particular meal requirements:
Best All Around Meal Kit
HelloFresh is a Berlin-based international meal kit subscription company that is currently the largest meal kit provider in the United States. Offering up to 3 recipes per week for up to 4 people, HelloFresh offers six plans: Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, Calorie Smart, Quick & Easy, and Pescatarian—with all plans including complete nutritional information so that you know exactly what’s going into each dish health-wise. Choose from among 27 fresh recipes every week that have been expertly designed by professional chefs and nutritionists.
The best thing about how HelloFresh’s recipes are consistent with equating cooking skill level with prep time is that it also acts as a kind of cooking school. Anyone who is clueless about cooking will soon pick up the basic prep and cooking techniques from Hello Fresh in just a few weeks.
What’s more, Hello Fresh is also best for those with designer food allergies as it helpfully tags each recipe accordingly, whether you are allergic to (or avoiding) dairy, gluten, soy, nuts and so on.
Hello Fresh meal kits cost $60 per week for three meals for two people to $96 per week for three meals for four people (prices include shipping).
Best Meal Kit for Fast, Easy Cooking and Customizable Meal Plans
The first meal kit delivery service in the market, Home Chef is known for their highly customizable recipes that are easy to prepare and don't require a ton of culinary skills. Aimed at families looking for the familiar flavors of home-cooked recipes, Home Chef mostly offers comfort foods and dishes that are American favorites, such as chicken pot pie, sirloin steak with roasted bacon potatoes, mac & cheese, turkey meatloaf, grilled pork chops, and more.
Home Chef boasts over 38 meals to choose from in any given week—more than any other service—including their brand new oven-ready meals (which come with everything you'll need to make the meal including the cooking tray, so no messy kitchen and no dishes) and one-pan dinners.
Customization, meanwhile, is what makes Home Chef stand out from the other services as you have the flexibility to change your meal preferences from week to week like swapping the protein in your meal choices from chicken to pork to fish or double the protein if you're feeling especially carnivorous. You can even double the portion size of an entire meal if you're planning on entertaining the following week or just want more leftovers for lunches and snacks.
Each meal costs between $7.99 to $9.95 a serving plus a $10 delivery fee (free for orders over $40) or around $45 a week for two meals with two servings each. They also offer add-ons like fruit and smoothies for an additional $4.95 as well as special occasion meals if you’re looking to add something extra sumptuous during certain holidays and events.
Best Meal Kit for First-Timers
While not the first meal kit in the market, Blue Apron is the first to popularize the whole meal-kit-delivery-service concept by heavily investing in advertising. During its peak in 2015 to 2016, it delivered over eight million meals per month and raked in over $1 billion in annual sales.
Today, while it faces stiff competition, Blue Apron remains a top choice for busy people with little time to both shop and cook through a weekly box of everything you need to make at least two meals for two people or a family of four, customized based on your dietary preferences.
Now focusing its recipes and meals on niche groups such as singles, empty nesters, and families looking to experiment with “Premium-style” meals (previously only available for two person households), Blue Apron’s recipes are inspired by unique seasonal or hard-to-find ingredients and everything comes pre measured and precut—a plus for super busy cooks. Calorie counts for each recipe are included. As a big plus, Blue Apron even has add-on programs for wine delivery/subscription and a market feature to shop for kitchen tools.
Furthermore, if you’re not a meat eater, Blue Apron offers a vegetarian option for the two-person plan and recently added Beyond Meat boxes to its options so you can whip up a Beyond Burger at home.
Blue Apron costs around $60 a week for three meals for two people up to $96 per week for three meals for four people with other plans available for singles as well as add-ons.
Best Meal Kit for Healthy Eating
Green Chef is the first USDA-certified meal kit company that offers organic and healthy recipes to its customers, making sure that at least 90% of the ingredients it sends are 100% organic. All food is sourced from sustainable and traceable farmers and manufacturers, which is helpful for a growing number of people and families who are concerned about where their ingredients come from.
While it may be one of the pricier meal kit delivery services compared to those who offer up more traditional fare, Green Chef is highly regarded for its versatility in the different specific diet plans available. From gluten-free, paleo, and keto to pescatarian, vegan, and vegetarian meals, no matter which diet you're following (for health or personal reasons) you'll be able to find a Green Chef plan that works for you.
While Green Chef is a USDA-certified organic company that prides itself on using high-quality, sustainable, clean ingredients, it is one of the eco-friendliest meal kit companies out there as well. The company has also provided useful guides on its website to show you how to reuse and recycle its packaging whenever possible, and the paper bags and cardboard boxes that its kits are shipped in (plus everything else, from the paper bags to the ice packs) are also either recyclable or sourced from recycled materials.
Green Chef offers a two-person plan and a family plan. A two-person plan box contains three dinners for two people at $79 per week; while the family plan box features two dinners for a family of four for $95 per week (all plans include shipping).
Most Affordable Meal Kit Option in the Market/Best for Students
EveryPlate offers the best value meal kit around since you can create your own scrumptious, generously portioned meal for as low as $4.99 per serving.
The best plan for those whose journey into meal kit delivery is based on affordability, EveryPlate keeps its overhead low by offering just eight easy recipes to choose from weekly, which mostly excludes vegetarians and those on special diets, but the eight available meals are full of variety and flavor otherwise. Overall, you will be able to select from 18 meals with free shipping on your first order, plus the ability to skip or cancel anytime.
In addition, what makes trying out EveryPlate even more enticing is its New Customer promotion, where you can enjoy your first box for just $1.99/meal plus 20% off another 2 boxes! With EveryPlate, select three meals from an ever-evolving menu where the dishes change weekly.
The easy-to-follow recipes generally take about 30 minutes to cook, require minimal tools, and have choices like spicy honey butter chicken or cheesy panko-crusted pasta. Plans offer recipes that serve two to four people.
We mention that EveryPlate is a great option for students as well as it provides them with some attractive discounts. If you happen to study in a university or college that’s included in the UNiDAYS and StudentBeans student networks, then you can purchase 18 meals for just $2.49 each!
Overall, EveryPlate will cost you just $39 a week for three meals for two people up to $70 per week for three meals for four people (both prices include a delivery fee).
So, whether you’re trying to cut down on expensive and unhealthy food deliveries, still not keen on grocery shopping for your weekly meals, or are trying to learn how to cook and eat healthy at the same time; the five meal kit delivery services above all offer fresh, restaurant-quality food that you can easily prepare in less than an hour—and at prices that won’t strain your budget. Try them out now and experience a new way of preparing and enjoying food!