Three years ago I discovered meal delivery (or “meal kit”) services. You might have heard about the most popular ones like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or Home Chef. Where you can subscribe to a food delivery, and every week you will receive a box with all the ingredients you need to prepare some nice meals at home.
You might choose to use them because you want variety in your meals, because you want to practice your cooking skills, because you’re concerned about food waste, or because you don’t have time to grocery shop. Some services provide the raw ingredients for you to prepare the meal, some are ready-to-go meals, and various levels in between.
Three years and 19 meal kit companies later, I’m happy to report on my experiences. Unfortunately I only now decided to write this and did not keep proper documentation of all the different services, but memory might prove just good enough. I kept every subscription for at least 2 weeks, sometimes repeating the ones I liked or the ones that offered really enticing “come back” coupons. I have no food restrictions, so I will be a bad judge if you’re looking for a specific type of diet. There are a wide variety of different companies and recipes depending on what you’re looking for. The quoted price is what I could find on their website as for May 2020 for 3 meals with 2 servings each every week (unless otherwise stated). One caveat is that I ordered some of these years ago, so their practices or details might have changed by now. But here’s my personal opinion about all of them:
Home Chef ($60.93)
A typical meal kit with options for 2, 4, or 6 servings per meal and 2-6 meals per week. They have the option to specify dietary restrictions.
This has always been one of my favorite kits! In terms of the recipes, food, and quality, overall great.
Daily Harvest ($68.91)
This is not a normal meal kit service, but they work instead with smoothies or meals that can fit in a cup. It requires no cooking. The price varies from $8 per smoothie or soup to $9 per bowl or flatbread. The quoted price is for their smallest option of 9 smoothies.
This kit was incredibly bad. Admittedly I tried it back when they only had smoothies or soups, but most of the smoothies were just not good, and half of them were outright disgusting. Definitely not worth the ridiculously high price.
Blue Apron ($59.94)
Probably one of the most recognized meal delivery kits. Has an option for 2 or 4 servings per recipe, and 2-4 recipes per week. They also offer a vegetarian option.
This one was… fine. The recipes were not great, and the portions were a little small, but at least they were tasty. I would only recommend it if maybe you get a big discount, otherwise there are much better options.
Sun Basket ($71.94)
A typical meal delivery kit. They have options for 2 or 4 servings per recipe, and 2-4 recipes per week. They have many options for all kids of dietary restrictions.
This is among the most expensive options, but definitely among the best. The recipes were really good and the food was very tasty. Definitely recommend if you can afford it.
This is a “budget” meal kit. Where most kits aim to charge around $10 per serving, Dinnerly charges only about half of that. They have options for 3-6 meals per week, and 2-4 servings per recipe, with the option to make it vegetarian.
You get what you pay for. The price is low but the recipes seemed like something a student would put together in a college dorm for $5. There were a couple of decent pasta meals, but a lot of the meals were just really bad. If price is your main concern, EveryPlate has the same prices and it’s better in every way.
Well this company seems to have changed since I ordered them. They don’t seem to be doing regular deliveries anymore.
This is a “fast meal” kit service. This means every recipe takes 15 or so minutes to prepare, since the food already comes chopped and prepped. They have options for 3 or 4 recipes per week with 2 or 4 servings per recipe. And they do provide some basic dietary options.
Personally I find the fact that the food is already prepped to be a downside. I like doing the work and learning how to cook these meals. The fact that you have to pay a premium for this is not appealing, but they do tend to offer discounts. That being said the meals were good and I have ordered them again. The one thing that drives me crazy about Gobble is that they put the actual recipe card inside the food bag and it always gets soggy and disgusting-looking.
Well they seem to have gone out of business.
I never really understood how Hungryroot works, they don’t seem to provide individual “recipes” but instead think about it like they just do grocery shopping for you. They are very focused on healthy food and I can’t remember if they were vegetarian or if they did provide meat options, if they did they are scarce. I find their meal selection very complicated with options for 2-10 servings per Lunch and per Dinner, with options for 0 to 10 Breakfasts, 0-12 Snacks, and 0-10 Sweets. The quoted price is for the typical 3 recipes with 2 servings each.
Hungryroot wasn’t for me, mostly because they seem very focused on healthy food above anything else. I also prefer the individually packaged recipes than this weird system they have. That being said, it was a fun experience and I’m sure it’s a perfect fit for someone else.
This is a pre-made meal kit, think old-school “TV dinner” style. The meals are individual portions and they come packaged and ready to heat up and eat. They have options for 4-12 meals per week. The quoted price is for the typical 6 servings per week.
Again, even though this might sound good to some people, I don’t enjoy the pre-made meals but would rather make them myself. The food itself was “ok”, I found some of the meals to be a little tasteless or stale, but not terrible. That being said, this was much better than other kits that don’t require cooking (*cough* looking at you Daily Harvest).
This is a pre-made plant-based meal kit. All their meals are ready to heat up and eat and they are all vegetarian (maybe vegan?). They have the option for 10, 20, or 30 meals per week. The quoted price is for their smallest option of 10 meals a week.
I tried. I tried to try this meal kit, I made an account, picked my meals, but I just couldn’t bring myself to order it. It was very expensive, plant-based, and with pre-made meals, none of which appeal to me. So I can not rate this one.
Well, they have also gone out of business.
Terra’s Kitchen (???)
Another one that has gone out of business. They had this really interesting concept to try and minimize waste, where they would send you a small cooler box with your meals, which you would have to return every week. I didn’t really like that system, and it seems that maybe other people agreed.
This is a sous-vide meal kit. All the food comes pre-cooked and vacuum sealed. All you have to do is put the bags in some boiling water, wait, and ta-da!
Even though I’m against pre-made meals, since that’s not why I order these kits. This one was actually pretty good, quite tasty and filling, the best among the pre-made meals I think. It is on the expensive side, so I wouldn’t order it again unless I had a promo code.
Just Add Cooking (???)
Out of business! I guess this is a though business to be in.
Purple Carrot ($71.94)
This is a vegan meal delivery kit. They have options for 2 or 4 servings per recipe, and 2 or 3 recipes per week.
I am not vegan and I enjoy trying all kinds of food, so I was skeptical about trying Purple Carrot. But it was delicious! The meals were really tasty and I actually did enjoy it.
Martha & Marley Spoon ($62.93)
This is a normal meal delivery kit. They have options for 2-6 meals per week with 2 or 4 servings per recipe, with the option to make them vegetarian.
Overall a good meal kit. I think my only problem with it is that it felt maybe a little too “healthy” and the portions were a little small. But it was tasty and I would order it again.
Hello Fresh ($61.93)
Probably also among the most popular meal kits. They have options for 2 or 4 servings and 2-5 recipes per week. With a vegetarian option.
This is probably the kit I’ve order the most. The portions are large enough and the food is good. But also, they tend to offer good discounts on their boxes. I still prefer other meal kits a little more, but for a discounted price, it’s worth it.
Green Chef ($71.94)
This is a normal meal kit with options of 2-6 recipes per week with 2 servings each. They provide the basic dietary options.
This is another of my favorite meal kits. They used to do more complex recipes which I really enjoyed, but they seem to have moved away from that a little and simplified their meals. That being said, I still really enjoy the food.
This is a budget meal delivery kit. They have options for 2 or 4 servings for 3,4, or 5 recipes per week.
This is another kit which I order a lot. It’s not the best in terms of food portions and variety, but it is quite tasty and very affordable. Good food can be made for $5 a serving (Dinnerly should learn something from them)