To rate these best meal delivery services and help you to decide which companies are worth your time and money, we dug deep so you don’t have to. Our experienced dietitians and nutritionists ordered, selected meals, prepared, and tried out each of these meal kits to assess the following:
- User experience online and customer service
- Flexibility of subscriptions
- Diversity and variety of meal plans
- Quality of the ingredients
- Recipe accuracy
- Difficulty level
- Overall taste of the meals
What Is a Meal Kit Delivery Service?
Meal kit delivery services are a subscription-style service where you can order pre-packaged and sometimes pre-made meals to your doorstep. These pre-packaged meals are easy to make at home and consist of high quality ingredients, so you don’t have to settle on restaurant takeout or delivery for sustenance.
You can order meals compiled into a weekly box that can take as little as 30 minutes to prepare. Meal kits are highly customizable. You can order whenever you want, for however many people you need, and pick from many tastes and diets through extended menu options.
Who Are Meal Delivery Kits Good for?
Home meal delivery kits are good for people who want to save time on prep time per meal. They provide an incredibly convenient method to meal planning. You can get nutritious meals delivered in a matter of days and save on weekly chores like grocery shopping and recipe planning.
Meal planning can be a great way of saving time if you know how to do it properly. But if you have a lot on your plate, a meal delivery kit will save you even more time. It’s also a great way of trying new foods and experimenting with cooking, since they come with quality ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes.
What Is the Difference Between Meal Kits and Meal Delivery?
Both meal kits and prepared meal delivery will bring food to your table, reducing the effort it takes to make meal time happen. But, it’s worthwhile to provide a comparison between the two services.
You can order meal kits if you like to experiment and don’t mind preparing meals. You choose from a weekly menu and get all the ingredients through weekly deliveries. Meal kit recipes are more affordable and take less time to put together.
Meal delivery is perfect if you want to eat with zero effort getting fully-prepared meals shipped either fresh or frozen to your home, with some services even offering free shipping.
Meal delivery and meal kits are both tailorable according to dietary restrictions, including diabetes friendly options or even plant-based meals.
What Do You Get in a Meal Kit Delivery?
It’s pretty simple: You’ll get food for the week in a meal kit delivery box. After choosing exactly what you’d like to eat based on the provided menu options, your dishes will arrive prepackaged.
You’ll get labeled ingredients and step-by-step instructions on how to combine them. Beyond the dishes included in the meal plan, you can add some extra meals to supplement your schedule.
Why Try a Meal Delivery Service?
With a meal kit service, you choose recipes each week that are shipped fresh to your door with pre-portioned ingredients and a step-by-step recipe card. These easy-to-prepare meal kits allow you to cook up a tasty, healthy meal without having to travel to the grocery store and spend hours preparing.
Besides being healthy and convenient, meal kits are a great way to get familiar with different cooking techniques and seasonings and even get your spouse and kids involved.
What Types of Meal Delivery Services Are There?
With the growth of the meal delivery market has come an increase in specialty purveyors focusing on anything from vegan to kid-friendly or gluten-free. No matter what your food preferences or allergies may be, there is a service that will meet your needs:
Which Meal Delivery Service Is Best for Diet and Weight Loss?
To get delicious meal kits for diet and weight loss, you should know who are the best of the meal delivery companies.
Nutrisystem’s meals are designed by dietitians. So if you’re seeking to lose weight, or if you follow a certain diet (like high protein or low-carb diets), Nutrisystem’s meal delivery service can help you make your calorie goals, with a set number of meals per week.
Eating healthier foods often starts with sourcing better ingredients. Green Chef provides great certified organic meals, with diverse menu options (not just chicken breasts and green beans).
Another great meal delivery service for dieters is Factor_, who offer 29 chef-designed, dietitian-approved recipes and pre-cooked meals every week. Their regulated portion sizes, fresh ingredients, and carb conscious recipes can get you eating really nutritious meals.
What Are the Advantages of Meal Kit Delivery Services?
Not making food from scratch daily can cause a lot of guilt, and meal kit delivery services can certainly help with that.
First, it saves time and makes decision making easy. You can pick meals according to your tastes and preferences or specialty diets. Ingredients are usually pre cut and arranged for easy assembly.
Since you’ll get only what you need to cook in a balanced portion size, you’ll eat better and won’t end up with tons of leftovers. So, you won’t waste money by throwing away the food you get sick of.
Does meal delivery save time?
Yes. One of the major draws of meal delivery services is the time factor. People from all walks of life have been turning to meal delivery services to save time.
Parents, busy professionals, and even college students have seen major changes in their schedules after signing up for meal delivery services.
For one thing, they save you the trip to the grocery store. With everything you need delivered straight to your doorstep, you have more time to spend on what matters, be it work, kids, or other errands.
Meal delivery kits are also easy to make and can save you time searching for recipes and then chopping, grating, and preparing ingredients. With all the ingredients delivered portioned and ready to cook, you’ll be able to drastically minimize the time you spend in the kitchen–and that includes doing dishes afterwards.
Are meal kits good if you have dietary restrictions?
If you have dietary specifications like gluten allergies, food sensitivities, or if you’re abiding by a low-carb diet—meal kits can be a great way to help you break the monotony.
Most companies have special meal plans that are suited for specific diets, so you don’t need to feel so limited by your dietary preferences. Others let you substitute ingredients when you’re ordering meals so that you can leave out problematic ingredients. And since all of them list the ingredients on the menu options, you’ll have no problem finding meals that meet your dietary needs.
Are meal kits sustainable and good for the environment?
From ditching the plastic straws to carpooling to work and bringing your own bags to the grocery store, the importance of conservation is something we should all be able to agree on.
Meal kit companies can help by supporting sustainable providers and making sure that you have exactly the amount of food you need so you’re not over-purchasing and throwing out food waste.
How Much Do Meal Delivery Services Cost?
Meal delivery service prices vary from one company to the next, and is often based on how many meals you order per week. Since companies offer different pricing structures that can appear complex, the best way to compare prices is to look at how much each serving (meal) costs.
Which meal delivery service is cheapest?
EveryPlate is one of the more affordable meal delivery service companies, charging $4.99 per serving across the board. From there, the prices can go up depending on the type of cuisine, the quality of ingredients, and other factors.
HelloFresh, one of the best-rated meal delivery services out there, charges $7.99-$8.99 per serving and offers a wide variety of recipes and high quality ingredients.
Which meal delivery service is more high-end?
At the higher end of the spectrum is Green Chef, whose meals range between $11.99 and $12.99 but feature USDA-certified organic produce ingredients and plenty of healthy, tasty recipes.
Most meal kit companies today offer special family meal plans. There are often fewer family recipe options include per week, and they are a little less adventurous than the recipes for couples and singles. The focus is usually on hearty, kid-friendly meals that can be cooked in a single pot—and leave some leftovers for later.
Is Shipping Included with Meal Delivery?
One factor that can really make a difference when choosing a meal kit company is the shipping cost. The shipping costs range from around $6.99 to $9.99 or more per order, basically the same price as a meal serving.
With many companies, the shipping cost is waived if your overall order is above a certain total. For instance, with Plated, shipping costs $7.95 per order, but is free if you order more than $60. With Home Chef the shipping is free if your order exceeds $45.
With HelloFresh on the other hand, you get free shipping – no matter how many meals you order. While with Sunbasket, the shipping isn’t waived with a minimum order amount.
If you’re ordering for yourself, it may be difficult to hit that order minimum, but by doing so, the savings on shipping could offset your delivery costs. If you’re ordering for a family of four, you should be able to exceed the minimum order no problem.
Is the Meal Kit Industry Growing?
Statistics from recent years say the industry really is a growing one. In the United States alone, 17% of Americans have opted to order recipe boxes. Out of these 17%, almost 90% have referred their friends or family to the plans. On the other side of the ocean, in the United Kingdom, over 11 million people bought meal kits.
These kits became a popular meal alternative to known grocery store experiences in the past few years, bringing an interesting array of items from the internet to doorsteps.
This industry growth is expected to continue even after the pandemic, as it’s expected to generate over 10 billion dollars in sales by 2024.
Which Demographics Use Meal Kits?
Surveys showed that while older generations were less prone to use fresh meal delivery plans, 26% of Generation X (those who were born between 1965 and 1980), and 29% of millennials (those born between 1981 to 1996) opted to order recipe boxes.
When it comes down to gender, men tend to use these services more often than women. In general, the top subscribers to meal kit delivery services all earned more than $100,000 annually.
How to Choose a Meal Delivery Service
When choosing a meal delivery service, you should first see if you want a meal kit or a ready-to-eat food service.
There are many meal delivery services out there, and each one caters for a different purpose. For example, some meal delivery services only have vegan dinners, while others specialize in smoothies or comfort foods. The bright side of these diverse options is that you have a great chance to find something that fits your unique requests.
Picking a meal kit that has all-natural ingredients is an easy way to get delicious food. Make sure to check out where ingredients come from, how long they will take to get to you, and how they get packaged as all of these points will impact taste.