Meal Delivery Services: Explained
Subscription boxes have flooded the internet and nearly everyone I know now is subscribed to something. One group of boxes in particular is making headway: Meal delivery services.
For someone who hasn’t heard much about them, they can seem confusing and pointless—but the laziness in me loves not having to run to the store to pick up groceries. So what are meal delivery services and which one would be right for you? Jump on the band-wagon and start making tasty meals today!
What are Meal Delivery Services?
Meal delivery services allow you to order pre-packaged meals online and have them sent right to your door. Most provide many different options and plans, and one is bound to fit your needs.
The “classic” package on most sites includes three or fours meals serving two people, but family and specialty plans are typically available. Each box will come with separated ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions that will guide you through the whole process. Most meals take less than an hour to prepare no matter which service you use.
One huge benefit of meal delivery services is the price—it’s practically impossible to beat! Almost all of the companies out there offer meals $20 and under. While that might not sound like a great price when you think about splitting that between two people (and most boxes make enough food to feed more than two depending on how much you eat), that puts you at $10 a person for a gourmet meal made with fresh ingredients.
Most Popular Meal Delivery Services
Each meal services is different, with varying features, pricing, and customization of product. Every person and family is unique which is why I can’t really tell you which meal service you should choose because I’m not you. But, I can give you the perks and facts of each to make it easier for you to decide yourself.
Generally speaking, a family plan will be more expensive, but that’s just because you’re paying for more people and more produce. When you do the math, getting a family plan is actually the same price (and sometimes even cheaper) than a couple’s or original plan. I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down the highlights and prices of the top five meal services.
Hello Fresh provides healthy and fresh recipes with packages that are catered specifically to you. Each week you’re shown a menu with new, tasty recipes to choose from. They’re the cheapest subscription box on this list, but just because the price is low doesn’t mean the product is less than. Somehow they’re able to maintain high quality product as the fraction of restaurant or grocery store price.
Image via Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh is the cheapest option, but not by much. They offer three plans: classic, veggie, and family. The more meals you order a week the cheaper each gets, so if you get five meals each week you’ll be paying $9.90 per meal for the classic plan, three meals per week you’ll spend $9.08 for the veggies plan, and three meals each week will be $8.75 for the family plan. Keep in mind these are the prices for the maximum amount of meals and people a week.
Fresh ingredients are promised with this service. Blue Apron prides itself in providing fresh ingredients and original recipes to its customers. With this box, you have a family plan or couple option—to fit every household’s needs.
Blue Apron offers two-person and family packages. For a two-person plan (three meals per week) you’ll pay $9.99 per meal, and for a family plan you’ll pay $8.74 per meal. With a family package you can choose between two and four meals per week, but the price of the meals themselves always stay the same; so while your total will go up, you won’t be paying more per meal.
Also, shipping is free on all orders so you don’t have to worry about factoring that into the price of your box.
Save $30 on your first Blue Apron box using our link!
Calling all food-sensitive people, Green Chef has your back! They have the most extensive plan options of any other meal service, and are the most conscious of food allergies. Green Chef has six different packages: gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, omnivore, carnivore, and paleo. They also only use seasonal ingredients so the flavors and dishes will be different year-round.
Image via GreenChefPage
Green Chef is a little more personalized because they offer six different packages. They don’t, however, have a family plan, so each week you’ll be receiving three meals servicing two people—but I can speak from experience and say that the portions are more than what two people can eat.
Their packages are vegetarian ($10.49 per meal), omnivore ($11.99 per meal), carnivore ($11.99 per meal), gluten-free ($13.49 per meal), and paleo ($14.99 per meal). If you average those prices and divide that in half, you’re looking at around $6.50 per person. That’s practically nothing for a home-cooked meal.
Gobble is geared toward the couple (or family) on the go. They’re unique in that their meals are guaranteed to take 20 minutes or less to make and only require one pan. With Gobble, you can either order four or six meals at a time and, like most services, you get to choose which meals you want from a menu so you know exactly what you’re getting and that you’ll like it.
With Gobble, you have two initial options: three pre-prepared meals for two people and three meals for four people, each $11.95 per meal. After your first box, you’ll have the option to choose (a minimum of) four meals for $13.95 per meal. If you’re confused by this, don’t worry; I was too when I first read it. Basically, if you order six meals or more a week you’ll pay $11.95 per meal and if you order less than six you’ll pay $13.95.
Maybe you’re just not a cooker and you want meals pre-made. Freshly provides frozen meals delivered right to your door each week. They have the largest menu of any subscription box on this list—they even offer breakfast options.
Image via freshly
With Freshly, you’ll have to order a lot more meals per week, so if you’re just wanting to sample a few dishes, this is not the box for you. You can choose between six, nine, 12, and 21 meal plans per week—although the price doesn’t vary significantly between the plans. You’ll spend up to $11.50 per meal (six meals plan) and as little as $10.50 per meal (21 meal plan).
All of their meals are gluten-free and all-natural (which I love). All you have to do is pop the package into the microwave, and boom — a killer meal in just two minutes.
Which Meal Delivery Service is Right for You?
Gobble is great for a busy family or working couple that doesn’t have time to spend three hours in the kitchen but also doesn’t want to eat take-out all the time. Blue Apron is the best meal service for a family because they have the option to choose how many people and meals you want to eat that particular week (the price isn’t half-bad either).
Green Chef is by far the best option for those with food sensitivities or just people who want a specific type of package (meat, veggies, etc). Hello Fresh provides the most organic and fresh ingredients—I mean duh, it says it in the name—so if you’re a health nut, this service is the one for you. Freshly is an altogether different type of meal service, so if you’re looking for fresh, pre-prepared meals then it’s right for you.
When it comes down to it, you have to decide what you really want out of a service and choose one based on that—each has unique features and varied pricing that can sway your decision.
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Last modified on January 23rd, 2019