Meal Kit Delivery Services in 2021
We’ve done research on the available meal kit options. Check out our reviews for the top 5 best meal kit delivery service companies to see what might be the best choice for you, then keep reading to learn everything you’d need to know before you purchase your first kit.
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Blue Apron Meal Kit
Blue Apron has the widest variety of globally inspired recipes compared to other meal delivery services. This service was also one of the first to hit the market. Blue Apron offers:
- Inexpensive cost per serving
- Wide variety of global cuisines
- Wine pairing subscription service
- Blue Apron Menu
Sun Basket Meal Kit Delivery service ships fresh and organic ingredients and recipes every month. It offers:
Home Chef meal kit delivery offers weekly deliveries that have fresh, pre-portioned ingredients that will make you feel like a perfect chef in about 30 minutes. It offers:
Purple Carrot is plant-based meal delivery service that is a convenient solution to cook up tasty, healthy plant-based meals. It offers:
Splendid Spoon is a unique meal delivery service that specializes in delivering nutrient dense, but delicious smoothies and soups. Meal plans are designed as breakfast or lunch options.
- Healthy, delicious plant based meals
- No cooking or prep required
- Supports weight loss
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Meal kit delivery services can be a life saver. For the busy person, grocery shopping and meal planning can be overwhelming and a drain on your time and energy. In addition, if you’re living a busy, fast-paced lifestyle cooking becomes difficult. Undoubtedly, a meal kit delivery service can help you.
Meal kit delivery is the answer to maintaining your health in the midst of your busy lifestyle.
Best Overall Service: Sun Basket
Sun Basket is one of our favorite services that has plant based meal kit delivery. In addition, at Sun Basket the menus and recipes are customizable to a wide range of diets. This meal kit delivery option has vegan options and caters to gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo and clean and lean diets. If you lead a busy lifestyle but want to save money and calories by cooking at home, Sun Basket can help.
Sun Basket Pros
- Diet-friendly: Sun Basket chooses recipes that work with most diets.
- Organic ingredients: In every meal, you’ll get only high-quality, organic ingredients, making it easier to eat healthy food.
- Pre-prepared sauces and spice kits: Removes time-consuming meal preparation of sauces and gathering the spices.
- Recipe choices: You can mix and match from 18 different weekly recipes.
Sun Basket Cons
- Flavor is not the focus: This box isn’t as focused on delicious as much as it is on health.
- Higher prices: Sun Basket is dedicated to high-quality, organic ingredients and catering to special diets.
- Swapped produce: Produce listed in recipes is frequently swapped out for other available ingredients
Best for Plant Based ONLY: Purple Carrot
Purple Carrot has introduced unique plant based recipes to the world of meal kit subscriptions. They are the strictly a plant based meal kit delivery service. Unquestionably, they make eating plant based fun and enjoyable. Purple Carrot originates from the hope that consumers will eat more vegetables rather than eat only vegetables. Furthermore, they introduce you to new vegetables, cooking techniques, and recipes that will have you excited to cook. Purple Carrot believes that plants have the power to change you and the planet.
Purple Carrot Pros
- Strictly Plant Based: 100% Plant-based recipes for vegans and vegetarians
- Safe for Food Allergies: Variety of nut-free and allergen-friendly recipes
- Flexible: Free shipping and flexible subscription
Purple Carrot Cons
- Dinner recipes can sometimes take more than 30 minutes
- Not all ingredients are organic or non-GMO certified
- Prices are higher than some competitors
The Benefits of Purple Carrot
Purple Carrot wants to change how the world eats. In fact, they open up access to their recipes for anyone to check out. Even if you’re not a member of Purple Carrot, you can still see their most popular recipes.
So, why plants? Purple Carrot makes it clear that they’re not anti-animal, just pro-plant. They don’t shame users to modify their recipes with meat. But rather, they help consumers add more plants to their diets.
Purple Carrot not only keeps you healthy, but they also help you maintain a more eco-friendly, sustainable choice when it comes to dinnertime. With less water used to grow vegetables than to produce meat, plant-based recipes use fewer resources to create.Learn More @ Purple Carrot
Best for Large Families: Home Chef
If you have a large family of more than four, Home Chef is a great meal kit delivery service to try. Unlike other services, Home Chef offers up to six portions per recipe.
Home Chef makes cooking simple by delivering all the ingredients you need to make delicious meals for a reasonable price. Each portion costs just $7.99 per person, which is competitive with the cost of buying the groceries from the store for a meal yourself. And, much cheeper than eating out.
Every week, you can choose from 13 different menu options and even have the choice of adding in lunch options that take just 5 minutes to make. Every dinner recipe takes just 30 minutes, including both prep and cook time.
Home Chef Pros
- Competitive price per serving: Compared to both grocery store ingredient costs and other meal delivery services, Home Chef offers a comparative price.
- Five-minute lunches: If you’re always wondering what to have for quick, easy lunches, Home Chef gives you the option to add five-minute lunches to your order.
- Lots of recipe options: Each week, you’ll have lots of simple but delicious recipes to choose from.
- Options for the number of servings: Home Chef lets you choose between two, four, and six servings.
Home Chef Cons
- Limited ingredient information: Home Chef doesn’t provide much information about the sourcing of ingredients.
- Limited menu options: Although you have lots of recipe suggestions, the general menu options are more limited than they are with other services.
- Some repeated recipes: If you want brand-new recipes all the time, you may be disappointed with Home Chef repeating some recipes from week to week.
Best for Vegans: Splendid Spoon
Splendid Spoon is a unique vegan meal delivery service that specializes in delivering nutrient dense but delicious smoothies and soups.
Souping is the new juicing, according to the New York Times, and Splendid Spoon is leading the whole foods cleansing craze.
Splendid Spoon delivers plant-based, gluten free meals made with non-GMO ingredients.
The best part?
There’s zero cooking required with this meal delivery service. Read our full Splendid Spoon review to see if this is the best meal kit delivery service for your needs.
Splendid Spoon offers some great pros, particularly for people who want to eat plant based meals. We’ll go over some of our favorite pros in this section of our Splendid Spoon review.
- Convenient breakfast and lunch options: Many meal kit delivery services focus on providing simple dinners. Splendid Spoon has you covered for breakfast and lunch when you’re most likely to be at work or school.
- Easy cleanses: If you want to go on a cleanse, Splendid Spoon will make it easy. You’ll have ready-made food at your door, and you won’t go hungry because the food is actually filling.
- Healthy, delicious vegan meals: If you’re looking to eat more healthy food without trying to figure out how to incorporate healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet, Splendid Spoon is a great option.
- No cooking or prep required: Unlike other home delivery meals, Splendid Spoon’s soups and breakfast smoothies arrive at your door pre-made.
- Weight loss support: This service will help you manage your portion control and reduce how many unhealthy things are regularly a part of your diet.
As great as this service is, it’s not for everybody.
Here are some cons to keep in mind as you read our Splendid Spoon review:
- Expensive meal plans: Splendid Spoon is more expensive than some other services. However, the price makes sense when you consider how much nutrition you’re getting.
- Fixed menu options: Unlike other services that rotate between options or have new offerings every week, Splendid Spoon generally keeps the same options. This means you can keep getting your favorites, but you may get tired of the offerings after a while.
- Not suitable for families: Splendid Spoon is best used by individuals or a couple looking to easily improve their health. It’s not a good way to feed large families or young children.
What Is a Meal Kit Delivery Service
Meal kit delivery services first came on the food scene in 2012. Now in 2020 the, meal kit market makes up about $1.5 billion of the annual $800 billion spent on grocery sales. The main reason home delivery meals have become so popular is how convenient they are.
A meal delivery service allows you to choose from chef-designed recipes online, then get everything you need to make them delivered straight to your door.
Ingredients come pre-portioned so that you get the exact amount you need for the serving sizes you selected. No more and no less. Therefore, this helps reduce food waste and helps you stick to your diet and weight loss goals.
There’s a variety of different kinds of meal delivery services available. Many companies offer recipe options for different diets like vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free.
How Meal Kit Delivery Works
Wondering how meal kit delivery services actually work? Most meal delivery services allow you to choose 3-4 different recipes per week and offer varying options for portion sizes. In addition, some services like Home Chef allow you to choose up to 6 portions per recipes, but most meal kit delivery services limit the portion options to just 2, 3 or 4 servings.
To choose the recipes you want to be delivered for the week, you log into your customer account and browse the upcoming menus. Plus, all meal kit delivery services update their menus weekly with new recipes but differ in the number of recipes you can select from. You generally have the choice of selecting from 8-20 different recipes per week depending on the meal delivery service you subscribe to.
Next, you’ll pay for your meal kit box by checking out and updating your shipping address. The cost per serving varies from company to company. Dinnerly is the most affordable, offering meals for as low as $4.99 per servings.
Ingredients arrive individually wrapped (usually grouped based on the recipe they’ll be used for) in insulated boxes that can keep ingredients fresh for up to 12 hours after delivery.
Each meal kit box includes individual recipe cards with a step-by-step photo guide to make following the instructions simple.
After cooking your meals, you can log back into your customer account and rate the recipes you received. Most meal kit delivery services also give you the option of tagging or saving your favorite recipes for future reference or reordering.
Types of Meal Kit Delivery Services
Meal kit delivery services come in lots of options, making it hard to decide which one might right for you. To help you decide, here’s a quick breakdown of the different options available.
Globally Inspired Cuisine
Some meal delivery services offer globally inspired weekly menus with recipes created by chefs from around the world. If you like trying out different cuisines, this is something to look for in the meal kit delivery option you choose.
Other meal delivery services offer more standard American and European inspired dishes that are a little more straightforward in both cooking instructions and flavor profile.
Easy, Affordable Recipes
Other meal kit delivery services like Dinnerly are focused on delivering the easiest, most affordable recipe to make.
For such a low price per serving and with limited ingredients involved, you won’t find as many different recipes options.
Browse through the recipes options and read through an example of recipe card instruction before choosing a meal delivery service. If you want easy-to-make recipes, make sure the instructions are simple and on par with the cooking skills you already have.
Chef-Designed Menus and Recipes
Martha & Marley Spoon is one of the top meal kit delivery service companies to subscribe to for chef-designed menus and recipes.
With Martha & Marley Spoon, you’ll have the choice of recipes from an archive of over 18,000 of Martha Stewarts best recipes.
Almost all meal delivery services give you the option to customize recipes for some diets. You can find vegetarian and even vegan meals.
However, Sun Basket is our top choice meal kit delivery service for finding recipes that fit diets like paleo, gluten-free and even just lean and clean.
Health Benefits of Using a Meal Delivery Service
Believe it or not, you can actually lose weight (fast) using a meal delivery service. The main reason is that they make it easy to manage portion control. You only get the number of servings for each recipe that you selected, so there’s likely to be no leftovers tempting you.
Meal delivery services also give you a full nutritional breakdown for each recipe before choosing your meals. This makes it easy to only cook recipes that meet your diet restrictions and weight loss goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can select recipes that are all under 500 calories a portion.
Using a meal delivery kit also makes it more likely that you’ll have a good balance of vegetables, grains and other healthy elements in your emails.
Why Meal Kit Delivery Is for You
Meal delivery services are great for lots of people. Here are some ways you may benefit from a meal delivery kit.
You’ll Save Valuable Time
If you have a large family you want to provide home-cooked meals for, but you don’t have the time to plan out different menus or shop for specific groceries every week, a meal kit delivery service can save you a lot of time and frustration.
Even if you’re a busy single person or a couple, you’ll find value in creating your weekly dinner menu with a meal delivery service instead of on your own.
You can sit down on your computer or smartphone and plan 3-4 nights worth of dinners in just 15 minutes. While you’ll still likely have to head to the grocery store for staples, you’ll save yourself a lot of time shopping and meal planning.
Stick to Your Diet With Ease
It can be hard to stick to a new diet when you have the temptation of larger portion sizes and aren’t satisfied with the meals you came up with yourself. The switch from carnivore to vegetarian or even going totally gluten-free can be tough at first. It’s hard to find tasty recipes without cheating on your health goals.
Meal delivery services make life easier when you’re transitioning to a new diet by providing delicious recipes that fit your diet and delivering only the ingredients you need for the portions you selected.
If you want to try a meal kit delivery service for different diets, go with Sun Basket.
Learn New Cooking Skills
Meal delivery kits are also great for anyone looking to expand their culinary skills. Every week you get to choose 3-4 different recipes to cook and can pick recipes you’re interested in learning how to make.
Recipes come with pre-portioned ingredients and instruction cards with photo guidance. This makes it easy to follow along and make sure you’re nailing the techniques.
Meal delivery kits from Martha & Marley Spoon are the best for anyone interested in learning how to cook. You’ll learn new cooking techniques from the pros and from Martha Stewart herself.
Why Meal Kit Delivery Is NOT for You
Sure, meal kit delivery service companies sound convenient and even like they’ll save you some money, but they aren’t for everyone. If any of the following scenarios apply to you, you might want to skip out on this at home cooking trend.
You’re Concerned About Packing Waste
Trying to live that zero-waste lifestyle? A meal delivery kit probably isn’t for you. Most meal delivery services package ingredients individually in plastic and include excessive cardboard and styrofoam to keep contents safe inside.
You’ll also find plenty of ice packs inside your weekly boxes to keep ingredients from spoiling. These are difficult to recycle. Even if you do reuse them, you’ll probably end up with too many to keep if you’re getting frequent deliveries. Meal delivery kits aren’t exactly the most environmentally friendly way to feed yourself.
You’re Already a Great Cook
If you already cook often and even consider yourself to be a “professional home cook” you might not enjoy making the recipes that meal delivery services offer. Most recipes are designed for novice cooks and take under 3o minutes to prepare.
The exception here is Martha & Marley Spoon where you’ll be able to pick from Martha Stewarts favorite recipes. The recipes from this meal delivery service take on average 45 minutes to prepare, but again, they’re slightly adapted to be easier to make.
You Travel Often With Short Notice
When you travel a lot for work or for pleasure at last minute notice, subscribing to a meal delivery service might not be your best option for meals. Although meal kit boxes are packaged with insulation to keep ingredients fresh for up to 12 hours after delivery, you’ll have to get eventually or your food will go bad.
Even if you do manage to bring your meal kit box inside and unload the contents into your fridge, the ingredients still might go to waste if your boss asks you to fly to Chicago for two days midweek without any notice. Meal kit delivery services are best for people who know their schedules in advance.
You Cook to Save Money
Most of the meal kit delivery service companies cost anywhere from $7.50-$12 per portion, with the exception of Dinnerly. While that might not sound like a lot of money to some, anyone who’s already managed to plan out weekly menu’s for under $5 a portion might not benefit from this type of service.
If you have the time and the patience to plan your own meals and shop for your own groceries, you’re likely to save more money in the long run.
You Prefer Dining Out and Don’t Mind the Cost
Are you somewhat of a food snob? Have all your favorite restaurants on speed dial and don’t worry about a food budget? If so, it’s unlikely you’ll find a meal delivery service to be useful.
While recipes from meal delivery services can be delicious, they hardly compete with restaurant-quality food prepared by expert chefs. If money is not a factor for you, you’ll likely enjoy dining out or ordering in more than cooking from meal kits. Even the best meal kit delivery service may not meet your needs.
How Meal Kit Delivery Services Can Save You Money
You can save a lot of money cooking at home. But that doesn’t always mean that using a meal delivery service will save you money. It depends how much money you currently spend on food (including eating out and groceries) and how you much you value your time.
If you decide to give up eating out or ordering in from restaurants and switch to only using a meal delivery service, you’re likely to save money. You’ll also save yourself a lot of time.
Browsing recipes, looking up ingredients, cross-referencing ingredients needed with what you already have at home and then hitting the grocery store can be a huge time suck. When you use one of the best meal delivery services instead, all you have to do is pick recipes through your account and everything you need is delivered to you.
How to Choose the Right Meal Kit Delivery Service
The best meal delivery service for you is the one that fits your diet and lifestyle. But you also want to choose one that’s focused on delivering quality ingredients.
What are some of the top meal kit delivery service options on the market? There are many! Sun Basket, Dinnerly, Marley Spoon, HomeChef, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Daily Harvest and Splendid Spoon are just a few. That’s why we reviewed our top 5 so you could decide which one’s right for you.
Here are some things to consider, so you can pick the best option for your wants and desires.
Consider Your Budget
The first thing you need to ask yourself is how much you want to spend per meal. Meal delivery kits vary in price per portion. It’s important to consider your weekly budget for food before choosing signing up for a meal delivery service.
If you’re looking for the most affordable meal delivery service, consider Dinnerly where you can find meals for just $4.99 per serving.
Consider Your Cooking Skills
The next question you need to consider is this: do you want to learn additional cooking skills? If the answer is no and you’re not that experienced in the kitchen, read through recipe card examples before subscribing to any meal delivery service.
While most meal kit delivery service say their recipes are “easy and quick,” reading examples of instruction for recipes will give you a more realistic idea.
Also, check the list of necessary cooking supplies. You won’t find it fun to get a delicious recipe and all the ingredients to make it delivered only to realize you don’t own the necessary kitchen tools to make it.
Consider Your Favorite Cuisines
Be realistic about your taste in food when choosing a meal delivery service. Do you prefer the American classics like hamburgers and pot roasts? Or would you rather take a culinary trip around the world every week in your own kitchen?
Not every meal delivery service offers globally inspired menus.
In conclusion, we think that meal delivery kits can be a great way to grow cooking skills, save time, stick to a diet, save money or experience different kinds of food. If you’re not sure which is the best meal kit delivery service for you, read our detailed reviews for more information.Read More