Over the past few years, meal kit delivery services have become increasingly popular. In fact, according to Time Magazine, the meal kit service industry was estimated to be worth USD$2.2 billion globally as of the year 2017. The US alone has over 150 meal kit companies.
A meal kit service is a food subscription business model that sends its subscribers partially prepared food ingredients together with recipes for making home-cooked meals. It is perfect for people who love to cook but do not have the time to plan and shop for meals. Cooking with the family can be a fun activity to pass time during the quarantine. Moreover, the recipe and instructions are clear enough that preparing them will not take up too much time.
With so many meal kit services available today, it may take you some time to choose which service to consider. Rest assured that most of the services are reliable in delivering fresh, high-quality ingredients. There is not much difference in their prices as well. One main difference between the services is the type of meals they offer. To help you compare, here are the top meal kit services today with a general review of their overall service.
Blue Apron | Best for Foodies
Blue Apron first popularized meal kit delivery services in the US. It offers around eight menu options each week with at least one seafood and vegetarian choice available. Their meals are specially developed to keep cook and prep time to an average of 45 minutes.
Blue Apron is perfect for those who like to try new things as they tend to add a few off-beat ingredients to even their most straightforward recipes. Their website highlights these ingredients as an excellent opportunity to learn something new. Some of their meal selections are incredibly exciting as they often highlight meals from popular travel destinations and even feature menus from guest celebrity chefs.
Home Chef | Best for Novice Cooks
Home chef is our number one pick for novice cooks because not only do they deliver high-quality ingredients, but they have well-written recipes together with fantastic flavors. Their methods are relatively simple and not too adventurous. You might even surprise yourself with how good your home cooking turns out.
The service offers over 18 menu options each week and even sends its subscribers a binder to store all of the recipes they get. The service also offers meals for up to six people, making it a good option for large families.
The only noticeable downside is their selection of meals. Compared to Blue Apron’s meals, some people may feel that Home Chef’s meals are dated. Apart from that, there is not much to criticize, and if you do find their meal selection adequate, then you should love their service.
SunBasket | Best for Those Who Crave Variety
SunBasket is known for offering unique, meat-free meals that will satisfy vegetarians and vegan customers alike. Their meat is antibiotic-free with no added hormones, and the seafood is fresh-caught in the wild. Moreover, they offer a variety of meal selections catering to special diets such as paleo and pescatarian.
Those who have tried their service can attest to how fresh everything tastes. SunBasket's recipes are simple and easy enough for weeknights but are never dull and boring. All meals are nutritionist-approved; however, unlike Green Chef, SunBasket is not certified organic so it can swap in non-organic ingredients when necessary to maintain a consistently extensive menu.
Green Chef | Best for Those on Strict Meal Plans
Green Chef is the best meal kit choice for those who are following a specific diet plan. They are known for their versatility in offering particular diet plans, including paleo, keto, pescatarian, vegan, and vegetarian, as well as gluten-free meals. On top of that, their foods are USDA-certified organic as they aim to make sure that at least 90 percent of the ingredients they deliver are organic.
However, there are downsides to offering certified organic meals. Their meal plans are much more restrictive, resulting in a smaller number of meal selections per week. Unlike SunBasket, who can swap in non-organic ingredients to stay consistent in offering larger meal selections, Gren Chef is limited to the only available certified organic ingredients.
EveryPlate | Best Budget Option
EveryPlate prides itself on delivering relatively affordable, quick, and easy meals that even a novice can work on at ease. Meals on the basic plans net to $5 per serving, which is precise for value for money. They even have a promotional offer that gets you 18 meals for $3.33 each. Its main goal is to serve delicious, hearty dishes that are less complicated to prepare, so do not expect gourmet meals.
The downside to their affordable prices is that they have fewer exciting flavors compared to their competition. There are no vegan or vegetarian options, and delivery options are limited. The bottom line is that EveryPlate is the best choice for getting an excellent meal kit without breaking the bank.
Purple Carrot | Best for Vegetarians & Vegans
Purple Carrot specializes in vegetarian and vegan meals. However, it does not necessarily mean their meal selections are limited to boring grilled veggies. Their meal plans feature seasonal produce, herbs, and creative sauces that make every meal exciting.
While every single dish from Purple Carrot is vegan, there are high protein plans that are perfect for athletes needing to bulk up.
Martha & Marley Spoon Meal Kit | Best for Experienced Cooks
From the name itself, Martha and Marley Spoon is a partnership between German meal kit company Marley Spoon and lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart’s influence over the brand is evident as she endorses the service and provided 18,000 recipes herself.
Experienced cooks are likely to find dishes from Martha & Marley Spoon Meal Kit more appealing than those from any other service. While the recipes are simple and the instructions are usually easy to follow, the dishes require more advanced cooking skills. Preparing the meal requires a lot of multitasking and may take longer than their estimated cooking time.