Meal kits are undoubtedly a great addition to any busy schedule, but which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck? When they were first introduced they were a novelty, but now everyone has an opinion on which is the best.
Most of them boast three main things: convenience, menu variety, and easy-to-prepare recipes. Our editors narrowed down to the three most popular kits to see how they held up against each other. We tried them for ourselves and read what real users were saying on Consumer Affairs.
Here's how they compare:
- All services deliver pre-portioned ingredients to your door
- All services offer recipes developed by chefs
- HelloFresh and Blue Apron meals start at $7.49
- Home Chef meals start at $8.99
- HelloFresh offers 6 different plans depending on dietary preferences
- Blue Apron offers 3 different plans depending on dietary preferences
- Home Chef allows you to choose foods you want to avoid
- Blue Apron meals generally take longer to prepare than HelloFresh and Home Chef
There are six different plans to choose from - Meat & Veggie, Family, Veggie, Pescatarian, Calorie Smart, and Quick & Easy. You can choose between 2-person or 4-person recipes, up to 4 meals a week. You also get to choose from 25 dishes on the menu each week. The meals don't require cooking experience and the instructions are easy-to-follow, with minimal prep required. Most recipes take about 30 minutes, while you can usually do them within 20 minutes.
The boxes arrive neatly packaged with the exact amount of labeled ingredients needed for each dinner, so there's no confusion or time wasted. The produce is sourced from farmers and the meat rests underneath sturdy ice packs in the refrigerated box to ensure quality when it arrives at your door.
Most people find the food to be high quality, some reviews even boasting the quality is similar to the farmer's market. The meals are easy to make and taste really good. We couldn't find any online customer issues with shipping, so that's a plus! In fact, the reviews are filled with 6x more 5-star ratings than other top meal kits, and filled with comments like "best meal delivery company by far", so others must agree with us.
Blue Apron Overview
Blue Apron, a well-known meal kit offers 2-person or 4-person recipes and a classic family, vegetarian, or wellness plan. Each week, you can choose from 12 recipes created by their culinary team and they deliver fresh ingredients in pre-measured quantities. Most customers like Blue Apron for the flavor and their inventive dinners. The quality of food and freshness compares with the best, and their dinners have a reputation for being advanced cooking.
Most reviews about Blue Apron complain about how long the dinners take to cook. Their customers spend too much time chopping vegetables and completing tedious tasks like slicing and roasting almonds to sprinkle on top of their meals as a garnish. Families have said that their kids won't eat the meals and the options are not friendly to picky eaters. While the quality of the food and freshness is comparable to the other top players, the general feeling is that it takes too long to cook the meals. And if you're not a top chef, the recipes are complicated and people end up with a not-so-great dinner that they worked hard for.
Home Chef Overview
Home Chef offers 13 different meals each week. They have a plan for 2, 4, or 6 servings (good for those who require more servings for larger families). The recipes are made for all levels of cooking. They offer dietary varieties like vegetarian, low-carb, low calorie, and nut-free recipes, and all recipes can be prepared in around 30 minutes.
We read a bunch of online reviews, and some of the main complaints were shipping issues. The pain points revolved around boxes arriving days after the delivery date which, in some cases, meant spoiled meat and rotting food arriving on the doorstep. Some boxes showed up with a "damaged" sticker and thawed ice packs inside. People complained that the customer service wasn't much help and simply advised they throw away the box without offering to send a new one. We have to hope these are just worst-case scenarios, but it's not surprising that they were given a 2-star rating by Consumer Affairs.
Our editors tried every box, and after doing the research and reading many reviews, HelloFresh is the clear winner. While all services have strong points, HelloFresh ticks every box - price, prep time, quality of food, simplicity, and most importantly, the taste. It's no wonder they have the highest rating and their customers are totally hooked.
If you're looking to try a meal kit, we recommend HelloFresh.