Weekly meal subscription companies will deliver boxes of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and chef-created recipes to your doorstep. Are they worth the money? And which service comes out on top?

I’ve always loved to cook.

But then life happened. Suddenly, between kids and work, I didn’t have a lot of time for cooking.

It wasn’t actually cooking I didn’t have time for—it was grocery shopping. Come dinner time, I was ready to start chopping vegetables and seasoning meat. But none of those things were ever in my refrigerator.

So the busier I got, the more I ordered take-out.

But eating out all the time isn’t good—for your health or your wallet. One study found that restaurant food has more fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories than home-cooked meals. Another study found the equivalent of a $22 take-out meal costs $12 to make at home.

Years ago, I started to notice ads on my Facebook feed for companies like Home Chef and HelloFresh that would deliver boxes of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and restaurant-quality recipes to my doorstep.

Of course, I immediately worried about the cost. They sort of seemed like businesses for rich people, not someone like me.

But since they all offered discounts for first-time customers, I decided to give several of them a try. What I found was pleasantly surprising. All of these services offer fresh ingredients and delicious recipes. The work involved to prepare a meal varies. And while these services are not inexpensive, they may not be as expensive as you think.

Quickly compare: Home Chef vs. HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron vs. Freshly vs. EveryPlate vs. Sun Basket

*We’ve got a great table for you here; be sure to scroll right to view the entire table!

 Home ChefFreshlyEveryPlateHelloFreshBlue ApronSunBasket
Best ForWeekly recipe rotations for all skill levels and dietary preferences.Chef prepared meals that are ready without any extra preparation or clean-up.Affordable and delicious weekly meals delivered right to your door.Flexible plans, offering the greatest variety of recipes and meals.Chef-designed recipes include balanced Mediterranean meals and quick one-pan dinners.Certified organic and sustainable meals made with antibiotic- and hormone-free meats and seafood.
Price per meal$8.99$8.99$4.99
$8.99$9.99$10.99
Minimum order2 meals / 2 plates12 meals3 meals / 2 plates2 meals / 2 plates3 meals / 2 plates4 recipes for 2 people
Delivery CostStarts at $6.99 per orderApplicable shipping charges will appear upon checkout$8.99$6.99Free$6.99 per order
Vegetarian plansYesYesNoYesYes, 2 - person plan onlyYes
Kid-friendly mealsNoYesNoYesNoYes
Promotion$80 in total over your 5 deliveries, including free shipping on the first box!$60 off your first 4 ordersGet 1 week worth of meals at $2.99 each + 20% off on your next two boxes with EveryPlate GET $80 OFF your first 5 deliveries including Free Shipping on your 1st Box$80 off your first 4 boxes$35 off plus 4 FREE gifts ($60 value)
Our Score9.7/109.4/109/109.6/109/109/10

How meal subscriptions work

All services – BlueApron, HelloFreshHome ChefSunBasket, EveryPlate, and Freshly – work similarly. Their chefs create delicious, balanced, and healthy recipes. The service does the grocery shopping for you and ships you everything you need to cook the meal.

All deliver to most US zip codes and use packaging that keeps ingredients fresh for up to 24 hours after delivery (in case you’re not home) and between four and five days in the fridge.

One downside to consider, however, is the environmental impact of packaging. Meals ship with ice packs and some with foam liners. The foam may or may not be accepted by your local recycling facility. As for the ice packs, you can certainly reuse them, but once you accumulate more than a dozen you’ll be wondering what to do with them. When contacted, the companies here recommend thawing the packs, clipping the corner and placing the water-soluble, non-toxic gel in the trash, then recycling the plastic.

Each service offers different subscription options, but all offer the choice of between two and four weekly meals for two or more people.

Let’s take a closer look at each company.

Home Chef

 home chef

Note that due to current events and higher than normal order volumes, Home Chef might experience delays in delivery. 

Home Chef kindly sent us a complimentary package of three meals for two, including:

  • Crispy Dijon Chicken With Parmesan Cauliflower Mash
  • Spaghetti Carbonara Frittata
  • Mozzarella and Red Pepper Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

All meals were very tasty, and easy to prepare. (Home Chef categorizes its meals by difficulty, from easy to expert.) The crispy chicken was an easy meal to prepare, much appreciated on a busy weeknight. The stuffed pork tenderloin, on the other hand, qualified as expert level because of the need to filet the pork tenderloin, stuff it, then tie it for cooking—I’ll admit, that was tricky, but the results were delicious.

Home Chef Preparations - Home Chef

Above: Getting ready to prep Mozzarella and Red Pepper Stuffed Pork Tenderloin from Home Chef.

Fairly priced at $8.99+ per serving plus shipping, Home Chef is attractive because they offer 10 or more meal choices each week, with a good variety to meet dietary needs. There are vegetarian options, as well as soy-free, gluten-free and low-calorie meals. Home Chef also thinks beyond dinners with breakfast offerings (like the frittata we ordered, though it was just as tasty for dinner) and other optional “sides” like a margarita smoothie the week of Cinco de Mayo or a spring fruit basket.

The quality of most of our Home Chef Ingredients was good, although arugula intended for a side salad with the frittata was a bit wilted. I should point out that we appreciated Home Chef’s entrees included a lot of green veggies (green beans, arugula salad, and brussels sprouts), but these ingredients can be understandably fragile.

In sum, Home Chef definitely delivered three fun-to-prepare and delicious meals. We’d use them again.

 homechef menu - Homechef

The only thing we didn’t love about Home Chef is that it seemed like they used even more packaging than some competitors. But this is a problem with all meal delivery services, to be honest.

While most of the packing is recyclable (cardboard boxes, small plastic containers for liquids and plastic and or brown paper bags for dry ingredients), everything is individually wrapped. And all meals come sandwiched between two or more gigantic ice packs. These can, of course, be reused, but you only need so many ice packs–after a week or two, you’ll need to throw them out. (According to the companies, these ice packs can be defrosted, the non-toxic contents either thrown away or washed down the drain, and the plastic exterior recycled.) Maybe so, but it’s still a lot of packing materials.

Try a Home Chef subscription or read our full Home Chef Review

Freshly

CHICKEN & RICE PILAF - Freshly

Above: Chicken & Rice Pilaf from Freshly.

Want to get balanced meals delivered each week, but you don’t want to cook? Check out Freshly.

Try Freshly now and get $60 off your first 4 orders

Freshly ships single-serving meals that are “healthy, delicious and convenient”, So convenient, in fact, that you just stick ’em in the microwave for about three minutes.

 freshly Logo

Freshly was nice enough to send us a number of meals to check out including chicken parm, southern-style BBQ pork, and pene bolognese.

Freshly’s meals were tasty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get past the fact I was pulling the meal out of a plastic tray and putting it in the microwave. The food was infinitely better than a Lean Cuisine, but it was still microwaved.

Ultimately, Freshly meals are the ultimate convenience. If I were single or simply had NO time to cook or shop, Freshly would be immensely appealing.

And Freshly’s price reflects that. Plans start at $49.99 per week for four meals; delivery is not included. That’s $12.50 per meal. The cost drops to $9.99 per meal if you order six meals per week for $59.99. If you get 12 meals per week for $107.99 the price-per-meal drops to $8.99. Plus shipping!

Again, with Freshly, it’s all about the convenience of getting a nutritious non-frozen meal.

Try Freshly now or read our full Freshly review.

EveryPlate

Note that due to current events and higher than normal order volumes, EveryPlate might experience delays in delivery. 

Meal Delivery Comparison - Every Plate Main Dish

If the cost of meal delivery services gives you sticker shock, take a look at EveryPlate.

With prices starting at $4.99 a meal, you don’t have to compare this one to dining out. For many households, it will actually be cheaper than all the ingredients that go into a typical home-cooked meal.

Special Promotion: Get 1 week worth of meals at $2.99 each + 20% off on your next two boxes with EveryPlate

Each week, you choose from 10 meal options, which is a smaller selection than with other services. They also throw in the occasional premium meal, with a per-serving price that’s a couple of dollars higher than their regular meals.

Meal Delivery Comparison: Home Chef vs. HelloFresh vs. Blue Apron vs. Freshly vs. EveryPlate vs. SunBasket - EveryPlate Logo

I liked the variety in each week’s options. Here are the meals I tried:

  • Pork tacos
  • Sausage penne
  • Glazed pork chops with potatoes and green beans

Each meal came with easy-to-follow recipe cards that included pictures, making cooking accessible even for a novice chef like me. The meals were delicious, with juicy meat and fresh vegetables.

The only bad thing about EveryPlate is its small selection. But the fact that it’s half the price of most other meal delivery services makes it well worth it to me.

As someone who’s environmentally conscious, I loved the fact that all of EveryPlate’s packaging is recyclable. Just break down the box, empty the ice packs, and toss the bags in the recycle bin when you’re finished cooking.

Read our full EveryPlate review or try an EveryPlate subscription.

HelloFresh

Note that due to current events and higher than normal order volumes, HelloFresh might experience delays in delivery. 

Hello fresh Logo

A big player worth checking out is HelloFresh.

HelloFresh touts its farm-fresh ingredients, acclaimed chefs, and fun recipe cards that teach you how to cook as you go.

Hello Fresh: Watermelon Mint Juleps - Hello FreshAbove: Watermelon Mint Juelps, an example of an available add-on from HelloFresh.

Meals start at $8.99 per person.

 hellofresh unboxing - HellofreshAbove: A HelloFresh family plan shipment of two meals for four.

Of all the services here, we liked HelloFresh’s packaging the best. Many ingredients came pre-chopped or already combined, saving time.

We tried HelloFresh’s family plan for a few weeks and enjoyed meals like cauliflower pancetta mac and cheese. HelloFresh’s take on the kid-friendly classic was delicious, but the hidden cauliflower didn’t fool our six-year old.

Meal prep with HelloFresh was the easiest of the bunch. With HelloFresh, broccoli and cauliflower arrived pre-cut, for example.

One gripe with HelloFresh were the recipe cards. The text was small and close together, making the steps a bit hard to follow.

HelloFresh’s account management was also easy to use—you can easily update your subscription preferences or pause delivery for any week.

Read our full HelloFresh Review or try a HelloFresh subscription

Blue Apron

There’s a reason they’re popular. They’re pretty darn good and cost the least.

Sign up online and Blue Apron will bring you weekly boxes packed with just enough ingredients and step-by-step recipes for three meals for two, four, or six people.

Meal Delivery Comparison - Blue Apron

You can select your dietary preferences to ensure that you don’t receive anything you don’t eat, like red meat, fish, or shellfish, but you’ll have less control over individual meals (you can, however, often choose three of six, for example). Blue Apron has even teamed up with Weight Watchers, so you can choose easy-to-cook recipes for a healthy lifestyle.

With Blue Apron, expect to cook with and eat ingredients you might find at your local grocery store. I eat anything, so my box contained everything needed for chicken hiyashi chukka, seared cod piperade, and Turkish lamb burgers.

The first meals took just the right amount of time to prepare — under 45 minutes from box to plate. After weeks of Blue Apron meals, however, we found some to take longer than indicated — up to an hour an a half. While many meals can be prepared in under an hour, we wouldn’t recommend Blue Apron to anyone looking for fast weeknight meals.

Meal Delivery Comparison: blueapron

For two people, meals are $9.99 per meal per person and if you order three recipes a week, shipping is free. Otherwise, shipping is an extra $7.99.

For four people, meals are $8.99 for two meals, $7.99 for three meals, and $7.49 for four recipes per week.

At first, that seemed like a lot. But then I looked over some of my recent orders from ordering food to take in, and saw I was spending about $40 for two meals. Six meals would cost me $120. Sure, maybe I’d have more leftovers from ordering out, but the food wouldn’t have been as good.

Here are some more numbers: Blue Apron conducted an extensive survey on the costs of ordering meals through their service versus shopping for the ingredients for the same meals yourself. They found that customers who produced the same dinners in the exact same portions — while doing their own shopping — spent 60% more than they would have if they’d just ordered through Blue Apron.

New customers can save $80 over your first 4 boxes. Try a Blue Apron subscription or read our full Blue Apron review.

Sun Basket

Note that due to current events and higher than normal order volumes, Sun Basket might experience delays in delivery. 

Sun Basket

Sun Basket is a meal delivery service that caters to people valuing sustainable business practices and healthy, organic food. At $10.99 per serving, you’ll be getting access to some pretty fresh, high-quality ingredients.

Sun Basket Logo

An added plus is that all the packaging is compostable and recyclable. The meals come in small paper bags so the large box they shipped in seemed a tad excessive but the cooling packs probably added to the extra space needed.

Sun Basket has family-friendly menu options and even includes suggestions for how kids can help in their recipe instructions. Depending on the meal plan you choose, there’s plenty of fresh greens and herbs to make your dishes stand out and feel light on the palate.

I tried the carb-conscious plan and there was always an opportunity to eat things like kale, stone fruit, shallots, etc. To me, it just felt like a nice, fresh touch to common things like turkey burgers that I would not have expected in a regular, home-cooked meal.

Also, the meals were super easy to prepare and took about 20-30 minutes from start to finish. In fact, my kids, 10 and 14 years old, prepared one entire meal themselves. So you can count on the meals to be easy-to-prepare and quick.

My only gripe was that the kale was used for all three of the meals and I got a little tired of it. We used a nectarine for a couple of the meals and it was a nice treat but was repetitive as well. I liked the variety in the meal but some ingredients were often and I was hoping for someone variety. This is not a deal-breaker but it’s worth noting.

Overall Sun Basket’s food is fresh, creative and lends itself to gourmet-quality flavor combinations. Home chefs will enjoy fresh, flavorful herbs and unique ingredients.

Learn more about Sun Basket or Try a Sun Basket subscription.

Summary

If you want to eat well, but don’t have the time to plan and shop for every meal, meal subscription companies offer a solution. You’ll pay a hefty premium over doing your own shopping, but these services will likely save you money (and be better for you) than getting lots of take-out.

You can’t go wrong with the food from any of these companies. We tried them all, and each sent along some tasty meals. Each service, however, has its own quirks that will appeal to different tastes.

HelloFresh offers exclusively vegetarian plans as well as family plans that are quick to cook and kid-friendly. (Your mileage may vary.) In our experience, HelloFresh meals were the fastest to prepare.

Sun Basket is also for the vegetarians, vegans, and anyone looking for a plant-based diet that still wants an affordable meal delivery service

Home Chef would win our “all-around” award. We really liked it. The meals were simple but flavorful. I learned a few new techniques preparing them, but didn’t roll my eyes at extraneous steps.

Finally, Freshly is in a league of its own, offering fully-prepared meals ready for the microwave. Don’t expect a five-star meal. But Freshly is a good option if you need decent food, really fast.

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About the author

Total Articles: 353
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Article comments

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116 comments
Brenda Shelton says:

I have done Hello Fresh and Blue Apron but it’s has been a while. One of the main reasons I quit was my daughter can’t do tomatoes or anything with it. There wasn’t option to not have the meals without. A

QT says:

I’ve tried Hello Fresh and many meals are delicious I seem to take twice as long to prepare as they say. I use so many dishes to cook the meals it takes just as l ok ng to clean up. I don’t know what meals you purchased but I’m always chopping vegetables, snipping herbs, and mixing sauces. Try to be calorie conscious can be hard with some of the selections. It’s always a struggle to compare cost (many choices are extra), variety, dietary restrictions.

JST says:

We are a family of three and have tested Blue Apron, Freshly and Home Chef. None of us liked Freshly that much and so we quickly switched to Blue Apron. Blue Apron was an improvement, but we also encountered missing (or incorrect ingredients) like another reviewer below. We also noted that we didn’t like all of their meals which left us with a somewhat limited selection. So, we moved on to Hello Fresh. Initially, it seemed quite similar to Blue Apron, but then we found that there are just more options. Most importantly, we have yet to encounter a meal we didn’t like. Happy subscribers to Hello Fresh for 8 months now. Cost wise they are all quite similar. Some charge a little bit more for shipping where as others charge more for their meals, but in the end a meal we don’t like is a complete loss and haven’t had that happening with Hello Fresh yet.

Dana McCurdy says:

I have given meal service plans a lot of thought for about a year now and finally signed up with Home Chef last night. It felt like the best option for my family. It is the 3 meals for 2 people plan just to give it a try and give me a few go-to meals during the week.

Mackytack says:

Just wondering if you’ve heard of Green Chef and what your thoughts are on it? Thank you

Christopher Murray says:

We have heard of Green Chef! Check out our review, here.

Lorraine Sutton says:

I dropped Blue Apron because 3 times my shipment had either missing or incorrect ingredients. Once, even twice, I could understand. But 3 times? You’re a food delivery company!

KenH says:

This must be a regional thing. I have used BA for years and have never…not even once…been shorted or had the wrong ingredients. I did have a few ingredient changes, but I was emailed about them beforehand and received a small card with the recipe explaining that a change had been made. I get my BA from Dallas I think.

Trish Barbato says:

Hello Fresh charges extra for some meals whereas Blue Apron doesn’t do that. We found the two very similar in taste and quality of goods but were insulted with added cost for a few meals.

Brian says:

We’ve been using Blue Apron for about 9 mos. and generally we really like it. Personally, I don’t find the plan to be that terribly expensive, especially when we balance it out against eating out less, wasting less food (having only the amount of ingredients we need without extra going bad or going to waste), having a nice variety of nutritious meals, and saving time and money at the store are all well worth it! Maybe I’m lazy, but I love having only the ingredients I need, in the amounts that I need, show up at my doorstep every week.

We tried Hello Fresh and found it to be very good and very similar to Blue Apron. But the major problem for us (my partner is pescatarian) was that the vegetarian plan had no options to tweak it to include seafood. Blue Apron let us indicate that seafood was okay, and so our vegetarian plan has a nice variety of vegetable-based and seafood meals. With Hello Fresh, everything was vegetables only, so we got a lot more entree salad type meals that were not really what we were looking for. I did like the way Hello Fresh put everything for each meal in its own bag, but that’s a minor point.

I will agree that it would be nice to see them decrease the amount of packaging (although much of it is recyclable), but that’s not at all a deal-breaker for us.

Overall, we’re very pleased with the meal delivery service concept in general, and with Blue Apron in particular. There are some things it would be nice to improve (less packaging, as mentioned), and even more customization (like the ability to exclude all peppers, which I detest, from all recipes!), but I get that that’s not practical. For us, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

k says:

Very very expensive. I can make a meal for under 4.00 per person and that is also with left overs. Organic I can make it for about 6 bucks per meal. I find these type of things a crutch for people who are lazy to shop. You can make a healthy well balance satisfying meal at home for under 30 minutes. With these things you still have to cook, get rid of the excess packaging and clean up. Not to mention the calorie and or quantity of the average adult person might not fit the quota that is filling enough.Plus have to be home within reasonable time to bring it in the house. Can’t have it delivered and have it in the elements. I see no point in this. No one is that busy that they can not shop/plan and prepare a meal. I worked full time with kids/dogs and home to take care of. I know people spend more time on computers/phones when their time can be better managed with less wasteful mindless social media. They have supermarket pick up and they even put it in your car too now. I find that helpful for people who are handicap or sick, but for the average person it will just makes lazier. What is next? Be like the old cartoon the Jetsons? on a conveyor belt though a machine you will be washed/,dressed then fed and out you go into your car? Funny as it may seem

ConnieMWT says:

Yes, these plans are expensive, but I have MS and am caring for my husband who is incontinent and has Alzheimer’s so I welcome a service where everything is delivered. We live in a rural area and the nearest grocery store is 20 miles away. Don’t assume we are all like you. To say “No one is that busy that they cannot shop/plan and prepare a meal” is ignoring the fact that so many of us cannot get out regularly. I’d like to see the color of the sky in your world. It must be magical.

Scott says:

Try working 4 day/12 hour work weeks. Working in that environment sucks for leading a healthy life and I’ve done it for 11 years and have gained 35+ lbs because of it. On my days off, I find I’m only catching up with house hold chores, family and daily errands, which leaves very little time to cook. In fact cooking for one person is downright un-enjoyable. Working life is not all as easy as some folks may perceive.

HarleySerene says:

Get off the cross, somebody needs the wood! Geez, a little closed minded and opinionated!

Misty says:

Hello Fresh has a sister company called every plate that is more cost effective for some families.

Jennifer Middleton says:

Home Chef is immediately out since I can’t see the menu until after I pay. It’s like going to a fancy experimental restaurant where you order and pay and only then is your mystery meal delivered to you. Helps to know who to eliminate right off the bat.

Jillian says:

If you go to their main page http://www.homechef.com on the top if you click on our menu it shows you what their menu is and you can skip ahead to the next few weeks to see the options

Lisa says:

That was also a turn off for me.

Tracy says:

Thank you for the information. I decided to try Blue Apron first. Unfortunately, they apparently don’t understand that when a person says they can’t have gluten there needs to be more meals to choose from! Guess I will only be getting one week and then canceling.

Ron Anderson says:

All of http://www.freshly.com meals are gluten free. I’ve been using them for about 4 months now and we really like them.

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of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host?
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Anita says:

I am looking at giving my daughter one of these plans as a Christmas gift but I am having trouble finding a side-by-side comparison. I can find how much each meal costs, which appears to be about the same for all the major plans. But, it’s hard to determine how much it will cost every week AFTER the first week which, for all plans, includes a discount coupon? I would like to know the following for each of the major plans:
1. What is the minimum number of meals you have to order each week?
2. Which ones require a subscription and which can you order and pay each week for the following week (or not, if you don’t want any for the next week)?
3. Can you choose from a number of menus or do they select what menus to send?
4. If you have to subscribe, how hard is it to cancel?
5. How much is shipping?
6. Do they offer a gift card so that I can get her started but then after the first few weeks she pays herself?
7. Which is the most dependable; i.e., arrives when scheduled, has everything you need?

I would really appreciate some clarification.

Mariani and Jon Salmon says:

Looks like a side by side comparison has been added so re-read the article for some of the answers to your questions. I’ve used both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and another that is like Freshly. People chose the service that best suits their lifestyle. I like Blue Apron the best because I am an experienced cook and can pull the meals together quickly and the recipes are really good. I don’t like to grocery shop and plan meals so I love that Blue Apron arrives every Monday and I don’t have to worry about 3 evening meals. I know other families with small children that gave up on Blue Apron and went with Hello Fresh because the meals are faster to prepare (not as interesting though). If your daughter just wants to have a meal at home after a long work day and not cook then go the route of a Freshly-type service.

You have to fully subscribe to the service to get meals delivered but it is easy to cancel on-line – everything is web based so these can be difficult for elderly who aren’t good at ordering and managing meals on-line.

Hey, Anita.

Thanks for your questions!

1. The minimum number of meals varies between the different companies. Blue Apron and Hello Fresh require that you purchase a minimum of 2-3 meals a week, whereas Home Chef only requires 1-2 meals per week. Plated sets the minimum to 2 servings a night, and Freshly enables you to order a minimum of 4 servings a week.

2. While you or your daughter will need to subscribe in order to enjoy the delivery service, you can choose to skip a week at whichever company you sign up with. Just make sure you notify them a few days before your weekly order should arrive.

3. Home Chef allows you to mix and match the meals for your following delivery, but Hello Fresh only lets you switch one meal for one from another menu. This means you need to choose one menu per order. With Freshly, Blue Apron, and Plated, however, you have the chance to customize a menu from their wide selection of dishes.
4. You can cancel your subscription with the company of your choice at any time, and it’s quite easy.

5. Blue Apron, Freshly, and Hello Fresh offer free delivery, whereas Home Chef has a $10 fee on all packages under $50 (with free shipping for any amount above this level). Plated doesn’t mention a shipping cost on its website, free or otherwise.

6. As for gift cards, each of the five companies listed above offer gift cards.

7. According to our team’s test runs with the companies, each of the providers was able to deliver meals on time. The packages also included everything we needed to prepare the meals ourselves.

For more information about the meal plan delivery companies or their meal plans, feel free to consult with us or contact the service providers directly.

MU30 Staff

Anne Buggy says:

This is exactly what I was wondering. I would also like to give maybe 2 months of meals for my son and his partner, with the option for them to continue or cancel after that.
Looking forward to seeing the response to your question.

Beth Bishop says:

My son loves the Tinker Crates. We started receiving the kits in August and they have been a huge hit. My son loves reading all the information and putting the projects together. He is learning so much. We have had great experience with customer service. One of the boxes we received were damaged from the rain. I emailed the company and they shipped out a new one within a few days. Overall we love it ?

Ron says:

We first tried Blue Apron and then Home Chef, getting three meals for two people once a week. They seemed similar, but I think Blue Apron was a bit tastier – and Home Chef was a bit easier to prepare. But we started adding a few things to the recipes and so the taste issue worked out. We most recently used Home Chef which has always been delivered as promised – actually we are supposed to receive our delivery on Wednesdays but it has always arrived on Tuesdays – and we live in a very rural area.

It is kind of nice to get to try out dishes and prep techniques that you might not try on your own, and nice not to have to think about what to have that night – a little surprise awaits. The food is usually good – sometimes so-so, sometimes very good, but not over-the-top great, the calorie count is reasonable, the quantity of food is sufficient – and sometimes we have leftovers. And the instructions are clear enough (important to read thru first though). We have noticed that at time the veggies do not appear first quality – slight wilting and flavorless tomatoes at time.
It seems a lot of the veggies are things we usually have on hand and most are roasted, which is how we prepare most of our veggies anyway, along with steaming. And I like how you can skip weeks easily on-line and pause your account as well. I assume the other services also permit this.
The verdict? Well, we are going to stop for a while. We both prepare our meals and enjoy doing that. And we do typically prepare tastey and healthy meals – fish, chicken and red meat once a week. And lot of veggies. If the delivered meals were truly gourmet we might continue, but I think that taking a little time to pick out a few great recipes – sort of building a favorites list – and adding some new things from time to time, and also taking the time to plan our menus in advance and shop for ingredients, and always improving our techniques ( youtube) will result in some over-all great meals. Less convenient for sure, but better meals and more satisfaction. All doable and fun. So we have currently paused our account as it is perhaps not the best fit for us – but recognizing for some it would be a great choice. We are going to try meal prep on our own – we think the extra effort is worth it.

Kurt says:

We have been using Blue Apron for several months now. We also tried Hello Fresh but every time a delivery came some of the produce had spoiled.

One tip for Blue Apron subscribers. Buy a gift card at Costco. You can buy them for $80 and they are worth $100. Makes them by far the cheapest service.

Anne Buggy says:

Thanks for the hint! Going to Costco tomorrow!

Pam Speckman says:

I have had really good meals with Blue Apron but they choose for you. I am tired of salmon and don’t always want this on my order. I have found, for me personally, I would rather eat salmon out at a restaurant. I have not been happy lately with the meals, but that is just me. Blue Apron does have ingredients/spices which I had not heard of and would not buy at the store if I could because I would never use them again….waste and takes up too much space. I am going to try others and I think I am not going to subscribe this time and see if I like that. Also, Blue Apron delivers only on Fridays which, for me is the busiest time and I don’t get meals cooked and then the meat is no good. Blue Apron’s food has always been fresh and packed perfectly. You can send back the recyclable boxes, ice pack packing , and insulating material for free. They send you the free return label. I am going to try different one and not become a subscriber.

Krys says:

Hey Pam,

I’ve been a Blue Apron subscriber for a few months now and have enjoyed. They make it very convenient for you to choose 3 out of the 6 meal options for the upcoming food week. Just go onto the website to choose. I also opted to receive my food on Wednesdays so I can cook throughout the week. You can change that in your settings as well. Hopefully that will help.

Robert says:

We’ve been using Blue Apron for a few weeks and are concerned about disposing of the gel ice packs. How do you get the free return label? That would be ideal, and hopefully they (Blue Apron) would re-use the gel ice packs. I’d hate to have them just tossed out.

Kathy Wojciechowski says:

I’ve looked at several inputs but want to find something showing a review of Vegan/vegetarian options. One service showed a weekly menu but the only item for that week seemed high in cheese so therefore high in fat.

Mark Chandler says:

We started using Hello Fresh in October and really liked the variety, fresh ingredients, detailed step-by-step recipes, quality and quantity of food. However, in mid-December our order, which we scheduled to come on Tuesday, didn’t come until Thursday. No explanation, no heads up nothing. That was a bit frustrating since we had to make some last minute meal planing. The other thing is Hello Fresh doesn’t provide tracking information when the order is shipped which, over the past few weeks has been a real problem. The week after Christmas and New Years boxes were all delayed however they didn’t communicate this. The other thing we’ve started noticing was items were missing. Last week 2 of the 3 meals had items missing. This week 1 meal had items missing and a zucchini that was broken in 2. To Hello Freshes credit, they have given us a refund or free box however since mid-December, we’ve had problems with our order every week except the week between Christmas and New Years when we paused it (heard about the delay from a friend who has them too). The other thing I noticed prior to last week, any meal that had ground beef used 93/7. Last week the ground beef was 85/15. Not sure what is going on, however we decided enough was enough and we have cancelled service and will be going with another option. It’s really a shame given the first month or so it was great! Hopefully they can figure out their issues and get them resolved!

Diane says:

I love these services and have been using them for a few months now. I subscribe to Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Plated and Blue Apron. I get 3 meals from 2 of the services each week. This works for me as I then have many different meals to choose from. I must say however that Home Chef is usually ordered each week along with one of the others. I like they’re recipes the best. My second favorite is a toss up between Hello Fresh and Plated. I’m still on the fence with Blue Apron. I would recommend Home Chef to anyone. Great service

Alyssa Leys says:

Hello, I would like to try Home Chef, do you still have that offer available?

I just tried Sunbasket and it really made me feel good to see how they go out of their way to recycle and reuse their packaging. I have tried the others, but I won’t go back to them unless they follow suit with Sunbasket’s efforts to waste not. The lining and ice packs can be used over and over again. Recycling is OK, but reusing is way better. Thank you Sunbasket for helping to save the planet and offering me awesome food.

Katherine B. says:

They all tell you to re-use the ice packs except Terra’s Kitchen which you send the entire box back to ice packs and all and they reuse the whole thing, including ice packs. For flavors offered sunbasket sucked for us. Plated and Greenchef are our favorites. Sunbasket actually had more packaging then TK and took longer to make because you had to make sure you had everything together or go searching thru the fridge to try to find it.

Gary Ridgeway says:

Plated sucks, You do not want to sigen up with these people. They will continue to ship and bill even after you cancel. Oh yea the food sucks.

Liz says:

Debating to try since bae is tired of cooking even though he’s the CHEF. So thinking it’ll be good for me to pick up on cooking tips plus it’s exhausting after working all day to try to figure what to cook. My question is quality of the meat i.e filet mignon, 92% ground beaf, is the fish wild caught and safe in terms of mercury for toddlers, non-gmo, organic, no msg, etc? As this is why it takes me hours to shop at grocery store for the day and then exhausted so end up or ordering out. Why can’t we ban GMO and use label?

Katherine B. says:

You do realize it is actually impossible to find commercially grown non-gmo food right? If a non-gmo field is planted next to a gmo field when it is cross pollinated by insects it makes it all gmo but they can still sell the stuff that was planted with non-gmo seeds as “non-gmo”…..that all aside, yes.

The fish is safe and sustainble, typically you get cod, tilapia, or salmon which are all pretty low on the mercury levels normally. The meat quality over all is typically very good from all the services. All meat i have seen so far is organic and mostly free range or non-antibotic, non-gmo, etc. The ground beef does not give a percentage like 92/18 or 80/20 but if i was comparing it to a store meat i would say what i have seen is typically 80-97%. I have no seen any service use added msg. Serveral services offer all paleo, vegan, vegetarian, non-gluten, non-soy, non-diary, nut free, shellfish free….etc. You get to pick what meals you want and what things you dont want to eat. I have found many many meals contain nuts or a nut sauce but you can select ones that do not if thats a problem.

george says:

you are very wrong about farmed fish-indeed it is low in mercury but VERY high in all other toxins-just do a google research on farmed fish safety and you will never eat any fish that is not wild cut-even some are labeled wild are not really cut in the open water but farmed in the ocean enclosures.

k says:

You are correct with the commercially grown veggies/fruit. cross pollination. Farm fish is unhealthy. I visited a place and you would not believe what they put in their kibbles and the antibiotics. They are starting to GMO some species. Better use wild caught

Yolande Davies says:

I’ve tried several subscription services now and have different experiences with each: Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, Sunbasket, Marley Spoon, Terra Kitchen, Green Chef.

Most affordable: Definately Hello Fresh! They offer discount codes for new customers to recieve $40 off their first box. The code I used was – RST2GR

So I paid $29 for my first box instead of $69. They also give you the ability to pause future boxes which give you time to experience your first box and then decide if you want to order any more.

Marley Spoon also offers a discount code for $30 off first order – TT32V9U

Home Chef offers a discount code $30 off first order –

For Blue Apron I used a Groupon offer which gave me 50% off.

Most expensive: Terra’s Kitchen but the prep is all done for you

Least Prep required: Terra’s Kitchen. The meals were delivered in a reusable cooler with shelves. All the prep had been done so it was the quickest of all the subscriptions I tried

Freshest Produce: HelloFresh, Terra’s Kitchen, Marley Spoon

Organic Produce: Sunbasket & Green Chef

Best for those who enjoy cooking: Hello Fresh, Home Chef & Marley Spoon. The reason being, all the other subscription meal services contained premade sauces and condiments. With Hello Fresh & Marley Spoon you are able to duplicate the recipes on your own at a later date as you make all the sauces from scratch i.e Dijon mustard pork rub with sage . You make it all yourself so you know what goes into it.

Best selection: Hello Fresh (features Jamie Oliver recipes), Home Chef great selection and styles, Marley spoon (now features Martha Stewart recipes)

Least favorite Recipes: Sun Basket & Green Chef. Blue Apron was hit and miss

Most difficult subscription to cancel: Green Chef

Least packaging / Most eco friendly: Terra’s kitchen as they collect their reusable container the following day. Sunbasket also had the ability to return their packaging to them but it was not automatic.

Freebies: HomeChef includes a ring binder with your first order for you to store your recipes

Hope the feedback helps

Eddie Mikell says:

I have tried all the services mentioned above. I am currently in week 2 or Home Chef.
Home Chef is good, the food is easy to prepare. The down side, compared to Plated and Blue Apron is that the meals can seem, well, blah. They are just missing a few of the touches that make Plated and Blue Apron stand out.

I find that I use Hello Fresh the most because they provide the most variety in meal choices. Blue Apron is pretty finicky.

Plated hands down has the best and freshest ingredients, but they are the most expensive. I can’t justify the extra $20 a week that plated costs.

So for now, I am signed up for all the above. I choose the meals that I like from each, and skip the ones that don’t deliver.

Another thing I might add concerning cost – I don’t have a lot left in my frig that can go bad. I like having exactly the ingredients and nothing goes to waste.

Ann says:

Hellofresh IS NOT AN HONEST COMPANY. The meat in my package leaked everywhere and was spoiled. When I asked to get a refund they said they couldn’t do anything in their system but give me credit for the next box even though I obviously DID NOT want to continue my service. I’m so disappointed by their customer service and would not recommend them to anyone.

Lucas Romero says:

I agree! I was a subscriber to Hello Fresh for 3 monrhs. From April to July 2016. Let me first start by saying the food was good. The recipes were easy to follow. Now the bad. (And there is so much bad) my first box was scheduled to arrive on a Monday via ups between 8 and 8. It did not come. I called and they refused to refund. I was offered a credit which I didn’t want. However after much debating I ordered the following week to utilize the credit for a free box. That week the box came a week late. This became the “norm” from hello fresh. When I called (and I called alot) not one customer service agent apologized and empathized or really seemed to care. My credit card was charged for boxes I never ordered. Out of all my deliveries I only received two box’s on time. Several were late and several came days late leaking and unusable. At one point I was hung up on by a rude supervisor at hello fresh. I was contacted by a manager ato one point but was at work when he called so I asked if I could call him back he said that was not acceptable and would call me back but never did. Finally when my last box came late the customer service agent told me well maybe you should pay ups for early delivery. I said NO! I shouldn’t have to; her reply was shall i cancel your service then. Which I did.

I would like to point out that each time the boxes came late I also called ups. Every time they said the same thing that they did not receive the package from hello fresh until Saturday and scheduled for two day delivery and with not delivery Sundays that makes it Tuesday at best. Had hello fresh done what they should have and gotten the order to ups Friday the box would have come on time.
It sad all my complaining fell on deaf ears.

As I mentioned the food was good but as good as that may be does not overpower the horrendous rude pathetic customer service. I also saw on the BBB countless complaints of similar stories. Customer service and satisfaction should be of utmost priority always and hello fresh lost a customer because of it.

I am not with home chef. The meals were shockingly amazing and customer service was wonderful the one and only one time I had to call!!!

Marta says:

I have had the same problem with Hello Fresh. Though only in 2 weeks, my first box was one day late and I am still waiting on the second box, 2 days past due. When I call they tell me the box must have gotten lost and issue me credit for another box. I don’t want free boxes, I want my meal boxes on time.
Loved the product in the box I received, but i need to try another service to see if they can deliver as promised.

Kim says:

Oh, that’s too bad! I actually had fairly good luck with their customer service when I had issues with ingredients, etc.

Chris says:

I’ve been using Hello Fresh for months now and it’s been amazing. I suspect that more rural areas experience these issues? I’m close to a major city and I’ve never had an issue. I love the recipe’s 90% of the time, and I’m picky.

pigbitinmad says:

The fact that none of the reviews is negative amazes me. Yes, it is probably healthier than take out. But there is so much waste goes into shipping individual portions all over the country in cardboard boxes. C’mon people just shop and cook something. Anything. It’s not rocket science and it does not take hours out of your day to throw together a vegetable with pasta and a protein (or whatever). I mean individually wrapped single sprigs of herbs and all that dry ice. I cringe just thinking about it.

I hope this idea does not catch on.

B James says:

Too late, sounds like it already has!

Lord Fish says:

If one lives in the countryside or on a mountain, miles away from a market, it does take hours to throw together a fresh meal.

Aunt Bea says:

Amen!

Wendy says:

For real! I’m an hour from a real grocery store!

deborah clark says:

I live 2 hours away from a reasonably priced grocery store. I can either pay for the gas to make the trip, which is well over $3 a gallon. Or, I can take the gas money and buy food at the local store at twice the price. The 3 meals a week from any of these services, is much less than what I spend weekly at my local store, even with buying meats from the discounted dated meats. I think I’ll give them all a try. They all seem pretty easy to cancel if not satisfied, I like cooking, not driving on icy mountain roads. And I need to shrink my portions and drop some weight. This just might work for us.

Lori says:

If I could buy single sprigs of herbs at the grocery store this wouldn’t be so appealing. I’m tired of spending money for a bunch of an herb when the recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons. I’ve found smaller amounts of herbs at some stores but those are usually encased in plastic and moldy. If they could take care of the packaging issue I’d do it in a minute. Right now I’m on the fence.

Kim says:

I tried Hello Fresh for the very same reason: I would purchase fresh ingredients, including herbs, for a particular recipe, and was wasting SO MUCH food! I have loved Hello Fresh since September, for the most part. However, it should be noted that the recipes aren’t necessarily “quick” or “easy.” If I had young children I was trying to manage, I truly don’t think this would be a good alternative. On the PRO side, each recipe comes with a recipe card and the exact amount of ingredients for each recipe. After using the service for four-months, I feel that I’ve learned enough tricks (how to roast vegetables in the oven=great hit with my teenage daughter; preparing meats and veggies at HIGHER temps/shorter periods for a better result, etc.) to tackle shopping/cooking again on my own. Honestly, I’ve literally taken the recipe cards to the grocery store with me to purchase as near-to-exact amounts of each ingredient as possible. Give it a try! At worst, you can cancel at any time, so you’ve really nothing to lose. (Just be prepared to manage the packaging. . .)

Theresa Brown says:

If you have a Lowe’s Foods near you, they grow herbs and you simply snip off what you need for your recipe.

Aunt Bea says:

I find that when you tell other people what to do, especially with an “attitude”, you will win over exactly… hmmmm, zero people. If you REALLY want to change the way people think about something, you need to first understand that they are doing it for a reason. Try at least sounding understanding, and THEN let your concerns be made known. Then, and only then, will you have at least some readers think about what you’re saying. BTW, I’m a great cook. I’ve also been dealing with an incurable and debilitating disease for the last 3 years. The only reason I am willing to disclose that is to let you know that your comment sounded as though you think you know the right answer for everyone else, when you clearly hadn’t taken a minute to ponder the MANY reasons that people may wisely choose to use a service like this. My comments to you were not flippant, rude or meant to be unkind. I WAS being genuine and honest with you. In this world of being able to write ANYTHING on every topic there is, and often reach a large audience, everyone needs to realize that not everyone is living the same life that you are. That needs to be considered carefully before typing out some mandate to which you expect others to “straighten up” and obey!

k says:

I find these places may be helpful for people who are ill/handicapped, but for healthy individuals I just do not see this for a lot of reasons. I am glad it helps you out.

ConnieMWT says:

Right on, Aunt Bea!

SK says:

I live in an area of Dallas referred to as a “food desert” Cringe all you want, people gotta eat and I’m many miles from fresh food. Not everyone has the choices you have, judgemental beast.

k says:

Perfectly stated. I agree fully. Less then 30 min you can have a well balance cooked meal at home for a lot less then what the lowest cost of one of these places. Hooray!!! for you speaking up.

Erin says:

Great piece! Regarding the packaging, perhaps those of us who use the services should start lobbying them to include the option to return the ice packs for re-use.

Robert says:

That is what I’m thinking as well. If enough users express concern over the packaging, esp the gel ice packs, I’m thinking they’ll figure it out. That is how the market place works, right?

Michele says:

I’m on week 2 of hellofresh. My boyfriend thought I was nutty for trying it, until I made our first round of meals! My 5 year old is trying new foods and I’m cooking with things I would never have otherwise. Right now I’m very happy with it. And, if that fizzles out down the line I will try something new

Kim says:

Agreed. My fifteen-year-old really enjoyed having new foods and never knowing what the entree would be–and has been eating FAR more vegetables. I had never roasted vegetables before–but now that I’ve been getting Hello Fresh for several months, we’ve been enjoying green beans, sweet potatoes (wedges–my daughter never ate them baked before), zucchini, etc., roasted in the oven. Even if one doesn’t stick with it long-term, learning some new tricks and recipes isn’t all bad, either. We all get into cooking ‘ruts.’

Mary Jo says:

i’ve been using Hello Fresh for almost a year and I am very pleased with it. I only had one delivery that didn’t arrive on the correct day and it showed up a day late. Since it was Summer, everything had spoiled and had to be thrown out, but I was credited for the entire box. I also had a month that I was away and stopped deliveries for that time. I thought I was going to be back home for one of my deliveries, but when it appeared I was going to be away longer, the box was already scheduled for delivery. I called them and spoke to a manager and they were able to stop the delivery in time. I do have issues with allergies and some of the spices come in packets that do not have the ingredients listed. I contacted the nutritionist who told me that all of the ingredients were listed on a label on the outside of the delivery box. I only found one box that had this label on it though. Now if I can’t find the ingredients listed, I don’t add the spice. I get the four meal plan and chose between five meals. So far, I’ve been happy with the choices.

Marie says:

I am a pretty good cook, so when I told my husband I wanted to try one of these plans, he thought I was crazy. My reasoning is that I am busy, but I also wanted the variety and creativity of putting together things I might not otherwise try. After exploring the various options, I chose SunBasket, which I love. Many of the other company’s recipes were things I was already doing and could do on a night we did not do the delivered meals. The price is reasonable and the thing that really sold me is that all the food is healthy and organic with vegetarian and gluten free options. There are currently 3 of us at home, so we order 2 (2 person meals). This way we have extra if my husband and son are really hungry or if we have a guest, or we have lunch the next day. So far we have been really happy. While we have not liked every meal, due to personal likes and dislikes, we still have appreciated trying out new things. The menu selection and return of packaging is very simple and convenient as well. I would recommend that anyone considering doing the meal delivery plans – go ahead and give it a try!

Melissa says:

I’ve read on a few reviews that Blue Apron doesn’t give you a choice of meals. That’s not completely accurate. They just don’t make it clear that they offer you a choice. I stumbled on the tab that took me to the choices and found that I can change my choices every week. There are four to six choices each week, usually one is vegetarian. We have been using Blue Apron for six month and love it. I think the price is very reasonable when you factor in the lack of waste. When I also consider the time savings it starts to look like a bargain. One of our favorite aspects though is how many dishes and styles of cooking we have experienced that we never would have picked out before. It is delicious, fun and cost effective for us.

ShanerC says:

Just a note about Blue Apron – you can only change a few of the selections – if you choose something, not all of the other choices are available. I’d bet it has to do with either price of the meals (not letting you have 3 expensive proteins for the same price) or possibly the combination of ingredients. I do like you can swap a meal in or out though for the most part.

KenH says:

I have used BA for years. All meals are interchangeable and cost the same except their new platter meal that is offered each week. The platter meal is the only one that costs more, though even it is still interchangeable. All other meals can be changed, and no selection causes others to be not selectable. Right now, due to covid, BA is limiting the available choices though. However, unless you were perhaps doing something wrong or something is different per region, I find your statement about restrictive selection to be false.

Caroline says:

Thank you for your comment! I love to cook, and am really good at it…. but I am going to run Blue Apron up the flagpole just to see how cool it will be to not have to shop, and try full blown new recipes… Heck – I get my pet food, cleaning products, boutique meats, books and music, and freakin’ light bulbs even through delivery services.. Blue Apron sounds like a very enjoyable experiment.

Jen says:

Using Hello Fresh for 4 months. It’s brilliant!. No wasted food. No more buying groceries, using half a package and having to toss the other half because it has spoiled. Hello Fresh was the only service that delivers at the beginning of the week, providing meals for work nights when most needed. Was afraid food would freeze sitting outside in the great white north, but the packaging is great, even greens & herbs are fresh, not wilted. Portions are sufficient for myself a teenager, with a small portion left for one lunch to carry to work. Recipe card directions & pictures are well organized, clear and easy to follow (except guest chef Jamie Oliver’s directions, always missing something or out of order). Flavor combos seem odd when first read but always turn out great. I highly recommend Hello Fresh.

Mari says:

I’ve been using Blue Apron for several months now. The recipes are easy to follow and the quality and taste has been great! The prep time is a little underestimated in my opinion. I’m an experienced cook and it takes me 10-15 minutes longer to do the prep than the recipe card states. I like that you can choose your weeks (I.e. You can skip weeks – even several weeks in a row). They also have an option to recycle the gel packs by shipping the gel packs back at their cost – they do ask that you combine gel packs from 2 or more shipments. There is no styrofoam in the boxes. I think of Blue Apron as a mini cooking class in a box because I probably wouldn’t have tried these recipes on my own – especially on a weekday night. Most of them I can recreate without difficulty when my family asks for them again.

Loretta says:

Do not waste your money on Hello Fresh because they will rip you off. I signed up for Hello Fresh on January 17, 2016 and was supposed to receive my first box at a cost of $63.00 and my first delivery was to be on Janary 25th however because of a snow storm it was supposed to be delayed by 2 days and Hello Fresh customer service said it would be delivered by January 27th. I did not receive my deliver so I contacted customer service and received the following reply:

Whitney (HelloFresh USA)
Jan 28, 13:24

Hello Loretta,

Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I am so sorry about the delay with your delivery! For this inconvenience, we will gladly place a full box credit in your HelloFresh account. This credit will automatically cover the cost of the upcoming week’s delivery. Our deepest apologies for not living up to our usual standards this week. I have forwarded this information to our courier to make sure this does not go unnoticed. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

Sincerely,
Whitney

However, on January 29th they charged my account $105 for my next delivery – Frbruary 1st. Again a delivery I did not receive so I sent another email on February 1 letting them know I did not recieve my delivery and stated I wanted a refund of my money since I did not get either shipment and I was not to be charged for second according to their previous email. I received a response that stated:

Mosi (HelloFresh USA)
Feb 3, 23:15

Hello Loretta,

Thank you for reaching out to us. I apologize for the delay. After looking at your account, I see that you have already been issued a full box credit to your account. Unfortunately, we will not be able to issue a refund.

Thank you,
Mosi

So they have no problem taking money out of my account even though they were not supposed to, but they cannot refund my money since I did not receive my orders. Therefore, I have cancelled my account and will never recommend Hello Freah to anyone based upon the level of customer service I received.

Bri says:

I have used Hello Fresh on and off for a couple years now. They have dramatically improved how they package the meals–so much neater–it used go show up thrown in the box and a mess. That said–like you–I cannot tell you how many times it was wrong, missing half the food (2 person rather than 4)–they forgot the recipes, etc etc. I also have gotten credits for food that was missing or spoiled and –oh my–it disappeared. I have cancelled a week and gotten billed for an order.

Michele says:

I’ve tried Hello Fresh and I liked it, the 1st week. My 2nd shipment arrived on time AND BLOODY. Stomach turning bloody. I contacted customer service via email and requested a refund. The email back stated they would give me a credit towards another shipment. I emailed back that I had cancelled my account (which I had before I even got the bloody shipment) therefore there would not be a future shipment to credit and I want a refund of my money. I received another email stating they do not give refunds “Sorry for the inconvenience.” Really?! So made a phone call and listened to the most awful hold music, I do believe purposely awful btw, hoping you’ll hang up. Held for 35 minutes periodically being told their “friendly freshers”, what a joke, will be with me ahortly. It’s dinner time and as determined as I was to hold until someone answered, they won and I hung up. I will try during the day tomorrow. I will not be bullied into another shipment nor just give up $69 for nothing. If I don’t get a reasonable resolution I will be contacting the BBB.

Krissy says:

I’ve been subscribing to Plated for about two years. I LOVE Plated. The food is delicious, and there’s always something new to try. I think it’s really improved my cooking generally. And although Plated is a few bucks more per meal than the others, they do local where they can, choose organic and antibiotic-free meats and sustainable seafood, and ultimately, we eat healthier food and spend less than we would trying to do as much on our own. Customer service has been great — I think I had a missed ingredient twice — once they reimbursed me for the meal, and the other time they discovered the mistake before I did and express-delivered a shallot and complimentary desserts.

I tried hello fresh once and didn’t like the food (a side of lettuce and cherry tomatoes — really? That’s the best you could think up?); also at the time they didn’t allow you to skip a week. After that I just stuck with Plated — they were the only ones with any attempt at humane/sustainable/antibiotic-free etc., and I really love their recipes, so I have no reason to switch.

Jean says:

I have used Plated for all of 2015 and have decided to cancel my account. They started out wonderfully – great food, deliveries on time and great customer service. All of that has changed. I haven’t had an on time delivery for 2 months. The last delivery that was scheduled for December 23rd was 6 days late. I had to throw the entire box out. I have emailed 3 times asking for a refund and have not yet had a response. Not having my food show up also meant I had to make an extra trip to the grocery store.

I am going to try Hello Fresh next. I love the convenience of getting my meals sent to me.

Karen says:

Same experience here. I loved Plated when I started in February 2016. I had tried many different services before I settled on Plated. The recipes have been great (only complaint is that they use a lot of kale and the kale is not organic and recently I got two sets of ingredients for one recipe and not the dessert), I love the ability to select different meals,, and the dessert option.

However, delivery has been terrible lately. It is 6:00 Friday night and I am waiting on my delivery that was due before 8:00 PM last night. I was counting on this tonight and fortunately have some pizza I can substitute in. Over the past six weeks, the delivery has been late half of the time (by one day) and one delivery did not make it because it was damaged during shipment. Unfortunately for me, that was one in which all the recipes sounded awesome. Plated could/would not send out another. Plated has been good about refunds, but as Jean said, not having my food show up means scrambling to make another meal. I’d rather have my meals than my money back. Unfortunately, I am moving on…

Karen says:

Not every household has 2 or more people in it. Take mine for instance. One person-me. I cannot seem to find any service that delivers meals such as the ones mentioned for one person. Does anyone know of one that does? There is an awful lot of us singles foodies out there who would like this convenience ! Help !

Suzie says:

I’ve been using Hello Fresh for the past couple of months and love the convenience, and have been very happy with all but one recipe so far. I find I’m trying new techniques and new ingredients I normally might shy away from. And I think we have actually saved money by not visiting the grocery store as often. For us (two people) there is just enough in each meal, with no leftovers to speak of (which I miss). I would encourage single folks to give it a try, though. It may sound like more food than one person needs, but you will appreciate the leftovers.

Nicole says:

I’m a single person and I get Hello Fresh! I find it convenient as then I have lunch for the next day already to go. Or if I have someone over it is great to have enough for two. I think you should give it a try. The portion sizes are great as you won’t be drowning in food to store. 🙂

ecfood2016 says:

I have been using FreshRealm and it has been great! I cook for myself as well and they offer individual salads and sandwiches that are delicious. You can choose your own meals so it makes it super easy to pick what you want, here is the site if you want to check it out, freshrealm.co.

Robin says:

There are two of us in my house, but my husband goes to the gym every night so he eats all his food for the day before he leaves work – leaving me on my own during the week. I order the 2 person package (from Blue Apron, which I love), and just save 1/2 of each meal for another night. So I end up with 6 nights of meals. I also saw a post where they said they took the other 1/2 to work for lunch. Hope that helps 🙂

julie says:

we LOVE Marley Spoon! I eat gluten, dairy, soy and GMO free. Organic when posible. The Marley Spoon meals are intersting and delicious! They are less expensive than Plated and Blue Apron. I have no connection to them other than that I am a very satisfied, happy consumer hoping Marley Spoon becomes immensely popular!

Laura says:

I love Marley Spoon too!

Lord Fish says:

Huge fan of Marley Spoon, use them primarily now. Love knowing where seafood and meat is coming from, and when you’re cooking Italian, most of the ingredients will actually be from Italy. Amazing taste, choose from 7 options, skip, cancel at any time.

Kirin says:

Has anyone tried Home Chef? My boyfriend and I are on our second week of it. We haven’t been super impressed with the meals yet, but it’s the cheapest I’ve tried. I did really enjoy Blue Apron and want to try Plated and HelloFresh next.

Lindsey Miller says:

I switched over from Blue Apron to Home Chef. I like having many different choices, and they deliver!

Brooke says:

Thank you for posting this review! I recently switched from Blue Apron to Plated. Plated is more expensive, but we found that the quality of the meat is far superior with the Plated service. Blue Apron had a tendency to use chicken thighs and wings in their recipes, while Plated uses chicken breast. We also felt the beef quality with Blue Apron was disappointing. We loved the different flavors and recipes with Blue Apron, but that was the deciding factor for us.

I haven’t found the Plated recipes I’ve received any more complicated to cook than the Blue Apron recipes. I’ve actually felt like I’ve had less dishes to clean with Plated.

We would love to try Hello Fresh, so I’ve appreciated reading these reviews. The food delivery services are very convenient if you have a busy schedule, and are limited on menu planning and grocery shopping time.

K says:

“For example, my local grocery store doesn’t sell piment d’espelette, which I needed for Blue Apron’s seared cod.”

No, you didn’t NEED piment d’espelette to make seared cod. If you couldn’t find in the grocery store, you could have just used a different spice, like paprika or regular red chili pepper.

I really want to see a review by a vegetarian, because last time I checked, Blue Apron and Plated didn’t have balanced vegetarian meals – they were basically salads with no source of protein.

Also, comparing the cost of these services to take-out is not fair because with takeout, you’re paying for someone to cook the food for you.

Liz says:

I’m a vegetarian who has recently started using Plated. I don’t get a box every week, only when I see a few recipes that look interesting (I’m very picky for an adult) which is usually 1-2 weeks out of the month. I’ve found the meals to be much more balanced than what I would typically make at home. I’m also a big takeout junkie. I will say that they rely pretty heavily on cauliflower, mushrooms, and squash in their vegetarian meals, Cauliflower has a good amount of protein and the grains included are protein heavy as well (relative to other grains). Is it the absolute healthiest thing I could be eating? No, but it’s much much better than what I would have otherwise eaten.

Kim says:

I love eating some meatless meals, and I was a modified vegetarian for 17 years. I don’t think people plan well enough to get their protein requirement, but it’s possible to do. I know there is a lot of misunderstanding about protein sources, because people hear things and don’t investigate them. So I wasn’t completely shocked to hear you say that cauliflower has a fair amount of protein — actually you would have to eat *eight pounds* of it to get your daily protein requirement.

AKM says:

We’re vegetarians and tried their two person plan for about two months, but then decided we didn’t get enough value for it. We really liked the convenience, but as vegetarians, we got NO choice in our meals; you either take the three meals per week or you skip the week (despite what the review above says, you do get some choice each week if you eat meat when you’re on the two person plan). If you have any other dietary restrictions, or even preferences, you’re basically stuck. We found that most weeks, there were two recipes we really liked and one that was totally unappealing. You still have to pay the same $60/week even if you only want two of the meals, and $30/meal just didn’t make sense (especially if it means you throw out food).

I also didn’t like the fact that the pricing is exactly the same for vegetarians. When the most expensive ingredients in the meals are two eggs and a little bit of cheese, $20 is pretty expensive. Some of the meals were basically cans of beans and tomatoes with some fresh kale. I could have made the whole meal (minus the little packet of prepackaged spice mix) for under $5.

AKM says:

Whoops! Forgot to mention that that was with Blue Apron.

Rhonda says:

I’m not vegetarian, but I get what you are saying about Blue Apron. I’m alternating between them and Homechef.com. I tend to lean vegetarian, and Homechef.com has several choices. I’ve ordered a couple from Blue Apron, but I am a picky eater, and I don’t like the combos in the next few weeks. I work 9-10 hour days from home, but there’s not time to figure out what to eat, get a recipe together, etc, and have my mom here, and often my son or his friend who lives here. My son works evenings, so he doesn’t eat the meals. It saves me time, but I wanted the vegetarian and one meat meal,and I found I couldn’t make certain food choices. You are right about their vegetarian choices. I also didn’t like it when I received chicken thighs, which I swapped for breasts the other day.

Robert Vincent says:

First of all, GREAT REVIEW! I have had them for 2 months, and my girlfriend and I love getting our box, and cooking together. It has really brought us closer together, and taught us some really cool yet easy recipes. The food is always fresh, and cold, even with the box coming to Phoenix! I used this promo code: CE6HNQ which gave me $40 off my first box.

With that promo code, my first box was only $29, and now I happily pay the $69 each week for the box, and it has been a great experience and HelloFresh really has great customer service.

Happy Cooking!
– Robert

Scott V says:

I have had HelloFresh now for about 6 weeks, and I have to say I have been really happy with it. The delivery is always when its scheduled, the food has always been packaged really well and is still cold (I live in Phoenix where it is still 104 in October), and the recipes give a good variety but arent too complex for my basic palate.

What got me started was this code that they give out: SBFSLX that took $40 off my first order, just entered it at checkout on their website. That let me try a full food box of 6 meals for only $29 instead of $69 which helped me decide if it was worth it. The code is still good, and worth using if you are thinking of trying it out.

Valerie Van Pelt says:

I love Hello Fresh but it seems to take a long ti,e to cook the meals. Im in the kitchen for an hour. Anyone have a quicker option?

Shannon says:

I REALLY wanted to love Hello Fresh. The time saved in not having to plan menus, shopping, and hunting for ingredients was a huge stress-reliever. Opening the boxes was like opening a Christmas present, fun packaging with ice-packs that were still frozen, even in a very hot climate, and attractive and easy to read recipe-cards. Unfortunately, the service & product just didn’t match the convenience. Any type of salad green was spoiled within a few days of receiving the box, I too had a missing ingredient, and we had numerous issues with duplicate shipments, meal choices not acknowledged, etc. There customer service agents were always friendly, but when I factored in the amount of time I spent on the phone trying to fix issues, it just wasn’t worth it. I found the food to be ok, not something I’d want to swap out a weekend meal for, but good for weeknights when you are trying to get everyone to the table with a healthy meal. To me, it seemed like a new company with a great concept that just hadn’t worked out the bugs yet.

I appreciate the article and will be looking into Blue Apron. I’m not willing to give up on this concept yet! 🙂

I am a good cook, but LOVE Blue Apron — we tried Hello Fresh, but found the recipes a bit more basic (flavors not as complex) and vegetables not as fresh as Blue Apron. The convenience of having everything shipped to your door as well as the exact quantities needed (anyone who hasn’t had basil spoiling in the refrigerator I applaude) have made it perfect for us. It is a very good value. We can skip shipments easily and while our garden is in full swing we skip months at a time….but always come back to loving these shipments!

I hadn’t heard of the others and tried Blue Apron recently on a whim. I’m hooked. We’re “foodies” but don’t have time to cook like we used to. Living in Denton, TX, finding ingredients for exotic seasonings, etc., can be difficult and I’m not driving to Dallas for one ingredient. Calculate in my busy teaching schedule and the fact my husband has Alzheimer’s Disease and I’m busy. Really, really busy. After reading this blog I’m tempted to try the others but I am very happy with Blue Apron. I know we often clean out the ‘fridge and throw away food that has spoiled, which is really depressing, or I’ll cook a recipe that makes enough for 4 and the leftovers don’t get eaten or don’t keep well. Another problem I have is buying meats and other foods at Costco to freeze, which is fine, but then you have to remember to thaw them and make sure you have all the ingredients. If I don’t, I have to stop what I’m doing and go to the store because Hubby can’t drive anymore. I’m new to Blue Apron but I have a feeling this will be a big help to keep us eating healthy and minimize food costs and waste. I’ know what my grocery bills have looked like, and I know what I threw out the last time I cleaned out the ‘fridge, and I felt like I was throwing money out with the trash. Just yesterday I heard this piece on NPR about people wasting food. http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/09/16/440825159/its-time-to-get-serious-about-reducing-food-waste-feds-say

Kathy says:

I have just one word to say about Hello Fresh: Delicious! I am single and get the two person plan. I eat well (albeit not large meals) all week on it. Living in a condo I don’t have much room for lots of kitchen ingredients. This solves my problem. . Living at the shore, I often have company and need to have meals prepared for larger groups so I like the fact that I can preselect my weeks. Hello Fresh packages have always come as indicated and stayed fresh until I came home. Love this service!

Jim says:

I tried Plated recently with the 4 free plates when you buy 2 offer. It’s a great deal if you can still find it! The recipes I received (Beef & Squash Empanadas with Tomato Basil Salad, Garlicky Chicken with Caramelized Squash, and Pork and Peach Skewers with Peach Mostarda) were fun, pretty easy to prepare, and really delicious. The ingredients arrived in excellent condition, except for a slightly bruised peach (which got used in the Moustarda… so, no foul!)

At the regular price, I initially thought that it was expensive, but actually it’s just a little more than fast food or ordering a pizza, and so much better! It’s still less expensive than eating out!

I’m planning on trying Blue Apron next week and Hello Fresh after that. I don’t know if I will keep an active subscription going with any of them, but I may order from them occasionally. It is a really great way to try new things and learn some cooking techniques.

Michael says:

We received a gift certificate for Hello Fresh, which turned out to just be a bill for $70. In order to use the gift certificate, we had to sign up for the service. After we received the first box – which had been sitting on our front doorstep in 102 degree heat for who knows how long, and the ice was melted and the food was spoiled – we realized we really did not want this service, as the recipes are somewhat bizarre and not very good. They sent the shipment on a Thursday. You have to cancel your next shipment by midnight on Wednesday. This means that they don’t give you a chance to see if you like it before the deadline to cancel the next shipment is up. This is a scam. And the customer service is nonexistent. So we were charged for another shipment. THIS WAS A GIFT! Now we are having to pay for a service we do not want. And a service we cannot afford. This company should be prosecuted for fraud. If you have to “trick” your customers into buying your product, chances are it is because your product is not good enough to sell itself.

lq says:

Hello fresh forgot an important ingredient in one of my meals so it was wasted. Went on the website and discontinued service but they said it “didnt go through” so they charged me the $69.00 for the week. When I told them I wouldnt be home they offered to reroute the box but said they could not stop it from going out and this was 3 days before it shipped. Not good customer service. Why can’t people do the right thing anymore?

Margaret says:

Just an FYI maybe b/c I just joined Blue Apron recently…but you CAN choose your meals on this plan. Sometimes, it may not be the exact combination you’re shooting for, but it’s made me try some new things. I think they give you specific combinations of the choices to keep the prices in check. The food I’ve received so far has been perfect portions, great quality protein (had salmon, chicken and pork so far), and easy to prepare/cook.

Yes, you can definitely choose your meals. It also helps if you have an adventurous palate–picky eaters won’t like these services. But I love Blue Apron.

Nicole says:

Great article. I just signed up for Plated. I like how I can choose my meals vs Blue Apron choosing for me. I also like how I can do a minimum of 4 plates per week vs having to do 6 plates minimum for Blue Apron. I’m going to try them out for a couple of weeks and see how I like them. If not, I’ll definitely be trying Blue Apron!!! One thing to add to your article, Plated no longer charges a monthly/yearly fee for their membership. Membership is free now. 🙂

Steven says:

Thank you for the article. I will be trying Blue Apron next and wanted to read more about it.

I am currently using Hello Fresh and find the food to be quite good. Most of their recipes are quite easy to follow and meals are usually cooked and plated by 30-40 minutes. The ingredients are fresh and I like the fact that I get to choose from 3 meals from a list of five the week before it’s sent. One day my box arrived at 10:53 a.m. and I was unable to get home until 7pm but all the ingredients were still cold and no issues with anything. Yes, it is more than I’d like to spend but I don’t have to think about anything and there is no waste. Frequently, I have leftovers but not on every meal. Sometimes it’s too good not to eat it all. I hope this helps some others.

Steven

Ally says:

Was hoping there’d be an article on here like this soon! Thank you!!

Liz says:

Thank you so much for reviewing these! I have wanted to try Blue Apron for a while now, but have never gotten around to making the order! I will definitely make steps to bring them into my home!

This is a good idea for those that can’t cook and want to learn how to cook. But if you already know how to cook or know how to get a recipe book, this is a little expensive… convenient, but expensive. It might not be that expensive on certain meals (meals with a lot of meat in them), but you could do cheaper on the average meal if you go buy everything yourself.

But like I said, it is great for those who are eating out all the time because they don’t know what to cook.