5 Best Meal Kit Delivery Services to Try in 2018

If you’re a stressed-out parent looking to make better food at home or a single looking to hone your kitchen skills, home meal kit delivery can have you putting together delicious and unique home-cooked meals in no time.

These meals are healthy, tasty, easy to make, and maybe best of all, you don’t have to wait for inspiration to strike and then battle the crowds at the grocery store. With home meal kits, you just go online and browse the latest recipe ideas, and they come straight to your door ready for you to put together.

When looking for a meal delivery service, there are a few things to consider beyond just the price per meal. Most meal kit delivery services allow you to pick your meals from a selected group of recipes that changes each week. Make sure that the variety of meals is to your liking, and in particular if you have any dietary issues - such as a gluten sensitivity or if you’re a vegetarian - you’ll want to make sure that the company can provide enough options for it to be worth your time - and money. Also, life can be unpredictable, you’ll want to look for a company that will allow you to skip a week if you’d like, or that makes cancelling your membership painless and simple.

Our Top 5 Meal Kit Delivery Services

Home Chef Sun Basket HelloFresh Plated Blue Apron

The Basics

Price
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Most meal kit companies charge per meal, with the offerings typically hovering around $10 per meal. The prices are usually lower for special offers like dessert, snacks, and smoothies. It can also be somewhat cheaper per meal with a family plan or if you purchase vegetarian meals or breakfasts.
$9.95 per serving$11.99 per serving/$9.99 per serving for family menu$9.99 per serving/$8.74 per serving for family plan$9.95 - $11.95 per serving$10.99 per serving on 2 person plan, $9.99 per serving on a 4 person plan
Shipping
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Shipping is one of the main costs of signing up for a meal kit service, and if a company offers free or discounted shipping, it can make a huge difference.
$10 on orders less than $45. Free on orders over $45.$6.99 per order, first week includes free deliveryFreeFree - unless your plan is under $60 per week, in which case it is $7.95.Free
Delivery areas
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Most companies only ship to the continental US. Within the lower 48, you may not be eligible for delivery if you live in a remote area, check with the company before ordering. Some companies also only agree to deliver to a private residence, not a workplace or commercial building.
98% of the US (search your zip code on company website)All of the US except Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and some of New MexicoAll of the US except Alaska and Hawaii95% of the US (check your zip code on company website to see)All of the US except Alaska and Hawaii
Great for
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All meal kit companies are great for people looking to improve their home cooking, but some have a more particular focus, for instance people who want quick, simple recipes, or who have dietary concerns and need gluten-free, soy-free, and other similar plans.
People who want to eat healthier with easy recipesPeople cooking for families; vegetarian, gluten and dairy free optionsPeople looking for easy recipesPeople who need flexible meal selectionsBusy families who need help finding recipes ideas
Special Offers
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This is one of the areas where meal kit companies can set themselves apart from the crowd. For customers, it can be a fun way to keep things fresh and interesting.
Smoothies and fruit baskets, flexible servingsCustomize the recipes you select in your basket each weekOne breakfast option per weekDessert options availableWine delivery for $10/bottle
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All about the Food

Special diets
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If you have special dietary needs, you'll need to check to make sure the company you sign up with can meet them. Certain companies have more options than others, but with most companies you should be able to accommodate your meal plan to your dietary needs.
Meals available include - vegetarian, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-freePaleo, lean and clean, gluten free, vegetarian, Mediterranean, vegan, and pescatarianMeals are marked dairy free, egg free, nut free where relevant.Options for vegetarian, gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-carb diets.Mark your dietary preferences - such as gluten free, low carb, or diabetic when you sign up
Ingredients quality
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Meal kit companies put an emphasis on using sustainable, high-quality ingredients and are big supporters of the farm to table movement. Some companies have more organic options and certifications than others, but an emphasis on quality is nearly universal.
Food sourced from “top quality vendors”Over 99% of the produce is organic, antibiotic and hormone free, and sustainable.Ingredients come “fresh from the source.”100% antibiotic-free meats, no added hormones beef, and organic and ingredients whenever possible.Hormone free meat, sustainable seafood, non GMO produce.
Recipes per week
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This is one of the main areas where companies can stick out from the crowd. With more weekly meal options, you're less likely to have repeat offerings.
12 dinners, 3x5-minute lunches18 on classic menu, 6 on family menu8 in classic menu, 3 in veggie menu, 5 in family menu20 + 2 desserts8 with 2 person plan, 4 with the 4 person plan
Number of menus
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Most meal kit companies keep it simple with a basic overall menu and a family menu - the latter usually having easier to make, more kid-friendly meals. With some services you also have an option for a veggie menu.
One menu but you can see options up to 5 weeks in advance2 - classic and family3 - classic, veggie, and familyFilter between meat and veggie (16 meat options and 4 veggie per week)Vegetarian and the 2 and 4 person menus
What’s in the box
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The box comes with your orders for that week. You will have the recipes for each meal printed out clearly on easily to follow recipe cards, and the ingredients wrapped and marked. Usually the meat and fish will be at the bottom in vacuum-sealed packs with ice packs on both side. The boxes will also include insulation to keep the food from spoiling until you pick up. With most companies, all or at least most of the packaging is fully recyclable.
Coupons, recipes, nutritional facts, insulation and ice packs, produce, meat and fish (individually vacuum-sealed). Seasoning and condiments.Recipes with photos and nutritional facts, thick insulation, meals individually bagged, ice packs, meats individually vacuum-sealed, fruits, vegetables, spices.Recipe cards and nutritional facts, each meal individually boxed inside the main box, ice packs, individually-wrapped produce and sealed meats.Recipe cards, nutritional facts, insulation, produce and meat are individually packaged and labeled, ice packs.Recipe cards, insulation, individually labeled, wrapped and portioned produce, a “nicknacks” (spices and condiments) bag, ice packs.
Prep time
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Most companies keep their recipes easy enough for a novice to follow without getting bogged down. Factor in about 30 minutes for your recipe.
About 30 minutesAbout 30 minutesAbout 30 minutesAbout 30 minutesAbout 30 minutes
Prep difficulty
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Meal kit companies keep things simple - that's a major reason for why they've been so popular.
EasyEasyEasyEasyEasy
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The Nitty Gritty Details

Flexible subscription
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From time to time, there may be a week where the menu offerings just aren't to your liking. Most meal kit companies will let you skip a week whenever you want to, and also won't make it difficult for you to cancel your membership.
YesYesYesYesYes
Packaging
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Packaging is a major concern for many consumers, and with meal kits there is quite a bit of packaging. These companies are aware of how important this is to consumers, and that's why all or most of the packaging is recyclable.
Fully recyclableFully recyclableFully recyclable (except some winter liners)Fully recyclableFully recyclable
Works with local food suppliers
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All meal kit companies work with local food suppliers to varying degrees—so you can rest easy if this is an important issue for you.
YesYesYesYesYes
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The 5 Best Meal Delivery Services: In-Depth Reviews

Home Chef

Home Chef meals Visit Site

9.8

Outstanding

Great value and variety

  • $9.95 per meal
  • Delivery to 98% of the US
  • 12 dinners, 3 five minute lunches, One smoothie, one fruit basket to pick from per week

Home Chef has put a personalized touch on the meal kit industry, letting customers build a “taste profile” which helps the company determine which meals will be the best match for them.

The meals are easy and straightforward, and you can find options for all type of dietary needs, including vegetarian, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free meals.

There are only about a dozen meals to choose from per week, though the recipes are interesting and easy enough to be all but foolproof. The company works hard to source ingredients locally and use only top-shelf providers.

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Sun Basket

Sun Basket meals Visit Site

9.5

Excellent

Best for organic food

  • $11.99 per meal on the classic menu, $9.99 per meal for family menu
  • Delivery across the US - except Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and some of New Mexico
  • 18 meals per week on classic menu, 6 on the family menu

Sun Basket combines variety and high-quality ingredients to create one of the best meal kit delivery options on the market.

The company’s mission is based around 3 core values - clean eating, flavorful meals, and sustainability. Over 99% of the produce the company supplies is organic, and Sun Basket always uses organic dairy and eggs, antibiotic and hormone free meat and poultry, and puts a real focus on using sustainable providers.

How’s that translate to your dinner table? With Sun Basket you can find options for paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian diets, and recipes ranging from mu shu pork to Vietnamese salad bowls. You can also pick and choose “lean and clean” healthy eating options.

The recipes are easy to make, and with organic, premium ingredients, you’ll be asking for seconds.

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HelloFresh

HelloFresh meals Visit Site

9.3

Excellent

The easiest recipes to make

  • $9.99 per meal with veggie and classic plans, $8.74 per meal for family plan
  • Everywhere in the US that isn’t Alaska or Hawaii
  • 8 weekly meals on classic menu, 3 in veggie menu, 5 in family menu

Great food doesn’t need to be a hassle. HelloFresh gets this, and that’s why each of their recipes only take 6 steps or less and will have you sitting down to dig in within 30 minutes.

Now, there are only 8 menu items to choose from per week, but the ingredients are responsibly sourced and highly customizable. The menus feature a wide variety of meat, fish, poultry, pasta, produce and grains, so you should be able to find something that works for your palate.

And while there isn’t currently a dessert option, that company is one of the few that offers breakfast in addition to dinner, so you can start your day off right.

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Plated

Plated meals Visit Site

9.1

Very Good

The most variety

  • $9.95-11.95 per serving
  • 95% of the US
  • Over 20 recipes per week plus dessert

True, Plated has easy to follow recipes and is very flexible with customers, but it's the food that is simply divine.

The recipes are crafted by the company’s culinary team and use high quality ingredients that are free of hormones and antibiotics. And while the recipes can be exotic and seductive, you can also just whip up some more standard fare like waldorf chicken salad and spicy crunchy shrimp bowls. You can also add dessert if you really feel like getting carried away.

Plated is also flexible - the company will allow you skip weeks, switch recipes and cancel anytime. One drawback though - the company doesn’t offer specifically vegan options.

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Blue Apron

Blue Apron meals Visit Site

8.8

Very Good

Best for improving your kitchen skills

  • $10.99 per serving on a 2 person plan, $9.99 per serving on a 4 person plan
  • All of the US except Alaska and Hawaii
  • 4-8 recipes per week to choose from

Chances are, the first time you heard about home meal kits it was through Blue Apron. The company is the most well-known in the industry and has taken leaps and bounds in recent years to try and change how we’re eating at home.

Blue Apron is trying to “pioneer a new model of the food to table journey,” and while that may seem a bit lofty, basically the company is just trying to provide better, more sustainably produced food for all of their clients.

The company wants to help customers learn more about how to cook well at home, and to become more intimately acquainted with their food and the ingredients that go into it. One drawback of Blue Apron si that there are only 8 meals to choose from each week, and only 4 if you’re on the family plan. That said, even with the smaller selection you can experiment with some brilliantly designed and delicious recipes.

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What’s for Dinner?

Don’t let the lines outside that new hot restaurant downtown fool you - what we truly love is home-cooking. Meal Kit companies realize this and are helping customers find more and more ways to eat better, easier, while also learning some new kitchen skills. Try out a couple of these top meal kit companies and let your taste buds do the talking.