Launched in July 2017, Dinnerly is a no-frills affordable meal kit service that targets couples and families with high-quality but basic ingredients like grass-fed ground beef, and prices as low as $5/portion. This is about half the price of competitors like Blue Apron, though the price doesn’t include shipping.
Dinnerly offers a variety of choices for a weekly menu of 3 dishes, with an emphasis on user-friendly recipes and ingredients like spaghetti and meatballs or pan roasted chicken with potatoes. Dinnerly keeps prices low by cutting down on packaging. It’s a healthy, affordable option for families and individuals alike.
Families who want kid-friendly meal kit options People who want to cook at home but aren’t looking for overly gourmet recipes Customers who want to try a meal kit service but are turned off by the higher prices of other companies
Dinnerly is a great option for customers who are looking to join a meal kit service but are turned off by what has largely been seen as a luxury service aimed at affluent customers. It is the most affordable option on the market, with prices at $5 per plate, around half that of the industry leaders.
Dinnerly is going for mass market appeal – most recipes only have 6 ingredients, prep and cooking are easy even for a novice, and the offerings are sure to appeal to even picky eaters. If you’re a would-be gourmand looking to impress your dinner guests with obscure, high-dollar ingredients—this is not the service for you. It’s for those of us who want to avoid going to the grocery store and scratching our heads on what to buy/make, before just giving up and picking up a pizza on the way home.
It has a very flexible subscription plan. You can skip as many deliveries as you want in any given week and painlessly cancel your subscription at any time if you aren’t happy with the product.
Dinnerly has also cut costs by scrapping the glossy recipe cards used by competitors, and offer digital recipes which don’t miss a beat. Every week’s offerings include kid-friendly meals and most of the options are “safe” enough to appeal to a very wide audience.
Dinnerly takes the guess work out of home-cooking. Most people—especially parents—don’t have the mental bandwidth to come up with new dinner ideas by the time the work day comes to a close, and Dinnerly, as it says on their website “has you covered.”
The low price makes it easier to take the leap and join a meal kit service, especially when you take into consideration the flexible plans and the fact that you can opt out of any meal delivery week and cancel at any time. Simply put, it’s a no-frills, affordable meal kit company tailor-made for people who don’t want to fork out the cash for the more upscale options offered by other industry leaders.
Also, while at the moment Dinnerly may only have 3 menu options per week, as the company grows, it’s safe to assume it will have more options.
Dinnerly is a subscription service, and you can opt for either a 2-person box with meals for 2 people, 3 times a week, or the family box which serves 4 people, 3 times a week. Once you sign up, you receive a list of the recipes for the coming week, as well as what items you’ll need at home to pull it off (typically just the basics like oil and salt).
The dishes come in insulated boxes with ice packs at the specified time. If you want to add portions to your order you can do so up to 5 or 6 days before the delivery date. There are 3 different menu items per week, and you can take a week off if they don’t like what’s on the menu, or freeze your account as needed.
The recipes are simple – most use only 6 to 8 ingredients and are meant to appeal to rather picky eaters who aren’t looking to get too adventurous with the latest trendy food ingredients. Dinnerly favors more traditional offerings like spaghetti and meatballs or roasted chicken with potatoes, which are reliable, easy to make, and satisfying.
The recipes come printed on the box and are accessible online with easy to follow instructions and photos.
With only 3 meal options per week there’s not a huge variety, but here’s an example to give you a feel for the selection.
Meal 1: Griddled onion turkey burgers
Meal 2: Grass-fed American Chop Suey
Meal 3: Harissa-spiced chicken
There tends to be an emphasis on hearty, one-pot meals that are tried and true. Other recent meals have included a hearty beef and barley soup, and a kid-friendly ultra-creamy mac and cheese.
The weekly options often include two surefire “meat and potatoes” style meals followed by one for a slightly more adventurous palate, such as the harissa-spiced chicken or the ginger chicken stir-fry.
The grass-fed American chop suey with corkscrew pasta is a good example of the no-nonsense, no-brainer recipes. There are only 5 ingredients, and 5 steps. First you chop the onions, saute them in oil for 3-5 minutes, brown the beef, lightly salt it and drain the fat. Finally, add the chili powder, stir in tomatoes, water, and pasta, bring to a boil and simmer until cooked, around 15-18 minutes. Like the rest of their recipes, they add a “hack” at the end, to kick things up another notch. In this case, the hack is to add a can of beans during the final step, to stretch the meals further.
This recipe comes in a box with 5 ingredients – dark chili powder, 1 can chopped tomatoes, corkscrew pasta, grass-fed ground beef, and a yellow onion. On the side, it lists the basics you’ll need at home to pull it off – ground pepper, coarse salt, olive oil, and a large skillet. It’s hard to get any simpler than that.
In lieu of a “hack,” some recipes have a step that suggests drink pairings for your meal. For the Harissa-Spiced Chicken with Potatoes, Onions, and Spinach recipe, they include a suggestion that reads “In general, complex Morroccan spices call for white wines. Wanting red? Go for a spicy, young Zinfandel (think California!). Beer is an equally good idea, as is a sweet mint iced tea.”
The online recipes could not be easier to follow. Each step includes a picture taken from above, and the look is very similar to the viral online cooking videos (like Buzzfeed’s “Tasty” cooking videos) which we’ve all seen on our Facebook feed.
Dinnerly takes pride in its food-sourcing, which it says includes grass-fed ground beef, antibiotic-free chicken, American-caught shrimp, and other high quality and fresh ingredients. It also features a variety of vegetarian, low gluten, low dairy and low carb options, though not every week. It does not currently offer breakfast, lunch, or dessert, nor does it allow you to customize the meal offerings.
|2-person||2 portions per recipe, 3 recipes/week||$5/portion, plus $8.99 shipping||$38.99/week|
|4-person||4 portions per recipe, 3 recipes/week||$5.00/portion + $8.99 shipping||$68.99/week|
Dinnerly costs $5 per adult-sized portion. There are two plan options—the 2-person box and the 4-person box—which both include 3 recipes per week. The 2-person box comes out at $38.99 per week, while the 4-person box costs $68.99 per week.
Dinnerly can be reached by phone at 888-267-2850 and on email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also an online form that can easily filled-out and extensive FAQ page. Queries sent to the online form and customer service email were answered satisfactorily, but a little over 48 hours after they were sent.
What’s Unique About Dinnerly?
Dinnerly is unique first off because of its pricing. Dinnerly has turned the industry model on its head, opting for mass market, broad appeal offerings at low prices over upscale and complicated meals meant for a more affluent customer base. The result is healthy, quality meals with premium ingredients at only $5 per portion—which means you can get great home-cooking for less than you’d spend at a fast food restaurant.
Dinnerly is also unique among meal kit services in that it keeps the recipes as simple as possible. The recipes only require 6 ingredients, meaning you should be able to whip dinner together in about 30 minutes, taking some of the fear and headache out of home-cooking.
The service is extremely user-friendly. It allows customers to opt out of any week’s offerings, and while it is a subscription service, users can quit any time at their own volition and not be penalized.
The meal kit of the masses, Dinnerly makes high-quality home cooking a reality for the rest of us.
It’s a remedy to a meal kit market that has been focused on higher-end customers, with prices that tend to negate some of the savings of cooking at home. With flexible membership and ordering options, it is tailor-made to appeal to those who see the industry leaders as targeting people above their pay grade, but are still sick and tired of spaghetti and meat sauce, meatloaf, rinse and repeat.
Users can select which week’s menus they want to try out, and opt out any time the coming week’s offerings aren’t to their liking. Users control the time and place of delivery and can add portions to their order easily online.
Beyond the low cost and flexibility, there’s also the familiarity of the options.
Dinnerly’s menus are heavy on single plate, hearty, protein-heavy dishes that are geared towards every day people in search of something that tastes great, is easy to make, and is a pretty sure slam dunk. Also, for the parents out there, the offerings tend to be more kid friendly.
Dinnerly was launched by meal kit service Marley Spoon in July, and was heralded as “the first affordable meal kit.” While Marley Spoon’s Martha and Marley Spoon premium brand (currently in a partnership with Martha Stewart) is pricier ($48/week for a 2-person box with 2 meals per week) and features more exotic ingredients and complicated recipes, Dinnerly is meant to have a broader appeal.
Marley Spoon co-founder and CEO Fabian Siegel said in an interview with Tech Crunch that he believes Dinnerly could outgrow Martha and Marley Spoon, due to its targeting of a much larger market. In the article, he also cites research from March 2017 that states that 46 per cent of US consumers are more likely to purchase a meal kit if the prices were lower.
As of July, Dinnerly only ships to 6 states, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and Idaho, though it expects to expand to other regions by the end of 2017.
It’s still too early to say if Marley Spoon has cracked the code to building a meal kit empire, but with low prices, kid-friendly options, and easy to make recipes that use only 6 ingredients, the team has delivered a shot across the bow that should definitely shake up the meal kit industry.