If you’re at all on the internet, you have definitely seen ads for meal kit delivery services. Whether it’s a quick commercial on TV, a sponsored segment in a YouTube video, or a sidebar ad on a webpage, marketing for meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Green Chef, and HelloFresh are EVERYWHERE. While we already meal plan and prep, and therefore are probably not the target audience for these types of services, we wouldn’t be a reputable food blog without giving them a try and reporting on our findings.
We subscribed to Blue Apron, Green Chef, and HelloFresh for a week to not only get a good sense of what meal kit delivery services are all about, but also to put them to the test against each other and weigh out the pros and cons of each brand. You can check out our detailed reviews of each of the services at the links below, and keep reading this article to get our take on meal kit delivery services as a whole.
Our general take on these services is that they are great for those who struggle with meal planning, meal prepping, and portioning. For those who already meal plan, meal prep, and don’t struggle with cooking meals for the week, these services aren’t really worth it.
The cost of the ingredients is much higher than when you buy in bulk or at your local grocery store based on the sales for the week, and the amount of packaging that these sorts of meal delivery kits use is astronomical. Plus, many of their recipes are assuming that they will be eaten immediately. Given that we are 2 people that eat prepared meals twice a day, we opted for the 4-person, 3-meal per week boxes, so we would have 12 meals total (6 days’ worth for us), which means that we refrigerated leftovers for another day. Some recipes reheated just fine, others significantly lost their appeal.
However, that isn’t to say that we didn’t enjoy our boxes. For the most part, the food was good, and the recipes weren’t necessarily something we would have tried otherwise. For this reason, it may be a great idea to have a subscription to these services to provide ideas for meals (just be sure to cancel your box each week so you aren’t charged and shipped ingredients). Not to mention, you get to keep the recipes from the meals you do receive, so you can always make them again with grocery store ingredients. The meals also tell you how many portions you are supposed to get, and the calories associated with those portions, so if you’re looking for an easy way to count calories, these meal kits beat manually calculating your homemade meals out.
We feel there are a few things that would make meal delivery kits such as these more appealing to those of us that already meal plan and prep:
- A way to denote which ingredients you already have on hand, so they do not have to bother with the packaging and waste associated with sending just 2 tablespoons of mayo when you’ve already got a whole bottle in the fridge.
- Very clearly labeling which ingredients need to be refrigerated, so there is no mistake when you are putting all of the ingredients away until you’re ready to use them.
- Recyclable/compostable packaging, including the ice packs used to keep food cold in transport.
Some concerns we had going into these services that never came to fruition include:
- Food not staying cold throughout delivery – our food was always still cold when it arrived, and the ice packs were usually even still frozen.
- Food being crushed or bruised in transport – even the eggs that were sent were packaged so carefully that they never arrived broken.
Now, you’ve made the decision that a meal delivery kit is right for you. So which one should you go for? Out of the 3 we tried, we would strongly suggest Green Chef over both HelloFresh and Blue Apron. This isn’t due to it being organic. Their recipes were just so interesting and different, whereas both Blue Apron and HelloFresh’s recipes were more uninspired – not bad, but nothing special. If you’re looking for the best of the non-organic boxes, we suggest Blue Apron as their recipes were a little more interesting than HelloFresh.