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The best meal kit delivery service 2021


Understandably, our almost two years of experience thus far with the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a revolution of sorts in the way we acquire and consume our food. All varieties of food delivery services have seen dramatic surges in sales. Many new delivery services were started as well as most people sought ways to avoid or severely limit their trips to the grocery store. The phenomenon of meal kit delivery service is undoubtedly here to stay.

A good step above the straightforward delivery of groceries, meal kit services are designed to assure that you have at your disposal all of the ingredients necessary to prepare healthy meals for a week or other set period. The strong demand for meal planning and preparation services has also led to a proliferation of specialty food meal kit companies that will deliver prepared meals that only need to be warmed and served.

Our research has helped us identify some of the best meal kit delivery companies to help you choose those that can best meet your needs, satisfy your palate, and simply make your life easier. We have highlighted those features of each service that help them stand out in a crowded field and offer something special that will add some zest to your meals.

Buyer’s Guide


Healthy food delivered with rotating recipes designed for many dietary tastes and varying degrees of cooking expertise adds excitement to home cooking.


By JJava Designs — Shutterstock

Home Chef stands apart on the basis of a continuous flow of new receipts for customers. 26 new speciality recipes are designed by professional chefs each week. These recipes are emailed to customers for ordering the fresh ingredients to make each meal.

Each complete meal costs $9.95, with a lunch recipe also available for $7.99. A single delivery costs $10, but orders costing more than $40 are delivered at no charge. Deliveries to your door include fresh, and pre-portioned ingredients for the meals selected and include recipe cards for your meals with easy to follow directions. 

The Home Chef website is very user friendly and allows you to add preferences for a variety of additions, such as added protein or favorite dressings. Home Chef offers tasty additions, including fruit and smoothies, for $4.95 and can help you prepare meals for those special occasions.


Pros:

  • New menus available weekly provide an abundance of choices for meals
  • Dishes are available that only need to be heated in the oven or require very little preparation
  • Flexible options to customize meals 

Cons: 

  • Recipes are not available for people with very special dietary needs such as food allergies 
  • Organic ingredients may not be available for every meal


Green Chef’s meal delivery service is laser focused on making eating well a simple and enjoyable process.


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Green Chef

Green Chef prides itself on flexibility. No matter what nutrition plan you choose — vegetarian, vegan, keto, or another — Green Chef likely can create a plan suited for you.

Green Chef’s strengths are in its many recipes, which of course, include detailed cooking instructions but are enhanced with photos and tips from professional chefs. Above all, simplicity is the key. Meal recipes are structured to get you from ingredients to sitting down to eat in less than 30 minutes. Green Chef is unique in being a “USDA-certified organic company” and is noted for its use of healthy and clean, sustainable, high-quality foods.

Two basic meal plans are offered. The two-person plan includes three dinners for two people. The family plan contains two dinners for a family of four. 

Cost/Minimum Order: $60 a box.


Pros:

  • Organic produce is used in a wide variety of meal recipes designed to match your dietary needs
  • Flexible options to modify menus on a weekly basis
  • A number of ways to readily adjust food delivery scheduling

Cons:

  • More expensive than non-organic meal delivery services
  • Complete nutritional data and ingredients are not all listed in the recipes
  • Local farmers used for food sourcing are not identified


Fresh n’ Lean continually improves performance to advance its primary goal – to serve healthy meals to everyone.


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Fresh n’ Lean

Fresh n’ Lean operates from a core belief – if healthy food can be delivered as efficiently as our fast food industry does the task, these meals will become the food of choice for many more people. With its many “ready-to-eat meals” timely delivered in ice packed boxes directly to customers, this goal may become a reality. 

Choice is also key for Fresh n’ Clean. You can select a completely curated meal plan for a period of time and let Fresh n’ Clean set your meals. These plans are designed to transform your eating patterns with options focused on protein, keto, paleo, vegan, and others. Alternatively, customers can choose individual meals and select from a robust breakfast, lunch, and dinner a la carte menu. 

Meal costs range from $7.83-$15.18 per meal. There are no separate delivery fees beyond these charges.


Pros:

  • Meals are developed and made from scratch by professional chefs
  • Allows ordering of single meal as a “try out”
  • Meal plans are designed for a wide variety of eating preferences

Cons:

  • You are not able to select the dishes that are included in curated meal plans
  • Some complaints about lack of overall variety in meals


Sunbasket prides itself on only delivering high-quality health ingredients.


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Sun Basket

As the name suggests, Sunbasket is dedicated to wholesome, healthy foods with completely organic produce, antibiotic-free meats, and fresh seafood. Meals are developed and approved by professional nutritionists. 

Sunbasket offers variety with its meal plans, including options for those on special diets, including vegan, paleo, and pescatarian. You are also able to customize menus and pick and choose meals from a variety of plans. When time is short,  Sunbasket can provide prepared meals that only require heating.

Meals are delivered on a weekly schedule in completely recyclable packaging. 

Cost is $72 per week for three meals for two people and $88 per week for two meals for four people. Other plans are available on the Sunbasket website.


Pros: 

  • New menus available weekly provide an abundance of choices for meals
  • Dishes are available that only need to be heated in the oven or require very little preparation
  • Flexible options to customize meals

Cons:

  • Recipes are not available for people with very special dietary needs such as food allergies  
  • Organic ingredients may not be available for every meal
  • Overall costs are on the high side


Blue Apron was among the first to develop and popularize meal kit delivery services.


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By Tada Images — Shutterstock

Blue Apron is well known for its detailed recipes that are designed to maintain total preparation and cooking time below 45 minutes. Following these easy to understand directions can make serving meals a real pleasure that your family will appreciate.

From the outset, Blue Apron has had a broad focus on improving our country’s food network. To do so, Blue Apron is attuned to matters such as sustainability in farming, direct shipping of products, and reduction of wasted food. The chefs at Blue Apron work with farmers to develop meal plans and enhance recipes with fascinating details about meal ingredients and their origins.

Recipes are varied and often exotic, including such favored specialities as Cajun-spiced fish and orange beef and bok choy. Blue Apron provides a bonus wine service that helps creatively pair wine selections with meals.

 The cost for three meals for two people is $60 and $96 per week for three meals for four people. Other plans can be viewed on the Blue Apron website. 


Pros:

  • Blue Apron provides all necessary ingredients in a well-organized manner
  • The detailed recipes and instructions are designed to teach and make you a better cook
  • The meat used is noted for its high quality

Cons:

  • Some meals are time-restricted and should be consumed promptly 
  • The service has limited meals for dietary restrictions
  • There is some lack of flexibility in mixing and matching meals from set planned combinations 

How did we choose these products?

There is today an almost unlimited number of competitive meal kit delivery services in our country. That list continues to grow. We initially read a number of “best” reviews and, from this, identified a variety of services that received good ratings and appeared to have that “something special”, such as a particular focus on sustainability, healthy eating, or impeccable service.

From here, we looked at company websites and eventually settled on these five meal kit delivery services as standouts. In addition to the factors above, we looked at the breadth of food selections, creativity and ease of use of recipes, and unique approaches that set these companies apart. 

Which is the right one for you? 

This selection process we have described led to the five top meal delivery services above. We feel that each service has something special to offer and will appeal broadly to different people along the following lines:

  • Home Chef, with its abundance of recipes, will be of special interest to people who want a good variety in their meals;

  • Green Chef also has a wide variety of food selections to choose from and is noted for simplicity in its recipe instructions allowing customers to prepare food promptly with little fanfare;

  • Fresh n’ Lean also prides itself on its efficiency and specializes in curated meal plans which will interest those who want some help in the selection process;

  • Sunbasket will appeal to those particularly interested in healthy foods and nutrition.

  • With its focus on sustainability and improving our overall food network for future generations, Blue Apron might be e of real interest to the socially conscious among us.

Are there alternatives worth considering?

Yes indeed! It has been extremely difficult to select the five best in our very competitive food delivery market today. Certainly, we have left out some companies that will be at the top of other lists and clearly appeal to our readers for a variety of reasons. Here are a few that stand out. We would have no issue placing these food delivery kit services on our top five list:


  • Gobble

    – Gobble is all about the preparation and helping make serving your meal an effortless proposition. In fact, Gobble does everything for you. With no peeling, slicing, or chopping, a Gobble meal can be at your table, ready to enjoy in 15 minutes.   


  • Freshly

    – Freshly touts a 3-minute time frame for getting your meal from box to plate! Efficiency like this sacrifices a bit in-depth of food choices but Freshly is well worth a look.


  • Purple Carrot

    – Purple Carrot is a completely plant-based operation. The service is all vegetarian and vegan, but meals do not give up on flair. Try it if only to experience the amazing dishes that can be crafted from only plant-based resources.

Meal Kit FAQ

Is a meal plan worth it?

A well-run meal delivery service can save you money. With a meal plan subscription, meals are planned in detail, and the normal waste from grocery shopping for items not fully used can be eliminated. Sticking to your plan can also save by helping reduce those quick snacks.

Why are meal kits so popular?

Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic created a somewhat artificial demand for meal kits, but now that many of us have seen and tasted the products, it is likely food delivery will continue to be a regular part of more lives. 

We live in a bit of a “fast food” instantaneous delivery world, and the idea of both healthy and easy to serve food is simply very appealing today.

What are the negatives of a meal kit delivery?

Although there is some debate about this, meal kit delivery services still need to prove their overall cost-effectiveness. To some, these services are seen as a luxury that can’t compare with the cost of good shopping and cooking.



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