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Your Guide to the Best Meal Delivery Services
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Your Guide to the Best Meal Delivery Services

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The idea of a home cooked meal without meal planning, prep, and shopping (and a personal chef) may have seemed too good to be true 10 years ago but as companies like Blue Apron and Plated have sprouted and successfully grown, there now seems to be a meal delivery option for every spectrum of dietary preference from organic only to vegetarian to meals that have more of an international flair. 

We took at a look at over 7000 Influenster reviews on major meal delivery services to understand how Blue Apron, Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Freshly and Plated compare.

 

Quick Takes

 

Home Chef - Easiest to Prepare

Home Chef launched in 2013 and works with chefs to offer a rotating weekly menu of 13 recipes, including gluten-free, low carb, and vegetarian meals. Most meals can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. You can also use their taste profile to set your preferences and receive meal recommendations.

Influenster Rating: 4.4/5 stars

Plans: 2,4, or 6-person plans with options to eat 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 times/week

Pricing: Most meals are $9.95 per serving unless otherwise noted. Delivery is free for orders over $45. Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45. For a limited time, take $30 off your subscription.

Additional Offerings: Breakfast ($9.95/serving), smoothies ($4.95/serving), and fruit baskets ($4.95/serving)

Plan Flexibility: Change your delivery day, adjust your meals, skip a week or pause

Delivery Range: Delivers to 98% of the contiguous United States.

Sourcing: A bit more vague than other meal preparation services, Home Chef just mentions that they work with “top-quality vendors”

Allergens + Dietary Restrictions: Vegetarian, low-calorie and low-carb meals are an option. Lack of cross contamination cannot be guaranteed.  Specific ingredients like pork, red meat, soy, gluten, nuts, dairy, mushrooms, and shellfish can be excluded.

Recyclability:
- Boxes and liners can be composted or recycled
- Cooling packs are filled with a non-toxic, eco-compatible fluid that can be safely drained
- Plastic containers are 100% recyclable

Influenster Fan:

"This is my absolute favorite thing that I have ever ordered through the mail! I am 27 years old and for 10 years now I have struggled to make food delicious - I am a horrible cook. I am always pressed for time so I decided to order this but didn't expect much. It came packed carefully so that everything was secure and very cold when it arrived to me. It comes with specific instructions on everything, even comes down to how long you have to cook it (I believe most of them is 5 days before you need to toss). I have made 3 meals now and it seriously tastes like a 5 star restaurant chef made it! FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS TO A TEE and you will get the same results. I am shocked! I love they send you the exact amount that you need for the meal. It also comes with a binder and the recipes in case you ever want to make them again. I cannot give this meal delivery enough stars - seriously people this is awesome! It is a little pricey but when you think about how much you waste when buying the ingredients from the grocery store, the meat prices are high at some stores and the gas you spend getting there; I think you come out cheaper. It is typically around $9 or $10 per serving so if you are cooking for 2, you would pay $20 for the meal. So worth it in my opinion!" - Blair M.

Influenster Critic:

"The portions were too small and that they were left hungry after the meal. People with big appetites might want to order an extra serving or make sure to serve an additional side dish when making a Home Chef meal. All in all, Home Chef seems like a good option for someone who does not cook often enough to keep a kitchen regularly stocked. If you are the type who likes to cook but doesn’t do it often, the occasional Home Chef meal can be just the thing to keep you in the kitchen and eating good food for less than the cost of a restaurant meal."

Sample Menu Offerings

Steak Wellington with Roasted Carrots and Mushroom Demi-Glace
Crispy Dijon Chicken with Parmesan Cauliflower Mash and Roasted Green Beans
Spicy Cajun Shrimp and White Cheddar Grits with Roasted Peppers and Mushrooms
Korean Pork Tacos with Sriracha-Mayo and Slaw
BBQ-Ranch Chicken Salad with Housemade Tortilla Strips and Creamy Ranch Dressing
​Mexicali Pork Tenderloin with Brussels Sprouts, Fuji Apple, Carrot, and Lime Salad
Triple Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan, Parsley, and Toasted Baguette
Pine Nut Puttanesca with Angel Hair Pasta, Fresh Tomato Sauce, and Garlic Bread
Mozzarella-Stuffed Italian Turkey Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles and Marinara
Artichoke and Mozzarella Mini-Quiches with Blistered Tomato and Spinach Salad

 

Blue Apron - Best Customer Service

Blue Apron launched in 2012 and emphasizes high quality and sustainably sourced ingredients at a better value by cutting out the middleman and sourcing directly.

Influenster Rating: 4.1/5 stars

Plans
- 2-Person Plan 3 times/week
- 4-Person Plan at 2 or 4 times/week

Pricing
- 2-Person Plan = $9.99/serving
- Family Plan = $8.74/serving

Additional Offerings: Monthly wine delivery of 6 bottles of wine–3 whites and 3 reds at $10/bottle

Plan Flexibility
- Skip any week. Cancel any time.
- Depending on your area, you may have the option to change what day of the week your box is delivered.

Delivery Range: Nationwide excluding Hawaii and Alaska

Sourcing: Blue Aprons works directly with 150 family-run farms that support sustainable practices and restore soil ecology.
​- Non-GMO ingredients
- USDA certified organic when possible
- Farm-fresh, seasonal produce
- Meat with no added hormones or sub­-therapeutic antibiotics
- Sustainably sourced seafood - all fish and shellfish is rated ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’

Allergens + Dietary Restrictions: Blue Apron accommodates vegetarians and those avoiding specific proteins like red meat, pork, and shellfish. However, they cannot guarantee the lack of cross contamination for those with serious allergies.

Recyclability: Return packaging to Blue Apron or find a local recycling center

Influenster Fan:

"There are some days I just want to put it all on auto pilot. You know, just set everything to cruise control until I have the brain power to, say, come up with a menu for dinner. Enter Blue Apron. After seeing a bunch of ads, I finally decided to try Blue Apron, the pre-portioned, ready to cook meal delivery service after a friend gave me a rave review of the service. Because Blue Apron includes literally everything needed, making dinner is almost as easy as ordering it in, without the guilt. I liked being able to preview the menu first to make sure I'd actually want to cook the dishes on it, and to know what I was going to cook for dinner a few days later, a rare occurrence for my usual spur of the moment cooking schedule.Overall, Blue Apron impressed me with its organized packaging, clear recipes, and menus. While I won't be using it as a weekly meal service, I enjoy checking out what's on the menu, browsing the recipes, and periodically ordering. "- Amy T.

Influenster Critic:

"First I will say that my husband and I have really enjoyed almost every meal we've made from Blue Apron. A few could have used more flavor and maybe 2 we simply didn't like but 95% of over a year of off and on ordering has been excellent. Trying out new recipes and ingredients has been fantastic! And the value is great as well, much better than takeout for sure or trying to make interesting recipes on your own. 

Now the downside-
1. The meal prep/cook time. Almost always more than advertised. It took over an hour for almost every meal. This is easily backed by most other users on social media. Granted we have a tiny kitchen that's difficult to cook in but many others have the same complaint. Be aware. 
2. Nutrition. One of the main reasons I started BA was to have calorie control on my dinners. Advertisements said "500-700 calories per meal". I learned they sometimes made meals 3 portions to hit that calorie point, and rarely did anyway once I stared to pay attention. High fat meats as well." -
Mary R.

Sample Menu Offerings

Burgers & Red Cabbage Slaw with Sriracha Mayo & Roasted Sweet Potato
Cheesy Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas with Salsa Verde
Creamy Shrimp Spaghetti with Broccoli & Meyer Lemon
​Sunchoke & Egg Noodle Casserole with Kale & Mornay Sauce
Warm Cauliflower & Kale Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs & Sauce Meunière
Potato & Broccolini Samosas with Coconut Lentils & Yogurt Sauce
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup with Yellow Curry & Mushrooms
Blackened Cajun Catfish with Sweet Potato & Collard Green Gratin
Spiced Beef & Pickled Onion Tortas with Cara Cara Orange, Radish & Romaine Salad
Mushroom & Potato Pizza with Fontina Cheese, Spinach & Garlic Oil

 

Plated​ - Best Variety

Plated launched in 2012 offering “chef-designed” dinners with 11 seasonal menus that change each week. With pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step instructions, meal prep times range from 20 minutes to under an hour.

Influenster Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Plans: 2, 3 or 4 Servings at 2, 3, or 4 nights/week

Pricing: Dinners = $12 per serving

Additional Offerings: Dessert = $4 per serving

Plan Flexibility
- Skip weeks, swap recipes and cancel anytime
- Change your delivery day and number of servings from week to week

Delivery Range: Over 95% of the U.S excluding Hawaii and Alaska

Sourcing
- Pork and poultry responsibly raised without antibiotics
- Beef with no added hormones
- Supports domestic and sustainable fishing and trusted fisheries
- Organic produce when possible
- Ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible

Allergens + Dietary Restrictions: Plated accommodates vegetarians with 4 vegetarian recipes per week but cannot guarantee that their ingredients are packaged in allergen-free facilities. For those with non life-threatening allergies, Plated’s ingredients are individually packaged, so you can omit and modify if you want to avoid a specific ingredient.

Recyclability
- 100% recyclable box
- 100% compostable insulation
- Plastic gel packs and bags and containers can be recycled

Influenster Fan:

"I'm married, busy, but my husband and I love to cook. I absolutely love Plated. Not only are the meals absolutely wonderful, they get us to use ingredients that I'd never consider using. So many times, I've sat down and been like.. OMG, I'd totally never eat this, and then I try it and it's absolutely amazing. We recreate the recipes for friends. My fav - Mu shu chicken - some of the best I've ever had, healthy, and we've remade this about 15 times. I had one box with a few items missing but they comped us asap. Had service for over 8 months now...I had one box missing a few items... and NONE of my boxes contained items that weren't fresh. I couldn't be happier.. like it better than eating out. I also got a subscription for my single friend....He has the same experience as I do with the fresh boxes, so I don't understand the people who are complaining. .. he absolutely loves it and it's teaching him how to cook." - Julia T.

Influenster Critic:

"I really wish I could give less than 1 star....First, the box arrived very late on Friday night; way too late to actually cook anything, so our first meal from the box was on Saturday when I prepared the Sheet Pan Chicken. This recipe was absolutely inedible and both my wife and I scraped it into the trash! The chicken breasts were huge, old, and tough and the flavor profile was exceedingly nasty. The next day, we tried the Sausage recipe. It was a little better, but still not worth anywhere close to what was paid. The parsnip that was sent was very old and woody but the sausage itself had a decent flavor. The last recipe, the Gnocchi is Parmesan Broth was the best of the lot but still a very bad value for the money. I wrote to Plated customer service on Monday and received a reply that our subscription would be cancelled but that we still would be responsible for the next box that should arrive on Friday. They do not ship until Wednesday or Thursday, so I'm not sure I understand why they would want to send me more nasty, inedible food. I wrote back stating as much but got a reply that 6 days was required for cancellation. EXTREMELY POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE! I'll stick with Blue Apron....less money and much better flavors!" - Wayne W.

Sample Menu Offerings
Fresh Spaghetti with Cherry Tomato Sauce and Burrata
Cajun-Dusted Salmon with Rémoulade and Sautéed Collard Greens
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Kale, Green Apple, and Peanut Dressing
Turkey Spinach Burgers with Creamy Aioli and Carrot Fries
Cauliflower Bánh Mì Bowls with Sriracha Mayo
Chicken Shawarma with Tomato, Cucumber, and Tahini
Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Parmesan
Trout Piccata with Herbed Orzo and Sautéed Green Beans
Saucy Meatball Sliders with Classic Caesar Salad

 

Freshly - Best for Saving Time

If you’re not into cooking and want even more convenience, Freshly offers prepared and pre-portioned meals that you can heat in 2 minutes. Designed by top chefs, meals are shipped fresh, never frozen and are delivered once a week.

Influenster Rating: 4.2/5 stars

Plans: 4, 6, 9, or 12 meals per week

Additional Offerings: Breakfast and lunch at $9.99/meal

Pricing: $9.99 per meal

Plan Flexibility
- Skip weeks
- Pause or cancel anytime

Delivery Range: 29 contiguous U.S. states mostly in the West and Midwest with plans to begin distribution in the Northeast soon

Sourcing
- Organic when possible
- Ingredients from “a number of trusted partners, all of which uphold high-quality control standards”

Allergens & Dietary Restrictions
- Always gluten-free and peanut-free
- High protein-low carb
- No processed sugars
- Some vegetarian options

Recyclability
- Non-toxic ice packs and recycled denim insulation that is largely biodegradable--85% will decompose over time
- 100% recyclable containers

Influenster Fan:

"I have been using freshly for 4 months and I love it!! Everything is made fresh, not frozen and shipped to my front door. I love that I can see all the ingredients in the meals and then pick the ones that I want! Highly recommend for helping to lose weight with portion size & control. The chicken parmesan and flat skirt steak is my favorite!" - Christina R.

Influenster Critic:

"I've tried my share of food delivery services, so when Freshly had a promotion on Facebook I decided to give them a try. Someone below compared this to food served on an airplane, and I think that's accurate if a bit forgiving. Oily, poorly flavored, overcooked. You'd be doing yourself a favor by purchasing canned or frozen foods from a more reputable source. Competitors at the same price range in my area are of such a better quality that it would be silly to compare. That there are reviews claiming their food is 'delicious' seems highly suspect to me, but I suppose taste is subjective. 

Further, you will be given precisely one day to cancel your subscription after delivery. Freshly will not offer you a confirmation code to keep for your records. When I was concerned that something was amiss with my cancelation (they sent an email asking if I wanted to adjust my meals), I was told there was no record I had stopped the service and that I should be pleased that they could cancel the next. That was five days before the delivery date. For the first time ever, I had to contact my bank to intercede on my behalf." -
Sophie M.

Sample Menu Offerings

Seafood Risotto With Shrimp & Bay Scallops
Three Bean Ancho Turkey Chili
Grilled Flat Iron Steak With Potato Hash & Creamed Spinach
Southwest Chicken Bowl
Lebanese Style Meatballs With Sauteed Spinach And Chickpeas
Chicken Livorno With White Beans & Kale
Southwest Veggie Bowl
​Paleo Quinoa Porridge With Mango (Breakfast)
Green Chile & Sausage Frittata (Breakfast)

 

HelloFresh - Freshest Ingredients

HelloFresh was founded in Berlin and launched in 2011. Working with a dedicated team of chefs, you can choose from 10 new recipes each week.

Influenster Rating: 4.2/5 stars

Plans
- 2 or 4-person plans for adults
- Family plan for 2 adults and 2 children

Pricing
- 2 or 4-person plans for adults = $9.99/meal
- Family plan = $8.74/meal

Plan Flexibility: Pause or cancel subscriptions at any time

Delivery Range: Mainland US

Sourcing: HelloFresh tries to purchase from local and organic suppliers when possible.

Allergens + Dietary Restrictions: HelloFresh is pretty minimal in this area and accommodates vegetarians. If you want to avoid a specific ingredient, they recommend omitting ingredients in recipes since they’re packaged separately.

Recyclability:
- Boxes are made from all biodegradable and recyclable materials
- Insulated silver box liners are made from mylar foil and plastic #4 LDPE (AKA touch, BPA-free, waterproof plastic) that are recyclable at a nearby recycling center or can be thrown away
- Ice packs are made out of plastic #4 LDPE with water-soluble gel (AKA gel that dissolves in water). Cut one of the corners, empty contents into the toilet (not your kitchen sink), and recycle the plastic.

Influenster Fan:

"HelloFresh is a pretty good meal kit delivery company that I consider to be better than Blue Apron. HelloFresh had good portion sizes and had side dishes a lot of the time (which Blue Apron did not). The price was very comparable to other companies, and some of it's plans were even cheaper per portion than its competitors. I tried HelloFresh for four weeks before deciding to cancel and try another company. My food always arrived on time and the ingredients were pretty fresh, but I did not like that HelloFresh shipped via an unknown contracted company, so a stranger not in uniform and in a regular car was delivering my food. I also did not like that HelloFresh charged my card before the box shipped, unlike Blue Apron that waits until the box ships. The main reason I decided to stop using HelloFresh was because the food was a little to "modern", meaning they tried to put twists on classics that did not to have a twist. Classics are good on their own! I would have liked to see more comfort food or traditional dishes. If you are into different takes on classic dishes and healthy meals, this is the company for you." - Ayleen N.

Influenster Critic:

"The only reason I tried this was because I had a coupon. I was surprised at how much I liked the meals but it slowly went downhill. I like the idea of home delivery. I don't like that I had to eat three meals on consecutive days. I have such a busy lifestyle that I may not be home 2 days in a row to make dinner so the produce would spoil and I would have to throw it away. The price increased which is why I stopped using it. Some of the produce I received was badly bruised and I couldn't use it. The idea is great but it just wasn't for me. You can pick between vegetarian or not, which is great. You can also choose portion size based on how many people are in your household, which is also nice. My husband has a hefty appetite and most meals were just not enough so I ended up making a salad side or steamed extra veggies that I had in the house. I have since cancelled my membership and do not plan to purchase again." - Ashley A.

Sample Menu Offerings

Rapid Butternut Squash Agnolotti With Kale In A Sage Brown Butter Sauce
Sesame Chicken Noodles With Crunchy Cabbage And A Chili Oil Drizzle
Classic Poblano Beef Chili With Jack’S Borlotti Beans
Parmesan-Crusted Cod With Herbed Potatoes And Carrots
Game-Day Black Bean Chili With Avocado Garnish
Oven-Roasted Mediterranean Cauliflower With Bulgur, Tzatziki, And Chili Cumin Oil
Perfect Penne Bake With Chicken Sausage And Kale
One-Pan Hearty Pork Chili With Jack’S Kidney Beans
Better-Than-Takeout Sweet And Sour Shrimp With Snow Peas And Bell Pepper Over Jasmine Rice
Very Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin With Basmati Rice And Asparagus

 

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