I love to cook, and I love to cook for others. Had I known at a younger age that I truly enjoyed cooking, perhaps I would have pursued a career as a chef. But, I didn’t. So I cook for myself, I cooked for my husband before he passed, I cook for friends.
After my husband died, I decided to try those meal delivery kits you see all over the TV. I have a friend who is a Pampered Chef consultant, and she gave me a coupon for both Hello Fresh and for Blue Apron. So here is the criteria which I am using to compare the four services I tried:
- All comparisons are based on the 2-person plan.
- The pricing that I paid (unless stated otherwise) are for 3 meals for 2 people
Hello Fresh has some of the best flavors of the 4 services I have tried. There is a variety of cuisines represented, ranging from Mexican to Asian to Indian, as well as American standards. At first I ordered 4 meals for 2 people, and had a box shipped every other week (I will share why I changed that later.) That gave me 8 meals – 4 fresh made, 4 leftovers. The cost for a box of 4 meal kits was a total of $79.92, around $9.99 , and shipping was free for 4 meal kits. Later, I changed to 3 meals per week and got a box every week. That comes to around $69.95 a week. I really like the seasonings and spices that Hello Fresh uses, and was generally able to tweak anything I did not like with what was in my kitchen. Customer service with Hello Fresh was always helpful and friendly. However, I ended up cancelling my subscription in October of 2020 after 2 years with them. For some reason, the produce started arriving, shall we say, past it’s prime. While they were always willing to offer a credit on the next box, it doesn’t help when you’tr cooking dinner and the onion or vegetables are starting to rot. And I am in New Jersey, where we have great produce!
Blue Apron was another service I tried. Again, the recipes were varied and delicious. The cost for a 2 person, 3 meal plan with this company is $59.99 (around $9.98 a meal). Shipping was free if you ordered at least 3 meals in a box./ In many ways it was comparable to Hello Fresh. The only reason I cancelled it was that I was not a fan of the spice combinations they used frequently. Now, I do like food from many cultures, so am used to trying different flavors, but for some reason I just was not a fan of the spices they use. Personal taste.
The next that I tried was Sun Basket . This company is local to me (Westampton NJ) and mainly organic. This time I ordered a 2 person plan of 3 meals, every week. Sun Basket has a lot of vegetarian and other dietary options to choose from, again, using mainly organic foods. For that reason, the price is higher – $11.99 per meal, plus $6.99 shipping.. But they also offer add ins, like bagged salads, extra proteins, etc. as well as some meals that you just place in the microwave or oven to heat up. So my average cost per week was between $78 and $92. The quality of the ingredients and the variety in the menu choices is quite impressive. Flavor wise, I only found one dish I did not like at all and that was the French cassoulet. Again, just a personal taste preference.
But, since Sun Basket is a bit pricey (and I am trying to be conservative in expenditures this year so I can travel!) I am currently using Dinnerly. Dinnerly is considerably less in price than the other 3 services I have used. The 2 person, 3 meal plan is $31.74 plus $8.99 shipping, for a total weekly of $40.73. The flavors are excellent, the choices as varied as the others. But the main difference is that Dinnerly does NOT package up every little condiment or extra you need. For instance, the Pad Thai recipe calls for 3 eggs – BUT you need to use them from your own stock, they do not send them. You won’t get the cute little bottles of olive oil – you need to bust out yours. But, to me that is an advantage in 3 ways – one, there is less to toss away; two, I use up what I always have in the house anyway; and three, it costs less.
So I find that I like all these services for the most part, but I think the one you choose will depend on what you are looking for. If you are only interested in organic and small-batch items, go with Sun Basket. If you are looking to save money, try Dinnerly. But I would recommend any of these four.
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