As meal delivery services become increasingly popular, Blue Apron is the name you hear over and over again. But is it really the best service on the market? The truth is, there are plenty of meal delivery subscription services that simply don’t get talked about enough. Here we’ll be talking about 5 others that are worth trying.
To start, a recap of what makes Blue Apron so stand-out: it’s a service that delivers fresh ingredients to your door each week, enough to make a designated amount of meals that you select through their site.
With Blue Apron you’re able to choose three of the six meals that you receive, indicating whether you’d like meat, fish, or a vegetarian option. The box comes with instructions so all that you have to do is prepare the meal.
For reference, Blue Apron’s two-person plan costs $59.99: $9.99 per serving, with three meals that are two servings each. The family plan costs $69.92: $8.74 per serving for either two or four meals with a total of eight servings.
You get different meal options to choose from each week, although there are only six different meals to choose from at any given time so it might not be great for picky eaters.
Now let’s see how the competitors stack up, starting with another well-known meal delivery service: HelloFresh.
Price: $9.90–$11.50 per serving for the Classic Box; $9.08–$9.83 per serving for the Veggie Box; $8.75–$9.99 per serving for the Family Box
HelloFresh is pretty similar to Blue Apron overall. They offer a classic box as well as a Veggie Box for vegetarians, although you don’t get to choose your meals with the Veggie Box.
They’ve recently added a way for you to manually swap out ingredients in your Settings, but it’s not intuitive and is kind of a hassle so unless you’re truly picky, it might not be worth the effort.
The meals are mostly classics that would be a hit with most anyone. The recipes are easy to follow and they also include detailed nutrition facts for all of their meals, making it a convenient option for those new to cooking or less experienced.
This box is about the same price as Blue Apron and is largely the same premise but with less options for customization. If you’re looking to be surprised, this might be the box for you.
Price: $12 per serving
This is one of the most expensive options on the list per serving, especially seeing as ordering more servings at once doesn’t lower the prices at all. The price is likely due to their mission of sustainability and using only the best ingredients. All of their meat is hormone- and antibiotic-free.
With Plated, you have a lot more options for choosing which meats you like or whether you prefer vegetarian options. There are also two different dessert options to choose from each week for $4 per serving, if you’re so inclined.
There isn’t as much nutritional information included in this box, only the calorie count. The meals are also more complex than other services, which would make this a great choice for the more adventurous chef or someone who’s looking to try new things in the kitchen but maybe not for the casual cook.
3. Home Chef
Price: $9.95 per serving
Home Chef gives you 10 entree options to choose from each week, which is quite a bit more variety than many options on this list. The dishes themselves are easy to make and pretty basic, nothing too out there or unusual.
With Home Chef you have three vegetarian options per week to choose from, plus a wide variety of meat and seafood dishes so you can be sure to find one you like. They also offer a few breakfast, smoothie, and fruit basket options you can add to your order if you’re looking for a little something extra, which is convenient.
While this is one of the more affordable options on the list, they’re not particularly committed to the quality or sustainability of their ingredients like some of the other services, so if that’s important to you this might be a pass.
Freshly works differently than the other meal delivery services on this list, as instead of having ingredients delivered to your door, you get a selected number of pre-packaged meals (either 4, 6, 9, or 12) that you cook by popping into the microwave.
There are 24 dinners and 5 breakfast options to choose from, which is the most selection of any of the other delivery services.
While some might balk at the idea of cooking dinner in the microwave, this box is perfect for those who don’t like to cook or are short on time. The meals require no effort at all to prepare, allowing you to sample a variety of dishes with just the push of a button. If you would really prefer to bake the dishes, though, there are instructions for that too.
On top of the convenience factor, these are also not your typical TV dinners. Each meal is fresh and uses healthy ingredients to deliver a quality meal experience without the hassle of preparing it all.
5. Green Chef
Price: $10.49–$14.99 per serving
While this service can be pricey, it’s the only meal subscription service that’s 100% organic as certified by the USDA. If ingredients mean a lot to you, it might be worth the extra few dollars per serving.
This is also a great box if you have a special diet, as they offer vegan, paleo, and gluten-free options alongside the usual vegetarian or meat selections. You don’t get to choose any of your meals for yourself, but this matters a little less when you’re able to narrow it down to a specific dietary type.
If you’re a meat-eater and picky about the meats you like, this might not be the box for you. However, it’s a dream come true for vegans or others with a specialized diet who are looking for a convenient meal subscription service. It’s also the healthiest option by far considering their dedication to using only the best, organic ingredients.
Here’s is a breakdown of how the services stack up side-by-side:
|Name||Price per Serving||Shipping||Vegetarian Options?||Difficulty Level||Able to Choose Meals?||Sustainable Ingredients?|
|Blue Apron||$8.74-$9.99||Free||3/week||On the gourmet side||You can choose 3 out of 6||Yes|
|HelloFresh||$8.75-$11.50||Free||1/week in the normal box; vegetarian box option||Simple||Not with the Veggie Box, but with the Classic||Yes|
|Plated||$12||$6 for two-meal box; free for larger boxes||3/week||Ranges from easy to complex||Yes||Yes|
|Home Chef||$9.95||Free over $45, $10 under $45||3/week||Simple||Yes||No|
|Freshly||$8.99-$12.50||Free||Yes||No preparation needed||Yes||Yes|
|Green Chef||$10.49–$14.99||Free||Yes, also vegan, paleo, and gluten-free||On the simple side||No||Yes|
Overall, the box you choose will really come down to whether you have dietary restrictions and what’s most important to you in a subscription service. If you prefer organic food, Green Chef is your best bet, although Plated’s dedication to sustainability is also appealing even if their ingredients aren’t 100% certified organic.
For specialized diets, Green Chef is once again the way to go, as they’re the only option on the list to offer a vegan, paleo, and gluten-free box. Vegetarians should probably opt for HelloFresh, Freshly, or Green Chef for the most options, although there are enough choices to make the other boxes work, as well.
In terms of cost-effectiveness, Blue Apron and HelloFresh are essentially tied for the lowest cost per serving. Freshly is close behind. The most expensive by far is Green Chef’s Paleo box at $14.99 per serving, but if you have a restricted diet and are looking for the convenience of a meal delivery service it might be worth it for you.
If you’re a picky eater, you might want to choose Plated or Home Chef as they offer the most customization options for your meals. Blue Apron and HelloFresh offer some customization but with more limitations. Green Chef doesn’t let you choose your meals at all.
For convenience, nothing beats Freshly. For as low as $8.99 a month, you can eliminate all of the prep work that goes into cooking and simple pop the pre-made meals into the microwave or oven. This is the easiest meal service by far and would be perfect for someone living alone or looking for some quick meals to have on hand.
Whatever you’re looking for in a meal delivery service, it’s good to know that there’s probably an option for you out there, and if you don’t see on here that appeals to you, rest assured—the meal delivery industry is growing more and more each day.