The "meal kit" may be the tastiest invention of the 21st Century. It's hard to believe humanity went so long without having special recipes and fresh ingredients delivered to our doorsteps.
Take the best part of eating at a restaurant (gourmet meals) and the best part of eating at home (familiar settings, using your kitchen) and voilà! The meal kit provides you with everything you need, except for the romantic candlelight. Just goes to show: The best things come in insulated packages.
But with so many services to choose from, which is the best? Here's our assessment of some of the best services out there, and the pros and cons of each. We can't lie: All of these services are pretty cool, and each has its own virtues, catering to every kind of budget and culinary preference. But one of them is a clear standout.
It's hard to believe that a "paleo" dish could look so appetizing. Colorado-based Green Chef specializes in sustainable meals that fit specific dietary needs. The ingredients are all-organic, and the recipes are quick and easy to follow. The categories are wide-ranging and include everything from the "omnivore" plan to the low-carb "keto" plan.
But Green Chef isn't cheap. Each serving costs $10.50 to $15, and you need to buy a minimum of six servings. Also, each box costs $9 to ship. Finally, Green Chef makes most of the decisions for you, so you don't have much control over the specific entrees you receive. In short, the meals are scrumptious, but you'll be paying nearly restaurant prices and you'll have to be OK with surprises.
Home Chef has wowed many customers by being "cheaper than the grocery store." Certain items, like black truffle oil, would cost an arm and a leg at your local supermarket, but they come for free in the Home Chef box. You have a choice of 13 easy-to-make recipes, and every one of them can be prepared in about a half-hour.
Home Chef is one of the most affordable options, and each serving costs $9.95, and you don't have the same minimums as Green Chef. Shipping is free on orders of $40 or more, but spending less will cost you $10 to receive your package.
Finally, if you're looking for certified organic ingredients, this isn't Home Chef's specialty, which is part of the reason it's so economical.
Plated offers you 19 different recipes, and if you can't find something appetizing, you probably don't like food. The options are diverse and delicious, and there's always a handful of vegetarian options.
Delivery is free for larger orders, but if you're only planning two Plated servings a night, shipping will cost you an additional $7.95. The price also goes down the more servings you order, so this is better for dinner parties or larger families.
We have saved our favorite for last: HelloFresh, one of the original pioneers of mail-order meal kits. HelloFresh has intimate relationships with its suppliers, which are family farms or independent growers. You can pick from 15 different recipes, and the menu rotates regularly. Choose from three simple plans (Veggie Plan, Classic Plan or Family Plan), and rest assured that all packages are shipped for free.
Meanwhile, you can modify each meal to fit your dietary restrictions, and you can receive packages anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. With all the money you save on each individual meal, you might also consider one of HelloFresh's expert wine pairings.
Organic agriculture is great for the planet, but so is their handling. That's why nearly all HelloFresh packaging is recyclable or made from recycled materials, including the plastic ice packs.
So, we recommend you give our sponsor, HelloFresh, a try and see for yourself! Right now, because you're a fan of Komando.com, you can get $30 off your first box by clicking here!
One thing to know before buying a food delivery service
When it comes to food delivery services, there are dozens out there to choose from. But which should you use, and what truly sets them apart in terms of value?