What Makes One Meal Kit Subscription Service Better Than Another?
Meal kit subscription services offer people the chance to create healthy and delicious meals, without having to go out and purchase ingredients and potentially wasting time and food that was not used. The meals are sent in proper proportions so as to be used for only one meal, with various serving sizes depending on how many people the kit is going to be used for. So if they are all meant to be healthy and delicious, how do you choose between the different companies? It could simply come down to the types of meals being offered, whether you prefer Asian or Italian, vegetarian or including meat. But once you’ve narrowed down your interests, what truly makes one better than the other? Here are 6 things to look for when choosing the right meal kit service for you.
1. Subscription Type
The type of subscription you choose is entirely dependent on several factors. First, how many people will be eating these meals. The most common serving sizes are for two or four, though some subscription services offer one serving size or up to eight, for large families or dinner parties.
After deciding on how many servings are needed, you can then choose how often you want a meal kit to be delivered. Most subscription services offer two or three recipes a week, with some offering more and others offering biweekly or even once a month deliveries.
Prices are wildly varied, depending on the type of food you’re ordering and how many people you are ordering for. Price ranges from $4.99 a serving to as high as $16.99 for some meals with premium options. For instance, Dinnerly has all meals at $4.99 per serving plus shipping and Hello Fresh has plans ranging from $6.99-$9.99. However, most meal kit plans are around $8-$11 per serving with shipping included. Of course, the family plan or if you order for more than 2 people, prices will decrease. And most plans offer generous portions.
3. Dietary Needs
More than ever before, food brands and meal kits are becoming more conscious of different dietary needs, allergies, and lifestyles. Meal kits are now being made for people who can’t or choose not to, eat certain foods. Some examples of this include people with severe allergies, vegan diets, gluten-free diets, and even diets that are diabetes conscious, such as the meal kits provided by Sun Basket and Green Chef. Following strict food guidelines don’t have to be difficult anymore, not when so many different meal kit subscription services are offering meals and recipes meant specifically for those with certain dietary needs.
4. Nutrition Information
Some people want to eat delicious food without really caring about nutrition facts. More power to them. For those who are more health conscious, meal kits should be an excellent source of healthy and nutritious meals. “Should be” being the keywords. Before deciding on a subscription service, you should make sure to always take a look at their nutritional facts sheet. If they are unwilling to provide full details, their lack of transparency should be a little concerning. With the number of subscription services out there, they should want to brag about how healthy their recipes are, to gain more customers. If they’re not bragging about themselves, that means they don’t have anything to brag about.
5. Delivery and Packaging
Ordering food can be a little bit scary if you don’t know or completely trust the company. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get to know or trust a company until AFTER you’ve ordered for the first time. This is a time when a detailed review is really helpful.
When thinking about the delivery process, you want to make sure your package will make it to you safely, with no contamination. Coming home to a soggy and destroyed box sounds extremely disappointing. So make sure a reputable delivery service is being used by the company you choose.
As far as packaging goes, check for reviews that say food that is meant to be kept cold actually arrives cold. Warm meat or fish can quickly go bad and veggies can lose their freshness. For those who are environmentally-minded, some subscription services, like Sun Basket, offer packaging that is completely recyclable or compostable. Others send reusable packaging, such as glass jars. Terra's Kitchen uses a reusable vessel that be used 100 times
7. Cooking Time
Meal kit plans save us time from going shopping but, we all have a busy life and if time is an issue, you can consider meals with a shorter cook time. Many of the plans provide cooking time on their menus. You can expect most cook times to be around 30 minutes. If you choose lunch menus, most of them can be done within 15 minutes. The one exception is Gobble. Gobble plans are designed to be cooked in 15 minutes. Gobble also offers a lunch prep plan designed to be batch cooked within 90 minutes.
8. The Meal Itself
It was briefly mentioned above that it’s important to choose your meal kit service by what food is offered. There are different options for everyone; those who want just soups, vegetarian meals, kid-friendly meals, just smoothies, and so on.
Most importantly, though, is how delicious the meals are because they are all created by professional chefs. There’s no point in caring about the nutritional facts or packaging if the food itself isn’t good. Some services offer trials, allowing you to try a meal before committing to a subscription. Meal Kit Advisor can help you get started with a few deals as well as reviews to see which is best meal kit delivery plan for you. Or they allow you to change your subscription status after establishing one. If you find that the meals aren’t what you wanted, you can always move on to a different meal kit service!