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Meal kits these days cater to a wide variety of diets, tastebuds and budgets. We'll make it easier to help you decide which one you should choose. Here's a comparison of the 8 most popular brands available.
Chopping, and marinating, and sautéing, oh my!

For those of us with busy schedules and families with big appetites, thinking about dinner can be terrifying.

Meal delivery kits were created to solve that problem. The perfectly portioned ingredients and minimal prep have helped people rediscover the joy of cooking and reduce food waste in the process. But over the past ten years, the market has become inundated with these services. It’s hard to know which to choose or if you should use them.

Are Meal Delivery Kits a Safe Option During Coronavirus Pandemic?

Although it may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth, the CDC states:

In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

So, if you’ve been thinking about trying one of these meal delivery services, now sounds like one of the best times to do it. You’ll spend less time at the grocery store, less time meal planning, and you can forget about another peanut butter and jelly sandwich–these meals will have your taste buds celebrating.

In this article, we’ll take you through the most popular options to help you decide which meal delivery service fits best with your lifestyle and your budget.

Are Meal Delivery Kits Available During Coronavirus Pandemic?

Meal delivery kits are in high demand during this time and some services may experience delays in deliveries.

When Should You Use a Meal Kit?

At upwards of $10, the price per plate in a meal kit is comparable to ordering food through DoorDash or Postmates. So why would you consider using a meal kit delivery service?

There are a few instances where meal kits are a great idea. One of the most budget-conscious uses for a meal kit delivery service is when you go on vacation. If you’re gone for a week you probably won’t want to eat out for every meal and you’re limited to what you can buy at the grocery store if you want to minimize waste. Having a meal kit delivered to your vacation home or bringing one with you can save you time and money.

Another is when you’re sick. When you’re not feeling well is the time you should be eating healthiest. But whether it’s a cold or a longer-term illness, you may not have the energy to find recipes, go grocery shopping, and cut vegetables. A health-centric meal delivery kit can provide you with the nourishment and convenience your body needs. In many areas, you can get a kit delivered within one week.

8 Most Popular Meal Delivery Kits Compared

Home Chef vs. Blue Apron vs. Sun Basket vs. HelloFresh vs. EveryPlate vs. Freshly vs. Purple Carrot vs. Green Chef

(Scroll to the right to continue viewing table.)

 Home ChefEveryPlateSun BasketHelloFreshFreshlyBlue ApronGreen Chef
Cost per meal$9.95$4.99$10.99 - $12.99$7.49 - $10.99$7.99 - $11.50$8.99 - $9.99$9.99 - $12.99
Minimum order2 meals for 2 people3 meals for 2 people2 meals for 2 people2 meals for 2 people4 meals2 meals for 2 people3 meals for 2 people
Shipping costFree for plans over $50. $10 for others.$8.99$7.99$6.99FreeFree for plans over $50. $7.99 for others.$7.99
Vegetarian OptionsNoYesYesYesYesYesYes
PromotionVisit Home ChefVisit EveryPlateVisit Sun BasketVisit HelloFreshWFH with Freshly - Get $40 off your first two weeks ($20 off each order for your first two orders) with code SPRING40$60 off your first order
Best forRecipe variety and the ability to swap proteinAnyone on a budgetVariety of dietary plans and affordable organic foodEasy recipes and variety to choose from weeklyMicrowavable meals, no cooking involvedWeight Watchers approved mealsKeto meal kits
Learn moreVisit Home ChefVisit EveryPlateVisit Sun BasketVisit HelloFreshVisit FreshlyVisit Blue Apron

Meal delivery kit plans are subscription-based but all of them offer a flexible membership. You can pause, skip weeks, and plan ahead at no extra cost. You only pay for the kits you receive.

And many companies are becoming more conscious of their paper and plastics use. Almost every service stated that their delivery boxes are recyclable and that many of the inside packaging is compostable.

What makes each unique are the diets, skill levels, and budgets they serve. When you know what each service’s unique offering is you can decide which one is right for you in the time you need it.

1. Home Chef

Unique Offer: Swap out recipe proteins 

With Home Chef, you can choose from up to 26 meals each week catering to a variety of dietary options. You also have the option to swap and double recipe proteins. Say for instance a recipe has ground beef, you can swap it with the closest comparable protein, like ground turkey, at no additional cost.

Another unique offering you’ll find from Home Chef is its weekly Oven Ready Meal. Ingredients are pre-portioned, prepped and come inside an oven-safe tray, ready for baking to save you even more time.

Home Chef doesn’t cater to popular diet plans like keto or paleo. Instead, you can find three Calorie-Conscious meals that are less than 625 calories per serving and three Carb-Conscious meals with less than 35 grams per serving on the menu every week.

The Home Chef delivery box is lined with recycled, compostable, biodegradable, textile fibers or you can find Home Chef meal kits in all Kroger owned grocery stores.

Cost: 

  • 3 meals for 2 people: $59.70 + free shipping ($9.95 per meal)
  • 2 meals for 4 people: $79.60 + free shipping ($9.95 per meal)

Try Home Chef or Read our full Home Chef Reviw

Home Chef vs Blue Apron

 Cost per mealShipping costPromotion
Home Chef$9.95Free for plans over $50. $10 for others.Visit Home Chef
Blue Apron$8.99 - $9.99Free for plans over $50. $7.99 for others.$60 off your first order

2. EveryPlate

Unique Offer: Best deal for students

EveryPlate’s goal is to bring convenience at an affordable price, not make you feel like a chef. That means you’ll find less packaging and simpler ingredients in their meal kits. Every week there are 9 meals to choose from with one vegetarian option and no special dietary recipes.

Students get a $15 discount toward their first three boxes, making each meal $3.99 per serving. In addition to being the best deal for students, it’s tied with Dinnerly for the cheapest meal kit service on the list.

Cost:

  • 3 meals for 2 people: $29.94 + $8.99 shipping ($4.99 per serving)
  • 3 meals for 4 people: $59.88 + $8.99 shipping ($4.99 per serving) – No 2 meal option for 4 people

Promotion – Get 1 week worth of meals at $2.99 each + 20% off on your next two boxes with EveryPlate. 

Visit EveryPlate or read the EveryPlate review

Everyplate vs Hello Fresh

 Cost per mealShipping cost
Everyplate $4.99$8.99
Hello Fresh$7.49 - $10.99$6.99

3. Sun Basket

Unique Offer: Affordable organic 

 sun basketAll of the ingredients in Sun Basket’s meal kits are organic and sustainable and all the packaging is recyclable and compostable.

You’ll get to choose from 18 recipes on its Classic menu and six for the Family menu. Most meals take about 30 minutes to prepare and are typically 500-800 calories per serving.

Plans include:

  • Chef’s Choice
  • Carb-Conscious
  • Paleo
  • Lean & Clean
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Pescatarian
  • Mediterranean
  • Quick & Easy
  • Diabetes-Friendly options

And, at least one recipe per week will be certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Recipe Certification Program guidelines for a heart-healthy diet.

Sun Basket ships to most zip codes in the United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and parts of North Dakota, Montana, and New Mexico. It’s one of the most expensive plans available but it’s more affordable than the other organic and sustainable meal kit services on the list.

Cost:

  • 3 meals for 2 people: $71.94 + $7.99 shipping ($11.99 per serving)
  • 2 meals for 4 people: $87.92 (family menu) + $7.99 shipping ($10.99 per serving)

Visit SunBasket or Read the full SunBasket review

Sun Basket vs Green Chef

 Cost per mealShipping cost
Sun Basket$10.99 - $12.99$7.99
Green Chef$9.99 - $12.99$7.99

4. HelloFresh

Unique Offer: Easy recipes

HelloFresh offers 20 recipes per week. Of which three are vegetarian, three are family-friendly, and three are low-calorie. There’s no option to switch out ingredients or double up one recipe. Nor are there gluten-free, dairy-free or nut-free options.

Every recipe is six-steps, takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and requires minimal equipment.

Students get 15% off every box and free shipping on any subscription making a six-serving box $7.64 per serving.

Cost:

  • 3 meals for 2 people: $53.94 + $6.99 shipping ($8.99 per serving)
  • 2 meals for 4 people: $71.92 + $6.99 shipping ($8.99 per serving)

Hello Fresh vs Home Chef

 Cost per mealShipping cost
Hello Fresh$7.49 - $10.99$6.99
Home Chef$9.95Free for plans over $50. $10 for others.

5. Freshly

Unique Offer: No Cooking Required

Each Freshly meal is portioned and packaged for one person. So unlike the other meal kits on the list, there’s no prep or cooking required. Simply microwave for 3 minutes.

Freshly offers 30+ healthy meals every week. At least 20 are under 500 calories, 8-10 are under 35 grams of carbs, and 8-10 are dairy-free. It also has gluten and peanut-free menus.

Meals are an average of 500 calories and the company claims servings are 10% larger than competitors. Freshly meals are fresh, never frozen and have a fridge life of 4-5 days. With per-serving prices lower than other kits on this list, you might choose to skip cooking altogether for these premium pre-made meals.

Cost:

  • 6 meal plan: $53.94 + free shipping ($8.99 per serving)
  • 9 meal plan: $80.91 + free shipping ($8.99 per serving)

WFH with Freshly – Get $40 off your first two weeks ($20 off each order for your first two orders) with code SPRING40

Freshly vs Hello Fresh

 Cost per mealShipping costPromotion
Freshly$7.99 - $11.50$7.99 - $11.50Get $60 off your first four orders ($15 per order) of Freshly with code LAUNCH15
Hello Fresh$7.49 - $10.99$6.99Visit Hello Fresh

6. Purple Carrot

Unique Offer: Full service for plant-based diets

Thinking about trying out a plant-based lifestyle but have no clue where to start? Purple Carrot offers breakfast, dinner, and lunch options that make cooking plant-based meals a little easier.

Choose from eight dinner options every week from dietary plans like gluten-free, high-protein, or quick and easy. You can also add on breakfast and lunch.

You can add up to 3 Extras to any Two-Serving Plan, or one Extra to any Four-Serving Plan at around $24 each. Breakfast Extras include four servings (at $5.99 per serving) and lunch Extras include two servings (at $11.99 per serving). You can choose from two different breakfast and lunch options every week.

While not strictly organic or non-GMO, Purple Carrot is the most affordable and versatile meal kit delivery service on the list for those on a plant-based diet.

Cost:

  • 3 meals for 2 people: $71.94 + free shipping ($11.99 per serving)
  • 2 meals for 4 people: $79.92 + free shipping ($9.99 per serving)

Try Purple Carrot, get $25 off your first box or read our full Purple Carrot review

Purple Carrot vs Sun Basket

 Cost per mealShipping costPromotion
Purple Carrot$5.99 - $11.99Free$25 off your first box
Sun Basket$10.99 - $12.99$7.99Visit Sun Basket

7. Blue Apron

Unique Offer: Has Beyond Meat

Every week Blue Apron has 11 meals to choose from on its 2-serving Signature plan, six options for 4-serving Signature plans, and 4 vegetarian options.

Blue Apron has a few different offerings that set it apart from other meal planning services but you may or may not find them helpful. The first is its partnership with Beyond Meat to offer at least one meal with the plant-based protein as an option in any meal kit.

It also has a wine delivery service that sends six 2-glass bottles of wine every month for $65.99, or $5.50 per glass. Blue Apron is also the only service on the list with Weight Watchers approved meals and one of the only with diabetes-friendly recipes.

Cost:

  • 3 meals for 2 people: $59.94 + free shipping ($9.99 per serving)
  • 2 meals for 4 people: $71.92 + free shipping ($8.99 per serving)

Try Blue Apron, get $60 off your first order

Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh

 Cost per mealShipping costPromotion
Blue Apron$8.99 - $9.99Free for plans over $50. $7.99 for others.$60 off your first order
Hello Fresh$7.49 - $10.99$6.99Visit Hello Fresh

8. Green Chef

Unique Offer: Keto meal kits

Green Chef is another health-focused meal kit company using only organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. The draw to Green Chef is its emphasis on catering to popular diets like keto, paleo, and plant-based but you can also get traditional meals in it’s Balanced and Family meal plan.

Meals come pre-prepped with pre-made sauces, dressings, and spice mixes so each dinner is ready in about 30 minutes. Pricing is based on the plan you choose, a six-serving plant-based box is $78.93, six-serving paleo and keto boxes are $84.93.

Cost:

  • 3 Balanced Living meals for 2 people: $71.94 + $7.99 shipping ($11.99 per serving)
  • 2 Family Plan meals for 4 people: $87.92 + $7.99 shipping ($10.99 per serving)

Green Chef review

Green Chef vs Hello Fresh

 Cost per mealShipping cost
Green Chef$9.99 - $12.99$7.99
Hello Fresh$7.49 - $10.99$6.99

How to Save on Meal Kits

If you’re looking to save money on groceries,  you’re not going to want to make meal kit deliveries a regular part of your dinner planning. But there are times when they can save you money. When that’s the case, take advantage of all the ways you can save money on your delivery.

Check Rakuten for Cash Back

Rakuten (formerly ebates) offers cash back at thousands of stores online and in-store including many of the names on this list. Amounts vary, you can get 10% back at Home Chef or $20 at Blue Apron, but you’ll typically only qualify for the cash back offer on your first order.

Download the Rakuten browser extension to automatically see if there’s cash back available for the meal delivery service you’re considering and any website you visit.

Use First-Time Promotions

Every service on the list usually offers a discount on your first box, some offer it on your first two or three. You can typically save $15 to $20.

Don’t worry about having to choose between using a promotion coupon or cash back from Rakuten, you can use both on your first order.

Try a Meal Planning Service

Nowadays, meal planning services are almost as convenient as meal delivery kits. You choose how many meals you want, send ingredient lists directly to Instacart or your participating grocery pickup app, pick them up or have them delivered, and prepare the meals at home.

Meal planning services like emeals offer customizable weekly meal plans with breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes for virtually any diet from vegan to paleo. They’re also safer for people with food allergies because you control the brands you bring home. Read our full emeals review

Bottom Line – Which Would You Choose?

BrandBest For
Home ChefRecipe variety and the ability to swap protein
Blue ApronWeight Watchers approved meals
Sun BasketVariety of dietary plans and affordable organic food
HelloFreshEasy recipes and variety to choose from weekly
EveryPlateAnyone on a budget
FreshlyMicrowavable meals, no cooking involved
Purple CarrotPlant-based meals
Green ChefKeto meal kits

If you’ve tried a meal planning service before then you know what you’re getting into. Each service has slight variations on their menus and level of prep needed so look at their menus and pick the ones you like the best. You can’t go wrong with any choice on the list.

Author Bio

Total Articles: 9
Jen Smith is a personal finance writer and creator of ModernFrugality.com. She and her husband paid off $78,000 of debt in two years, and now she's passionate about helping everyday people gain control of their spending and optimize their income. When she's not writing, Jen is figuring out life as a new mom and enjoying as much time as possible in the Florida sun.

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