Best Meal Kit Delivery Services During The Pandemic
By Jon Bailey - March 23, 2020
We’ve been sheltering at home for more than a week now, doing our best to be socially distant to avoid the spread of COVID-19. With all the craziness associated with the coronavirus pandemic, making dinners at home every night has become our regular routine. (And don’t get us started about breakfast and lunch too. It’s been A LOT of cooking.) In the process, we’ve tried tried several meal preparation services and compared them for quality, taste and ease. Below are our recommendations for best meal kit delivery services during these crazy times.
It’s not easy to find meals that please all four family members!
Whether it’s a normal workday and we’re running home from the office to make dinner, or we are shut ins getting our meals delivered, finding the best meal kit delivery service is vitally important.
Best Meal Kit Delivery Services
Times are weird, and we are all sheltering at home cooking meals for our families. Going to the grocery store for all the ingredients to make dinner has become a lot more difficult. Sometimes we’re not even sure the ingredients we need will be on the shelves right now. Luckily, we’ve been looking for the best meal prep delivery options since before the pandemic started.
Meal prep kits offer shortcuts that save time without comprising quality, particularly at dinnertime. The concept of meal prep boxes being delivered weekly is very appealing, because the ingredients are fresh and the meal can be prepared quickly and easily. Even better, we didn’t have to brave the rush at the supermarket.
Testing the Best Meal Prep Companies
Our family has tested Marley Spoon, Blue Apron, Sun Basket and Plated. We gave all of them a fair chance, receiving at least eight weeks of boxes with two meals each week for our family of four. Our criteria for success were the following:
- Variety of choices
- Ease of preparation
- Organic ingredients
- Did I mention taste?
*Note: Plated is no longer available in home delivery kits. It is possible to buy Plated meals at your local grocery store, ready to bring home and prepare.
Hands down, Marley Spoon is our family favorite meal kit delivery service.
- Taste – Delicious! Four thumbs up from our family members
- Freshness – Always good. We’ve never had anything look funky or leak in transit.
- Variety – Great choices and variety of options to suit all tastes, including vegetarians.
- Ease of Prep – Seriously so easy to follow – meals ready in 30 minutes.
- Healthy – Yes because everything is fresh, but not always low fat
- Organic – No
- Price – $68 for 2 meals per week with 4 servings each (also the least expensive)
Blue Apron was a market innovator in the category of meal prep kits. One of the very first on the scene, Blue Apron introduced many home cooks with an easy way to prepare meals without the planning, shopping and preparation.
We were right there with them, trying the service early on. Initially service was spotty, but Blue Apron got it together and provided fairly consistent quality and service for some time. But overall, our experience left us wanting more flavor and variety. It seemed as though Blue Apron was trying to appeal to the masses, and the results were not that exciting.
- Taste – Mediocre scores here, with two out of four thumbs up from our family members
- Freshness – Mostly okay with a couple of pretty awful exceptions, including rotting arugula and moldy cucumbers
- Variety – Okay, with 12 choices per week but none that exciting
- Ease of Prep – High marks, one of the easiest
- Healthy – Sort of, with some dishes heavy on the butter and/or cheese
- Organic – Nope, not always
- Price – $71.42 for 2 meals per week with 4 servings each
Sun Basket is probably the healthiest of the meal prep kits we sampled. The ingredients are organic and fresh, and always arrived in beautiful condition. There are many meal options to choose from. For a family with kids of varying palates, we found the menu items to be too sophisticated for kids.
- Taste – OK but perhaps a little too exotic for the kids
- Freshness – Very good
- Variety – Many options with perhaps too few basic choices like spaghetti or tacos
- Ease of Prep – Mostly ok with a couple of difficult exceptions
- Healthy – Very, with mostly fresh vegetables and some meats
- Organic – Yes, almost hippie level
- Price – $8.99 – $14.99 per serving = $96 per week average for 2 meals per week with 4 servings each
Plated is no longer in the home meal kit delivery business. However, you can buy their kits in the grocery store, prepped and ready to bring home and put together. To us, this new model for Plated defeats the purpose. We want the meal kits delivered to our home, avoiding the grocery store altogether.
When we did try their delivery service to our front door, we liked their food very much.
Best Meal Kit Delivery Service
The outcome of our little experiment puts Marley Spoon as the clear winner. I know this is true, because we have consistently been happy with Marley Spoon for over a year now. We receive a box every week on our doorstep, and the food is always good. Two dinner a week for four people. Zero complaints.
The variety of choices with Marley Spoon allows us to make meals we know our family will enjoy, along with some options that will stretch our palates. The ingredients are always fresh and well packaged, arriving undamaged and unblemished. The shipping package is not overdone like Blue Apron, where there are so many packages with packages they almost seem like Russian nesting dolls. (The amount of unrecyclable trash from each Blue Apron delivery was really wasteful). Plus Marley Spoon offers breakfast options as well as a couple of dessert choices for an extra fee.
So there you have it – Marley Spoon is our choice.
Other Home Delivery Options
Another great option for home delivery of quality food and ingredients is Perdue Farms. We often order chicken and other meats from Perdue Farms because of their high quality products. Ordering from their website is super easy, and the delivery arrives quickly to our front door. Full disclosure: I am a Brand Ambassador for Perdue Farms, but would be a fan of their products regardless.
Pus, you can use my affiliate code to order from Perdue Farms, and receive 15% off your order now!
(Or, you could just make my White Chicken Chili recipe for dinner).