Reviews

We Tried 5 Meal Kit Delivery Services and Here’s What We Found

You know what’s fun? Receiving packages at our front door!

You know what else is fun? Eating delicious food!

Imagine the excitement I felt to have 5 home meal delivery kits dropped off at my front door over the course of 2 months.

I thought it would be fun to eat them all then give you a normal person’s perspective into it.  I didn’t take strict notes and most of them were extremely comparable on price so therefore my judging criteria will be on packaging, preparation, and taste. Shall we begin?

HelloFresh

Technically, we ate at HelloFresh twice. The first time my neighbor dropped off a box of “extra” that she had which spurred this whole idea to try all of them.

Thoughts on HF: The packaging was well thought out. Each dish was packaged in its own little rectangular box with all the ingredients so there was absolutely no digging and zero chance of confusion. The directions were well written from a design and readability perspective- it was so easy to follow along and pretty much foolproof to make the meals. Having the QR code for each food item on the box also made it easy to locate the recipes via their App which I thought was a nice touch.

Here are the recipes we tried:

Classic Poblano Chili– This was fairly easy to prepare, filling yet “light” and it was my first time eating a poblano pepper which was fairly tasty and not as spicy as I expected.

Parmesan Crusted Cod– Probably my least favorite from the box because the flavor of the fish left much to be desired and the method of boiling the potatoes and tossing them in butter made for mushy potatoes. I understand they wanted to keep the recipe around 30 minutes of prep time, but boiling potatoes is my least favorite method to prepare it.

Slurp’s Up! Sesame Chicken Noodles– The title is deceiving because it’s actually a more peanut-buttery tasting chicken and noodle dish. This one was really delicious and so far, the only recipe of all the meal kits that I’ve tried recreating.

Would we do HelloFresh again? Totally. In addition to the tasty food, the packaging, marketing, design on recipe cards, email follow-ups, and overall presentation surpasses all the competitors.

Blue Apron

This is the other big player in the space. We knew many people that are current subscribers to Blue Apron so logically this was our next move. After such a positive experience with HelloFresh, I had high expectations going into this box.

Thoughts on BA: It was extremely comparable to HelloFresh, but I what surprised me initially was that all the non-meat ingredients were packaged in their own ziplock sack, but other (bigger) items were scattered throughout the top. From a “first impression” standpoint, it looked a bit sloppy in the packaging when you’re coming off neatly packaged boxes from HelloFresh. I’m sure some of it was shook up in delivery and so I accounted for that as well in my rating.

Here are the recipes we tried:

Cheddar Cheeseburgers– This one was quite delicious although I personally thought a salad for the side was rather “blah”.

Spiced Chicken Chili– The flavor on this was pretty interesting (sweet and savory). It wouldn’t be something that I ever crave, but we did enjoy eating it.

Cajun Catfish & Spiced Rice– This one was probably my least favorite of the bunch mainly because of the catfish. I enjoyed eating collard greens for the first time, but I personally thought this dish was a little too heavy.

Would we do Blue Apron again? Possibly. The only recipe which I thought was really good was the Cheeseburger because well…cheeseburgers. I thought the other two were meh.

Home Chef

By the time I got to ordering Home Chef, I felt like I was an expert in home cooked meals. (Tip: I’m not an expert) I felt that I had tried to two main ones so everything else might be a slightly a
lesser version of the two. To my surprise, I was wrong about that. Bonus: It came with a nice binder that you could keep all of your recipes for future use.

Thoughts on HC: One thing I appreciated about Home Chef that I didn’t see on the others was that it had a “Cook Within” guideline based on the perishability of the meat/ingredients so you could have the freshest version of all if you cooked accordingly.

Here are the recipes we tried:

Korean Pork Medallions- Tasty, easy to prepare, and the slaw has some kick to it!

Pulled Ranch Chicken Sandwich– This was probably my favorite from the whole kit because it was fairly straightforward to prepare, but all those “little” things and garnishes made it that much better. This is definitely one recipe to keep around for football season.

Bangkok Lemongrass-Basil Shrimp Fried Rice– I’m alway leering of making fried rice because I’m too scared to add (and know) the amount of oil it takes for it to turn out well. Even with a “reduced” amount of oil, this dish still pulled through and came out delicious.

Would we do Home Chef again? Absolutely. Tommy and I both enjoyed all the recipes.

Plated

Much like the other predecessors, the packaging for Plated came with the non-meats tossed together on the top. By the fourth option, I had high expectations for what recipes awaited us. Plated did not let me down.

Thoughts on Plated: The dishes were really good. The instructions were easy to follow and I’m hoping to be able to recreate these in the near future.

Here are the recipes we tried:

Seared Steak with Melted Leeks, Parmesan Potatoes, and Chive Vinaigrette- This was my first experience with Leeks and it was really good. This dish tasted fantastic, but it was a little oil heavy.

Teriyaki Salmon Tacos with Seaweed Salad– This may be my favorite dish of all the dishes we tried in all the kits. It was so good, however, I personally felt that there wasn’t enough Salmon AND the Seaweed Salad came fully made which means I likely can’t re-create 🙁

Turkey Spinach Burgers with Creamy Aioli and Carrot Fries– Carrot fries? I know, right?! The burgers were a little dry likely because it was so lean, but if you smothered enough aioli it tasted fine. Surprisingly, carrot fries are actually good. I personally don’t like carrots but I can actually see the kids and I chowing down on carrot fries as a healthier alternative.

Would we do Plated again? For sure, the recipes were super delicious. The one disappointing thing, however, is a couple of the produce ingredients were partially unusable because they were old. This was the first kit in which we noticed old ingredients.

Chef’d

Where do I start with you? For starters, the website isn’t as straightforward and the meal plans were set up much differently. It’s actually about twice as much (even with a discount code) than a lot of the other services per serving. Yikes! We only sprung for one meal so we opted for one of our favorite dishes and they totally missed the mark.

Here is the recipe we tried:

Weeknight Chicken Pad Thai- I can’t even describe the steps it took to create this recipe because they were THAT confusing. So many times I second-guessed the method. So many times I had to re-read the directions to make sure my eyes weren’t fooling me. I went against my better judgement and followed the recipe to a T and it turned out to be a soupy, mushy pile of noodles and ingredients masquerading as Pad Thai.

It was edible. We finished it off and then washed our hands clean of Chef’d.

Would we do Chef’d again? Heck no! An overpriced, weird business model home delivery kit that has unreliable directions and would likely ruin a novice cook from making meals from home.

So How Would I Rank Them?

My favorite would probably be Home Chef then tied in second place I would put Hello Fresh and Plated. Blue Apron comes in third place and trailing in the faraway distant last place is Chef’d.

Which ones have you tried?

What’s your favorite?

 

 

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3 comments

  1. Interesting read. I’ve been contemplating trying one of these.

    1. You should! Heck, try them all like I did.

  2. Love the insights! Very helpful!

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