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      September 22, 2018

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Meal Delivery

  1. Bistro MD
  2. Veestro
  3. Home Chef
  4. Sunbasket
  5. Hello Fresh
  6. Blue Apron
  7. Diet To Go
  8. Gourmet Station
  9. Harry & David
  10. Magic Kitchen
  11. Personal Chef To Go
  12. Martha & Marley Spoon
  13. Plated
  14. Home Bistro

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Bistro MD

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Harry & David

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Home Chef vs Magic Kitchen

Best Meal Delivery Programs

To help you find the Best Meal Delivery, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Home Chef and Magic Kitchen.

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Who is the best Meal Delivery company? Are you looking for a way to simplify dinner after a long day at work? Using a meal delivery service has become an easy way of getting nourishing, flavorful food on the table without the hassle of grocery shopping.

Of course, the most popular reason for using a meal delivery company is the convenience. Customers love being able to order their favorite entrees, side dishes, or even appetizers and desserts, and to choose how much cooking they'd like to do. Some meal delivery services are reheat-and-eat, while others provide you with all of the ingredients you need to create a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen.

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Best Reviews

2018

Meal Delivery Reviews

4 stars
Home Chef

HOME CHEF Visit Site

Cost:

Starting at $7.99 per serving

Shipping is free on orders over $45

Home Chef is one of the original services to help busy people create meals at home with convenient delivery of fresh ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes. With more than 10 million meals delivered in a year, this company has definitely made an impact on people's ability to enjoy a home-cooked meal without the stress of planning or shopping. And, with an upcoming partnership with the Kroger family of companies, Home Chef's reach continues to expand.

Your order will include fresh, pre-portioned ingredients for recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less. One convenient part of Home Chef's service is the ability to plan your meals up to five weeks in advance. You can take a look at the available entrees without having to sign up for their service; some of their client favorites are Korean Fried Chicken, Wood-Fired BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Creamy Parmesan Steak Penne.

To be able to look at Home Chef's options for your meal delivery, you'll need to enter your email address (which we don't love having to do). You may also get offers as you start the process. We got a pop-up offering a savings of $30 on our first order if we entered our email address, so keep an eye out for any extra discounts that might come your way as you browse the site. Just a step or two later as we were setting up our account, we got another "flash sale" discount of $10 to apply to a future order.

As you set up your plan, you'll need to make a few selections, like how many meals you'd like to prepare each week, anywhere from 3-6. One plus of Home Chef's meal delivery options is the ability to order for a larger family. You can choose plans for 2, 4, or 6 people - and, of course, if yours consists of 3 or 5, you can pick a plan that might leave you with some leftovers.

Next, you'll need to select if you prefer to eat meat, seafood, or vegetables; you can select all 3 if you wish. Then, you specify if you want options like low-calorie or low-carb meals, or if you'd like to avoid certain ingredients (for example pork, soy, wheat, milk, nuts, mushrooms, shellfish, soy, or red meat).

From there, you're taken to the delivery address screen. Be sure not to miss the requested delivery date drop-down on that page as well, otherwise you'll get the default of Tuesday. Delivery options are Tuesday through Friday (at least in our area).

Home Chef had received some criticism in the past for not making customers amply aware of their cancellation and refund policies; but, compared with their competitors, Home Chef's approach seems fairly standard. You can cancel or pause your weekly deliveries at any time, and they'll give you a refund or credit if you're not 100% satisfied with your delivery. If only part of your meal shipment is a problem - maybe the cilantro was too wilted to use or a can was dented- Home Chef reserves the right to decide whether they'll issue a credit or a replacement for just that portion of your order.

Evidently, the BBB agrees that Home Chef is responding appropriately to customer concerns, because at the time of our review they had given the meal delivery service a rating of A+. Actual customer experiences are more of a mixed bag. More recent reviews tend to mention poor delivery service, because at least in some areas Home Chef switched from a big-name shipping company to a smaller one that hasn't been as reliable. We also saw continued complaints about pausing or canceling service through the website; some customers kept getting deliveries even after trying to put it on hold or stop the service altogether. Even some of the most positive reviews mention getting a delivery that was missing part of the meal - including main components like salmon or chicken, not just smaller items like spices.

Home Chef is a fantastic choice for people who want to cook and just need the convenience of pre-planned recipes and easy delivery of ingredients. This meal delivery service is likely to be a winner for larger families that might not find options with other services. Just be sure to keep a close watch on your orders, to ensure that everything arrives as expected; don't hesitate to contact Home Chef's customer service to request that they fix anything isn't as it should be.

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3 stars
Magic Kitchen

MAGIC KITCHEN Visit Site

Cost:

Average serving cost of $11.99; discounts available

Shipping rates start at $18-$20 per order, depending on weight and distance

Created in 2005 with a focus on providing restaurant-quality, healthy meals for seniors and others, Magic Kitchen strives to cover a wide variety of dietary needs. All meals are prepared, flash-frozen, and ready to be reheated. You won't need any extra dishes, pots and pans, or kitchen tools - making this a convenient option for people who don't like to cook or who don't have access to a full kitchen.

Each meal usually has an entree with two sides. Some of their more popular selections include Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Sauté, Eggplant Parmigiana with Polenta & Spinach, and Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach.

We were impressed with the wide range of dietary needs that Magic Kitchen addresses. You can find them listed under the "Dietary Interest" section:

  • Diabetic-Friendly
  • Portion Controlled
  • Dialysis-Friendly
  • Renal Diet (CKD 3&4)
  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Sodium
  • Low-Carb
  • Senior Diet
  • Vegetarian

Depending on your needs, you can choose to order a la carte or through a meal program. A la carte options are broken down by Mains, Soups, Sides, Desserts and Snacks. While most of these choices come in either complete meal packages or in two-serving sizes, you can find some options designated as "family size" - ideal for those times when Grandma might be having company over for a meal or when friends stop by for dessert.

In order to sign up for a meal program, you'll have to contact Magic Kitchen via phone or email - you can't place your order online. While that is less convenient than most of the meal delivery services in our review, it gives you the opportunity to custom-design the exact package that meets your needs. Your cost will depend on the specific plan you create, but Magic Kitchen offers an example program for your reference:

  • Low Sodium/Diabetic/Senior Complete Meal Program for 1 Person
  • 1 complete meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner): $75-$85 for 7 days
  • 2 complete meals (choose two from breakfast/lunch/dinner): $150-$165 for 7 days
  • 3 complete meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner): $225-$250 for 7 days

These programs don't require you to sign a contract or make any other long-term commitments; you can have them shipped automatically and have meals sent weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. You can choose your own meals, or have the Magic Kitchen staff select for you within the parameters you select.

If you sign up for Magic Kitchen's email newsletter, you may be able to save money: we got a pop-up offering a discount of 10% off our next purchase. Those newsletters give you access to inside deals, so it's definitely worth it if you plan on being a long-term customer.

We like Magic Kitchen's 100% satisfaction guarantee. If anything arrives in damaged or spoiled condition, they will replace it at no cost to you. Similarly, if any of the foods you try don't meet your satisfaction, Magic Kitchen will either replace it in your next order or give you a credit. The company strives to have 24/7 phone coverage, with core hours of operation from 7:30A-11:30P Central, 7 days a week.

All orders are shipped from Magic Kitchen's warehouse in Kansas City, KS, using dry ice in a reusable, recyclable Styrofoam container. Expect to pay a minimum of $18-$20 for delivery; costs depend on the actual weight of your order and the shipping distance.

So, how do the actual meals measure up? On the one hand, many of the customers who match Magic Kitchen's targeted audience - senior citizens looking for healthy, easy to prepare/reheat meal options - say that it's been a great choice. We were glad to see some caregivers and loved ones saying that their 80-something mother is a picky eater that actually loved what she got with no exceptions. On the other hand, what they have to offer may not be a great fit for most people looking for meal delivery. Some reviews said that the food was watery after being reheated, and even the photos of the entree-plus-two-sides meals were unappetizing in a lot of cases. And, with an average serving cost of $12 and up for most foods, we think many customers will be looking for more than just a TV dinner-style meal delivery plan.

Magic Kitchen does a good job of giving options for seniors and others with strict dietary needs who might only have access to a microwave. But, their pricing is expensive, and their options might not appeal to younger customers who don't mind spending a little time in the kitchen to create a more restaurant-quality meal.

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Continued from above

As these services have grown in popularity, the types of meals and plans has expanded as well. Has your doctor recently put you on a special diet, and you're not sure how to incorporate it into your lifestyle? Whether you're adapting to a diet that's low in carbs, diabetic-friendly, or even gluten-free, you'll find a meal delivery program that can help.

Are you interested in becoming a vegetarian but unfamiliar with how to create a balanced meal? Once again, there's a meal delivery service for that - use it for a few weeks to get ideas of lunches and dinners that you can recreate, or for as long as you like as you adapt to your clean, green way of eating.

As you consider which meal delivery service is best for you, you'll quickly see that they vary greatly when it comes to price, preparation, and types of food offered. Keep these criteria in mind as you decide which company fits your needs:

  • Reputation. What do past and current customers have to say about the meals they received and the overall experience, from ordering to delivery?
  • Cost. What will you spend for the meal delivery plan you choose, whether you opt for a la carte entrees or regularly-scheduled weekly or monthly shipments?
  • Variety. Does the meal delivery provider have an appetizing range of flavors and cuisines to choose from? Will you be able to select meals that you'll actually want to eat?
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. If you're unhappy with the service, the quality of the food, or the condition of the meals at the time of delivery, can you get a refund or a replacement?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best meal delivery services available today. We hope these reviews help you find the service that puts the food that you're craving on the table right away!

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