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      July 23, 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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Sunbasket 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 Sunbasket 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

Prepared Meal Reviews

4 stars
Sunbasket

SUNBASKET Visit Site

Cost:

$10.99 to $11.99 per serving

Where else but California would you expect to find the headquarters of a company that has "sun" in the name and focuses on healthy eating? Sun Basket features nutrient-dense produce, whole grains, high-quality protein and "good fats", with as little added sugar and processed ingredients as possible in their meal delivery programs.

As with some of the services we reviewed, Sun Basket assumes that you would like to spend a little time in the kitchen; their deliveries all come with ingredients and recipes for you to prepare, not a TV dinner-type reheat-and-eat meal. They also expect that your kitchen has the following:

  • Olive oil, grapeseed, or sunflower oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • Basic pots and pans
  • Knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Grater
  • Zester
  • Cooking spoon, spatula, and ladle
  • Measuring cups
  • Wine and/or butter as optional recipe items

Sun Basket breaks their meal delivery plans down into two main choices: the best value Family Menu, or the Classic Menu with more choices. Sun Basket is one of the few services that offers a menu plan geared towards kid-friendly favorites that include the children in the meal-making process. And, if your little ones are vegetarian, there's a plan for them too.

But, if you want more meal choices, the most robust menu is the Classic. Sun Basket does an incredible job of offering variety, with these plans:

  • Chef's Choice
  • Paleo
  • Lean & Clean
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Mediterranean
  • Vegan
  • Pescatarian
  • Diabetes-Friendly
  • Quick & Easy

With the Classic Plan, you can mix and match recipes across cuisines - so if two of you are gluten-free and the rest of the family goes paleo, your delivery can include meals that meet all of those preferences.

The pricing is straightforward: you'll pay $10.99 per serving with the Family Menu; you decide if you want 2, 3, or 4 recipes each week, and all recipes make a total of four adult-sized portions. Otherwise, you'll pay $11.99 on the Classic plan, which gives you 3 recipes per week and your choice of 2 or 4 servings per recipe.

Although all Sun Basket meals are carefully packaged to ensure freshness after delivery, you'll want to get them into the refrigerator as soon as you take them out of the box. They recommend that you eat any meals with seafood or shellfish within 3 days, and meat/poultry/delicate greens/mushrooms within 5 days of delivery. Sun Basket does not deliver to Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and some parts of New Mexico.

When it comes to customer experiences, Sun Basket's reviews are a mixed bag. We found praise from long-term clients who say that 95% of what they've gotten has been an absolute hit, and that the customer representatives were very responsive with getting replacements for any less-than-awesome ingredients or recipes. That's in line with Sun Basket's 100% guarantee, with a no-questions-asked refund if you're not completely satisfied. But, we also found customers who didn't have an easy time getting a replacement, credit, or refund when ingredients were wilted or spoiled. Also, some customers said that, in comparison with other meal delivery services they tried, Sun Basket was more money for smaller servings.

We give Sun Basket high marks for having such a wide variety of menu options, and for including kids in their meal plans. Just be prepared to spend time in the kitchen actually making the recipes and know that you might come away not feeling completely full (which could be an advantage, if weight loss through healthy eating is your goal!).

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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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