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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.
With headquarters in New York City, Blue Apron aims "to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone." Their approach to meal delivery is quite different from the reheat-at-home, precooked foods you might see with competitor services. Instead, Blue Apron ships refrigerated boxes of fresh-from-the-farm ingredients so that aspiring home cooks can not only bring healthier, more flavorful food to the table, but also add more recipes and skills to their own repertoires. Given that Blue Apron sends out more than 8 million meals per month, across the nation, they're definitely doing something right.
Right from the start, you'll be able to indicate your dietary preference. Omnivore? Pescatarian? Vegetarian? No problem. All of the meals in your delivery will fit those criteria. You also have the ability to specify if there's a particular meat - lamb, pork, poultry, beef, shellfish, or fish - that you don't want included in your recipes. You'll never get the same recipe twice in a calendar year, and all of Blue Apron's ingredients come to you pre-measured, from the spices to the shallots. This service does focus on lunch- or dinner-type entrees, so you won't find breakfasts, desserts, or sides.
There are two less-than-customizable aspects to Blue Apron's meal delivery: the recipes and the number of servings. Unlike most of their competitors, this service does not allow you to select what recipes you'll receive, so whether you absolutely love or hate a particular meal, you may or may not see it in your delivery. Also, since all of Blue Apron's plans consist of either 2- or 4-serving configurations, you could wind up with a lot of leftovers if your family is small - or not enough to go around if yours is large.
One of the most common complaints about Blue Apron used to be their prices - so we were happy to see that, over the past year, they've worked hard to make their meals more affordable:
You may also find savings offered via pop-ups; when we visited the Blue Apron site and browsed for a while, we eventually got a discount offer of "$50 off, spread over [our] next two orders, if we ordered within the next 30 minutes.
All of Blue Apron's meal delivery plans are commitment-free: skip any weeks you choose (like when you go on vacation) and cancel your plan at any time. You can also choose the delivery date that works best for you; with all shipping boxes coming with cold packs, you don't even need to be home when your delivery comes.
Blue Apron has some definite positives. When we received our meal delivery, we were impressed with the quality of the ingredients - absolutely nothing generic or cut-rate, from the fresh vegetables to the canned beans. This company emphasizes recipes that use in-season ingredients, making for a fresher, healthier eating experience. Every recipe we received was simple to prepare, with clearly-labeled ingredients and well-written instructions. And, the final products were all winners; we wanted to keep every recipe for future use.
But, for customers who are looking for premade convenience or who don't have access to a traditional kitchen, Blue Apron isn't the right fit. It's definitely a service for people who want to cook, but need some help in the inspiration department without the hassle of selecting recipes and shopping for the ingredients.
Best Meal Delivery
To help you find the Best Meal Delivery, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Home Chef and Blue Apron.
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.
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:
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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