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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.
Plated isn't your average meal delivery service. While they definitely can save you time and bring healthy meals to your table, their main goal is helping you become a more confident cook by expanding your culinary knowledge and maybe even your palate too. Every weekly menu includes choices like Steak Gyros, Salmon with Salsa Verde, or even desserts like Napoleons or Fig Shortcakes - all with fresh ingredients and simple instructions that lead to a finished product in an hour or less.
To get started, you'll need to decide how many servings you want per meal (2, 3, or 4), and how many nights per week (2, 3, or 4) you'd like to have a Plated entree on your menu. For a family of two that only wants two meals delivered each week, the price is usually $47.80. On the larger end of the spectrum, getting four 4-serving meals per week is typically priced at $159.20. At the time of our review, there was a promotion offering a 25% discount on the first week of meal delivery.
Plated doesn't give you a specific plan for your service - in other words, you won't find options for a menu that includes just vegetarian options, or gluten-free foods, and so forth. Instead, you'll choose among 20 different recipes (including dessert) from each week's menus. But, you can tailor your subscription to show you choices that meet your preferences (such as dessert-seeker, seafood lover, omnivore, and so on) from those 20 possibilities.
Plated has one of the widest delivery day ranges we've seen: every day but Sunday. Your box should stay cold until midnight on your selected day of the week, so there's no need to rush home from work to stick things in the fridge. As with comparable services of this type, your delivery includes everything you need to create your selected meal or dessert choices, including seasonal produce and specialty items that you might not even have at your local supermarket.
On the other hand, Plated has one of the most disappointing customer satisfaction policies we've seen with a meal delivery service: if you are dissatisfied or something is missing from your delivery, Plated "may, at [their] sole discretion, issue a credit." We found more than a few customers ranting how their delivery included moldy food, and Plated's answer was to give them a credit for just $12. Plus, many reviews of the Plated service said that the recipes were "just okay" and the ingredients weren't nearly as premium as they'd expect from a meal delivery company.
Another frequently-mentioned issue with Plated is their gift cards. Unfortunately, gift card recipients have to enter their credit card information to use their gift credit - and some of them then found themselves subscribed as a paying customer to a service they never wanted. That's not a great way to keep gift-givers happy.
Compared with other meal delivery services, Plated has a few unique features. But, their track record is definitely less-than-impressive, especially when looking at their refund policy (or lack of it). You'll probably find a meal delivery plan that's better to you and for you by selecting a service with a higher rating.
Best Meal Delivery
To help you find the Best Meal Delivery, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Home Chef and Plated.
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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