Best Meal Delivery
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Sunbasket vs 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.
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:
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:
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!).
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.
You can go to the Upcoiming Page in order to view the recipes that you're scheduled to receive. If you don't want to receive a certain meal that they've preselected for you, no problem! You can replace that recipe by selecting a different meal preference and choosing a different recipie. Just make sure that you make all meal plan changes before the "Changeable Before" date.
One thing to note, 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.
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 shopping for the ingredients. For those customers, Blue Apron is a strong contender worthy of consideration.
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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