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      January 27, 2020

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Blue Apron vs Martha & Marley Spoon

Best Prepared Meals

To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Blue Apron and Martha & Marley Spoon.

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Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?

You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2020

Prepared Meal Reviews

4 stars
Blue Apron

BLUE APRON

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Cost:

From $47.95 to $119.84 (roughly $7.49 to $9.99 per serving)

Blue Apron wants "to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone." With more than 8 million meals prepared by customers each month, this company's farm-fresh ingredients and unique recipes are definitely making that happen.

As you create your account, you'll begin by selecting your dietary preference: omnivore, pescatarian, or vegetarian. Every Prepared Meal will then be selected to fit your choice. You'll also be able to let Blue Apron know if you don't want a specific meat - fish, beef, shellfish, lamb, pork, or poultry - in any of the recipes they send. Also, all of the ingredients you receive will be pre-measured, whether that's paprika or peppers. All meals are best suited for lunch or dinner, so you won't see any recipes geared towards breakfasts, desserts, or side dishes.

Blue Apron keeps your taste buds guessing by never repeating a recipe within a calendar year. Still, if you don't think you'll enjoy a recipe that they've preselected, you can replace it with one you find more palatable. You simply go to the Upcoiming page to view the recipes that you're scheduled to receive. If you decide that you'd rather not receive a certain recipe, you can replace that meal by choosing a different meal preference and selecting a different recipie. You just need to make sure you make all changes before the "Changeable before" date.

You may find a limitation with Blue Apron's serving sizes: 2 or 4 servings per meal. This might leave you with leftovers for a smaller family - or still-hungry people at your table if your family is larger.

On a positive note, Blue Apron has addressed what used to be their most commonly-received complaint: their pricing. Since our last review, Blue Apron has dropped their prices to keep up with the competition:

  • Two-Serving Plan: you can choose between two ($47.95) or three ($59.94) 2-serving recipes per week. Shipping is included.
  • Four-Serving Plan: you can choose among two ($71.92), three ($95.88), or four ($119.84) 4-serving recipes per week. Shipping is included.

Sometimes, Blue Apron offers discounts. On our most recent visit, we got a pop-up offer after browsing the site for a while: "Get $50 off your next two orders if you order within the next 30 minutes." While we don't necessarily like that kind of time pressure, we definitely appreciate the savings.

As with most businesses offering Prepared Meals, Blue Apron doesn't require a contract to sign up. You can skip any deliveries you like - maybe you're heading out of town or just want to take a break - and there's no penalty for canceling the service. You can also request a new delivery date at any time.

Blue Apron does a good job of selecting top-notch ingredients and recipes. In our first delivery, we loved the attention to quality: everything we received was high-end, nothing generic or cheap, from the fresh shallots to the canned tomatoes. All of their recipes make the effort to include in-season ingredients, which naturally lead to a better-tasting final product. All of the recipes we got were easy to follow, and every ingredient was clearly labeled (which was helpful for one of our more novice "chefs", who couldn't recognize a few things by sight alone). We liked what we got enough to want to make it a second time!

Blue Apron delivers quality ingredients and good recipes at a competitive price point. If you can live with their selections of serving sizes, this is is a strong prepared meal service worth consideration.

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2.5 stars
Martha & Marley Spoon

MARTHA & MARLEY SPOON

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Cost:

Per-serving cost of $8.20 to $12

Free shipping

Award-winning recipes and fresh ingredients equal a delicious meal, according to Martha & Marley Spoon. This Prepared Meals service also says that they can help you do that for less than you'd usually pay at the supermarket. But, is that actually the case?

Starting with a database of more than 18,000 Martha Stewart recipes, they're off to a good start. All of their plans include pre-portioned ingredients, including fresh herbs and vegetables, and recipes that can be completed 6 steps at the most.

For your plan, you'll have some choices to make. First, are you serving dinner to 2 people or 3-4? Next, would you like to receive 2, 3, or 4 recipes and ingredients each week? Finally, do you prefer to receive meals that are prepared with strictly vegetarian options?

Once you've made those selections, you'll choose from 10 options in the weekly menu, with entrees like Chili-Lime Shrimp, Warm Tortelloni and Bean Salad, or Steak and Almond Romesco. And, if you like to plan in advance, Martha & Marley Spoon makes their 10-recipe weekly menus available as far out as four weeks ahead of time.

Your Prepared Meals will be delivered according to your geographic area;, in our region, we could choose between Monday and Tuesday. The company promises that your shipments will be usable for a minimum of 4 days after the delivery date; fish is the sole exception and should be cooked within 48 hours of delivery. You'll also need to have some pantry staples on hand, like sugar, salt, oil and eggs.

The moment of truth: does Martha & Marley spoon deliver what they advertise, especially in comparison with competitor providers of Prepared Meals? The answer is "not so much". We encountered so many complaints from customers who said that their orders came days after the promised delivery date - including ice packs that were completely melted, air temperature meats, and damaged shipping containers. The ideal response on the part of the business would be to offer a refund or replacement, or at minimum a store credit.

Unfortunately for them - and for you - there is no satisfaction guarantee or return policy to be found on the Martha & Marley Spoon site. Some customers said that they were offered a discount on a future order, but who'd order again from a company that dropped the ball so significantly the first time? It's good that their representatives were responsive to the complaints we found, but they'd do better to provide a solid, customer-friendly guarantee and return policy - like most of the competition already offer.

As much as we liked the idea of being able to cook like Martha Stewart, this Prepared Meals service just doesn't deliver. With few options to customize plans for dietary needs, late deliveries, and poor customer service policies, Martha & Marley Spoon will probably have you heading to the grocery store - or to a higher-ranked business in our review - for your meals.

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Continued from above

If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.

On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.

When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:

  • Menu. What does the provider offer? Can you choose from many different plans, like Vegetarian or Mediterranean? If you're trying to meet a special dietary need, like gluten-free or keto-friendly, will there be options for you? Does the type of Prepared Meals they send - reheat-and-eat vs. some cooking required - work for your situation?
  • Price. What will it cost to get your Prepared Meals? Can you choose to buy specific entrees a la carte, or do you have to buy a package?
  • Amount of Food. If you have a large family, is there a plan that will satisfy everyone? Are the serving sizes enough to fill you up?
  • Customer Service and Reputation. What have other people said about the experience of buying Prepared Meals from this business? Are packages delivered on time, with ingredients that are still fresh and properly refrigerated? If not, does the company's customer service department respond appropriately with a refund or credit?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!

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