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      November 17, 2018

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Gourmet Station 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 Gourmet Station 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

2018

Prepared Meal Reviews

3.5 stars
Gourmet Station

GOURMET STATION Visit Site

Cost:

From $79.99 and up

For more than 15 years, Gourmet Station's Prepared Meals have been delivered to over 100,000 customers. Their primary focus is gift-giving, especially for employers looking to give incentives to workers or holiday gifts to clients. But, everything that Gourmet Station sells can just as conveniently be purchased for a personal special occasion, such as an anniversary or birthday.

To see your options, start by choosing a category: Soup & Appetizers, Monthly Clubs, Gift Certificates, Meal Plans, Occasion Dinners, or Dinner Gifts. Of all the possibilities, the last one has the most impressive options:

  • Occasion Dinners for Two - priced at $109.99, this package comes with a card, white cloth dinner napkins, a floating candle and complimentary gift packaging. Besides your choice of four-course meals (Americana, Parisian, Tuscan), you'll select the bread, soup, entree, and dessert, plus a coffee or tea and candy.
  • Four-Course Gourmet Dinners for Two - for $99.99, you can choose among Parisian, Tuscan, or Americana options (just like the previous package, without the extra gift items such as the candle).
  • Three-Course Gourmet Dinners for Two - priced at $89.99, you'll decide on an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert.
  • Gourmet Dinners for Two - if you just want entrees, you'll pay $79.99. Choices include Chicken Cordon Bleu, Lemon Dill Salmon, Mushroom Ravioli and more.

Also, in the Dinner Gift category, you'll find Steak Dinner Gifts, Dinner of the Month, and Wagyu (Kobe) Steaks.

The Dinner of the Month option is also found as part of Gourmet Station's Monthly Clubs. If you'd like to spread your gift-giving over several deliveries - for yourself or for a lucky recipient of your generosity - your options include Soup or Dessert of the Month or even full dinners with 2, 3, or 4 courses.

But, most customers looking for Prepared Meals want something they can eat during a typical week. In that case, Gourmet Station's Meal Plans are the best option. Each package provides five meals a week for one person; cuisine choices include Americana, International, Parisian, Cajun, and Tuscan, with five entrees and side vegetables. You'll select Pasta, Beef, Pork, Seafood, and Poultry meals within each of those menu choices; the vegetable is determined automatically by the entree you choose. For example, the Tuscan menu may come with Oven-Roasted Veggies, or the International entree is accompanied by Creamy Spinach & Artichokes.

Every Prepared Meal delivered by Gourmet Station should be refrigerated that day and eaten within 3 days; otherwise, you should freeze it for later reheating. Meals are also expected to be reheated in a traditional oven, not the microwave. This isn't as convenient as some of the TV dinner-style Prepared Meals plans in our review, but it helps your gourmet food stay tasting - well, gourmet!

Your delivery options are limited to arrivals on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. Although you can schedule your packages to arrive several months in advance, for a special occasion or other event, you'll still have to choose one of those three days because of UPS' delivery requirements.

Gourmet Station makes it incredibly easy to deliver a five-star restaurant-quality meal to your doorstep (or to someone else's), needing just a 30-minute reheating in the oven for some items. On the other hand, if you're trying to lose weight or you're looking for the most economical Prepared Meals plan on the market, this probably isn't the service you'll choose.

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2.5 stars
Martha & Marley Spoon

MARTHA & MARLEY SPOON Visit Site

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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