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      November 18, 2018

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  6. Blue Apron
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Sunbasket vs Plated

Best Prepared Meals

To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Sunbasket and Plated.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Prepared Meals, please Click Here

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

4 stars
Sunbasket

SUNBASKET Visit Site

Cost:

From $10.99 to $11.99 per serving

Headquartered in CA, Sun Basket brings you whole grains, "good fats", high-quality protein and nutrient-dense produce in every Prepared Meal they offer. You probably won't even miss the processed ingredients and added sugars that are so common in foods these days, because Sun Basket's entrees are delicious and healthy too.

Like many of the Prepared Meals providers in our review, Sun Basket's deliveries come with fresh ingredients and recipes to follow: no reheat-and-eat entrees here. For that reason, you should plan on having some basic pantry staples available, such as:

  • Olive oil, grapeseed, or sunflower oil
  • Salt and freshly-ground pepper
  • Basic pots and pans
  • Knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Grater
  • Zester
  • Cooking spoon, spatula, and ladle
  • Measuring cups
  • Wine and/or butter as optional recipe items

Sun Basket keeps it simple when it comes to Prepared Meals: choose between the Family Menu or the Classic Menu. What's the difference? If you've got kids, chances are good that you also have a picky eater in the mix. The Family Menu includes a number of kid-friendly entrees that also invite you to have your child help with the cooking. Even if your child follows a vegetarian diet, Sun Basket has a meal plan for him or her too.

On the other hand, if you prefer a wider variety of flavors, you'll want to consider the Classic Menu. Choices include the following varieties:

  • Chef's Choice
  • Paleo
  • Lean & Clean
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegetarian
  • Mediterranean
  • Vegan
  • Pescatarian
  • Diabetes-Friendly
  • Quick & Easy

In this plan, it's no problem to select entrees across various cuisine types. Maybe you are a pescatarian and your partner has diabetes; feel free to customize your Prepared Meals plan to include recipes that meet both of those preferences.

Sun Basket keeps their pricing simple too. On the Family Menu, servings cost $10.99 each, and you decide if you want 2, 3, or 4 recipes to prepare every week. Each recipe in this plan makes four adult-sized portions. With the Classic Menu, you'll get 3 recipes each week, with your choice of 2 or 4 servings; each serving costs $11.99.

Sun Basket's Prepared Meals all come well-packaged to stay fresh, even if the box sits on your porch for a while. But, the company recommends that you refrigerate your ingredients as soon as they come out of the box (when appropriate). If you've ordered a Prepared Meal with shellfish or seafood, you'll want to eat it within 3 days of delivery, and recipes with mushrooms/delicate greens/poultry/meat should be prepared and eaten within 5 days. Because of those guidelines, Sun Basket doesn't offer delivery in Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, or some areas in New Mexico.

What do customers have to say about the Sun Basket experience? Some clients have enjoyed the Prepared Meals service for years. They've stuck around because almost every recipe has been a success, and Sun Basket reps have been helpful with sending timely replacements for those that didn't go over as well. Given that Sun Basket advertises a 100%, no-questions-asked refund policy, we'd expect that level of service.

However, there were also more than a few complaints from customers who said that getting that refund - or even a replacement or store credit - was not as easy as promised. Plus, some people who tried Sun Basket in addition to other companies offering Prepared Meals said that this service seemed to send recipes with smaller servings while charging higher prices.

Sun Basket gets points for having so many menu options, and for making kids a part of the process. You may need to be proactive in getting help for missing or spoiled ingredients, though, and you should expect that your portion sizes might be smaller than you'd like.

Visit Site

2 stars
Plated

PLATED Visit Site

Cost:

Per-serving cost of $9.95 to $11.95

Free shipping on all plans over $60

Plated takes a slightly different approach to Prepared Meals. Like many services, they send you fresh ingredients and recipes to prepare, but their primary aim is to help you gain confidence in the kitchen by broadening your culinary horizons - and maybe your taste buds, too.

Weekly menu options include dishes like Salmon with Salsa Verde and Steak Gyros. There are also dessert choices, such as Fig Shortcakes and Napoleons. Each recipe can be made in an hour or less.

The main decisions you'll need to make are how many servings you'd like each meal to provide (2, 3, or 4) and how many meals you'd like to prepare each week (again, choosing from 2, 3, or 4). A two-serving, twice a week plan is regularly priced at $47.80. The largest plan, with four servings per meal, four times a week, costs $159.20. When we visited Plated, they were offering a 25% discount promotion on the first week's delivery, for all of their various plan configurations.

This service doesn't come with specific plans for people who want gluten-free entrees or vegan desserts - rather, you choose from 20 recipe options, including main courses and treats, from every weekly menu. However, you are able to customize your subscription in a few ways, like omnivore or seafood lover, so that you're only shown the choices among the 20 that meet those criteria.

Plated offers the most flexible delivery schedule we've found, with deliveries possible every day except Sunday. Your shipment is expected to maintain its refrigeration through midnight on delivery day, so you won't have to rush home to get your ingredients into the fridge.

Unfortunately, Plated also has one of the weakest customer satisfaction policies in the industry. If something is missing from your package, or if you're unhappy for any reason, Plated says that they may, at their sole discretion, issue you a credit. That would be fine if there were no issues with their deliveries, but with a significant number of customers receiving moldy or otherwise spoiled ingredients, the $12 credit that Plated offered them was nowhere near enough. In addition, many customers said that the recipes weren't anything to rave about, and that the ingredients received were commonly available at their local supermarket - not the high-quality items they expected from a premium Prepared Meals service.

Finally, we saw several complaints that referenced Plated's gift cards. In order to use a gift card, the recipient has to provide their own credit card information to the company - which inadvertently left some of them as subscribing customers to a service they didn't want. That isn't a good way to make gift-givers or recipients very happy.

In comparison with the competition, Plated does have a unique approach to delivering Prepared Meals. However, their reputation with their customers doesn't leave a good taste in our mouth - literally or figuratively - especially with such a lackluster approach to returns and refunds. Choose a higher-ranked service to get fresh ingredients and recipes you'll actually enjoy.

Visit Site

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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