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Home Chef has one of the longest histories among businesses that provide customers with regular deliveries of fresh ingredients and simple-to-prepare recipes. They deliver over 10 million meals a year, definitely establishing Home Chef as a recognized service in the Prepared Meals marketplace - and with their growing relationship with the Kroger brand of families, you're likely to see even more of this company in the future.
Every delivery comes with fresh, already-portioned ingredients to be used in recipes that are ready for the table in 30 minutes or less. Feel free to browse their available entrees before signing up for the service; you'll find Creamy Parmesan Steak Penne, Wood-Fired BBQ Chicken Pizza, and Korean Fried Chicken among the customer favorites. You will have to enter your email address in order to see your specific choices for Prepared Meals packages.
As you begin that process, keep an eye out for pop-ups; we got an offer of a $30 discount on our first order if we gave them our email address, so you may get a similar promotion. Later, while we were getting our account set up, there was another "flash sale" discount of $10 on a future order.
To get started, you'll need to select how many Prepared Meals you'd like to cook each week, from 3-6. Home Chef is one of the only services that has options for larger families: each of your meals can serve 2, 4, or 6 people, depending on what you choose. Another convenient feature of Home Chef's Prepared Meals is that you can plan your selections as far as five weeks in advance, allowing you to sit down and figure out more than a month's meals in a short time.
Another part of customizing your Prepared Meals is choosing your menu style. Do you like to eat meat? Vegetables? Seafood? You can select any or all of them to be included in the entrees you receive. You'll also be able to specify if you're looking for low-carb or low-calorie options, or if you want certain ingredients to be avoided (like milk, soy, red meat, mushrooms, shellfish, wheat, or pork).
Finally, enter the address where you want your Prepared Meals to be delivered and select the day you prefer. Make sure not to miss that step, because it defaults to Tuesday if you don't choose another day of the week. In our area, available delivery days were Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
In the past, Home Chef was criticized for not making their cancellation and refund policies abundantly clear - but comparing those policies with their competitors', Home Chef's are very similar. Weekly deliveries can be cancelled or paused anytime, with no long-term contracts. If you're not completely satisfied with their Prepared Meals, you can request a refund or credit. Be aware that if only part of your delivery had a problem - like a bruised apple or wilted basil - Home Chef may issue a replacement or a credit only for that part of your shipment, not for the entire package.
It seems that the Better Business Bureau also thinks that Home Chef is doing a good job in responding to customer complaints: at the time of this review, the BBB still rated Home Chef as an "A+". Looking at customer reviews presents a more mixed picture. Several of the more recent comments mentioned issues with the new delivery service chosen by Home Chef; packages were delivered late or to an incorrect address multiple times. Other customers had problems pausing or canceling the service, still receiving shipments even after submitting the request to put it on hold. Even customers who report being very satisfied with Home Chef sometimes mentioned missing ingredients - even essential ones like fish or chicken, and not just smaller components like cinnamon or garlic salt.
Home Chef continues to be a solid option if you like cooking but want the convenience of having ingredients and recipes delivered to your home. They're especially likely to be your Prepared Meals company of choice if you have a big family and don't want to order two packages just to feed everyone at your table. But, we recommend that you inspect every delivery carefully to make sure that all of your ingredients came in the box, and that you get in touch with Home Chef representatives right away if anything comes up short.
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:
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:
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.
Best Prepared Meals
To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Home Chef and Sunbasket.
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.
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:
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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