A meal delivery service can supply you with home delivered food that is fresh, tasty and tailored to your tastebuds. Each box comes with everything you need to create a tasty recipe, including step-by-step cooking instructions, neatly prepared ingredients, and nutrition information.
Cooking has never been so convenient, which is why these meal delivery services have become one of the hottest trends in home delivery, finding their way onto countless Youtube unboxing videos, Instagram food pictures, and more.
In this guide we’ll take a closer look at the world of home delivered food. Asking the whys and the hows, and directing you to the very best services on the market. Not sure whether to opt for Freshly or Sun Basket? Stuck wondering which meal delivery service is best for vegetarians, vegans, or those on a gluten-free diet?
You’ll find the answers you seek here.
Meal Delivery Service
There are two trends closely connected with the words “home delivered food” and “meal delivery service”. One of these services offers to send you food from your favorite local restaurant, giving you a fresher, potentially healthier alternative to typical, greasy takeout. The best way to find these is to simply search for Restaurants That Deliver Near me or Restaurants Near Me That Deliver. There are also services that act as middlemen between restaurant and customer, but if you know what you want and where you want it from, these aren’t necessary.
The other meal delivery service, and the one we’ll be addressing here, sends you a box of fresh ingredients. They provide you with all you need to prepare and cook one or more meals, often with a step-by-step recipe.
Meal Delivery Service Reviews
To see complete reviews on all of the following services, just click on the links provided. We will add to this list regularly, keeping it updated with the latest fresh food delivery services on the market, while also ensuring you’re up to date with any major changes from the industry’s biggest players.
- Hello Fresh Review: Probably the most well known, Hello Fresh are also one of the highest rated. Our Hello Fresh Review will discuss whether that rating is justified, before we tell you what we think of Hello Fresh here at Secret Menus.
- Freshly Review: Our Freshly Review covers everything you need to know about this rapidly expanding food delivery service. They may not be the biggest, but they are one of the highest rated and the fastest growing. And in an industry as saturated as this, that’s saying something.
- Sun Basket Review: This is one of the many food delivery services that focuses on “Healthy”. The question is, does Sun Basket live up to that promise? We’ll answer that question and more in our Sun Basket Review.
- Blue Apron Review: Described as a “titan” of the meal delivery service, Blue Apron has an extensive reach and a huge customer-base. See what we think of this service in our Blue Apron Review.
- Home Chef Review: Offering what it calls “perfectly-portioned” ingredients to help you prepare a meal in 30 minutes, Home Chef focuses on simplicity and really plays the convenience angle. We discuss this service in full on our Home Chef Review page.
- Terra’s Kitchen Review: TK promises “farm fresh” food and we see whether it’s up to scratch in our Terra’s Kitchen Review.
- Graze Review: Graze is a global phenomenon because they offer something a little different. In our Graze Review we put this company to the test to the test, asking whether it’s as good as so many of its customers claim and whether these super-healthy treats really are as delicious as their scrumptious names sound.
- NatureBox Review: In our NatureBox Review we see how this Graze competitor stacks-up. For some, this is the perfect addition to the aforementioned service. For others, it’s the best alternative on the market. Our NatureBox review should help you to make your mind up.
- Try The World Review: Our Try The World Review looks at the service that offers you a sample of flavors from around the world. If you like experiencing new flavors and cuisines, if you take pride in your willingness to explore, then Try The World could be the perfect meal delivery service for you.
- Green Chef Review: “Seasonal” and “Fresh” are the buzzwords of Green Chef, and the things we look at in our Green Chef Review, while also asking if the price is worth the product.
- Candy Club Review: Read our Candy Club Review for our thoughts on the most popular candy subscription box! This sweet-toothed food box is far from healthy and is a little different from the other services listed on this page.
Meal Deliver Service: A Boom or Bust Industry
This industry has exploded over the last few years and you could be forgiven for thinking that everyone’s having their fill. But the truth is, many of the companies are struggling. Away from the big players, this is an industry that is very unforgiving, with reports suggesting that the majority of consumers scrap their subscription within 6 months, and that the novelty has worn-off for many even after the first box.
The is a lot of merit to this service. It offers a great product and convenience that many of us are crying out for. But at any given time it’s sitting on a lot of perishable food, and if the orders don’t come in, or if they drop-off, then that food goes to waste, taking the company’s profits with it. As a result, many customers are finding that the service they sign-up to and enjoy, suddenly disappears off the face of the earth after a few months.
We’ll try to keep track of these constant changes on this page, but it’s not always easy, so excuse us if a couple of the companies mentioned above and/or below are no longer in operation.
Meal Delivery Near Me
The bigger home delivered food services deliver to doorsteps across the United States. Such is the case with Hello Fresh, who promise to deliver to customers across the continental US. Most of these meal delivery services don’t use their own carriers and rely on FedEx and other major delivery services. So, in most cases you’re only restricted by the speed and range of the delivery company they use.
If it would take that company too long to get from the food delivery service to your address, then they probably won’t take the chance. Freshly is a good example of this. They deliver to many states (but not all) across the country. However, there are certain zip codes within those states where they won’t deliver, on account of the extended wait times quoted by their couriers.
To see details of food delivery services in your area, read the individual reviews above. These companies are growing all of the time and it’s the goal of each one of them to expand nationwide, so if they’re not near you yet, they may be soon. To get an idea of which food delivery services deliver where, take a look below:
- Graze (All 50 States):
- Nature Box (All 50 States):
- Hello Fresh (Nationwide)*
- Chef’d (Nationwide)
- Blue Apron (Nationwide)
- IONutrition (Nationwide)
- Freshology (Nationwide)
- PeachDish (Nationwide)
- BistroMD (Nationwide)
- Green Chef (Nationwide)
- Try The World (Nationwide)
- Terra’s Kitchen (Nationwide as of 2017)
- Candy Club (Nationwide)
- Home Chef (Nationwide)
- Daily Harvest (Nationwide)
- Healthy Chef Creations (Nationwide)
- Pre-made Paleo (Nationwide)
- Plated (Nationwide)
- GreenBlender (38 States)
- FreshRealm (35 States)
- Purple Carrot (35 States)
- Freshly (29 States)
- Green Blender (East and West Coast)
- Munchery (East and West Coast)
- Fresh Direct (North-East US Only)
- Luke’s Local (San Francisco)
*While these services describe themselves as being able to ship “nationwide”, they are often excluding Hawaii and Alaska in this.
Are Home Delivery Meals Healthy?
A lot of these services are advertised as being “healthy” alternatives to fast food and takeout. But that’s not always the case. In many cases they use words and images that trick you into thinking you’re getting something much healthier, when in fact it’s just a regular meal. Of course, most of them do use fresh produce and they typically combine all of the major food groups.
So, you are getting something that contains a lot of goodness and something that is balanced and nutritious, but you may also be getting something that is full of fat, salt and sugar. It’s important to pay as much attention to the nutrition information on home delivered food as it is to the food you buy at the grocery store.
Home Delivered Food: Nutrition Information
These meals typically contain a lot of vegetables. They are fresh, they look great in the box and they can be turned into a meal for any diet. That’s great news for the customer. And from the perspective of the meal delivery service vegetables also tend to look big and bulky in the box, they add to the whole “freshness” vibe, and they don’t cost a great deal to source.
It’s the sauces, tins, meats and the processed foods you should be looking out for. These can contain a lot of fat and salt. And when you consider that many customers see these services as so healthy they can eat them for every meal, every day, that’s a worry.
Fortunately, many of the meal delivery services listed above provide complete nutrition information. And for the ones that don’t, you should ask yourself whether it’s because they have something to hide.
Are Home Delivery Meals Tasty?
There is no disputing the taste. If quality is your primary concern, then you’re getting your money’s worth 9 times out of 10. The produce is seasonal and fresh; the meat tends to be from the finest cuts. Everything is as it should be, and as you would expect to find in the preparation sections of the finest restaurant kitchens.
Of course, taste is subjective. But that’s why these meal delivery services tend to provide a range of options. This is great if you have picky eaters in your family; if there are specific dietary needs that need to be addressed; or if you just fancy something different.
Home Food Delivery Costs
Price is a stumbling block that many customers can’t get over. A meal delivery service may be a convenient way to get quality, nutritious food, but at what cost?
We have done some research on this ourselves and found that if you were to buy the ingredients from the grocery store, you could cut the total cost of a single meal in half. And in most cases, the quantities you buy from the grocery store are larger, which means they go a lot further.
This isn’t true of all meals and all services. Some are a little more cost effective than others, especially when hard-to-find ingredients are used. This is also something that is improving. Prices have already dropped since these companies first began appearing. And as competition becomes even more fierce, and companies become even more desperate to cling onto their dwindling membership numbers, they’ll surely come down even further.
There is no substitute for sourcing your own ingredients, buying them cheap, keeping a well-stocked pantry and cooking everyday. But if you don’t have the time or the inclination—as very few of us do—and you’re willing to pay a little extra, meal delivery services are ideal.
Meal Delivery Service Coupons
As mentioned above, meal delivery services aren’t exactly cheap. They price many consumers out of the market, as individual and families on smaller budgets just can’t afford to cough-up the premiums needed for fresh, healthy and home delivered food. That’s a shame, as individuals and families on a tight budget are the ones who can benefit from a meal delivery service the most. It’s a healthy, convenient way for them to fill-up on essential nutrition.
So, if you find yourself in such a position, or if you simply enjoy a bargain (who doesn’t?) then a meal delivery coupon may be the answer. These coupons give you everything from free deliveries so you can trial the service, to discounts on a regular subscription. To see these coupons for yourself, just visit the individual review pages above. These all contain info on how you can get coupons and other discounts.