It’s pretty clear now if it wasn’t just weeks ago: The COVID-19 pandemic will keep many of us hunkered down at home in coming weeks or months avoiding or unable to go to restaurants, and maybe also trying to cut down on trips to the grocery store.
This is a great moment to try a meal kit subscription.
These regularly scheduled deliveries bring food to your kitchen with just a few clicks of your computer mouse. You don’t have to think, plan or even step foot inside a grocery store with this new level of convenience.
Of course, everyone’s tastes, dietary needs, budgets and cooking skills are different. Luckily, the following lineup of food subscriptions likely has one that will cater to your unique requirements.
Continue reading to find out what each company offers, and which is the best fit for you — or as a gift to someone you love.
What it offers: HelloFresh provides easy-to-follow recipes and the pre-portioned ingredients you need to prepare them. HelloFresh also provides nutritional information for each of its recipes.
How it works: When deciding between the HelloFresh plans, you have the choice of meat-and-vegetable-based recipes, vegetarian, family-friendly or low-calorie options. Each plan comes with two, three or four recipes per week and serves either two or four people.
HelloFresh describes its plans as flexible, too:
“Skip weeks, swap recipes, and cancel anytime — only order what and when you want. No commitments.”
Whom it’s best for: If you have a specific diet or simply like having a lot of options, HelloFresh meal plans are easy to customize. Plus, with more than 2,500 recipes, they provide a lot of variety.
Pricing: Depends on the plan you choose, the number of recipes you request each week and the amount of people you want each recipe to serve. Visit the “Build your plan” page for details.
Gift option: You can gift HelloFresh to a loved one by ordering a one-time delivery sent to their door.
2. Blue Apron
What it offers: Blue Apron is a subscription service that provides all the ingredients and instructions you need to create delicious meals from scratch.
Blue Apron’s recipe options are constantly changing, so you never tire of the same flavors. The service focuses on seasonal ingredients and sources its food directly from farms, importers and family-run suppliers.
How it works: To get started with Blue Apron’s food subscription, you’ll choose between a two-person plan and a family plan that serves four people, and you’ll choose the number of recipes that you want to receive each week.
You can also indicate that you prefer a particular diet, such as if you are a vegetarian or don’t eat red meat or shellfish, and then personalize your menu based on your preferences.
Whom it’s best for: Amateur home cooks trying to sharpen their skills will gain confidence from Blue Apron’s detailed recipe instructions.
Pricing: Depends on the menu you choose and the number of recipes you want each week. Visit the Blue Apron pricing page for details.
Gift option: Gift cards
3. Home Chef
What it offers: Home Chef’s motto is “home cooking made simple.” The service promises to let you “effortlessly create and plate your meals in no time.”
Ingredients are sourced locally when possible. Home Chef also strives to be sustainable, lining its boxes with recycled, compostable and biodegradable textile fibers.
There are no set meal plans with a Home Chef subscription. Instead, the service makes recipe recommendations based on a questionnaire you complete when you sign up.
How it works: After telling Home Chef about your preferences, the service sends meal options for you to pick from each week, including options that Home Chef recommends for you.
The Customize It feature lets you swap ingredients, upgrade your meals or double the amount of protein in a meal. You can also add on to your order with lunch-sized meals, smoothies or snacks.
Whom it’s best for: The weekly Home Chef menus are geared toward people who want to put a well-balanced, home-cooked meal on the table quickly.
Pricing: Meals start at $6.99 per serving depending on the currently available menu and options. Note that customizing your meals can change the cost. Visit the cost page for more details.
Gift option: Gift cards
What it offers: Need a quick dinner that doesn’t require the drive-thru? Gobble provides dinner recipes that can be made in only 15 minutes. The ingredients you need for each recipe arrive peeled, chopped and marinated, so you don’t have to do any prep work or dirty extra dishes.
Gobble’s meal plans include gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carbohydrate and vegetable-based options. In addition to dinner kits, the service has also created the Gobble Lunch Box, a meal-prep lunch subscription.
How it works: Choose between Gobble’s two dinner plans, based on the number of mouths you need to feed. Then, choose your dinner kits each week.
Whom it’s best for: Gobble’s quick and easy recipes are well-suited for families and other time-crunched individuals. In fact, Gobble says it was voted the No. 1 meal kit by Parents Magazine.
Pricing: Each dinner meal is $11.99 or $13.99. Visit the pricing page for more details.
Gift option: Gift cards
What it offers: Full Circle is an organic family farm near North Bend, Washington. Its subscription service delivers boxes of all-organic produce and other farm products to areas of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.
How it works: Full Circle offers three types of boxes, which you can customize. You also select a box size and delivery frequency.
Whom it’s best for: Health-conscious home chefs who have the time and passion to imagine their own recipes will enjoy having Full Circle’s organic produce on hand.
Pricing: Click here to view all of your options. Click “Bring Me This Box,” and then use the “Box Size” drop-down menu to see all prices for that box type.
6. Sun Basket
Plus, all of their meats are free of antibiotics and hormones; and their seafood is always wild-caught and comes recommended by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
How it works: First, choose between the Classic Menu or Family Plan (click here and scroll down to see options). The Classic Menu comes with three recipes that feed two or four people. Then, choose a particular menu type — options range from quick-and-easy to diabetes-friendly — and a number of recipes to receive each week.
Whom it’s best for: Sun Basket is geared toward the health-conscious consumer and those who have special dietary restrictions.
Pricing: Compare all the prices here.
Gift option: Several options are available here.
What it offers: Daily Harvest delivers ingredients for smoothies, soups, oat bowls, chia bowls, lattes and more — all of which are built on fruits and vegetables and ready in minutes.
How it works: First, pick the number of cups you want to receive and the frequency. Then, browse the full selection of options. You can filter the options based on your likes and dislike, key benefits and dietary needs.
Whom it’s best for: Daily Harvest orders require nothing more than heating or blending, which is why the service is a win-win for health-conscious people who shy away from the kitchen or are simply short on time.
Pricing: Plans start at $6.99 per cup.
Gift option: Gift cards and gift boxes
8. Chefs Plate
In each delivery box, you’ll find pre-measured ingredients and step-by-step recipe instructions. Chefs Plate provides a variety of recipe types, including family-friendly, vegetarian and 15-minute options.
How it works: To create your Chefs Plate box, choose between two and four servings per meal. Next, decide between the main types of meal plans: Classic, Family or Vegetarian. Each one offers 15-minute recipes and vegetarian options. Finally, pick the number of recipes you want to prepare each week – either two, three or four.
Whom it’s best for: Chefs Plate serves Canadian households looking to get dinner on the table quickly and easily.
Pricing: For details, see the “Create Your First Box” page when you sign up.
Gift option: Gift cards
Have you tried any of the meal subscription services? Share your observations in comments below or on our Facebook page.