Should you try out a food or meal kit subscription service? Maybe the idea of having fresh produce, raw meat and other needs-to-stay-refrigerated foods shipped to you in the mail makes you feel a little squeamish.
But, it's worth giving one or more meal kit companies a try. You might find that you like getting dinner delivered!
Skeptical of Food Subscription Boxes?
People tend to raise their eyebrows at the idea of meal kits or subscription food boxes for a few reasons. The issue that probably makes people question the value or benefit of these kits the most is the fact that they get shipped to your home, traveling via mail or another delivery service.
Although you might envision a box of raw meat and fresh produce rotting away somewhere in a warehouse, that's usually not how the boxes get shipped. First of all, the kits contain plenty of freezer packs, which keep the food at a safe temperature until it arrives your home. Even if a box ends up sitting overnight in a warehouse or on your front porch, its packaging helps to keep it cold.
The cost of the kits also makes people a bit skeptical. While it's true that a meal kit does cost a bit more than going to the grocery store and buying the ingredients yourself would, you're also getting the value of not having to travel the grocery store and not having to plan your meals on your own. Plus, meal kits cost less than dining out or getting take out.
The Benefits of Meal Kits
Along with helping you avoid getting take-out night after night, meal kits and subscription boxes offer a few benefits. For example, the kits typically offer a wide selection of meals. You aren't stuck eating chicken and vegetables night after night. Some kits feature a full range of cuisines and offer options for a variety of diets. You can get vegetarian meals, vegan meals or meat-based meals.
Meal kits also take the guesswork out of portion control. Each kit is designed to make meals for a specific number of people. If you're making a kit for two people, you just divide the finished meal in half, and you've got your portions.
The kits also tend to be big time-savers. Between work, picking the kids up at school, and dropping them off at sports/band/dance practice, when on earth are you going to find time to go to the supermarket? A meal kit comes straight to you. Plus, the ingredients are all measured out and pretty much ready to go.
A Few Popular Meal Kits
More than 100 different meal kit companies have popped up in recent years, and the industry is expected to keep expanding. Here are a few of the most popular meal kit services out there:
- Blue Apron – Blue Apron offers kits for two people or families (4-people). You can choose from two to three meals per week. There are vegetarian options, as well as beef, chicken, and fish options.
- HelloFresh – HelloFresh also offers plans for two people or families of three or four. It has a classic plan, which provides a range of meals with meat, as well as a lower-priced veggie option.
- Plated – Plated provides between 2 and 4 servings and meals for 2 to 4 nights of the week. It has meat, seafood, and vegetarian meal options, plus the option to add dessert.
- Freshly – Freshly gives you the choice of purchasing between 4 and 12 meals per week. While other meal kits focus on dinner, Freshly offers options for breakfast and lunch, too. The other big difference is that you don't have to cook or assemble Freshly meals yourself. They're pre-made, so all you need to do is heat them.
- Munchery – Munchery also offers “heat and eat” meals, meaning you don't have to do any cooking. The service is only available in a few areas, though. You also have to pay a monthly fee before you can order.
A Few Meals You Can Cook
Still need convincing that meal kits are worth a shot? Take a look at a few of the meals on offer from various companies:
- Grilled Cheese and Veggie Jumble – HelloFresh. The vegetarian meal clocks in at 570 calories and features an array of tasty and colorful vegetables, plus, hot, melty cheese.
- Pimento Cheeseburgers – Blue Apron. Make your own tasty, somewhat spicy cheeseburgers and service with a side of sweet potato fries.
- Soy-Glazed Steak – Plated. The kit for soy-glazed steak comes with instructions and ingredients for crispy Brussels sprouts tossed with a yuzu dressing.
Low Risk, High Reward
Still on the fence about trying out a food subscription box? Consider this: you have nothing to lose. Most people try out a box for a week or two, then cancel or try a different company. When you sign up for a subscription, you have the option of skipping or canceling whenever you want, so there's no risk involved.