AAA's Take
EASY AND FUN MEAL KIT DELIVERY SERVICES

WE PUT BLUE APRON, SUN BASKET, AND PLATED TO THE TEST

With busy lifestyles and the monotony of nightly dinner-making, meal kit delivery services in the United States have grown to more than a $3 billion industry, according to Supermarket News. With dozens of players to choose from, how do you choose which are worth trying?

We put three meal kit services to the test to find out which contenders were the best.

 

Blue Apron

Sun Basket

Plated

Frequency

Weekly, 2–3 meals per week, choose the day of delivery (Wednesday – Saturday)

Weekly, 2–3 meals per week, select top three delivery day choices (Sunday –Saturday)

Formerly available weekly, 2-7 meals per week; Now available in select grocery stores across the country

 

Servings

2 or 4 servings

2 or 4 servings

2, 3 or 4 servings

Menu Options

Recipes felt limited with only 8 offered per wee 

Offers wine program

18 weekly recipes

Offers dip selections for additional cost

 

20 weekly recipes

Offers desserts for additional cost

Menu Themes

Promoting an 8-Week Test Kitchen, exploring the country’s culinary wonders such as Nashville BBQ

Themed recipes each week such as ‘Bring in the Sunshine’ and ‘Flavors of the Yucatan’

No themed packages

Recipes Tested

Jaleo-Inspired Meatballs with Pan Con Tomate and Saffron Mayo

Pork Chops with Apple Chutney and Root Vegetable Rumbledethumps

Steak Frites with Creamy Shallot Sauce and Sautéed Spinach

 

 

Recipe Layout

Simple recipe card with large images, sequential steps, easy to follow; indicates time to prepare and caloric intake while also including a wine pairing recommendation

Recipe booklet with all available recipes for the week; indicates time to prepare, caloric intake and dietary restrictions; also includes chef’s tips, wine pairing recommendation and kid-friendly steps

Simple recipe card with large images, sequential steps, easy to follow; indicates time to prepare and caloric intake

Verdict

While the meal tasted good, the combination was unusual. Also had to substitute ingredients to be gluten-free.

Tasty, healthy and filling; would recommend a little more sauce if prepared again

Full of flavor—even the spinach—would absolutely make again

Other Recipes Available

Small selection of meals, few appeared gluten-free

 

Variety of creative meals including fish, meat, soups, veggies, etc.—12 out of 18 were gluten-free

 

Variety of cuisine types, including 6 gluten-free

Considerations

Not ideal for anyone with dietary restrictions

Organic ingredients and clearly marked recipes for gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

 

Filter meals by low carb, spicy, quick cook, popular, stove-top only, under 600 calories, and no-gluten ingredients.

Prep Time

25 – 35 minutes; Took 40 minutes

35 – 50 minutes; Took 50 minutes

35 – 45 minutes; Took 50 minutes (for crispier frites)

Price per Person

$9.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping

$12.99 per serving +

$6.99 shipping

Additional for organic meat

Varies depending on meal/grocery

Environmental Friendliness

While many elements are recyclable, included a lot of plastic with each ingredient. Cold pack dispensed down the drain versus in the trash.

 

Most environmentally conscious option. Includes paper bags for packaging (versus plastic) where possible. Cold pack was easy to dispense in the trash, most items otherwise recyclable.

While many elements are recyclable, included a lot of plastic with each ingredient. Cold pack was messy to dispense in trash.

 

                                                                                                       

WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER

Is a meal kit right for you?  
If your evening schedule changes frequently, you may find it hard to prepare the meal before it spoils—typically two to five days. If you enjoy leftovers, don’t expect them, unless you order extra servings. Additionally, you must invest the time weekly to make your meal selections or pause delivery.

Plated originally began as a meal kit delivery service, and has since shifted to an in-store model as of November 2019, making their meals available at grocery stores across the country. Many grocers, like Kroger, have created their own meal kit lines available for purchase in-store. These are a great way to see if meal kits are right for you and your family before committing to a meal kit delivery service.