By now, everyone is familiar with services like Peapod and FreshDirect, services that mean you no longer have to trudge down aisle after aisle at the grocery store, jostling with other shoppers to nab the last carton of soy milk. Now, creative retailers are taking food services to the next level by offering subscription meal plans that provide the recipes and ingredients necessary for cooking a full dinner at home.
Currently targeted primarily toward urban professionals who like to cook but just don’t have the time on weeknights, companies like Chefday! and Blue Apron are all about making the kitchen convenient. Details vary based on the service, but these companies source ingredients, measure everything out and ship it to you so you can chop and cook a meal to your heart’s content.
Customization varies depending on which service you join — some allow you to select which recipes and ingredients you receive, while others pick for you based on your previously stated dietary preferences. If you’re an adventurous cook or eater, these services can be a great way to try new things, especially since you don’t have to figure out what to do with a whole jar of chili paste after the meal is over.
Unfortunately, these services don’t currently provide nutrition information aside from approximated calorie counts per serving. Actual calorie counts can vary widely based on how much olive oil or butter you add to a recipe, so home cooks relying on these companies must be careful not to overdo it during the cooking process.
Many of these companies understand their customers aren’t just concerned with convenience. Chefday!, for example, emphasizes its high-quality produce , including 100% organic ingredients and commitment to practices that encourage sustainable farming. But business practices like these can come with a hefty price tag for customers. Meal plans tend to range from $10 to $20 per serving, depending on the ingredients necessary. So if you’re strapped for cash but still crave convenience, you might want to sign up as a vegetarian.
HelloFresh delivers all over the eastern seaboard and allows customers to select their recipes each week.
Plated lets customers order meals a la carte if you don’t want to commit to a full membership.
NatureBox provides a range of healthy snack options, rather than full meals.
Blue Apron serves customers across the country with a minimum delivery requirement of two servings three times a week.
Chefday! delivers to the East Coast, and most recipes come with a step-by-step video of the chef preparing the meal.