Compare and Contrast: Which Meal Delivery Service is Right for You?
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You’ve been beaten so hard with Facebook ads for Blue Apron and HelloFresh that if you were an egg you’d have achieved nearly souffle-like levels of airiness, but do you know which one of these trendy meal delivery services is right for you?

Sit back, stretch your scrolling finger, and get ready to hear that belly rumble. If you aren’t already hungry you will be soon, and these gastronomically innovative companies are ready to serve (literally).


For the Eat-at-Home Foodie: Blue Apron

Chrissy Teigen's Chipotle-Lime Chicken Fajitas with Sauteed Mushrooms & Sweet Peppers

Blue Apron is the OG of the modern-era meal delivery services. The meals are interesting without being too exotic for the average palate and each box includes step-by-step instructions so fails are kept to a minimum. There is a sustainable element at play, too; ingredients are sourced with care, direct shipping chips away at the overall carbon footprint, and exact measurements tucked into recyclable packaging keep waste at bay.

As a special treat, each Blue Apron box includes a one-sheet detailing the story of an ingredient. It’s a nice little read while you’re waiting for the risotto to cook or you can use it as an ice breaker when you and your date sit down to your brilliantly cooked dinner.

Cost Per Serving: $7.49-$9.99

Average Prep Time: 45 minutes

Stove or Microwave: Stove

Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Nutrition: Balanced, Mediterranean-inspired, occasional Whole 30 options, vegetarian-friendly (2-person plan only)

Sample Meals: Middle Eastern Spiced Cod with Brown Rice, Dates, & Lemon-Yogurt Sauce; Blackened Ginger Pork Burgers with Napa Cabbage Slaw & Potato Salad


For the Guy Who Already Cooks: Plated

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Sliders with Carrot Fries and Greek Yogurt Ranch

If you have time to cook but a trip to the grocery store fills you with dread (or just throws off your entire schedule), Plated may be the meal delivery service for you. The company’s philosophy centers around quality ingredients, seasonal menus, and globally-inspired recipes, and flexibility is key. Choose from a weekly menu of 20 dinners that serve 2-4 people and you’ll get whole ingredients ready to be chopped, whipped, flipped, seared, and roasted. Less pre-shipping prep means a little more work for you, but Plated seems to funnel the money they save on overhead into a collection of high-quality farm-to-table ingredients.

Cost Per Serving: $9.95-$11.95

Average Prep time: 30 minutes

Stove or Microwave: Stove

Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced

Nutrition: Some vegetarian, gluten-free, low-carb, and low-calorie options

Sample Meals: Crispy Eggplant Tartines with Harissa, Hummus, and Herb Salad; Seared Steak with Greek Yogurt-Feta Sauce and Za’atar Fries


For the Southern Gentleman with Global Vision: PeachDish

Zucchini-Tomato Flatbread with Spicy Peach-Pepper Jelly Salad

Comfort meets international flair at PeachDish, a lessen known meal delivery service that brings a down-home touch to the niche. The company believes in sustainability and registered dieticians keep nutrition on point, but the recipes are the real stars. Sizeable portions, complete (main, side, starch) meals, fuss-free prep (it’s all prepackaged), and a rotating menu based on seasonality, and you don’t even have to subscribe in order to try it all out.

PeachDish also has its own “market,” an online store selling everything from Georgia-grown steaks to tins of artisan sea salt, so you can transition from curated meals to design your own dishes from scratch as time (and your skillset) allows.

Cost Per Serving: $12.50 and up

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Stove or Microwave: Stove

Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Nutrition: Balanced – each meal has a main, a side, and a vegetable; some “no added gluten”, vegetarian, and vegan options all clearly indicated; special “SuperFood Series”

Sample Meals: Crispy Panko Pork Chop with Quick-Pickled Cucumber & Buttered Couscous; Olivia Smoliga’s Dutch Baby with Chevre & Brown Sugar Peaches


For the Devoted Vegan or Vegan-to-Be: Purple Carrot

It’s not always easy to find convenient vegan eats, but New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman’s delicious plant-based menu for Purple Carrot is both simple and completely free of animal proteins and by-products. This is perfect for anyone who wants to dip their toes in vegan waters but isn’t sure where to start and experienced vegans will be equally delighted. Some prep will be seen to by PC’s culinary team, but you’ll still need to know your way around a knife and a few small kitchen appliances.

Bonus: Purple Cart’s TB12 box is an athlete-friendly assortment of recipes that are high in protein, gluten-free, and still 100% plant-based – oh, and they’re developed with input from a fairly well-known football player named Tom Brady.

Cost Per Serving: $12-$13

Average Prep Time: 45 minutes

Stove or Microwave: Stove

Skill Level: Intermediate to advanced

Nutrition: All ingredients and allergens clearly listed; high-protein, vegetarian, and gluten-free options available

Sample Meals: Chickpea-Stuffed Avocado with Grapes and Red Quinoa; Buffalo Artichoke Calzone with “Bleu Cheese” and Spring Greens


For the Hungry, Health-Conscious Guy on the Go: Freshly

Turkey meatballs with Spicy Arrabbiata & Veggie Noodles

You don’t often see food companies that happily share their list of 85 banned ingredients, but Freshly takes food standards seriously. Nothing artificial, no hydrogenated oils, no refined sugars — quality is paramount, and recipes are designed to deliver optimal flavor without sacrificing your health or the environment in the process. Perhaps the biggest Freshly difference is the fact that these meals are chef-prepared and ready-to-eat upon arrival. No pots and pans, no cooking, no muss, no fuss. Simply heat for three minutes and chow down. The menu is not as eye-catching as some of the other services on the market, but none of those can compete with Freshly’s convenience.

Cost Per Serving: $8.99-$12.50

Average Prep Time: None – just heat and eat

Stove or Microwave: Either

Skill Level: Any and all

Nutrition: No gluten or peanuts period; high-protein, low-carb, low-calorie, vegetarian, and paleo choices available

Sample Meals: Baked Penne Marinara with Italian Sausage; Grilled Chicken Risotto with Spring Peas