By Taylor Villanueva
Signal Staff Writer
The stress of cooking can be overwhelming —traveling to the grocery store, searching the aisles for the correct ingredients, time spent cooking and then there’s the cleanup.
Sometimes, there are other challenges like wasted ingredients or hard to follow recipes. These are just a few of the reasons why meal-kit services that get delivered right to your door make the whole process easier and more fun.
Sun Basket, Home Chef and Plated are a few of the many meal kit services people are using today. Not only are there many companies to choose from based on individual taste and dietary restrictions, but each company offers different delivery plans.
“Adults between ages 25 and 44 are twice as likely to use fresh meal-subscription services,” according to market research group packagedfacts.com.
A Harris Poll showed that 1-in-4 adults purchased some type of meal kit delivery service in 2016. A third market research group, Statista, reports that revenue for the industry is “expected to grow to over $10 billion in 2020 from one billion in 2015.”
There’s a number of factors that make the services popular among professionals and young families, and there are also some things you should know if you’re thinking about a meal-prep option.
“The meals are delicious,” said Ann Sayegh, who’s been using Blue Apron on and off for a few years. “With the exception of a few … they were all delicious.”
Sayegh explains that her choice to use Blue Apron’s services came when she realized the grocery store’s portions were too big for her.
“It’s much easier than going to the store and less wasteful,” she says. “For a single-person home, it makes sense because you don’t have to buy regular portions and then end up tossing the stuff that goes bad if you don’t use it.”
The meals come with all the ingredients to make the food and cooking instructions.
Sayegh says that there are other perks to using the meal subscription.
“They have promos all the time,” she said. “For me, it’s affordable, but I also don’t order it every week.’
The pricing for Blue Apron meals starts at $9.99 per serving with a minimum of two servings per meal.
Sarah Witten has been a fan of the meal kit service HelloFresh since she started using it recently.
“I liked it because it was so simple,” Witten said. “Everything was already included and I didn’t have to think every night about what I should eat for dinner.”
She explains how, for her, HelloFresh was easier than going to the store.
“Especially if it is on auto-ship because it just shows up at your door,” she said.
Some of the meals she received were for Southwestern stuffed peppers; chicken with roasted rosemary potatoes, onions and broccolini; and a pork luau burger with a side salad.
“The food was absolutely delicious, too,” she added.
One of her favorite meals was the chicken with roasted rosemary potatoes because she says she has “never had crispier chicken skin” in her life.
Despite loving the ease of the service, Witten made the choice to cancel her subscription.
“I ended up canceling my subscription because I’m just one person and it was too much food,” she says.
“I think for a family that gets the family box or a couple, it is definitely affordable.”
Witten says another drawback to the service is that some of the cooking times were not accurate.
“They always advertise that it’s dinner in 30 minutes or less, and it never took me 30 minutes,” Witten said. “It always took me 45 minutes to an hour.”
She speculates that the cooking might have taken the predicted amount of time if there had been a second person helping her chop and prepare the ingredients.
“Just me alone, it took longer,” she said.
HelloFresh is similar to Blue Apron in that customers must order a minimum of two recipes per week. Each recipe serves either two or four people.
Meal kit services provide fresh ingredients and cooking instructions delivered to your door.
HelloFresh provides vegetarian options along with regular protein options. Services start at $8.99 per serving for two people before shipping costs. Family plans start at $7.49 per serving before shipping.
Sun Basket promises organic and sustainable produce. Meal plans for the family menu start at $10.99 per serving, while meals from the classic menu start at $11.99 per serving.
Home Chef provides a personalized food survey to assess which types of meals the customer would enjoy. Home Chef offers meals for $9.95 per serving before shipping.