What's for dinner? An exploration into the ever popular meal delivery

Meal delivery services are all the rage right now. You may have heard of them before—ingredients, recipe, and cooking instructions all shipped right to your front door. It seems that people are catching onto the fact that the most nutritious food comes from your own kitchen. That’s why at Alyfe, with nutrition being one of our core values, we strongly believe in the power of home cooking. But let’s be honest– in our fast-paced world, grocery shopping and meal planning can be extremely time consuming and sometimes don’t make the list, despite our best efforts. We are left eating out, wasting money and calories on foods that are not making us healthier.

It would be nice if we all had an in-house chef to prepare all of our meals for us, using fresh and local ingredients, but realistically who has that in their budget? That’s why meal delivery services are rising in popularity. Each meal exposes you to new foods you may not have tried otherwise and your money buys you fresh food, in the right portion, with no waste or leftovers–with a cooking lesson to boot! No fretting about where to find potentially unfamiliar foods such as hoisin sauce or wondering when you’ll ever use it again!

Popular food delivery services include:

  • Blue Apron

  • Freshly

  • Green Chef

  • Hello Fresh

  • Plated

  • Sun Basket

  • Home Chef

  • Terra’s Kitchen


How Do They Work?

There are over 100 meal delivery service companies and each has its own unique aspect, catering to different niches, tastes, diets, eating patterns, and even health parameters and conditions. You choose what meals you’d like to eat (each company varies in how much control you have over your meal options) and you can opt for as many meals as you would like—once per week, twice, or even daily. You place your orders online and the food gets delivered to your door in a temperature controlled box.

Most services include:

  • Fresh food, never frozen

  • Easy to recycle packaging

  • Can pause subscription anytime

  • Incentives for reviews and/or social media posts

  • Free meals or boxes for people you refer

  • Nutritional information

Are Meal Delivery Services Worth It?

Meal costs vary across services and are dependent upon how many meals you order, but on average they can run you from $9.00 to $15.00, with a couple services approaching nearly $20.00 per meal.

The convenience and variety can’t be beat if you are struggling to eat healthy due to all of the meal planning, grocery trips and hours spent in the kitchen prepping and cleaning up. Especially if you are looking for specific dietary needs such as being gluten free, dairy free, vegan or vegetarian, paleo, or low-calorie—it’s an easy way to take out a lot of the guesswork in following a particular program. It’s also great if you want to learn new skills in the kitchen and experiment with new flavors and recipes.

Thinking of trying it? Check out this comparison of 6 popular services to help you get started with the right one for you! And if you’ve already tried it, share your experience with us in the comments!