What is a meal delivery service?
A meal delivery service (such as BistroMD, HelloFresh or Blue Apron) meal kit, is a subscription which allows you to have the ingredients for specific recipes sent directly to your doorstep without the need to look up meal ideas, go to the store for supplies and spend time preparing them. These subscription boxes tend to be shipped on a weekly basis, and will generally serve between 2 and 4 people. They come with instructions or tutorials, making it easy to learn how to cook at home. What’s more, there will be information about nutrition, allergens and calorie counts available on the websites before you even place an order. This means you can stay in complete control of your food intake, knowing what you’re preparing and what’s in it.
How to use a meal delivery service
To get started with a meal delivery kit, set up an account on the website and enter your information, such as address and payment details. You will also need to enter dietary preferences or create a food profile, so that the service can adjust the recipes it recommends based on factors such as whether you’re diabetic, eating low carb, have any allergies, follow a vegan diet and so on. There will be a selection of recipes available to choose from each week, so you just need to select how many people you want to provide servings for and then choose the recipes you’d like to receive. Many companies will let you choose your delivery date, so once you’ve made an order just sit back and wait for it to arrive. You won’t usually have to be at home to receive a parcel, as it won’t typically require a signature. Furthermore, the packaging is both eco-friendly and well insulated, providing the right level of temperature control to keep your supplies cool.
Who are meal kits for?
Meal delivery services are useful for plenty of people. For example, if you’re an individual who wants to cut down on ordering takeaway or going out to eat so much, starting a subscription could help you to start learning to cook healthier meals. It’s also beneficial for busy working couples who live together and find themselves stuck in habits where they either eat junk food or throw together quick meals which aren’t as nutritious as they could be. As ingredients will already be prepared, with vegetables chopped and sauces already created, this will save on time for people who work long hours. Another kind of household which may be low on time is a busy family, where parents may not have the time or energy to spend much time in the kitchen on weekday evenings after being out all day or seeing to school runs. In this case, there are meal kits which cater to families and ensure recipes are provided which cater to the needs of growing children. Finally, senior citizens who don’t want to make too many trips to the grocery store or spend a lot of time stood up in the kitchen preparing meals may benefit from having ingredients shipped directly to them and a reduced cooking time.
How to choose a meal delivery kit
Does it meet your dietary needs?
Finding the right meal delivery kit can take extra consideration if you need to consider certain allergies, medical conditions such as diabetes, avoid carbs, watch your calorie count and so on. Before signing up, ensure the service will cater to your specific preferences.
Can you adjust serving amounts?
There may be weeks when members of your household are away, or occasions where you’re having people over. In such a circumstance, you may want to add servings to your order for that week.
Will it deliver on a convenient day?
Flexibility around delivery dates is vital if you travel for work a lot or will find it harder to pick up parcels on certain days. Make sure your meal kit service of choice has slots for multiple days of the week.
Will it deliver to my location?
Fortunately, most services will now provide deliveries to the majority of the mainland US. There are some exceptions, though, so check with the site before signing up. Some will let you enter your zip code to verify if shipping is available. As a general rule, shipping is not available to Alaska or Hawaii.
Are the supplies well packaged?
There’s little point receiving a food delivery if that food is damaged to the point it can’t be used. That’s why meal delivery services put in work to package deliveries in well insulated boxes in order to keep supplies cool.
Are there any add-ons available?
Some services will supply add-ons such as breakfasts, lunches, desserts, snacks and additional portions. If you want to have more of your meals accounted for, look for a company which provides these.
What is the price per serving?
Everything adds up, so looking at the base price per serving and seeing if any adjustments can be made will have an impact on the overall cost for multiple servings each week.
Is there a range of recipes each week?
While some platforms will have a huge menu of choices on a weekly basis, some may find that there aren’t a lot of choices for their dietary needs. Taking time to research this before signing up will be hugely beneficial.
Is customer support responsive?
If there are any issues with your order, knowing you can contact customer support will provide peace of mind.
Can you adjust subscription settings easily?
If you know you’ll need to pause deliveries from time to time, add or decrease the number of servings needed and switch meal plans, you’ll want to find a service which can provide this level of flexibility.
Types of meal delivery kit
As more and more people are becoming vegetarian, meal delivery companies are keeping up with the trend by providing increasing numbers of veggie options on their menus. If you’re stuck in a rut about how to cook vegetarian meals, using a meal delivery service can give you some inspiration.
For those who want to follow the paleo diet, which features meats, fruits and vegetables with bread, sugars and dairy excluded, there are meal delivery companies out there which offer plenty of recipe choices.
It’s becoming increasingly common for meal kit companies to ensure there are gluten free options available on their menus. WIth people starting to recognise more and more that they have a sensitivity to gluten or celiac disease, avoiding gluten is starting to become more widespread.
If you want to feed the family and have young children, or those with picky tastes, you may want to cut out complex flavours, spices and sauces. Fortunately, many services in the industry offer family meal plans which have recipes designed with children in mind.
Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes will want to pay particular attention to what they eat, and there are meal delivery companies who will create recipes specifically for those managing weight loss or blood sugar levels.
Cutting out all animal products can be made more convenient if a meal delivery service caters to this style of eating. It can sometimes be difficult to find vegan recipes regularly, so having recipes created by a top chef can help you to keep your diet interesting.
People with hectic lifestyles can struggle to maintain healthy eating habits. This is where meal kits from Diet to go can come in handy, as you’ll be able to account for calories ahead of time and eat nutritious meals without the hassle of preparation.
You will often find that companies in this industry make a point of saying their food is sustainable and organic. This is because people are beginning to care more about the origins of their food.
Advantages of meal delivery services
Good for health
It can be hard to remember how important it is to eat a healthy and nutritious diet as we get older, because life can get so busy. By getting a subscription to a meal kit service, you can have a culinary team and dedicated chef take care of the preparation and nutrition for you, simply having all the ingredients you need shipped directly to your doorstep.
Cooking for yourself can be difficult and time consuming, let alone being the chef for an entire family. What’s more, taking trips to the grocery store and chopping vegetables can soon become a tedious chore. Meal delivery services can bring the fun of cooking back to the kitchen by making the overall process much more convenient.
Not as messy
When you create a recipe from scratch yourself, you can end up with a pile of pots, pans and utensils from preparing, cooking and serving food. By using a meal kit, you can minimise the amount of dirty equipment you generate, saving you work later on.
Experiment with food
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the food we eat, and if we aren’t too skilled at cooking, fear can hold us back from trying to make something new. However, with easy to follow recipes and precise ingredients from meal kit services, there’s next to no chance you’ll crash and burn in the kitchen.
Learning new recipes
With each new week of deliveries, you’ll be learning new recipes which you can keep and make again in the future. As you’ll already know you can make it, this will make you a more confident cook. Therefore, meal delivery kits act as remote cookery schools for many people.
Disadvantages of meal delivery services
They can be expensive
If you want meal kits delivered to you which feature pre-chopped vegetables and pre-made sauces, plus step by step instructions, you can expect there will be a price tag for this. Therefore, meal delivery subscriptions may not work for those who are on a budget.
Shipping fees can pile up
In order to ensure produce is safely packaged and properly insulated, a lot of materials will be involved. Similarly, the materials used by meal delivery companies are often environmentally friendly to save on waste. This can result in a price tag which could bring up your overall expenditure quite a bit.
People may not like it
If you want the people in your household to like the meals you prepare with a meal kit service, this will typically require running recipes past them ahead of time. However, with kids, they will often have simple tastes, and the foodie recipes seen with these services may take them out of their comfort zones so much they won’t want to eat them.