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If you’re like a lot of New Yorkers who are turning to delivery to get your groceries during the Covid-19 pandemic but are finding it hard to get a delivery time slot, you might want to consider a meal kit subscription.
In addition to step-by-step cooking instructions for meals from a variety of cuisines, (you have more time to learn new dishes now, don’t you?), meal kit subscriptions come with every ingredient supplied—an important consideration now that New Yorkers are urged to limit grocery trips to once a week—or once every two weeks. (No running to the store because you don’t own paprika.)
Brick Underground has rounded up 12 of the most popular meal kit delivery services available in New York City, including Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Purple Carrot, Marley Spoon, and Daily Harvest to see what sets them apart and how much they cost.
Editor's note: Click here for more of Brick Underground's coronavirus coverage.
Been there, done that? If you tried a meal kit subscription in the past but were turned off by the copious packaging, you should know that some companies have addressed this. For example, EveryPlate limits packaging and HelloFresh will offset 100 percent of their carbon emissions this year. You can find out how to recycle packaging on most companies’ websites.
If you're a first-timer, don’t forget to use the first-time order promo codes that most offer. And keep in mind that because of the pandemic, delivery times might still be longer than usual and some recipes might not be available.
Price: Signature and vegetarian plans (both two servings) start at $48 a week for two meals, with a three-meal option for $60. Four servings starts at $72 for two meals and up to $120 for four meals. Prices include shipping costs.
The lowdown: Blue Apron was founded in 2012 and partners with farmers to offer responsibly-sourced ingredients like non-GMO ingredients, fresh produce, and sustainable seafood. Meals range from complex Mediterranean dishes to simple one-pan quickies.
What sets it apart: Blue Apron offers a variety of options for those with specific dietary needs including Beyond Meat, Weight Watchers-approved, diabetes-friendly, and vegetarian options. They also have a wine delivery service and a market where you can buy things like knives, spices, and Blue Apron cookbooks.
The bottom line: If you like a variety of cuisines or eating responsibly-sourced ingredients is important to you.
Price: Plans are available for two people starting at $62 a week for three meals. Plans for four people start at $80 for two meals a week.
The lowdown: HelloFresh was founded in 2011 and is the largest meal-kit provider in the U.S. All of the recipes are chef-created and are tested 45 times for “deliciousness and simplicity.” Ingredients are also sourced from farms.
What sets it apart: The site uses different labels for meals including “calorie smart,” “quick,” “kid-approved,” and “easy” to match both your diet and cooking skills. There’s even a “Gourmet Plus” label for premium recipes to elevate your dinner game like beef tenderloin with mushroom sauce.
The bottom line: If you’re counting calories during the quarantine or you want to treat yourself by cooking a gourmet meal.
Price: Meals start at $8.99 each, with plans for two to six people and two to six meals per week. Making a four-meal plan for two cost $79, including the $7 shipping. You can add extra protein, upgrade to higher-quality protein, or swap ingredients for an extra cost.
The lowdown: HomeChef was founded in 2013 and their chefs develop new recipes weekly by sourcing fresh ingredients for each menu. In addition to the dinners, HomeChef offers premium meal options, and weekly breakfast, lunch, smoothie and fruit basket options.
What sets it apart: HomeChef steps up the personalization game. When you set-up your profile, you set your preferences like omnivore/carnivore/pescatarian/vegetarian, low-carb or low-calorie diets, and you can choose foods you want to avoid like pork, wheat, and milk.
The bottom line: If you want a meal kit subscription that provides meals for more than four nights a week or want to have breakfast, lunch, and smoothie options too.
Price: Plans include a two-person or four-person option with two, three, or four meals a week, ranging from $11 to $13 a meal, so the more you order, the more you save. Shipping is not included but you can get free shipping on your first order.
The lowdown: Sun Basket was founded in 2014 to offer fresh, organic, and sustainable ingredients to members. You can also add snacks, juices, breakfast items, and other things to your basket. The site notes that some of their recipes have been simplified during the Covid-19 pandemic.
What sets it apart: Not only can you order organic breakfast, lunch, and dinner options but you can add snacks like rainbow baby carrots, Mexican hot chocolate-flavored walnuts, and parmesan cheese crisps.
The bottom line: If you eat strictly organic or want to stock up on weekly snacks and breakfast options to avoid going to the grocery store all together during the pandemic.
Price: Meals cost $5 per serving with plans for two or four people and three to five meals a week, so a four-meal plan for two runs $40 a week. Shipping is $9 a week.
The lowdown: EveryPlate was founded in 2018 with easy-to-cook meals that have no more than six steps per recipe. They release 11 new recipes per week for members to choose from—plus they use less packaging and simple ingredients to keep costs low.
What sets it apart: EveryPlate is one of the more affordable meal kit services available and with simple recipes.
The bottom line: If you’re on a tighter budget during the pandemic or you are a beginner chef.
Price: The two-serving plan has a three- or four-meal option starting at $12 a serving and the four serving plan has a two- or three-meal option starting at $10 a serving. Shipping is free.
The lowdown: Purple Carrot was founded in 2014 to offer a plant-based meal kit subscription. Plans include high-protein, gluten-free, quick & easy, and chef’s choice. They also have breakfast, lunch, and snack options that you can add to your weekly boxes.
What sets it apart: Purple Carrot is plant-based and offers nutritional information for their meals. And, during the Covid-19 pandemic, they’re donating a percentage of sales to Feeding America and giving 30 percent off of healthcare worker’s orders.
The bottom line: If you’re a strict vegan, or want to try out a plant-based diet during your quarantine.
Price: There’s a two-person plan, which starts at $10 per portion, and a four-person plan, which starts at $8.50 per portion. You can choose two to six meals a week for both plans, and the more meals you order, the lower the cost-per-serving. Shipping costs $9 a week.
The lowdown: Marley Spoon partnered with Martha Stewart in 2016 featuring Stewart’s recipes and cooking techniques. All of the recipes have only six steps and are intended to be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Twenty-two new recipes are launched each week.
What sets it apart: The recipe’s details will make any foodie happy (Think: cheesy garlic potatoes, pickled cucumbers and special sauce, creamy avocado cabbage slaw, and bacon vinaigrette).
The bottom line: If you’re a foodie who enjoys a creative side dish, or you’re a die-hard Martha Stewart fan.
Price: There’s a two-person box and a family box, both start at $5 per serving with two meals per week, with the option of ordering up to six meals a week, which lowers the cost. Shipping is $9 a week. Vegetarian options are available for up to four meals a week.
The lowdown: Dinnerly was founded in 2017 by Marley Spoon as an affordable meal kit option. Dinnerly’s recipes use fewer ingredients, and they opt for digital recipe cards rather than paper, and use minimal packaging to keep costs low.
What sets it apart: Dinnerly is one of the more affordable options, with meals as low as $4.50 per serving, and they use very eco-friendly packaging like SFI-certified paper boxes, and all of their bags, pouches, and liners are made with recyclable plastics.
The bottom line: If you’re not into tons of chopping and slicing, and prefer to cook simple meals.
Price: Smoothies, soups, lattes, and bites costs $8 each, Harvest Bowls and flatbreads costs $9 each, and oat bowls and chia bowls and costs $6 each, plus shipping.
The lowdown: Daily Harvest was founded in 2014 to deliver organic fruit- and vegetable- based meals. They source from farms and freeze all of their produce to lock in nourishment and taste. Some of their more unique ingredients include black garlic, dragon fruit, and figs.
What sets it apart: The food is fresh and since it’s frozen, you don’t have to rush to eat it within a week, and they work directly with farmers.
The bottom line: If you miss grabbing that trendy smoothie or chia bowl on the way to the office—or are in desperate need of fresh produce.
Price: The two-person plan includes three meals with two portions each for $12 per meal, for a total cost of $72 a week plus $7 for shipping. The four-person plan includes three meals with four portions each, for a total of $144 a week plus $7 for shipping. You can have additional meals as well.
The lowdown: Gobble was founded in 2010 and offers meals that are prepped by sous chefs and can be cooked in 15 minutes. They have a “lean & clean” menu for those who want healthy options and sides like soups, salads, cookies, and breakfast items that you can add to your order.
What sets it apart: All of the ingredients are prepped by sous chefs so you don’t have to do any chopping, dicing, slicing, or marinating.
The bottom line: If you want to feel like you’re cooking a gourmet meal, but prefer not to do any of the prep work.
Price: The plans start at four meals a week priced at $15 per meal and go up to 18 meals a week priced at $11.00 per meal. There’s also six-, eight-, and 12-meal plans. Shipping is free for all plans.
The lowdown: Factor_ was founded in 2011 and delivers meals for paleo, keto, gluten-free, and other specific diets. New meals are created each week and are cooked from scratch by chefs, so all you have to do is heat and serve.
What sets it apart: All of the meals are grass-fed, pasture-raised, antibiotic/hormone-free, soy-free, have no refined sugars, and are non-GMO.
The bottom line: If you’re a health nut, or you want to try the keto diet to make up for all of the junk food you’ve been eating during quarantine.
Price: The four-meal a week plan costs $11.50 per meal, the six- and nine-meal plans costs $9 per meal, and the 12-meal plan costs $8 per meal. Shipping is not included.
The lowdown: Freshly was founded in 2015 to provide healthy meals that can be ready in minutes. Every meal is crafted by chefs and approved by nutritionists and come pre-cooked—all you have to do is throw the meal in the microwave for three minutes and enjoy.
What sets it apart: Freshly has categories like “feel better food,” “one bowl nourishers,” “take-out twists,” and labels like “spicy” and “<500 calories”—plus every recipe is approved by a nutritionist.
The bottom line: If you want to eat clean and healthy meals, but you aren’t much of a chef.
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