Meal Delivery Kits: Overrated or Wildly Underrated?

Well, I did it. I decided to try the world of meal kit delivery services.

After sitting down time and time again, trying to meal plan before I went grocery shopping every week, throwing out spoiled food, or letting leftovers sit uneaten, I was done.

First and foremost, I'm a wife. I love the ability I have to cook for my husband, and I was pretty good at it until there were 3. Second, I'm a mother. Motherhood is a full time 24/7, no PTO, no sick day, job. Cooking for 3 people 3 times a day 7 days a week all with different dietary needs, is a royal b-i-t-c-h.

All that to say, coming up with meals, prepping, and cooking them, didn't exactly make it to the top of my to-do list. 

I NEEDED HELP

I see meal delivery services on Instagram ALL THE TIME, but I noticed that the majority caters to the carnivorous folk vs plant-based. My first portion of research was finding services that were either 100% plant-based, or offered meals that were.

HelloFresh was first to arrive and here's what I thought:

Hello Fresh

1) Delivery/Packaging

My email informed me that my box was set to arrive on a Wednesday, so I waited patiently at my door for the package to arrive. 2pm, 3, 4, 5, 6....still nothing. 6:54pm while Lenni was getting ready for bed, a knock came to the door. Kind of a bummer for me, because I had planned to cook one of the meals that night.
I opened the package to a small handful of papers, guiding me through what was inside. I grabbed the first meal bag, and continued to lift out a sopping-wet paper bag out of melted ice-packs. BUMMER
I took everything out of the box and what was leftover was 4 melted ice packs(the bags can be recycled, and the gel inside should be dumped in a trash), a piece of cardboard, and 2 plastic-wrapped insulation pieces. 
I did appreciate, however, that there was little-to-no plastic and it was almost all paper. 

2) Portions

I made the first recipe, and as I began prepping the contents, I realized how small the portions were going to be. I ordered the 2 person plan, thinking that it would actually be enough for 2 people with a little extra...WRONG. It was enough for 2 people who have tiny appetites.

3) 100% Plant-Based?

No. They offer a Vegetarian plan, and I was able to make alterations to make it vegan. 

4) Referral code for future discounts?

Yes! A really great one. I can offer friends $40 off and get $30 off if people use THIS CODE

5) Price

With consistently ordering 3 meals for 2 once a week, I would pay $53.93. If I wanted to upgrade to the 4 person meal plan with 3 meals once a week, I would pay $101.87 

6) Meals

We really liked the meals. The first one(sweet potato, cucumber pita pockets) was my absolute favorite, and I will make it a bunch! The other 2 were good as well, but we couldn't really make them vegan.

7) Overall

Overall, I would say "Not Bad". The future meals for the next month are ALL dairy-based and impossible to make into a vegan option. The price is right, however, being that it is $20 less than the competitors and the discount code is REALLY good. 

Purple Carrot

 

Purple Carrot Meal Kit

1) Delivery/Packaging

The box arrived at 2:30pm, which allowed me to cook the first meal that night! 

I opened up the box to find a LOT of plastic-wrapped food, which was kind of a bummer. The ice was still cold, though, so everything was super fresh and easily transferrable to the fridge. You can recycle the entire contents of the box, including the plastic wrap. I just know that a lot of recycling companies will not recycle plastic. 

2) Portions

I ordered the 3 meal plan for 2 people, and was extremely surprised on the portions! We were able to split them between the 3 of us, which was great.

Purple Carrot Vegan Grilled Cheese

3) 100% Plant-Based?

Yes! And they have 3 different options for types of meal plans(Chef's Choice, Quick and Easy, or High Protein), as well as the option to change out what recipes you receive just in case you're not keen on one of the meals. Super cool

4) Referral code for future discounts?

No :( That really bummed me out. This is the ONLY meal kit delivery service that I have come across that doesn't give referral codes to all of their customers. They will specifically sponsor certain social media influencers and give them a code, but not to every customer. Popularity is their marketing style, which is good for business, but sucks for the rest of us who aren't blowing up quite yet.

5) Price

With consistently ordering 3 meals for 2 once a week, I would pay $72 which is $12 per plate. HOLY EXPENSIVE. If you think about it, we could go to a nice vegan restaurant and pay an average of $10 per plate to have someone else cook for us, or buy the ingredients for all of the meals for probably half of that price. That seems so ridiculous to me

6) Meals

REALLY FREAKING DELICIOUS. There wasn't one meal that we didn't like.

7) Overall

Expensive!!! I love the overall quality of it, but it's NOT worth the price. The last meal that we cooked ended up missing one of the ingredients, as well as sending a lemon but instructing you to use a lime(which was super odd). It makes it really hard for me to want to consistently order the meal plans every week, because I would end up paying $288 for 12 meals. OR, I could go to the grocery store and spend that much providing 3 meals every day for the entire family. 

**UPDATE**
I ordered another box from them after receiving a $20 off code in my email. We received another box and it was a complete disaster. The insulation was ripped, leaving a complete mess in the box. Two out of 3 of the meals weren't sealed in their plastic bag, and a box containing lasagna noodles was smashed which dried them out. I emailed Purple Carrot complaining about my box, and they said "we apologize" and didn't offer any compensation. We will not be ordering from them again.

Green Chef

Green Chef

1) Delivery/Packaging

Our box arrived at 1:30pm, so we were able to make it for dinner that night. Same thing as the others- wrapped in a weird insulation material with ice packs and the food inside. The meals were in paper bags, but everything inside was individually wrapped in plastic zip-loc bags. LOTS of plastic. 

2) Portions

We ordered 3, 2-person meals from their vegan menu. The portions were definitely enough for all 3 of us, which was awesome

3) 100% Plant-Based?

Yes! Their vegan plan is. They have 3 different meal plan options depending on dietary preferences or needs, which was cool 

4) Referral code for future discounts?

A sad excuse for one. I can give referral codes, but I will not receive any type of discount until after a referrals SECOND delivery. So if a friend tries them and doesn't order twice, I won't get any money to use towards ordering another box.

5) Price

EXPENSIVE. $77.93 for a 2-person, 3 meal a week plan. 

6) Meals

First impressions? Their chef is pretty convinced that Vegans only eat Kale salads. We didn't like any of the meals we had. The one pictured above was tofu, rice, and a salad....it was horrible.

7) Overall

Overall, I had the highest hopes for Green Chef but the low-quality meals destroyed it for us. 

Sun Basket

Sun Basket

1) Delivery/Packaging

Our TWO boxes arrived about 3pm one afternoon after Lenni's nap. I opened them up to find the same 'ol insulation, ice packs, and all of our meals in these recyclable brown paper bags.
It had a recipe booklet AS WELL AS(this is the best part) a little "how to" pamphlet with instructions on how to avoid leaving a carbon footprint with throwing out the packaging. Everything is recyclable, compostable, or reusable. 

2) Portions

We ordered 3, 4-person meals from their vegan menu. The portions were definitely enough for all 3 of us PLUS some. We ended up feeding my parents and ourselves.

3) 100% Plant-Based?

Yes! Their vegan plan is. They have 4different meal plan options depending on dietary preferences or needs.

4) Referral code for future discounts?

A REALLY GOOD ONE. $40 off your first box CLICK HERE

5) Price

Expensive! $78.93 for 3, 2-person meals.  

6) Meals

We loved everything. We had mushroom stroganoff, Barbacoa Quinoa Bowls, and Stuffed Lettuce Wraps. 

7) Overall

Favorite. Really great vegan menu, loved the packaging, super timely, organized, and standard pricing. 

IN CONCLUSION

I'm a BIG FAN of meal delivery kits.

If you're wanting to try it out, be sure to use the codes that I have linked above! For Purple Carrot, usually they have promos going on, so you may be able to get a discount. 

Good luck, and thanks for reading!