Meal kits yea or nay?

Since I started the vaccine reluctance thread that’s being shut down today, I’m going to start a new topic.

Not quite as a hot topic :wink:. But maybe this will be a fun little conversation, but maybe not lol!

I think I’m late to the game but I recently signed up for a meal kit. Where you sign up for a service, they send you all the ingredients and a recipe card for you to make the meals.

I was getting tired of meal planning. Really tired. My daughter does it, they did it as a way of expanding their new vegetarianism. They aren’t 100% vegetarian but try to be mostly meat free.

So far, I’ve been liking it. I tried EveryPlate and Dinnerly. They are the “cheaper” meal kit options. A little under $39 for 3 meals for 2. I like EveryPlate a little better than Dinnerly. EveryPlate meals leave us more satisfied, Dinnerly seems a little light. The cons are lots of carrots and potatoes.

Next week I’m going to try Hello Fresh, I got a free box, so I’ll try it. It’s more expensive. But seemed to have more fish recipes as part of their standard meals and I’ve been trying to eat more fish and some vegetarian.

Who’s tried these meal kits? Do you like them? Which ones have you liked or disliked?

I’ve been in a real rut and I enjoy following the recipes.

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My mother gave me a subscription years ago. I thought the spicing was odd. (Their “mideastern” mix didn’t contain any of the normal ingredients. There was always way too much carb filled ingredients. What I have been doing lately is cooking classes - I’ve done a couple featuring truffles, a couple featuring Spanish ingredients and a couple sponsored by wineries.

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H and I get Blue Apron. We are both willing,able and have time to cook but it gets us eating some different things and we get out of planning which is the hardest part of cooking.

I don’t have any complaints. We have temporarily suspended ours with S home. 1. There is enough food for 2 , but not 3 and 2. S likes to cook

Friends have used these and love them! I need to try them. Almost all have an introductory offer that is very modestly priced…you just have to remember to cancel when it’s done!

If someone you know refers you for some…they get some sort of reward.

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We opted to try a CSA for the first time this summer. It starts the first week in June. I’m hoping the veggies will get us thinking outside the box.

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I’m not a fan. The meals often take longer to prepare than I want - and the amount of packaging bothers me.

I like the concept but have decided that overall it’s just not for me.

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We’ve tried Sun Basket and Blue Apron. I liked both and loved not having to plan/shop. Both had great customer service. I dislike all the packaging! The food was always fresh, easy to prepare.

I will probably go back to using one in the fall when youngest goes back to school- I agree it works better for 2 vs 3 people.

Have a friend who has used Blue Apron 3x a week for 5 years. She and husband work full time, eat healthy but hate to cook.

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I have not used them. H is picky and I think I’d be even more frustrated with him if he wouldn’t eat a meal that I paid more for (than cooking from home) and that was suppose to save me time/energy from cooking!

I would like to hear more specifics. @mathmom mentioned trying them years ago and not being impressed - I’m guessing they’ve improved since then?

Also tell me more about trying and cancelling. How easily has that worked for you? Nothing aggrevates me more than trying to GET OUT of something!

Finally, another question. Share your “hits and misses”. The subscription you use and your fav meals or ones not worth trying again.

Good thread!

With regards to cancelling it wasn’t a problem- I managed Blue Apron via their app - you can skip weeks, etc. I called to cancel- no hard sell.

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I haven’t tried them. Part of me would like to at least try, but H is very very very picky. He will NOT try new foods. And I also don’t like most vegetables. So I’m afraid a lot of it would go in the trash. But I would at least try, if it wasn’t for H.

I could definitely see buying it for older S at some point. He loves to try new foods and cooks quite a bit for a young guy. (And this was the kid would did not eat ANYTHING for 4 years. Nothing. Not even a chocolate chip cookie or ice cream. He lived on air while I sobbed daily in the background.)

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Our only concern with these meal kits is the ingredients going into the food. When we cook, we know exactly what we are putting into our mouths whether it be fresh asparagus or frozen corn. At least we know where it comes from and why it is in the food.

But, in meal kits, you really just do not know what is going into the food. Our family tries to stay away from pesticides, preservatives, and chemicals whenever possible. That is probably our only reason for not buying into the meal kit trend. (and my mom is addicted to recipe websites so…🤷)

Personally, don’t mind cooking, but meal planning is the most difficult part for me. I tend to make the same meals over and over again.

About 5 years ago, I was living in NYC, and also traveling extensively for my job. I especially hated grocery shopping in NYC - had to walk about 6 blocks to my very small store that often was out of items, only purchase what I could carry back 6 blocks, plus the items were VERY expensive. My H (who doesn’t cook) decided to “give” me a subscription to Blue Apron as a Christmas present. Since he doesn’t cook he was really giving himself a present.

In NYC, as expensive as Blue Apron is, it was actually less expensive than grocery shopping! I really enjoyed the Blue Apron meals, but I did find them to be quite time consuming to prepare. I do feel like I learned a lot of techniques and experienced new flavors and foods that I would not have tried otherwise.

We later moved to a different state with regular grocery stores (the kind you can drive to!) and my work travel was even crazier, and we stopped Blue Apron. Then, my H decided to “try” SunBasket (again, he doesn’t cook). With SunBasket, you can target certain dietary concerns, like low carb, paleo, vegetarian, etc.

We receive two meals a week and have been doing SunBasket for about 3 years, I think. Before the pandemic I was still traveling extensively during the week, so it was nice to come home and not have to worry about what I was going to cook.

We have continued to do SunBasket during the pandemic. For me, it eases the burden of having to plan as many meals. Also, I work during the day, but my H often has evening meetings, and SunBasket has some “fresh and ready” meals that you just have to heat up.

We have recently moved again (due to my H’s career, we move frequently) and the local grocery store also carries Hello Fresh meal kits and individual items. I have tried a few of those as well. And if you have Publix grocery stores near you, they have their own meal kits that I have tried. We were staying in a home for a week in an Airbnb while visiting my ailing parents, and while we had a kitchen, it didn’t have a lot of basic spices in the pantry, so it was nice to purchase a meal kit that had all the ingredients we needed.

My H also tried Factor since they were already cooked (for when I was out of town traveling for work). Didn’t care for it.

The subscriptions are easy to cancel or “skip a week” as needed - like when you have company over the holidays, or are going to be on vacation. The only issue we had is when my mother suddenly became ill and we had to leave immediately. We weren’t able to have our meal canceled (it was being delivered the next day) so fortunately a neighbor was able to pick it up.

I probably enjoyed the different recipes from Blue Apron the most, but they were time consuming to cook. We have been focusing on healthier recipes from SunBasket, and they have been good, and less time consuming. Since I was used to eating out several days a week (when I traveled for work), having the meal kits gives me a break from having to plan all the meals.

Maybe I’ll start a separate thread on this…I’m curious what “dinner on the table” looks like for CC. And to help understand why people don’t like cooking or get tired of it or struggle with meal planning etc. So know I’m starting a new thread on this so this one can stay focused on meal kits (so interesting!) and not get sidetracked!

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My kids got me a Hello Fresh gift for Mother’s Day last year. I thought it was a great gift and enjoyed picking out the meals. The prep and cooking did take awhile but still fun. I would not want to do it regularly though. I don’t mind food shopping and cooking .
This Mother’s Day, they got me the Mother’s Day box from Butcher Box, so I have some meat coming my way!

I like EveryPlate the best so I’ll try and answer some questions.

Both EveryPlate and Dinnerly actually have very little waste. Everything but the freezer packs is recyclable. The freezer pack can be recycled but you have to dump the gel in the garbage and the bag can be recycled. Most of the box is cardboard, some times there is an insulated bag which we keep and will use to keep other things cold. And I think those can be recycled but I just keep them.

Since I started the meal kits, I have less garbage instead of more.

The ingredients have not been processed. Fresh spices, garlic, potatoes and carrots. Yes they do have chicken stock and cream cheese packets but not much waste. I don’t as a rule make my own chicken stock.

They can be time consuming, I will admit that. But it’s kinda fun for me to zest citrus and I already chopped garlic, potatoes and vegetables. Cooked rice that sort of thing.

Since I feel the food isn’t as processed, I don’t salt the food I’m making so hopefully less salt than the food I was making.

As I will admit, I was not an inventive cook. I was not making things from scratch. I was relying more and more on boxed rice mixes. So the food was taking longer to make but I was making better food too.

Many of these food kits use way too much packaging material (plastic, Styrofoam, and carboard/paper) to individually wrap these ingredients. They can be very environmentally unfriendly.

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Since Covid days I’ve been subscribing to Purple Carrot (vegan) and Green Chef (veggie/vegan) - they’re both great for getting myself out of the food rut, however sometimes the offerings aren’t that great, and sometimes the produce has been less than stellar - that said, I’m 90% satisfied, and I love having recipes I’d never have even considered before. They have been 99% hits!

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@AllGoodNamesRGone - the ingredients are typically fresh veggies/fruit, spices, a few condiments and the meat or fish. I steer clear of almost all processed food these days, but except for a bit with the condiments, these fit that requirement.

None of my boxes have had any styrofoam in them. Sustainability is big for the hello fresh company. My daughter is very into recycling and sustainability and she would not do the meal kits if they weren’t.

Eat more sustainably with HelloFresh | Find out More

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Our local grocery store packages their own meal kits that my kids have used a few times and really liked. The store also make their own recipes, have a sampling station and then a small refrigerated section which houses everything in the recipe. More than once we’ve gone and just grabbed whatever the “meal of the day” is–no hunting across the grocery aisles involved. Pretty much grab and go. They try to keep prep to the minimum.

I think most kits are way too expensive–but I don’t live where grocery shopping is a pain.
We hardly ever make a single dinner serving–my cooking is usually freezer friendly so anything I do is good for several future meals.