Home cooking is fun, it brings a family together and improves overall health. Cooking at home is mostly associated to good health quality but sometimes it can annoy you as you have to bring all the recipes together and exhaust yourself by going to the grocery store. After all, everyone wants a peaceful time at home at the end of a busy day. This is where the meal delivery companies come in handy and they are getting increasingly popular in recent years.
Some of the biggest names in the meal delivery industry are Sun Basket, HelloFresh, and Blue Apron. All of these three meal delivery service giants provide fresh, savory, and organic ingredients with amazingly crafted recipes that you’ll love. When it comes to choosing which one creates a better box, it gets a bit confusing and depends on your requirements. In this guide, we have compared the top 3 meal box services to see which has better packaging, variety, pricing, and taste!
A quick review of the three meal delivery services:
- Fresh and organic produce.
- The memberships are flexible, you can cancel anytime.
- Recipes are crafted by nutritionists and chefs.
- Easy pre-prepped options.
- Beautiful packaging.
- Sometimes substitution is also offered.
- You can also add grocery items to your list.
- There are no visual instructions.
- Doesn’t deliver to all states.
- Shipping isn’t included.
- Vegetarians have their own meal plans to choose from.
- Family plans and wine plan available.
- Sourced ingredients from butchers and local farmers.
- The recipe card makes cooking very easy.
- Most of the ingredients are pre-measured.
- You get reminders of what is coming.
- Canceling is quick.
- Shipping costs extra.
- Fewer weekly meal choices.
- Cooking and preparing can take up to an hour.
- There are a wide variety of recipes.
- The plans are flexible, easy to pause or cancel.
- More affordable.
- The serving sizes are appropriate.
- You can choose between a few meals.
- Good options for family plans.
- Portion sizes are generous.
- No option for dessert, snack, or lunch.
- Lots of prep work.
- Lots of dishes are required.
How do you order each?
The meal delivery services are subscription-based and you can get a flexible membership with them. The good thing about these services is that you only have to pay for the kits you order, and can skip weeks and make pauses without any extra cost. The delivery boxes offered are recyclable and are customized according to your dietary requirements so that you can decide which one is right for you.
Ordering Sun Basket
To order a meal at Sun Basket, download the app or visit the website, and then create an account. Ordering at Sun Basket is easy, you can change the recipes, add a-la-carte items, and select extra dinners too. For the weekly plan, make sure that you choose items before the weekly deadline to avoid any trouble. Below are the steps you need to take for placing an order at Sun Basket:
- Go to the menu section and select 2, 3, or 4 recipes in accordance with your selected meal plan. You can also deselect by tapping the number on the recipe and then selecting 0.
- Press the + symbol to add the number of dinners you want. Depending on your default meal plan, each recipe will serve 2 or 4 people. The minimum order is for 2 recipes and you can increase as many as you like.
- There is an ‘add or select’ protein option at the bottom of each recipe. A list of proteins will appear along with pricing and you can choose one.
- If you want to add ‘a-la-carte items’, click or tap on the + symbol and choose how many you want to.
- A purple banner will appear to confirm your order, and the changes will show in your cart and on the recipe in the menu.
- You can review your order by checking the basket icon or by checking the invoice in the Payment &billing section of the account settings.
There are a wide variety of meal options at HelloFresh but you can choose them after the signup process is completed. For placing the order on time, make sure that you select the meals before 11:59 pm PST and at least 5 days before your next scheduled delivery. The following are the steps that you need to take to place order at Hello Fresh:
- Signup for an account at HelloFresh and then log into it.
- Go to the ‘My Menu’ option and then go to the delivery week.
- There are meals in the ‘In Your Box’ section; if you like them you don’t need to change anything.
- If you want to remove a meal, select the minus button and remove it. For adding a meal, select the plus button.
- When you select a meal, it will show a green tint below the photo with written ‘In Your Box’.
- You can also choose ‘Add Extra Meal’ below the recipe photo to add additional meals.
- Now save your order and move on to Extras option. Here you can add extras or skip them.
- You’ll see a message that confirms the meal selection.
Ordering Blue Apron
Blue Apron is known for delivering two to four recipes in a week to your door, along with all the ingredients that you need for the cooking. Placing order at Blue Apron is very simple, just follow these steps:
- Create an account at Blue Apron and then choose your menu. You can also change your meal plans every week.
- After choosing a meal plan, you’ll be asked to choose the serving size and the number of meals.
- For choosing recipes, click on the ‘Change Recipes’ option present at the right of the delivery date.
- You can select the ‘add to my box’ and ‘remove’ buttons for adding and removing recipes.
- After selecting the recipes, click on ‘Save’ in the top right corner.
- You can now proceed to checkout.
What are the meal plans for each?
All the meal delivery services work in the same way; the chefs create tasty, healthy, and balanced recipes. The service does all the grocery collection for you and then deliver it to your doorsteps so that you can cook the meal. However, all the services offer different mean plans and subscription options that creates a distinction. Let’s take a look at what each meal delivery service offers:
Sun Basket Meal Plan
Number of meals per week: 18
Special diets: Paleo, Vegan, organic and gluten-free
The Sun Basket meals are fun to prepare because there are an array of ingredients and flavor combinations. The steps are easy to follow and the booklet has simple suggestions for you. Sun Basket offers two plans with various diet types for each, such as Gluten-free, Paleo, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, and Lean & Clean. Following are the two main plans which you can enjoy by Sun Basket:
1. Classic Menu
With the Classic menu, you can choose 2 recipes (additional meals are charged accordingly). Each recipe serves 2 people. Below are the weekly meal options for 2 :
- Chef’s choice
- Lean & clean (weight management)
2. Family Menu
The Family meal plan allows you to pick 2 recipes per week, or more with an additional cost. Each of the recipes serves 4 people. The meal options for family menu are only two which include:
- Chef’s choice
HelloFresh Meal Plan
Number of meals per week: 2 to 6
Special diets: low calorie, family friendly, seasonal produce, kid-friendly
HelloFresh offers lots of options for vegetarians, you can choose the classic or veggie boxes every week. The meal delivery service is a good choice for those who want generous portions of food with simple recipes. Nutritional information is available on the recipe cards so that you know what you’re eating. Depending on your preference and plan, you’ll have to choose from three types of meal plans:
1. Classic menu
The classic menu serves 2 to 4 people which include meat, fish, and veggie options. You can select 3 to 5 recipes and get the chance to try the following:
- Lemony shrimp risotto with roasted zucchini
- Rapid maple balsamic chicken with sweet potatoes and broccoli
- Thai pork stir-fry with mint and ginger
- Oven-roasted cauliflower with Tunisian spiced yogurt over cumin-scented rice
- Braised chicken thighs with French couscous and green beans
- Hearty steak and potatoes with balsamic cranberry pan sauce
2. Veggie menu
The veggie menu includes meat-free options which serve 2 to 4 people. You can select 3 meals per week. Below are some of the meals you can get from the service:
- Mushroom Lo Mein with Fresh Udon Noodles
- Oven-roasted cauliflower with Tunisian spiced yogurt over cumin scented rice
- Tuscan ribollita with parmesan croutons
3. Family menu
The family menu consists of family-friendly ingredients and meals for both kids and adults. You can select 2 to 3 meals for 4 people. Following are some possible options:
- Braised chicken thighs with French couscous and green beans
- Juice apple pork burgers with rosemary potatoes and green salad
- Ginger beef stir-fry with sugar snap peas
Blue Apron Meal Plan
Number of meals per week: 19
Special diets: sustainable sea-food, hormone-free meat, non-GMO
Blue Apron is worth giving a try if you prefer healthier and balanced meals to cook at home. The meal delivery service is a good option for small families and individuals especially for you if you’re too busy. Blue Apron never repeats the recipes and they have specialty products that are unique and can’t be found anywhere else. It offers three meal plans:
The signature plan serves 2 and you can choose 2, 3 or 4 meals per week. There are 10 recipes per week which you can choose from for your meal.
The vegetarian plan serves 2 and you can choose 2 or 3 meatless meals per week. There are 2 to 3 recipes for selection.
3. Signature for four
The Signature for four plan serves 2, 3 or 4 meals per week. There are 7 recipes which you can choose from for your meal.
What is the pricing?
Sun Basket meal pricing varies from $10.99 to $12.99 per serving, depending on the number of meals you buy at a time. The shipping fee is of $7.99 which is waived on your first order. The total price will depend on the plan you choose and on the number of recipes you order. Sun Basket also allows you to choose additional food items like snacks, breakfast items, nuts, pastas, single-serve soups, crackers, and seafood. Following is an explanation of the pricing strategy of Sun Basket:
Sun Basket Pricing
- Starts at $10.99 per serving for 2 people and 4 recipes
- Starts at $12.99 per serving for 2 people and 2 recipes
Following is the price breakdown of two plans per week:
- Classic menu for two people costs $71.94 for the first box (3 recipes per week)
- Family menu for four people costs $87.92 for first box (2 recipes per week)
- Classic menu for four people costs $143.88 for first box (3 recipes per week)
- Family menu for four people costs $131.88 for first box (3 recipes per week)
- Family menu for four people costs $175.84 for first box (4 recipes per week)
HelloFresh offers free shipping and there are some premium meals which costs $5 more per person if you add them to the option. The good thing is that you’ll save $90 on the first 5 boxes. The price of HelloFresh order also depends on the number of meals you order and the number of serving. Have a look at these prices:
- The meat & veggie menu is $8.99 per serving for 2 people for 3 meals
- The veggie menu is $8.99 per serving for 2 people for 3 meals
- The family menu is $8.99 per serving for 2 people for 3 meals
Following is the breakdown of the price of different meal plans according to the recipes per week:
- The veggie menu is $6.99 to $8.99 for 3 recipes per week
- The Classic menu is $7.49 to $9.99 for 2 to 4 recipes per week
- The Family menu is $7.49 to $7.87 for 2 to 3 recipes per week
Blue Apron Pricing
The price of the meals at Blue Apron varies from $7.99 to $9.99 per serving. Meals for 2 servings are priced at a flat rate of $9.99, whereas four serving meals price depends on how many recipes you order per week. Shipping is free for the Signature for four plans and also if you order 3 or more recipes every week for the Vegetarian or Signature plan.
If you order two recipes per week from the Vegetarian or Signature plan, a shipping fee of $7.99 will be added to your order. Blue Apron price strategy per serving for each meal plan is described below:
Some recipes to try:
Sun Basket Recipes
Sun Basket’s easy and quick meals have made it easier for you to enjoy savory and healthy food at home. Some of the meal types include 20-minute meals, easy prep, grill-it, and one-pan meals. Following are some meals you can try from Sun Basket:
1. Black Angus rib-eye steaks with bagna cauda, broccoli, and radishes
This meal is soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, carb-conscious, and Mediterranean Paleo. The recipe is inspired by bagna cauda, which is a dip that originated in Italy. The steak features a rich signature sauce complement by a nutritious and simple vegetable side.
2. Miso tempeh burgers with garden salad and Dijon vinaigrette
Do you want to make a scrumptious vegan burger? Let’s start with a nutty and nutritional tempeh. You’ll get a creamy Dijon vinaigrette to add more flavors to the burger. This recipe is a perfect option for you if you’re a vegan.
1. Smokehouse pulled chicken bowls
If you love the flavor of barbecue saucy chicken you must try this meal from HelloFresh. The BBQ pulled chicken is wrapped with lime juice and Southwest spices and is complemented with jalapeno-flecked charred corn, rice, lime crema, and pickled shallot. This meal is a quick one and you can cook it in just 20 minutes.
2. Tomato Tortelloni Bake
Cheesy pasta lovers are gonna drool over this savory tomato tortelloni bake with a crispy topping. This pasta is baked in a creamy sauce which is paired with cheese-stuffed tortelloni along with an herby tomato cream sauce. To add a cherry on the top, the baked goodness is garnished with crunchy and golden panko breadcrumb layer.
Blue Apron Recipes
1. Korean beef and rice bowl
A classic Korean dish is all what we want for a healthy start and this dish will give you what you’re craving for. The dish features tender beef slices that are simmered in a tangy sauce of citrusy ponzu, red chili paste, gochujang, and brown sugar.
2. Black bean and caramelized onion tacos
This recipe is a must-try for all the tortilla lovers out there. These warm flour tortillas are topped with sharp cave-aged cheddar and feature a rich spicy and smoky filling. The sides include roasted zucchini with fresh lime juice too!
Customer experience for the meal delivery services
Sun Basket values customer service a lot and they go above and beyond for the customers’ needs. The good thing is that they provide good customer service so that no query is left unanswered. The customer service representatives help their customers creatively and are always there to make sure the customers are satisfied.
At HelloFresh, the customer service representatives are highly approachable and are always open to your criticism. The replies are not scripted because the representatives cater to each customer individually and address their concerns. They help you in the fastest way possible even if the request is out of the ordinary.
The customer service at Blue Apron is amazing, the team is there to help and entertain your queries. You can also reach out to the Help Center to inquire about anything you’re confused. The customer service personnel have good communication skills and are very empathic. They always work hard to meet the expectations of the client and leave the customers happy.
How do you cancel each?
Canceling Sun Basket:
Are you away from home for some days or weeks? Do you need to pause or skip the meals for some time? At Sun Basket, it is easy to make changes or cancel the order. If you want to skip a week you have to go to the schedule tab and cancel from there, you can skip up to 6 weeks in advance. However, to cancel it completely you must do it a week before.
To make changes in the delivery day, plans and preferences, and the number of servings or meals, you’ll have to go to the ‘My Account Settings’ tab. In this tab, click the edit symbol and after editing, you’ll be able to see the changed pricing information there too.
To pause or cancel your subscription, you’ll have to go to the ‘Manage My Subscription’ on the settings page. You just have to click it and then pause the subscription, change it to once a week or month delivery, or cancel it completely.
If you want to cancel your order or skip a week at HelloFresh, you’ll have to log into your account and click on ‘my menu’. There you’ll have to select the delivery day of the week which you want to skip, and then click on the ‘edit delivery’ and select ‘skip this week’. To cancel the order, you’ll have to go to ‘Account Settings’ and then go to the Plan settings to cancel the plan from the status section. You’ll have to follow the prompts to cancel your order there.
To cancel your subscription you’ll have to go to the ‘Settings’ and then choose the subscription by clicking ‘manage’. There is the ‘cancel my subscription’ option at the bottom right-hand corner.
You can cancel Blue Apron anytime because there is no commitment to this service. However, it is better to do it one week prior because it takes time to prepare the ingredients and all. You can also skip a week so that the service doesn’t deliver unwanted boxes to your doorsteps. You can also skip the orders up to five weeks in advance. To skip an order, click the ‘manage delivery’ option to the right of the delivery date and then choose ‘skip this delivery’.
However, please note that if the order shows that ‘order processed’ or ‘shipped’ on the upcoming page, you should know that the order has already been processed and can’t be canceled.