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August 16, 2020

What are the Best Food Subscription Services? Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Many of us love home-cooked meals, but they can be more hassle than they’re worth. The process of finding new recipes, buying ingredients, and learning new cooking methods may turn you off to trying to cook at all. Fortunately, there are ways you can streamline this process. One of them is a food subscription box.

With a subscription food box, you get pre-packed food items and instructions for how to use them. All you have to do is follow the recipes, and you have an easy way to feed yourself or your family some delicious meals. With so many weekly food boxes to choose from, you can have prepared meals delivered straight to your door.

Our Top Food Subscriptions (2020 UPDATED)

1 - Freshly(Editor's Choice)

  • Best Match For: Anyone looking for a meal delivery subscription service that offers nutrient-packed dishes with less sugar and processed ingredients.
  • Commitment Level: Subscription
  • Availability: The contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Value: $8.49-$11.49/meal; Shipping fees depend on your meal plan and location
  • Type: Fully prepared fresh meals (heat and eat)

Freshly is one of the best monthly food subscription boxes because you get gourmet meals delivered to your door every week. True to their name, Freshly uses fresh ingredients with no artificial ingredients, no gluten, and no refined sugar. The box meals are never frozen, and all you have to do is heat them.

The best part about a Freshly subscription is that you can choose from so many options every week based on your taste. You can customize your meal plan to match the number of people living in your home.

Read our full Freshly review for a closer look at Freshly.

PROS

  • Box full of chef-prepared meals
  • Food options for any dietary restrictions
  • Meals come ready-to-eat
  • Get a deal on your first box

Cons

  • No opportunity to prepare the meals yourself

2 - Purple Carrot

  • Best Match For: Anyone searching for affordable plant-based meal kits with delicious and easy-to-follow recipes.
  • Commitment Level: Weekly subscription
  • Availability: The contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Value: $9.99-$11.99/meal; Free shipping
  • Type: Fresh plant-based meal kits (needs to be cooked)

Cooking vegan is not always easy. You may find yourself stuck eating the same foods over and over again because you aren’t sure what else to make. Purple Carrot food subscription boxes are a plant-based subscription that delivers easy-to-prepare meals weekly.

The box meals are exciting to receive and delicious once prepared. You’ll find high protein items like beet burgers and tofu stew. The best part of Purple Carrot meal plans is that you can get breakfast, lunch, and snacks in your delivery, too. Purple Carrot boxes mean you always have something to eat without constant researching and experimentation.

PROS

  • 100% meat- and dairy-free
  • Ingredients are pre-measured
  • You can select a plan that works for you
  • Get more than just dinner meals

Cons

  • The amount of snacks you can add depends on the size of your box

3 - Blue Apron

  • Best Match For: People wanting to up their cooking game with chef-designed recipes and meal kits with pre-measured responsibly sourced non-GMO ingredients.
  • Commitment Level: Subscription with weekly delivery
  • Availability: The contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Value: $8.99-$9.99/serving; Free shipping for orders of 3 recipes per week (each serves 2 people) or 2 recipes for Signature for 4 meal plan (each serves 4 people); $7.99 shipping fee for orders that don't match the criteria.
  • Type: Meal kits with responsibly sourced fresh ingredients (needs to be cooked), delicious wines paired with selected recipes, exotic spice blends, and top-quality cookware

Blue Apron food subscription boxes give you seasonal recipes every week, and it’s one of the most popular food delivery services. World-renowned guest chefs and an expert culinary team curate your meals, so the food is delicious no matter your diet. Blue Apron offers a range of meal types from vegetarian to Weight Watchers to gluten-free.

The Blue Apron service allows you to customize your subscription meals to the number of people in your household. You get to pick your meals from their weekly selection, and they take only 20 minutes to make. It’s a perfect fit if you’re looking for healthy options.

PROS

  • Weight Watchers-approved meals
  • Includes easy-to-follow recipes
  • Meals take 20 minutes or less to prepare
  • Ingredients come fresh and pre-portioned

Cons

  • Few options for vegan meals.

4 - Sunbasket

  • Best Match For: Anyone looking to put meal planning on autopilot and receive organic gourmet ready-to-eat meals and fresh meal kits.
  • Commitment Level: Weekly subscription
  • Availability: Most zip codes in the us, excluding AK, HI, MT, ND, and parts of NM
  • Value: Prices start at $8.99/meal; Free shipping on your first order
  • Type: Fully prepared fresh meals (heat and eat) and fresh meal kits (needs to be cooked)

With Sunbasket, you can choose from 18 recipes each week. Their diverse meal options can accommodate vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, pescatarian, and Paleo diets. In addition to food subscription boxes, you can add on specific grocery items that you may need. With Sunbasket, food subscription box meets grocery delivery.

Each one of these food subscription boxes is full of clean ingredients. You don’t have to wait until dinner to have a prepared meal. Sunbasket comes with breakfast and lunch options, too. Choose to get two, three, or four meals per week for either two or four people.

Sunbasket delivery service

PROS

  • Comes with fresh, whole ingredients
  • Meals are easy to prepare
  • Kits can fit a range of diets
  • You can get more than dinner in your box

Cons

  • Ingredients are not pre-cut
  • Can only get food for up to four people

5 - Foodstirs

  • Best Match For: People looking for bite-size organic sweets, baking mixes, and baking kits with less sugar and no artificial ingredients.
  • Commitment Level: One-time orders; Subscription (5% off)
  • Availability: The continental US
  • Value: $5.99-$29.99/item; $7.99 shipping fee; Orders over $80 receive free shipping
  • Type: Ready-to-eat mini donuts, muffins, and brownie bites; organic baking mixes and exclusive baking kits

Baking takes time if you want to make the perfect cake, cookie, or cupcake. Foodstirs gives you easy-to-make baking kits with all of the tools and supplies you need. After you bake, you can use edible decorations to give your food some style.

Some meal kits don’t include dessert as an important part of dinner. Foodstirs gives you tasty treats in adorable boxes that you can make with the help of your children or friends. Some of these food subscription boxes are even holiday-themed.

Read our full Foodstirs review

PROS

  • Gives you natural ingredients for baked-goods
  • You can get organic desserts and allergen-free ones
  • Boxes can come monthly or less frequently
  • Treats only use six items or less

Cons

  • Few options for desserts appropriate for different diets

6 - Veestro

  • Best Match For: Vegans looking to lose weight with affordable plant-based meals made with organic ingredients.
  • Commitment Level: One time orders: Subscription
  • Availability: The contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Value: $9.90-$11.70/meal; Free shipping on recurring orders; $9.99 shipping fee for one time orders
  • Type: Fully prepared frozen vegan meals (heat and eat)

You don’t have to sacrifice taste for health with a plant-based diet. Veestro meals are made from organic ingredients with no preservatives. You can also choose a meal plan appropriate for low-calorie diets, or pick Chef’s Choice or A La Carte.

Veestro meals come packaged, pre-made, and frozen. All you have to do is heat them, and they’re ready to eat. This service is perfect for people who don’t have time to prepare meals but still want nutritious choices. You can choose from 10, 20, or 30 meals a week and save them for later.

Read our full Veesto review for a closer look at Veestro food delivery.

PROS

  • Each meal is organic and plant-based
  • Meals are portioned by serving
  • There are three meal plan options for your diet
  • Quick and easy to prepare

Cons

  • No opportunity to receive meals with fresh ingredients

7 - Dinnerly

  • Best Match For: Home cooking enthusiasts seeking affordable and exciting meal kits.
  • Commitment Level: Subscription with weekly delivery
  • Availability: Most of the contiguous US states
  • Value: $4.69-$5.20/portion; $8.99 shipping fee
  • Type: Fresh meal kits (needs to be cooked)

Dinnerly sends whole, fresh ingredients to you every week. Getting a Dinnerly box is like coming back from the grocery store, without the impulse buys. With a Dinnerly box, you prepare your ingredients yourself and follow recipes from online directions.

The lack of excessive packaging and paper means you produce less waste than you might with other services. Dinnerly meal order service is perfect for people who want to hone their cooking skills and save money. You can get enough ingredients to feed a large or small family, and you may even have some left over.

PROS

  • Affordable, fresh food delivery
  • Less environmental waste with online recipes
  • Whole ingredients encourage you to learn cooking techniques
  • You can discover new meals

Cons

  • Not as many diverse options as other services
  • Ingredients and meals do not come prepared

8 - Yumble

  • Best Match For: Busy parents looking for nutritious ready-made meals that won’t break the budget.
  • Commitment Level: Weekly subscription
  • Availability: Most of the East Coast, Texas, and parts of the West Coast and Midwest
  • Value: $5.99-$9.99/meal; Shipping fees may apply
  • Type: Fully prepared fresh meals for kids (heat and eat)

Yumble is one of the only meal subscription kits specifically for kids. This idea is amazing because if you have children, you know that they can be picky. Yumble makes it easy to end the dinner tug-of-war with kids.

The service delivers foods that kids enjoy, like meatballs, pasta, nuggets, and mac n’ cheese. What kids don’t know is that all the meals are healthy and packed with veggies. You can find meals free of soy, egg, and gluten for kids with dietary restrictions, too.

Read our Yumble review and best prepared meal delivery programs for kids for further details.

PROS

  • Tasty options that fit in any kid’s diet
  • Makes dinnertime easy for parents
  • Has a variety of meal choices to keep dinner exciting
  • You can include your kids in the meal prep process

Cons

  • Parents may want to eat different foods

9 - Marley Spoon

  • Best Match For: Anyone looking to cook delicious meals with carefully selected ingredients from small farms and Martha Stewart’s 6-step recipes.
  • Commitment Level: Weekly subscription
  • Availability: Most of the contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
  • Value: $6.99-$10.99/meal; $8.99 shipping fee
  • Type: Fresh meal kits (ready in 30 minutes or less)

Martha Stewart is one of the countries most trusted chefs, and she spearheads Martha and Marley Spoon. You can make her high-quality recipes quickly and easily with her guidance. The meal kits have five categories based on your diet or restrictions.

Every week, you can select from 22 available meals to suit your taste. All of the meals have only six steps to follow. If you’re learning to cook, these are a great way to learn your way around the kitchen or spend time with family and friends.

PROS

  • Prepare all meals in only six steps
  • A wide selection of meals to choose from each week
  • The meals are simple yet delicious
  • Easily customizable plans and delivery times

Cons

  • Meal kits are assembled with only 2-person or 4-person households in mind

FAQS

Are food subscription boxes worth it?

Meal subscriptions are handy for times when you don’t want to or can’t leave the house to find dinner. Even if you do enjoy shopping, groceries can get expensive. This expense grows when you have to throw away unused items that went bad before you could use them. A meal box gives you the exact portions you need so there is no wasted money, time, or food.

What is the cheapest meal subscription box?

The most affordable food subscription box depends on the best plan for you. Some services divide costs by serving, while some want you to pay per meal each week. The cost of your subscription boxes depends on how many servings you need, any extra items you wish to add, delivery fees, and frequency of box delivery.

How can I get free subscription boxes?

Many services offer the best food subscription boxes looking great when you order your first meal. They want you to try their service before you feel like you have to commit, so you can get discounts when you first sign up. Some services also offer bonus boxes for frequent customers. Check the terms for your subscription before you buy.

What do meal services cost?

Meal services can range from about $5 per serving to $15 per meal serving, depending on the service you choose. Each week, your box may have two to six servings, if you chose that as your preference. Some ingredients are more expensive than others, so some meals may cost more even within the same plan. The price of meal delivery includes the food, packaging, expertise, and cost of preparation.

How do food subscriptions generally work?

Food subscriptions take the guesswork out of dinner. They’re a straightforward way to make sure you always know what you’ll eat at the end of the day. You can have as much or as little control over your meals as you want. You can also set up a meal plan to match the needs of you and your household.

Typically, the process for setting up a food subscription goes like this:

  1. Choose your plan. Most food delivery services allow you to customize your meal plan. You can select the number of servings you need, how many recipes you want per meal, and the diet you wish to follow. While some services have a set meal for the week, many let you choose from a range of options.
  2. Enter your information. You will need to set up a profile with your address and phone number. Since the food will usually arrive fresh, you’ll need to schedule a time for delivery when you can  pick up the package as quickly as possible to prevent spoiling.
  3. Get your delivery. When you open your box, you will find your separated ingredients as well as a recipe guide. All you have to do from there is follow the recipe. Keep in mind that you will usually need to provide your own dry seasonings.
  4. Repeat the next week. After your first box, you can continue ordering and selecting weekly meals. Or, you can delay your next order until you are ready.

Which Food Subscription Service Should You Try?

In 2020, we have redefined our relationships with food and cooking. While you don’t want to eat the same foods over and over again, you may find myself with limited knowledge of different ingredient combinations. Meal subscription kits help you try and discover new meals and empower you to prepare them yourself.

Hello Fresh Australia is another one of the best food subscription boxes, especially if you need a meal outside the US. Some meal kits come ready-made, so you don’t have to put in too much work to get healthy, fresh food. These boxes can be life-saving if you have a lot of responsibilities or are short on time. Regardless of why you want to try them, it’s easy to find the best meal kit for your preferences and budget.

Freshly's Meal Delivery Service

Freshly

Our #1 Recommendation

  • Box full of chef-prepared meals
  • Food options for any dietary restrictions
  • Meals come ready-to-eat
  • Get a deal on your first box

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