The Great Covid Meal Kit Experiment
When the pandemic started, we switched to delivery and curbside grocery shopping. What we missed the most was variety. We loved going through the meat, fish and produce departments, looking for things we had never eaten and we almost always found something to try. Surfing the Walmart grocery site and Aldi’s wasn’t doing it for us, so I decided to explore meal kits.
I tried a meal kit a few years ago and I didn’t care for it, but wow have things changed in 2 years. I set up rules and a budget. I will only pick meals I have never had before and a budget of $30.00 a week, before shipping, and 3 meals for 2 people. Almost every company has coupons for new customers, big coupons!! The search began and it wasn’t hard to find many that met my goals, so I pulled the trigger and signed up for company#1. I got to choose from about 20 different meals, pick a delivery date and all that was left was the wait.
The box was delivered by FedEx with 2 ice-packs, and delivered right to my front porch. All ingredients were included except vegetable oil, salt and pepper, perfect! The recipe cards were easy to read and follow and dinner was done in 40 minutes. It was better than I could ever have imagined. The Great Covid Meal Kit Experiment Began….
Most meal kits cater to people that like to cook, so be prepared to chop, zest, marinate etc., and you will become a pro at mise en place (I watch too many cooking shows). Since march, I have cooked 141 meal kit meals, yes I count them, it’s part of the experiment, lol.
My experiment results…
Seriously amazing!! I have changed how I cook, my spice cabinet is overflowing with new spices I love, and the best thing yet, no leftovers. Out of almost all 13 companies I tried, the ingredients were fresh, good sized portions and worth a try, I have listed the good and bad for each company.
Make note!! If your try a meal kit company, make sure to pause or cancel for the next few weeks, or you will receive a kit the following week. Always use a coupon, never pay full price. The coupons are easy to find, if you know someone who uses a meal kit, they can send you a referral code with a coupon and they also get a big discount on their next kit. Many companies are very generous and allow you to send friends free meal kit boxes, I have sent many. Almost every company, when I pause my account, send me a great coupon to start back up, win win. I am currently rotating between Dinnerly and EveryPlate and receiving a kit every week.
The companies I tried:
- Marley Spoon
- Tiller and Hatch
- Cook Unity
- Blue Apron
- Purple Carrot
- Green Chef
*The company names are not active links, this post was not for self promotion, just a fun experiment I wanted to share.
Marley Spoon: This is Martha Stewart’s main meal kit company and it is my favorite. They have ingredients that other companies don’t have, like chinese broccoli, and different types of fish. They are not great about extending big coupons to anyone but new customers, and the other coupons still make this an expensive company. Some of the amazing meals I ordered were Broken Pork Dumpling Stir Fry, Beef Mee Goreng Noodle Stir-Fry with Mini Peppers & Broccoli, and Basil-Butter Pork Chops with Tomatoes, Corn & Zucchini. $8.99/serving
Dinnerly: This company is also owned by Martha Stewart, her low end version of Marley Spoon. This company is great, I get the great flavors of the more expensive company and stay in my budget. I pause my account and in 24 hours there is a great coupon to come back. This is one of my main go to companies. Last week they delivered Beef fried rice, Home style Chicken and Biscuits, and Steak and Pepper Tacos. $4.99/serving
EveryPlate: This company is owned by HelloFresh and another one of my favorites. They have changed how I cook a burger and that every burger should have jammy onions on it or an aioli. Their spice blends and aioli recipes are wow!! They introduced me to ponzu sauce, pure chipolte powder, and hoison meatballs, to name a few. This weeks menu is Sweet & Spicy Pork Meatballs with Buttery Rice & Garlicky Green Beans, Pork Sausage Stuffed Peppers with Pepper Jack, and Hoisin Pork Sloppy Joes with Pickled Slaw & Potato Wedges (Sloppy joes, meet banh mi). The only down side is variety, they duplicate often and only offer 12 choices, not including the premium meals (you pay extra). $4.99/serving
HelloFresh: This is a good solid company, great spice blends, good portions but a bit pricey for me $8.99/serving
HomeChef: It was a decent company, portions were ok, but the recipes were simple and the flavors were boring. $6.99/serving
Freshly: I didn’t have any intentions on ordering from this company, but Don saw a commercial and really wanted to try it. It wasn’t bad, but it was prepared for you, so I don’t know what they used for ingredients and out of my budget. $9.49/serving
Sunbasket: I have ordered from them a few times, the meals are good, but expensive, so I only order when I get a BIG coupon. Dinners start at $8.99/serving
Tiller and Hatch: This company is unique, the meals are made for a pressure cook, and I love my instant pot. The idea is great, you keep them in your freezer and you have a meal in 30 minutes. They were quite good, but the servings were small, they said 4 servings but it was more like 2. $3.25/serving
Gobble: “Make dinner in 15 minutes”, again, another tv dinner-ish meal kit. They weren’t bad, but I prefer to cook from scratch and know what I am eating and definitely not in my budget. $11.99/serving
CookUnity: They claim “a diverse menu of handcrafted meals”, cooked by New Yorks most talented chefs. We didn’t care for them at all, just a tv dinner and small portions. $9-11.00/serving
Blue Apron: I tried them 2 years ago and tried again, still not a fan. Recipes are complicated and the flavors are just not there. You have to wonder about a company when they offer $50.00 cash back on Ibotta. $9.99/serving
Purple Carrot: They are a plant-based meal kit company and worth a try for vegetarians, but not for us. $11.99/serving
Green Chef: Everything comes chopped, diced and prepped, all you have to do is cook it. We didn’t care for this company, everything seemed bland. $11.99/serving
**The down side to meal kits… The box, which can be recycled, the box liner, varies by company, some you can recycle, some not, but the ice packs. Each company states the liquid in the ice packs is safe to go down your sink, I don’t think I will try that. We have given away many, but over 40 weeks of meal kits? It’s a problem.
If you’re interested in home meal delivery services, the right one is out there for you!
Have you ever tried a meal kit service? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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We are in this together – and we will get through this, together. Be safe