Which Meal Subscription Service is the Best?

This is the conclusion of a series offering reviews of the top meal delivery services, plus tips and tricks on how to get these subscriptions shipped straight to your kitchen for a fraction of the advertised price.  Posts include A Low Price for PlatedHow to Hack Hello Fresh, Home Chef Coupons and Cash Back, and Save Big on Blue Apron.  Here’s how these competitors compared:

Best value:  The pre-discounted advertised price for Blue Apron’s two person, three meal per week plan is $59.94.  Through Ebates I was able to redeem a $30 off coupon and a $7.50 cash back rebate, for an adjusted total cost of $22.44 or $3.74 per meal.

Honorable mentions:  The pre-discounted advertised price for Home Chef’s two person, three meal per week plan is $59.70.  But after redeeming a generous 20% cash back rebate from MrRebates.com, plus an automatic $30 credit for first time customers, my adjusted cost was $23.76 or $3.96 per meal.

The pre-discounted advertised price for Hello Fresh’s two person, three meal per week plan is $59.94.  I scored $25 off through MrRebates.com by using the coupon code FRESHNEW50HF, which is advertised as $50 off your first two orders but still worked for this single purchase.  After my coupon redemption and a $5.94 cash back rebate, my adjusted total cost was $29 or less than $4.84 per meal.

Worst value:  The pre-discounted advertised price for Plated’s two person, three meal per week plan was the highest at $72.  I was unable to find a cash back rebate through Ebates or MrRebates.com, or points and miles for purchasing through any other shopping portal. I used Google to find a $30 off coupon code, which is better than their advertised offer of your first night free, valued at $24. After coupon redemption, my total cost was $42 or $7 per meal.


Most family size and number of meal per week options:  Home Chef offers plans for two, four or six people.  Any of those family sizes can pick between two and six meals delivered per week.

Honorable mention: Plated offers two, three or four meal per week plans for families of two, three or four.

Least family size and number of meal per week options:   Blue Apron’s only two-person plan includes three meals per week.  For a family of four, you have the choice of receiving two or four meals per week.

For two people, Hello Fresh offers plans that include three, four or five meals per week. But, families of four only have the option of three meals per week.  And if you choose their vegetarian plan, regardless of whether you’re ordering for two or four people, you are limited to three meals per week.


Best menu options:  With Plated, each week you can pick between eleven different meals, seven unique to that week, as well as four “Encore Recipes,” top-rated customer picks available all month.

Home Chef offers ten different recipe choices per week, and you are able to select meals by dietary preference (low-calorie and low-carb) as well as choose to avoid foods that may contain common allergens or aren’t permissible for consumption by certain faiths (soy, nuts, gluten, dairy, mushrooms, red meat, pork and shellfish).

Honorable mention:  There are six Hello Fresh meal options from which to choose every week and you are given complete freedom when it comes to choosing your menu.

Worst menu options:   With Blue Apron, you have six options, but aren’t given complete freedom when it comes to choosing your menu.  Based on your initial selection some second and third choice options may be blocked, which I assume is to keep the customer from choosing the three meals with the costliest ingredients.


Most delivery dates available:  Hello Fresh delivers on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Honorable mentions:  You can choose Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (residential only) delivery options for Blue Apron.

Home Chef can arrive on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

Fewest delivery dates available:  Plated only delivers on Wednesday and Saturday.

When you looking strictly at the cost, Blue Apron was the clear winner.  But they didn’t offer the flexibility of Hello Fresh, Home Chef and Plated, when it came to menu selection, delivery dates or family size.  If  you’re thinking about committing beyond the introductory period, those benefits may be just as important.  Bon appétit!

All opinions are exclusively my own.  Prices and available discounts in these posts are current as of their publication date.  I personally paid for all meal delivery service shipments referenced, and all opinions are unbiased and completely my own.  I may receive a commission if you sign-up for these services, as well as Ebates or MrRebates.com using my embedded referral links.  (Please and thank you!)

8 comments

  1. Nice rundown! We’ve been using Lauren Greutman’s ALDI Meal Plans and they rock! Buy the PDF one time and then follow the shopping list at ALDI and away you go! We’ve used them 3-4 rounds and have been successful with them as they provide great tasting meals as well as for a great price ($150-200 for 20 meals for 4).

    1. Thank you for stopping by Steven! And thanks for sharing a new resource I’ve never even heard of! I will definitely check out what Lauren Greutman has on an upcoming menu. Thanks again!! Amy

  2. Hi, great info, Id be excited to try these out when our baby comes in April to avoid shopping trips.
    Did you run into any issues with being charged after the introductory period? How did you manage your introductory periods?

    1. Hi John! Thanks for stopping by!! And yes, a great idea for a family with a new baby! Do you have a universal registry? (I remember those were just getting started when I got married in 2013.) If so, I wonder if you could add Blue Apron or other gift cards to your universal registry?

      As for cancellation, I just made sure to immediately log-on and cancel my subscription after unpacking a box the day it arrived. Doing it that way, I had no issues, other than the occasional search to find the exact (and sometimes hidden) link to cancel my account!

      Congrats on the new little one!

  3. I have seen these advertised but thought them to be not something I would be interested it.

    The Blue Apron intro price seems like something I might try out, though. Thanks for breaking down the deal.

    Any winner on the taste after you prepared them?

    1. Really, they were all very good! In looking back at all the dishes I made, the two companies that had the three consistently most delicious meals were Hello Fresh and Plated. I would credit that in large part to having the most options from which to choose, so that I wasn’t stuck with being forced to pick a meal (or two) that I simply wasn’t excited about or didn’t appeal to my personal taste. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting!

  4. Great series! Alyssa and I have been considering a service like this since we’re both working professionals. Meal planning and grocery shopping can take away a lot of our Sunday and the alternative of eating out every night would leave us fat and broke. So far we’ve chosen a cheaper option of weekly recipes from emeals.com and our grocery store’s free online order/pickup service. Maybe someday soon we’ll give one of these a shot.

    Thanks for putting together such a great list!

    1. Absolutely Ryan! Thanks for reading! I’d be interested in your thoughts on eMeals. One of the things I liked about the meal subscription boxes was the inclusion of pre-portioned fresh herbs and condiments that I don’t normally keep in my fridge or pantry. Those are always the costs that add up at the grocery store when I’m cooking from scratch! Thanks again, Amy

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