Which Meal Delivery Service is the Best? We Analyze Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh
Coming home from work and having a gourmet meal waiting and ready to be cooked sure sounds nice. That’s why meal delivery services have been booming and becoming a popular way to get the family around the dinner table.
Statistics show that about 19% of adults in the US have tried a meal delivery service, and nearly 4 in 10 currently subscribe to one. That’s a decent portion of the population enjoying ready-made home delivery meals.
That popularity has spawned several meal kit choices, and more are popping up regularly. How do you choose? How do you know which meal delivery service is going to have the food your family likes? Which meal delivery service reviews are best? Who has better prices?
We’ll take you through their pricing, meal options, minimum order policy, and the number of recipes they offer. We did a deep dive into meal delivery service reviews just for you, and we’ll bring you the pros and cons of each one.
Are home delivery meals really worth the price? Read on to learn everything about the best meal delivery services, and if they really make your life easier and more delicious!
The list below is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section):
High-Level Comparison Table
|Meal Delivery Service||Price Per Serving |
|Shipping Cost||# of Recipe Options|
|Blue Apron||$9.99||$7.99 for 2 recipes per week, free for 3 or more and all family plans||5-8 choices per week|
|HelloFresh||$8.99||$5.99 – $7.99||“wide variety of menu options”|
|Home Chef||$9.95||$10 for orders under $45, free over that||15|
|Plated||$11.95||$7.95 for orders under $60, free over that||20|
Table: The above list is sorted alphabetically
AdvisoryHQ News Home Delivery Meals Review | How Do Meal Delivery Services Work?
When comparing HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs Plated, we find that the way these meal delivery services work follows a standard format.
- Choose your meal subscription plan
- Get shipped the exact portions needed for each meal
- Follow the instructions to cook it yourself
- Eat and enjoy
The difference between them is in the details. Such as, do they let you skip a week in your subscription? Do they offer vegetarian meals? When considering Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh, which has better meal variety and taste?
The details are where each company begins to come into focus, and as you go through each meal delivery service review (coming up next!), making a choice between Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs Plated vs HelloFresh becomes much easier.
Why Do People Use Meal Delivery Subscriptions?
You might be wondering why people think it’s worth it to have meal planning done through one of the food delivery services instead of just shopping for ingredients from recipes themselves.
It’s quite clear that enough consumers think it’s a good value or there wouldn’t be companies like Blue Apron and the other Blue Apron alternatives competing with each other for a slice of the market share.
Here are some key reasons that home delivery meals have become so popular:
- Encourages the family to cook together
- No waste
- Can try new dishes
- Less expensive than eating out
Now, let’s take a look at each of the four food delivery subscription companies, HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs Plated, to dive into the details of what each offers and how well people like them (or not!).
AdvisoryHQ Blue Apron Review
Blue Apron was founded in 2012 to provide a “meal experience” and to connect people through cooking. They are headquartered in New York City and have fulfillment and operations in California, New Jersey, and Texas.
Blue Apron had been the #1 best meal delivery service in the US for years, but recently companies like Blue Apron have been competing hard for market share. Looking at HelloFresh vs Blue Apron reviews, it seems HelloFresh recently pulled ahead of them after the acquisition.
Blue Apron currently sends out over 8 million home delivery meals per month and has a market share of 35 percent, just behind the Blue Apron alternative, HelloFresh, with 36 percent.
Next, we’re going to look at the plans and pricing structure. When reviewing Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh, each does their meal plans a little differently, so we’ll compare the weekly costs in each meal kit review section. If shipping is charged, it’s included in our price listings.
Blue Apron Prices & Plans:
- Two-Person Plan at 2 recipes per week, $47.95/week
- Two-Person Plan at 3 recipes per week, $59.94/week
- Family Plan (serves 4) at 2 recipes per week, $71.92/week
- Family Plan at 3 recipes per week, $95.88/week
- Family Plan at 4 recipes per week, $119.84/week
Meal Choices for Blue Apron
Often choosing between Blue Apron and companies like Blue Apron, the meal selection is a big consideration. If they don’t have a wide selection of food that you and your family like, then it’s not really worth it.
When doing meal reviews of Plated vs HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef, Blue Apron has impressive chef credentials. Their culinary team includes alumni of some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Michelin-starred Per Se and Blue Hill at Stone Barns.
You can find Blue Apron recipes on their site as well as in their cookbook. Here are four of their meal examples to give you a comparison to use between Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs HelloFresh vs Plated.
- Cheesy Veggie Enchiladas
- Maple-Mustard Roasted Chicken
- Savory Turkey Stir-Fry
- Southern-Style Rice Bowl
What Do Customers Say about Blue Apron?
How do people like the meals and service of Blue Apron compared to Blue Apron alternatives? We’ve searched through user reviews to bring you the highlights, both positive and negative.
Blue Apron Review Highlights – The Positive:
- Most of the meals are delicious, customer service is very helpful
- An elderly couple bored with cooking found the meal kits engaging and delicious
- Recipes are easy to follow, and having the ingredients pre-portioned is great
Blue Apron Review Highlights – The Negative:
- The meals were just “OK” and cancelling the subscription was a hassle
- Started out great, then boxes started to arrive with wilted ingredients and wrong meal selections
- The food is good, but delivery is spotty and doesn’t show up on time
Blue Apron Summary
One thing that keeps Blue Apron and companies like Blue Apron growing is the ease of use of their meal delivery services and that the costs that fall in-between doing it all yourself and going out to eat.
Blue Apron did an extensive survey that compared ordering meals through their service and making the same meals shopping for the ingredients on their own. They found that shoppers spent 60 percent more buying their own ingredients than they would ordering from Blue Apron.
Some things that stand out when comparing Plated vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh vs Blue Apron reviews is that people seem to agree the meals are delicious even if they don’t agree on the service or delivery.
Additionally, Blue Apron has vegetarian options and tries to accommodate special dietary needs. You also can choose your meals from what we found on their sites as about 8 choices for the Two-Person Plan and 5 choices for the Family Plan each week.
AdvisoryHQ HelloFresh Review
HelloFresh has fought its way to the top of the food delivery pack, and in the race of Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh, it’s the one to beat. You’ll also see them proclaim on their website that they’re “America’s most popular meal kit.”
This Blue Apron alternative was founded a year earlier, in 2011, and is based in Berlin, Germany.
When comparing the reach of Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs HelloFresh vs Plated, HelloFresh is the one that serves dinner internationally. They serve 11 markets, which include the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany, France, and additional countries in Europe.
HelloFresh Prices & Plans:
- Classic Plan, 2 people at 2 recipes per week, $47.95/week
- Classic Plan or Veggie Plan, 2 people at 3 recipes per week, $59.93/week
- Classic Plan, 2 people at 4 recipes per week, $77.91/week
- Classic Plan, 4 people at 3 recipes per week, $95.87/week
- Veggie Plan, 4 people at 3 recipes per week, $84.87/week
- Family Plan, 4 people at 2 recipes per week, $68.95/week
- Family Plan, 4 people at 3 recipes per week, $95.87/week
Meal Choices for HelloFresh
If you like choices, then you’ll be happy with the selection of menu items at HelloFresh. When comparing Plated vs HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef, it has one of the largest weekly choice options.
One week’s meal choice for their Classic plan offered 15 entrees to pick from. The Veggie plan had three choices for the week, and the Family Plan offered 6 options. Here’s a taste of what’s on their menu.
- Honey-Glazed Pork Tenderloin
- Oven-Baked Apricot Chicken Legs
- Pulled Chicken Rice Bowls
- Salsa Verde Enchiladas
What Do Customers Say about HelloFresh?
Do the reviews back up their position as the number one food kit delivery service in the US? Here are things that reviewers highlighted about this best food delivery service.
HelloFresh Review Highlights – The Positive:
- Fresh, affordable meals that are a real lifesaver
- It helps us come together from our busy lives to cook and share a meal, easy to follow instructions
- Delicious recipes and any issues are handled immediately by customer service, highly recommend it
HelloFresh Review Highlights – The Negative:
- Initially loved the service, but not happy receiving subpar or unusable produce
- Late delivery and vegetables that aren’t fresh, not happy with the service
- The initial sign up and ordering process was complicated and couldn’t choose my meal options
When comparing HelloFresh vs Blue Apron reviews and ratings, HelloFresh comes out slightly ahead. For example, on ConsumerAffairs, HelloFresh has 4 out of 5 stars (2,553 ratings) and Blue Apron has 2.5 stars (233 ratings).
HelloFresh does not seem to suffer as many delivery issues, though a few reviewers mention unusable fruits and vegetables being received occasionally. Overall reviewers praise the service for affordable prices and great tasting meals.
AdvisoryHQ Home Chef Review
Home Chef was started in 2013 and is based in Chicago, IL. When comparing the start dates of Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs Plated vs HelloFresh, Home Chef is the youngest meal delivery service by a year.
But being slightly later to the market hasn’t stopped its growth. Home Chef delivered about 10 million meals last year and their delivery area covers about 97% of the US population.
Another interesting thing that sets this meal kit service apart when looking at Plated vs HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef is that Home Chef was acquired in 2018 by supermarket chain Kroger.
Home Chef Prices & Plans:
- Standard Plan, 2 people at 2 recipes per week, $49.80/week
- Standard Plan, 4 people at 2 recipes per week, $79.60/week
- 5 Minute Lunch, 2 people at 2 recipes per week, $41.96/week
- 5 Minute Lunch, 4 people at 2 recipes per week, $63.92/week
- Smoothie or Fruit Basket, 2 people at 2 recipes per week, $29.80/week
- Smoothie or Fruit Basket, 4 people at 2 recipes per week, $49.60/week
- Premium Meal, at “Market Price”
Meal Choices for Home Chef
Home Chef notes that their meals sold in stores are are different price points than their subscription service. Their plans can include any number of recipes per week.
As we reviewed Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh, we found that Home Chef was the only one that offered lunches, smoothies, and fruit baskets. That definitely sets them apart from the other meal delivery service reviews.
Here’s a sampling of the recipes they offer.
- Chicken Tetrazzini Risotto
- Coconut Jasmine Rice Bowl
- Pear Almond Chicken Salad
- Sweet and Sour Shrimp Noodles
What Do Customers Say about Home Chef?
Do people think Home Chef is one of the best meal delivery services out there? Or are they disappointed? Overall their score on ConsumerAffairs is 2.9 out of 5, putting them right in-between HelloFresh vs Blue Apron.
Home Chef Review Highlights – The Positive:
- Have cooked about 50 meals so far and they are delicious, the plans are easy on the budget
- While it’s hard to get them by phone, email customer support is excellent, the meals are really good
- Have used over a year and never had a negative experience, dependable and good quality
Home Chef Review Highlights – The Negative:
- Meals were “tasteless” and ingredients were not plentiful enough or fresh
- Contents were received spilled and leaking had to wait on hold forever to rectify the situation
- Produce they received was moldy and the shrinkwrapped fish and beef was already brown in the package
Home Chef Summary
Home Chef receives fairly good reviews, although mixed. Some customers have used them for quite a while and love the food, while others have issues with the quality of their delivery, whether due to spoiled food or damage.
Now that Home Chef is owned by Kroger this definitely gives them a leg up in consumer options when comparing Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs Plated vs HelloFresh, since you can also pick up their meals at the supermarket to try them out.
Their pricing is a little more flexible since they just charge per meal in groups of 2 or 4 at a time, so you can pick how many you want to have per week. You’ve also got the option of Home Chef lunches and their smoothie and fruit basket add-ons.
AdvisoryHQ Plated Review
Plated, headquartered in New York City, was started in 2012 but hit “the big time” two years later when they were featured on the show Shark Tank.
Fast forward to 2017, and Home Chef isn’t the only meal kit delivery service that’s been purchased by a supermarket chain, Plated was bought by Albertsons.
When comparing the market share of Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs HelloFresh, Plated comes in fourth, but that may change now that they’re owned by a large grocery corporation. Plated prices are on the high end of the other meal delivery companies.
Plated Prices & Plans:
- Two-Person Plan at 2 recipes per week, $55.75/week
- Two-Person Plan at 3 recipes per week, $71.70/week
- Three-Person Plan at 2 recipes per week, $67.65/week
- Three-Person Plan at 3 recipes per week, $89.55/week
- Four-Person Plan at 2 recipes per week, $79.60/week
- Four-Person Plan at 3 recipes per week, $119.40/week
Meal Choices for Plated
You can mix and match between 20 different meal choices, and Plated prices also offer dessert too! Those with restricted diets will be happy with their wide range of meal options.
When reviewing HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs Plated special meal options, Plated advertises not only options for vegetarians, but also gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-carb diets.
Here is a sample of their menu items.
- Beef and Roasted Carrot Ragu
- Caprese Chicken
- Kale and Sweet Potato Bowls
- Salmon-Ginger Cakes
What Do Customers Say about Plated?
Do people think Plated prices for their kits are worth it? While they’re not listed on ConsumerAffairs like the other three best meal delivery services, they are rated on Sitejabber, where they get a 3.8 out of 5 stars. Here are a few review snippets.
Plated Review Highlights – The Positive:
- Great food and easy to follow recipes, customer service is also great
- It’s perfect for food lovers, excellent variety of food options and recipes are both for newbies and experienced pros
- Have tried all the other meal kit services, and Plated has the best recipes, food arrives fresh
Plated Review Highlights – The Negative:
- Used to like them, but their quality has dropped and the produce wasn’t as fresh
- Shipments keep getting lost and customer service is no help
- Nearly every meal had rotten food items, it was a real disappointment
Most people feel that Plated prices, which are higher than Blue Apron and most companies like Blue Apron, are well worth it. They get compliments for having great tasting recipes that are easy to cook.
Plated also suffers from spoiled produce deliveries, however, just like many of their competitors. When matching up Plated vs HelloFresh vs Home Chef vs Blue Apron, it seems none of them are immune to occasional shipping and delivery issues.
The dessert offering is unique and not something we’ve seen with the other services. Their restrictive diet options make them an excellent choice for those that have to be careful what they eat.
AdvisoryHQ Review Conclusion | Plated vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs Hello Fresh
Life’s busy, and the best food delivery services are a breath of fresh air for families that still want to cook and eat together in between work, school, and activities. They offer flexible menu options and the ability to order as many or few meals per week as you like.
When comparing Home Chef vs Blue Apron vs HelloFresh vs Plated, all have loyal customers and all also suffer from things like hard tomatoes, wilted produce, and leaking containers. Those living farther from distribution outlets undoubtedly have the most issues.
Another thing all four share is that most customers agree their recipes are easy to make, though everyone has their preference.
When it comes to price comparison of HelloFresh vs Blue Apron vs Home Chef vs Plated, HelloFresh is the lower-priced of the bunch, with Blue Apron and Home Chef around the same, and Plated slightly higher.
All four meal delivery services must be doing something right because the market for their kits keeps growing. Most offer a discount when you first try them, so you may want to try more than one to see which one fits your tastes best.
When it comes to dinner and family, we could all use a little more together time and a little less stress, and meal kits offer a way to achieve both.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer: Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info. Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.