A report on NBC’s Today show highlighted the many meal kit delivery services that are popping up everywhere, and while they are quite convenient it had me asking the question: are they too costly?
For those who don’t know, meal kit service companies work like this: you choose what meal or meals you want and they deliver fresh ingredients that are pre-measured and packaged, along with a step-by-step recipe showing you how to cook them.
Many of these companies have several meal plan options (like dinner and a snack or breakfast, lunch and dinner) and some specialize in specific types of foods (such as Vegan only), so there is a meal service for every lifestyle.
However, this service comes at a cost, both time and money wise, so let’s take a look at the pros and cons of these places.
Top 3 companies: Right Now the top 3 meal services in this field are
·Convenient/ Saves Time: one of the biggest pluses of using a meal delivery service is how convenient it is and the time it saves you.
It eliminates the need to go to the Supermarket after work every day, or from having to do a big weekly shop.
The food comes in refrigerated boxes and can be used a day or two later, so if something comes up no worries about wasting foos, or your money
It also cuts down on meal-prep time since everything is cut, diced and ready to make and most meals can be put together in about 40-minutes.
This is great for people who work long hours or have to do homework with the kids and want to squeeze out more time.
·Fresh Ingredients For Every Lifestyle: From Vegan, gluten-free and the Paleo diet to Italian, Thai or Mexican cuisine, there is a service for every taste and the foods are all fresh.
·Teaches Portion Control/Healthy Living: All meals are properly sized, so no worrying about overeating. This is cool if you are watching your weight or want to learn what the proper portion sizes really look like.
It’s also a good way to start learning to incorporate healthy foods into your everyday diet.
·Can Introduce You to New Foods: most people get into a rut of cooking the same thing over and over because they don’t have the time to look up new recipes.
These services make it easy to try new flavor profiles, allowing you to discover new and tasty alternatives to your usual fare.
Also a good way to get kids to try new foods.
·Costly: The biggest negative with these services are the costs. On average you pay $7-$13 per meal and some companies have minimum order requirements. For example, Marley Spoon, which is geared towards adventurous eaters, charges $8.90/per meal- which is $106.80 for 3 meals a week for 4 people. For a family of four that adds up to over $400 a month- and that’s only using the service 3 times a week!
Other services have even higher prices and require commitments. 2 examples are Freshology, which caters to dieters, costs $47.95/ a day for their 2-week program and Platejoy, which offers customized menu’s and shopping lists, requires a minimum $79 order.
The fact is that you pay for the convenience, so families on a budget will have a hard time using these services regularly.
No, you don’t need or have to use it every day, but if you’re only using it once or twice a month then how convenient is it really?
·Limits Portions: Portion control is great, but what happens if you’re hungry and want a second helping? Only getting one serving can be a drag and inconvenient when you’re looking for some extra sauce or a second serving.
Yes, you can order 2 meals instead of one, but then you’re paying double and if you are trying a new dish that could be a waste of money if you don’t like it.
·Can Be Risky: If you are trying new foods you take a risk of paying for food you may not like- or eat.
Not only is that costly, it can really mess-up your schedule if you then have to prepare and cook something you do want to eat.
Meal kit delivery services are a viable option for those who work long hours, are single or have the budget, but for the average family they are a bit too expensive and limited.
Yes, they offer fresh food at your door- but with a little planning you can buy your own fresh food instead of paying someone to do it for you.
What do you think of these meal delivery services? Weigh in with your opinion and be sure to follow all my latest consumer news reports on Twitter