Meal delivery kits make it possible for you to have quality home-cooked dinners even if you’re not the best cook. These kits arrive right on your doorstep, so you can avoid making trips to the grocery store, searching for the right ingredients, and waiting in long checkout lines.
You can find several different meal box services including Hello Fresh, Plated, and more. In this guide, we compare two popular meal kits: Sun Basket vs. Blue Apron. Which kit has better prices, variety, packaging, and most importantly, taste?
plans start at $7.50 per serving for the largest plan, which includes four meals per week for four people. For a family of four, this would cover four nights of dinner for around $120, and shipping is free for the larger plans. The prices increase if you order fewer meals per week. For a family of four ordering three recipes a week, the cost per meal goes up to $8. If that same family of four only wanted two recipes per week, the cost goes up to $9 per meal. For couples who order three meals per week, they’re going to pay $9 per meal. Couples who only order two meals per week also pay a cost per meal of $9, but this meal plan includes a shipping cost.
Sun Basket is similar to Blue Apron in that the cost is less per meal when you order more meals, and the cost is higher when you order less meals per week. Sun Basket’s lowest cost per meal plan is for the four meals per week plan or for the family plan, in which case the cost per meal is $11 ($3.50 higher than Blue Apron). Sun Basket offers both a “Classic” menu for two, three, or four people, and a “Family” menu for four people. The price per meal on the Family menu is $11 per meal, regardless to the number of meals per week you choose. However with the Classic menu, the cost per meal is $11 for four meal per week, $12 for three meal per week, and $13 for the two-meal-per-week plans. Sun Basket also charges a weekly shipping fee, but shipping is usually free with your first order.
Winner: Blue Apron
Blue Apron offers a vegetarian plan, and the company has also teamed up with Weight Watchers to offer a “Freestyle” plan that includes healthy recipe options. The meal box company is even starting to offer Beyond Meat products, such as plant-based patties. If you have specific food preferences, there are options for those who don’t eat fish or red meat, for instance. The service does not, however, have specific meals or plans for those with food allergies (gluten, nuts, etc.). You have the option to choose which recipes come in your meal boxes each week, and there are about six to eight different unique options to choose from, depending on your plan. Blue Apron also occasionally brings back favorite recipes from previous weeks that are well-liked by customers.
Sun Basket offers a wide variety of different meal plans, including Carb-Conscious, Paleo, Mediterranean, Gluten-free, Lean and Clean, Vegan, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian, Diabetes Friendly, Pescatarian, and Chef’s Choice. The meal box has 18 weekly recipes to choose from, and you can mix and match across the full menu, regardless of your Classic plan. Sun Basket even offers lunch, breakfast, and snacks.
Winner: Sun Basket
Packaging and delivery
Blue Apron delivers throughout the contiguous United States, and most plans ship for free, except for the smaller plan (the two-meal, two-person plan), which includes an $8 shipping cost. The day when your meal box will arrive and your specific shipping options will depend on your area. When your delivery arrives, it comes packaged with thermal insulated liners, so the ingredients stay fresh. Each ingredient is premeasured and prelabeled. You get step-by-step instructions for each recipe, as well as nutritional information. You can skip weeks of Blue Apron if you’d like.
Sun Basket includes a shipping cost of $7, but the first delivery typically includes free shipping. Sun Basket currently ships to most places in the United States (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and parts of New Mexico). Your delivery arrives in recyclable or compostable thermal packaging. Inside of the box contains each meal separated into individual bags. You get preportioned ingredients and step-by-step recipes to guide you through preparing each meal. The ingredients are very high quality — the herbs are bight green, the meat is fresh, and the potatoes are free of dents or rot. You can tell there was a lot of effort put into sourcing each individual item. You can easily skip a week of Sun Basket.
Winner: Blue Apron
Taste and ease of preparation
Some Blue Apron recipes are quick and simple, while others require more advanced cooking techniques. We noticed a few Blue Apron recipes took significantly longer than the advertised time (when you account for prep and cleanup). But overall, Blue Apron is user-friendly, and anyone with very basic kitchen knowledge can follow the instructions on the recipe guides. One thing we really like about Blue Apron is that the meals are all pretty substantial. Even the healthy meals are filling. Blue Apron also consistently delivers exceptionally tasty recipes. On a scale of one to 10, we’d give Blue Apron an 8 for taste.
Sun Basket says on its website that most of its meals take about 30 minutes to prepare and that their recipes are easy-to-follow. We found this to be true for the most part. Two of the recipes, shrimp tacos and pork chops with dried apricot, took us quite a bit longer. We also found that some of the salad recipes weren’t as filling. Sun Basket’s recipes are delicious, though. We’d probably give Sun Basket an 8.5 out of 10 for taste.
Winner: Sun Basket
And the winner is … Blue Apron
Although Sun Basket thrives in many areas — especially in the wide variety of meal offerings, ingredient quality, and taste — it is not enough to outweigh the value that Blue Apron offers. Sun Basket is a just the slightest bit better than Blue Apron in terms of its ingredient quality, but it’s not enough to justify the significantly higher cost. And, since Sun Basket’s lowest Cost plan is $3.50 more than Blue Apron’s lowest cost plan (about 46% higher cost), we consider Blue Apron the superior service for its overall value.
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