Comparing Meal Kits, Prepared Meals, and Grocery Subscriptions: The Best Deal in 2023?

In need of kitchen assistance, which delivery service to choose is the first question on your mind. While there are numerous options available in 2023, all promising convenience, the choice can be overwhelming. Should you sign up for grocery delivery, meal kits, or a premade meal subscription to make mealtime more convenient and avoid inflating already high takeout bills?

After years of testing dozens of meal delivery services, the general pros and cons, cost, convenience, and the general ease of use of these food delivery services have become apparent. Numerous services assist the home cook who is time-strapped, with one potentially being better suited to your routine, habits, taste, and budget. For a fair comparison, let’s look at three of the most popular categories: meal kits, prepared meals, and grocery delivery.

Meal kits offer all the ingredients necessary to make a dinner for two or more people. They help you easily prepare homemade dinners with popular options like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Sunbasket, and Gobble. Prepared meal subscriptions, on the other hand, provide fully cooked meals that only need to be heated before consumption, with popular services including Fresh N Lean, Mosaic Foods, and CookUnity. Grocery delivery services like Amazon Fresh, FreshDirect, Instacart, Hungryroot and Thrive Market offer a variety of food and drink items. Some subscription services will send a curated selection of groceries based on your preference.

When considering which service offers the best solution for simplifying both cooking and grocery shopping, it is important to consider factors such as convenience, cost and value, variety and versatility, healthiness, and overall taste and quality.

Prepared meals offer the biggest time-saver, but they are also the most expensive option. Cooking at home using meal kits offers a significant shortcut, especially with services that specialize in quick and easy meals. Grocery delivery saves time and energy spent at the store, but without much culinary creativity, although it provides limitless variety and flexibility in the kitchen.

Meal kits and grocery delivery offer the best value per serving, with the latter being the most versatile and healthy. Prepared meal services, however, are typically the most expensive with the least number of options, but they can be specifically tailored to dietary needs.

Taste is subjective, but cooking at home with meal kits or from scratch using grocery delivery services generally offers better-tasting meals. While, for someone who lacks the desire to cook or the aptitude for it, a prepared meal service offers an alternative.

In the end, finding the most effective solution to simplify the cooking and grocery shopping process will largely depend on individual needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Each type of food delivery service offers its unique advantages and can cater to different preferences, limitations, and culinary requirements.


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