A meal kit is a prepacked, chilled box that arrives at your door with every ingredient, that you need to whip up dinner, except basics like salt and pepper.
Meal kits are convenient, but are they fresh? Healthy? Affordable? Consumer Reports food experts evaluated five national services: Blue Apron, Green Chef, HelloFresh, Plated, and Purple Carrot. The testers prepared and tasted a week’s worth of dinners from each service, and found that 24 of 27 meals were very good to excellent. The ingredients arrived fresh, and the meals took close to the claimed time to prepare.
HelloFresh was a standout for its dishes, like Blackened Tilapia with Blistered Vegetables. Of the meals tested, HelloFresh averaged the lowest in fat, calories, and sodium.
Green Chef features all organic ingredients. Their recipes, like Veggie Polenta Fajita and Steak Tapenade with Broccoli Slaw, feature lots of veggies used in creative ways.
Consumer Reports also asked 57 meal kit users about their experiences. Nearly every one said they liked trying different flavors. And while the cost is about $10 to $12 per portion, the majority of meal kit users surveyed said the dinners are a good value.
The fact is that Americans throw away 28 percent of the produce they buy. Meal kits come with exactly what you need for a recipe, so there’s no waste.
If you want to give meal kits a try, shop around. Many can be tailored to your palate, whether you’re carnivorous, vegan, vegetarian, or have a family to feed.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports’ website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org .