Meal kit services fail to deliver on value

By Francesca Maietta | Reporter

Nowadays meal kit services seem to be the new norm for so many people of different ages: families, college students, young professionals, etc. There are so many available; such as Hello Fresh, Plated, Home Chef, Sun Basket and Freshly, just to name a few. So, how does one choose? While no doubt there are benefits to these services, are they really worth it?

Who doesn’t love cooking made simple? But is it actually simple? Sure, the meal kits are delivered straight to your door, so saving time by not having to drive to the supermarket and pick out your groceries is a plus. With going to the store and getting your own ingredients, you also risk having leftover food you might not use again if it is just for one particular recipe. It’s also hard to buy in small quantities for just yourself. That’s where these meal services are helpful because they give you just enough of the ingredients for the recipe, so you don’t have any left over. This can also help with portion control. Having just the necessary amount can help with not overeating or making too much food.

It’s also fun to learn new recipes and techniques, and you can save all the recipes for you to make again in the future. In addition, it’s a nice way to add some variety to your diet, so you aren’t eating the same three meals every week. But, most of the recipes require way too many complicated and unnecessary steps. To make just one meal requires a sink full of pots, pans and dishes. Some of the meals I’ve made with Hello Fresh even require all four of the stove burners to be on at the same time for tedious little steps like roasting herbs. The majority of the people who order these services are not trying to be professional chefs, and often these recipes seem like it requires a culinary degree to complete them when it should be the opposite.

That being said, almost everything is available at our fingertips today. One could literally just Google the specific recipe they want to cook and get all the steps and directions from there just as easily as reading the recipe they send you in the box.

While the price per meal goes down with different plans, it still averages out to about $10 per meal with Plated, and the others are very close to the same price. Is the culinary convenience worth the cost? You’re still paying restaurant prices and having to do all the dirty work — the cooking and the cleaning.

The final verdict: save your money and go to a restaurant where you will pay the same, but where someone else will do the cooking and the cleaning.

Francesca is a senior communication major from Weston, Fla.