Meal Kits and Subscription Services (Why are They Trending?)

In the past couple of years (and certainly past few years), we’ve seen a major rise in the popularity of meal kits and delivery subscription services, with everyone using them for the convenience factor and the idea of not having to either prepare or clean up as much, and ultimately save on much needed time.

With meal kits and delivery subscription services, there is also a wide variety to pick from, with a high degree of specificity. So if you’re looking to go vegan, or gluten-free, or start on a new Paleo plan, but finding it challenging to make the right choices with grocery shopping alone, the ease of a meal kit plan can take a lot of the hassle out of starting or sticking to a new diet or healthy eating style.

But why do we opt for meal kits rather than simply ordering groceries online, and how does this fit in with our everyday (busy) lifestyles?

Is using a meal kit service a more preferable option to simply ordering foods online, or picking up frozen food options at the grocery store?

And perhaps what is most interesting about meal kits and services on the rise and trending is how they are shaping consumerism and the way we eat. With the rise in vegan diets and gluten-free eating options, we’ve seen a growing number of companies catering to these demographics.

So why are meal kits buzzing, and is it all just hype? We wanted to explore the concept further, and ultimately one can see if the meal kit delivery system is best for their lifestyle and/or family depending on needs.

Meal Kits and Plans: Options and Variety

When using a meal kit or subscription service for the first time, there are a lot of options and variety when it comes to menu and plan options, which is one broad appeal factor (aside from convenience and saving on time and prep).

Many meal kit services offer options for side dishes, full meals, dinners, and snacks, and come fully prepared and seasoned, which is one main advantage over traditional grocery shopping or ordering groceries online.

Additionally, other than getting meals delivered to your door and saving on time and additional preparation, most subscription service meal kits have rotating menus which don’t leave you feeling bored with a single food. A lot of us go to the grocery store with a standard list of all of the usual or same foods to buy per week or month and may end up lacking some variety.

Whether you end up selecting your own meals using a service plan or having the company surprise you based on general preferences (using this option with most plans you can typically change the order prior to shipping if you spot something you dislike), you don’t end up getting bored and can taste-test new cuisines on a regular basis.

In comparison to simply ordering in food, meal kit services are not only much less expensive per serving, they tend to be much healthier. Some plans are specifically geared towards weight loss or maintenance, while others are generally focused on maintaining a healthy diet.

For a lot of us, it can be challenging to even grocery shop even with the use of a list and know exactly what to buy to maximize a balanced and healthy plan per day. So using a service can either do this for you entirely or help to fill in gaps where there’s any confusion (i.e. what should I eat for dinner tonight that’s filling but also healthy and balanced in protein, carbs, and vegetables?)

Meal kits are “trendy” in large part because they take a lot of hassle and guess-work out of food shopping and preparation, while helping us save time in scheduling life and work.

Meal Kits and Plans: The Convenience Lifestyle

One of the greatest, if not determining factors, that we can all cite when taking the plunge and trying out a new meal kit or meal delivery subscription service plan for the first time is the added convenience factor.

Meals are delivered right to your door on a set schedule, eliminating the need for added preparation and even grocery shopping (depending on how frequently you decide to have kits delivered).

In addition to meals arriving directly at your doorstep, you can enjoy other added perks like not having to spend as much time on cleaning and prep, and not having as much confusion if you’re looking for a diet option- whether that means simple healthy eating and calorie counting, or following a more specific plan without having to recheck labels all the time to try and count carbs or eliminate gluten.

While we’ve all come to enjoy dining out and food app options with some of the same added convenience factors, using them every day doesn’t make sense for our health or lifestyles (for most of us) for a lot of reason, hence why the meal kit model has really taken flight.

It’s also an excellent option if you’re part of a busy working couple (or individual) or looking to feed a family on the go to save on time, but also looking to stay healthy without making every night a “takeout food” night.

With meal kits and delivery options, the model itself has become so popular that there are now so many different options to pick from that you can select whichever one is best suited to meet your needs and those of your lifestyle, budget, family, and food preferences.

If you want a gluten-free plan for 4 that arrives every week on a set schedule that’s possible, if you want a plan that is still fresh and healthy for yourself or to send to a family member in college that can be prepared in under 10 minutes or using a microwave alone, that’s also possible.

The “convenience lifestyle” of meal kit services has become part of their main appeal, but you as the consumer can dictate your own preferences, diet, and scheduling options.

Meal Kits and Plans: Which is Right For Me?

Ultimately the plan that is right for you comes down to your own personal dietary preferences, the size of your family (or if you’re looking to just feed yourself and yourself and a partner), and your budget.

If you’re looking for a vegan options that are fresh and healthy, we’d recommend Purple Carrot or Veestro.

If you’re seeking a weight loss type plan with your own personal consultant, options like Jenny Craig Meal Kits or Sakara (this one is vegan and organic) are excellent choices, but can also be on the pricier end of the spectrum.

Top Paleo Plans include Pete’s Paleo and Eatology, and ButcherBox is also a great option if you’re looking for top quality cuts of meat and freshly prepared bacon without any added hormones or antibiotics.

Some of our top picks for all types of diets and plans that rank high in terms of quality, fresh food options, different diet concerns, and budget are Sun Basket, Home Chef, and Blue Apron. These are all plans and kits we’ve tested that seem suitable for a wide variety of consumers with different dietary needs and preferences, and definitely top our list.

Ultimately, whichever plan you opt for should be whichever best suits your lifestyle, dietary needs, and budget, and you can read through all of our reviews to get a better sense on each plan and if or how it may work for you.

Beverly joined MFS with a diverse breadth of experience in writing and digital marketing. Throughout the years of placing recipes on MFS, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of “subscription boxes” for the cooking/food market. It was then that I decided to also include my own personal review of these subscriptions on MFS.

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