Meal delivery services provide fresh or frozen prepared foods for a fee. These services offer meals in packaged plans or individually. Many are oriented toward weight loss, but some are just for individuals and families with busy schedules.
Meals are generally ordered and customized online and then delivered to the customer’s door. The latest trend is services that delivering ingredients and recipes for customers to cook the meals themselves.
Features that matter most?
The price of a meal or plan is a major factor for most consumers when choosing a meal delivery service. Prices vary from vendor to vendor but usually fall between $8 to $10 per person per meal.
- Discounts for order size: Most services offer discounts on larger orders. This means if you purchase a monthly or weekly plan, you are more likely to receive discounted prices than if you purchase meals individually.
- Shipping: Many services provide free or discounted shipping if certain requirements are met, such as if the order is over a certain dollar amount or if the customer purchases a monthly meal plan.
Many meal-delivery services offer their meals based on a plan. This means that you receive multiple meals at once for a flat fee.
- Frequency: The frequency with which you need to order depends on what type of plan you have. Some services offer weekly plans, while others offer meals as a package for an entire month.
- Meals per day: Many plans give you the option of how many meals you want per day. You can choose from dinner-only options to three-meal options with snacks included.
Some meal services are catered to specific weight-loss plans or even dietary restrictions, which can be especially helpful for people who live far from larger grocery stores.
- Weight loss: Weight-loss plans include meals of specific portions and food types that are designed to help the customer lose weight.
- Restrictive diets: You can find meal plans that are friendly toward diabetics or those with other dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or organic.
Meal-delivery services often offer customization options to give more flexibility and control to the customer.
- Meal swapping: For customers who are purchasing a monthly or weekly plan, the customer chooses a pre-made plan, but can swap out meals or portions of a meal and replace them with their preferred dishes so that they only receive foods they enjoy. Food services that sell meals individually will often let customers swap out the included side dishes or desserts as well.
- Create your own plan: This option allows customers to pay the flat fee of a plan but choose all their own meals, rather than have them chosen by the service.
Frozen or fresh
Meal-delivery services typically ship their food frozen, but some offer fresh food, either for you to heat up or cook yourself.
- Frozen: Since many meal plans are month-long plans, the food is generally frozen for convenience, longevity and freshness.
- Fresh: Fresh (non-frozen) meals are available from some services. The prices for these meals are generally a little higher, and they can only be purchased individually or on a weekly plan.
Some vendors require a weekly or monthly commitment, while others do not.
- Commitment: This option requires customers to commit to a weekly or monthly plan that is automatically renewed.
- Non-commitment: This option means that customers only order when they want to order, and they are not charged until they place an order at the time of their choosing.
What are different types of meal delivery services?
This is the most common type of meal-delivery service. It offers meals that are specially portioned and designed so that customers are able to meet their weight-loss goals.
This option provides meals that are compatible with a paleo diet. This means that meals are generally high in protein and gluten-free.
Gluten-free plans cater to those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Meals may be prepared in a nondedicated facility, however.
Some meal services provide diabetic-friendly meals. These foods are low in sugar to help diabetics maintain consistent blood-sugar levels.
Some services offer meals for special occasions such as holidays or family events. Rather than a plan, these are a one-time purchase designed to feed a number of people rather than an individual.
Some services ship fresh ingredients, along with a recipe. Customers then cook their own meals.
Who’s it for?
This group of consumers is actively trying to lose weight, and meal-delivery services can help make the process easier. The preplanned meals are designed to be balanced and healthy so that consumers don’t have to worry about counting calories or determining a food’s nutritional value.
Some people’s schedules do not leave them with much time to cook or prepare meals, and hiring a personal chef may not be financially viable. For these customers, meal-delivery services are helpful as they provide meals in advance that can be reheated or cooked whenever they prefer.
People with restrictive diets
For people with diabetes, gluten sensitivities or other restrictive dietary needs, some meal-delivery services offer foods that cater to these individual needs. This makes meal planning simpler because consumers do not have to come up with new meal ideas or wonder about a meal’s compatibility with their health restrictions.
There two good companies in the market:
2. Vegin’ Out