With our busy modern lives, we outsource many of the tasks we used to do. One of the tasks many people are now outsourcing is meal prepping. By using meal prep companies to prepare, cook and deliver your meals you save a lot of time. There’s no shopping, no preparing, no cooking and very little washing up.
It’s a modern day solution to a long-standing problem. With our jobs taking up so much of our time, many of us just can’t face cooking at the end of a working day. As a result many people rely on takeaways and their health suffers as a result.
The service that meal prep companies offer is fantastically simple but very effective. You can order meals based on a number of factors – cuisine, calories, dietary requirements etc and the prepared food company will cook and deliver your meals to your door.
They’ll be delivered ready for storage. This means you can pick the meal you fancy on a given night and heat it up quickly. It’ll ready for you to eat in minutes – it’s that simple! It’s a way of ensuring you can maintain a healthy diet without any of the effort it takes to shop and cook healthy food.
There are lots of meal prep companies around now, so in this article we’ll outline a number of the biggest and most popular ones, providing an outline of the service each one offers and where we can, an idea of the prices you’ll be expecting to pay for their meal prep service.
BistroMD is a healthy food prep company with a strong emphasis on weight loss. Where some people use meal prep companies for convenience, others use them for weight loss. With BistroMD, you can select a meal prep planned customised to help you lose weight.
The service is designed and run by a specialised team of nutritionists and doctors. They’re a highly qualified team and their meal prep service is based around low calorie, high taste meals.
They are very proud of their commitment to high quality fresh and healthy ingredients. When you become a customer of BistroMD you will undergo a diet analysis and select your weight loss program.
The two main packages offered are the 5 and 7 day weight loss plans. You select your plan then customise your meals – you pick what you’d like to eat from their extensive menu.
BistroMD offers specialised dietary programs too. These include gluten free, diabetic, menopause and silver cuisine for ageing customers.
BistroMD have been well-covered in the media and are very successful. Expect to pay $135 for the full 7 day program and $112.46 for the 5 day program. For lunch and dinner options only, you pay $112.46 for the 7 day and $89.96 for the 5 day.
Medifast are a weight loss meal delivery company who provide calorie-controlled meal packages to subscribers. They claim to have been recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980 and the website has a definite ‘medicinal’ feel to it.
The Medifast approach sees you supplied with large food packages that you eat your way through. With Medifast there are no claims about the health or the quality of the ingredients, this is purely a weight loss plan through low calorie eating.
They do cater for gluten allergies, diabetics, vegetarians, nursing moms and the over 65’s.
This is less of a traditional prepared food delivery company and more of a low-calorie food delivery service. Don’t assume what you’re buying is freshly prepared and cooked meals here, you’re buying a package of calorie controlled foods that you can consume at a time that suits you. If healthy living is your thing, Medifast probably isn’t for you.
The packages available vary in size and extras. There are Flex and Go! Packages but essentially each package offers a similar product. These are available in 14 day trial pack and 30 day full package sizes.
Expect to pay $149 or $329 depending on whether you buy the 14 or 30 day Go! package. If Flex is more your thing, you pay $149 for 14 day trial, $299 for the 30 select kit. For $399 you can have the Complete Kit, which includes a free blender.
Blue Apron is one of the best meal prep companies in US. What Blue Apron do is send you a recipe and all of the ingredients. You do the cooking, but they take the work out prepping because much of it is done for you!
This isn’t about weight loss or calorie-controlled diets. Blue Apron is for people who love to cook but perhaps don’t have the time to shop or the creativity to come up with new and interesting dishes.
Blue Apron has an ethical edge to the business. They want to work with farmers to improve their returns. They also want to improve the environment and reduce food waste. If the environment and animal welfare are important to you, Blue Apron may be for you.
When it comes to the menu, Blue Apron offers a huge selection. You can pick and choose meals to add to your plan. The website also offers ideas for home cooking. There’s a great chance you’d never usually cook most of the dishes on the menu!
Blue Apron offer two plans – the person or family plan. You can specify your dietary requirements and they’ll send the ingredients to you based on your preferences.
Prices start at $8.99 per serving of a meal. All ingredients are high quality and delivered to your door. All you need to do is follow their cooking instructions to eat great food every night!
Munchery is a prepared meal delivery service with very high standards. They pride themselves on using the freshest ingredients and well-trained teams of chefs. The ingredients are sourced for their quality, seasonality and taste. Where possible, the produce is organic, meats are antibiotic free and fish is line caught.
Munchery is one of the best meal prep companies who are working hard to prove pre-prepared meals can be great. With their emphasis on chef-prepared meals and great ingredients, it’s a shift from the pure weight loss prep of other companies.
The meals are cooked and chilled very quickly. This retains freshness, makes for easier storage and allows the convenience of being able to reheat and eat the meals at a time that suits you best.
What is interesting with Munchery is their on-demand meal delivery service. In certain cities, you can place your order and have it with you within 40 minutes of the order being placed.
If you prefer to cook your own dishes, Munchery offers a cooking kit instead – they provide the ingredients and the cooking instructions, you do the rest. It’s the joy of cooking without the work of prepping!
The price varies depending on the meal. For ready-to-eat, you’ll pay $8-$20. You’ll be paying $5-$7 for a kids meal. Sides and desserts cost $4-$8 and the cooking kits cost $20-$30 and contain two portions.
Home Bistro is among the best meal prep companies with a strong emphasis on weight loss. In this case though, they use better ingredients in their meals than some of the other providers – although the meals are low calorie, they still look and taste good. Using the Mediterranean diet as their basis, the meals are delivered fully cooked and ready to reheat.
There are 77 meals in their database and you can select the meals individually, so you order exactly what you want to. The meals are also separated into dietary requirements such as paleo, gluten free, dairy free, low carb etc.
The website states that all of their meals are less than 700 calories and are low in sodium. This is particularly important if you’ve been told to lose weight or watch your salt intake. It’s a convenient way to force weight loss if you know exactly how many calories there are per meal.
The Home Bistro meats are from specially selected farms to ensure quality. This is also to ensure high standards of animal welfare, ticking the ethical food box.
The price for the service depends on the package. The average individual meal price is $14, but there are discounts available with the package deals. The 10 meal kit starts at around $150 and the 20 meal kit around $270. There are also occasional discounts that will save you 20%.
The Martha & Marley Spoon meal prep company is one home-cook service. It works like this – you select the dishes you like the look of and they send you the ingredients. You cook the dish at home to your taste and your liking.
Marley Spoon are in partnership with Martha Stewart – you can cook her best recipes at home using the specific ingredients. The menu database is impressive – there are 18,000 recipes from the Martha Stewart archives for the chefs to draw from. This means the recipes are varied and interesting – certainly not the sort of food you’d normally cook at home.
The ingredients served up in the boxes here are absolutely top quality, as you’d expect. They’re also portioned correctly for the recipes, so there is no food waste within the packages. This makes clean up easy – there’s no wastage to store!
In each box you have a recipe card that shows you how to cook the meals and the ingredients are separated into groups for each dish, making your life easier.
The weekly delivery is free, managed by an app and can be cancelled at any time. You only buy when you want to and can suspend your subscription at any time. Expect to pay around $10 per average portion. A minimum box size is 4 portions, (or two adult meals for two).
The concept of Takeout Kit is simple enough – design meals using great flavours from around the globe. Make the ingredients in the box last for two months rather than one week so you have longer to cook with them.
The Takeout Kit meal prep company is like many of the others when it comes to the offering – you pick the meals you like, they send you the ingredients. You cook the meal. The USP here is the shelf life of their produce. This gives you freedom and flexibility when it comes to your meal planning. Cook when you want to, not when the ingredients force you to.
Takeout Kit meals are also generally bigger – each kit contains all of the ingredients to make a 4 serving portion. This is different to most, where portions are limited to two people. If you’re cooking for a family, this is really helpful and cost effective.
Like most of the major meal prep services, Takeout Kit will cater for allergies and specific dietary requirements. You just have to specify them when you place an order with the service.
The subscription plans come in a one, three, six and twelve month offering. The price depends on the package, as you’d expect. One month starts at $32, three months at $93, six months at $180 and a year at $348. The average price per portion is just shy of $8.
Freshly is a prepared meal delivery company focussing on great tasting, healthy food using great ingredients. Their website proudly states their meals are all cooked by chefs and are delivered fresh, never frozen. Each meal can be re-heated in 3 minutes or less.
Freshly offer a number of choices, with a constantly changing menu of 30 meals, all of them gluten free. In fact, Freshly also offer a number of meal plans, including gluten free, paleo, low carb, vegetarian, high protein and low calorie.
The meals are free from refined sugars and all natural. There are no hydrogenated fats, any artificial ingredients and preservatives. The emphasis here is really on the natural foods – they even have an 85 ingredient ‘banned’ list!
The typical meal from Freshly is 14 ounces, which is bigger than most meal prep companies. They also contain around 30 grams of protein and 500 calories, making them a healthy, high protein and low calorie choice. The company is very proud of their clean ingredient credentials, making it perfect for the clean eaters.
Price wise, again the cost is dependent on the package. The four meals per week package is $49.99. The six meals per week is $59.99. For nice meals per week you’ll pay $89.99 and finally 12 meals per week will cost you $107.99.
HelloFresh is a food prep company that provides the ingredients and lets you do the cooking. They offer the service across a number of different plans – the Classic, Veggie and Family plan. They even cater for students, making life a little easier for those studying!
The menus are inventive and interesting, meaning you’ll cook food you normally wouldn’t eat at home. The meals use fantastic ingredients and the food boxes are delivered with the ingredients already portioned out, reducing food waste.
The food boxes are delivered to your door containing all of the ingredients you need, ready portioned. The box also contains a recipe card for each meal, taking you step-by-step through the cooking process. The boxes are very well lined, keeping the ingredients both fresh and protected throughout the delivery process.
The package you select is very flexible – you specify the number of people you want to feed and how many days you want to feed them. The subscription can be cancelled or paused at any time. Your subscription is managed online or via an app on your phone.
The price depends on the package, but typically is $9.99 per serving for the Classic and Veggie plan. The family plan is slightly cheaper at $8.74 per serving.
Plated is a prepared meal delivery service that delivers ingredients to your door. The packages contain pre-prepared ingredients and a cooking instruction card. You simply follow the guidelines and cook, turning out a great meal without any of the fiddly prep work!
The Plated menus are full of seasonal ingredients, sourced from farms. The meat and fish are high quality and high welfare. The menus rotate weekly and are varied in terms of difficulty and time. The dishes vary from 20 minute cooking times through to nearly an hour!
Plated offers more in the way of variety than some of the other meal prep companies. Most of the others don’t offer a dessert menu, whereas Plated does. The plans are meat, seafood, vegetarian and dessert.
If you are struggling to cook the meals, Plated have an on-call support team to guide you through the process over the phone. Any question on the meal prep, just call and ask them for their help!
Plated, like most others is a subscription service. You sign up and pick your meals from a series of plans, each for different numbers. You can pick and choose your plan or delivery depending on your requirements.
The plans are varied – they include 2, 3 or 4 servings per night and you can have these 2, 3 or 4 nights per week. The plan prices are $11.95 for the 2 servings or $9.95 for the 3 or 4 servings per night.
Best Meal Prep Companies Summary
The growth in meal prep companies has brought a wide variety of offers to the market. Some companies exist as a great way to help you lose weight. They do this by providing you with calorie-controlled meals. You don’t have to show self-restraint, they do it for you!
Other meal prep companies tick a convenience box – saving you the time and effort of cooking. With our busy modern lives, it’s easy to rely on convenient options such as a meal prep service.
The third type of prepared food company is the ‘we-prep-you-cook’ model. These guys give you interesting dishes and great ingredients. They prep them for you – all you need to do is cook. The emphasis here isn’t on weight loss, it’s on great food delivered to your door.
Whatever your requirements are, take a look at this list and I’m sure you’ll find the one for you. If you’re too busy to cook, can’t rely on self-restraint to lose weight or stuck for dinner ideas, it could be a life-changer for you!