It’s easy to see why the meal delivery service industry has exploded over the last few years. As life gets busier, people become more health-conscious, and the convenience of door-to-door delivery becomes the norm with new meal delivery services popping up all the time.
To date, Home Chef is one of the most successful meal kit delivery services in America, largely due to its varied and customizable dishes.
Plated, on the other hand, discontinued its subscription-based delivery service in 2019. However, you can still find the meal kits in Albertsons grocery chains under the retailer’s private label, Own Brands. You’ll also find the recipes on the Albertsons subsidiary websites.
Plated was founded by two Harvard Business School grads looking for a way to eat healthily despite their long days on Wall Street. It was one of the most high-profile meal delivery services for a brief period, and was later acquired by Albertsons, where it sold meal kits both in-store and via subscription, until deciding to focus exclusively on the former.
A partner of Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, Home Chef products are also available in grocery stores as well as by subscription.
To learn about the other companies that have survived the competition, check out our list of the Best Meal Delivery Services.
Vegetarian, Calorie-Conscious, Carb-Conscious
Around 20 recipes per week
599 recipes in total
$6.99 per serving
$5.19 per serving
$7.99 to $13.99
15 to 40 minutes
Home Chef invites you to choose a plan based on either your dietary preferences or the amount of time you want to spend in the kitchen, with options that include Fresh and Easy no-prep meals and Fresh Start carb- and calorie-conscious dishes.
Use the filters on Home Chef’s main menu to see the dishes that are ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, or the vegetarian, low-calorie, and low-carb options.
The stand-out Customize It feature allows you to swap, upgrade, or double-up on the protein for most of its meals. You can also buy extra portions of meat and seafood a la carte.
If you’re a picky eater or have food sensitivities, you can choose from a short list of ingredients to exclude from your menu. Note that dairy is not one of the options here, so if you are vegan or lactose-intolerant, you may want to check out an alternative service like Purple Carrot or Green Chef.
While you no longer have the option to subscribe to Plated, you can still find meat, fish, and vegetarian meal kits in selected grocery stores. Obviously, though, these aren’t customizable, so you’ll need to check that the ingredients meet your dietary preferences.
Winner: Home Chef
Compared to some other meal delivery services, Home Chef offers a very respectable number of recipes each week, with around 20 new meal kits and prepared meals to choose from. Most of its dishes are meat-based, family-friendly, American-style meals – like the Country-Fried Pork Medallions & Pepper Gravy with Southern-Style Bacon-Braised Green Beans.
If you’re specifically looking for an international-inspired culinary adventure, other meal delivery services, like Sunbasket, may be a better fit.
As a bonus, Home Chef also occasionally offers some tasty extras, including single servings of meat, chicken, and seafood, bulk protein packs, desserts, bread, and even ready-made breakfast.
While Plated still offers a selection of delicious meal kits in-store and boasts a remarkable 599 recipes online, there’s no way to know what’s in stock before you get there.
Winner: Home Chef
With prices starting at just $6.99 per serving, Home Chef is one of the most budget-friendly meal delivery services on the market. You can order two, four, or six servings up to six times a week, with the price per plate dropping the more you order.
While its high level of customization is part of what makes Home Chef so popular, it also has the potential to drive up the cost. Some ingredient swaps won’t cost you anything, but if you want to double up on scallops or “upgrade” from chicken breast to sirloin steak, you’ll have to pay the price.
Home Chef charges between $7.99-$13.99 for shipping, depending on the size of your order. You can also opt to go in-store and pick up a meal kit, but be aware that Home Chef products are sold at various price points, depending on the retailer.
Plated meal kits can be purchased in grocery stores for approximately $14.99 for two people, although the price may differ depending on the product and location. The “starter kit” also requires customers to purchase additional store-cupboard ingredients beyond the kit itself (but more on that later!)
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef delivers to most US locations from Monday through Friday. Fill in your zip code to see the delivery options in your area, as the company ships to some areas less frequently.
Home Chef meal kits include portioned and prepped ingredients, along with recipe cards and step-by-step instructions. From the produce bags to the cardboard box, all the packaging is theoretically recyclable or reusable, although, in reality, it depends on what number plastics are recyclable in your area.
Aimed toward busy people on the go, Home Chef also has a convenient app where you can manage your account and choose your weekly meals.
Plated meal kits are sold in-store, in plastic containers with branded cardboard sleeves. Once again, whether or not the plastic can be recycled depends on the policy in your neighborhood.
Winner: Home Chef
With your busy schedule in mind, Home Chef allows you to choose recipes based on how much prep time is required.
The average meal kit takes around 30 minutes to get on the table, with quicker options such as 15-Minute Meal Kits and Grill- and Oven-Ready Meals that require very little prep. You can also filter the menu to see all the dishes that take up to half an hour to make.
If you want to invest more time and energy into cooking a meal that feels gourmet, Home Chef’s Culinary Collection takes closer to an hour to prepare and is great for special occasions.
In store, you can pick up the standard Home Chef meal kits to rustle up at home, or any of its Oven-Ready or prepared Heat and Eat meals. Plus, if you’re nervous about your cooking abilities, you’ll find Home Chef’s rating of each meal, on a scale of Easy to Difficult, really useful.
When purchasing a Plated meal kit in store, you’ll be happy to find your veggies chopped for you. In addition to its regular meal kits, it also sells “starter kits” for two, which will include most of the ingredients needed to cook your dish, minus a few specific items – such as the roasted chicken in the Tortilla Soup kit, for example.
Winner: Home Chef
If you’re looking for a service that will conveniently deliver meal kits to your door, Home Chef is the obvious choice, as Plated no longer offers this service.
However, with so much room for personalization when it comes to both what you’re eating and the prep time involved, Home Chef also stands out as a great option amongst similar services. To see more meal delivery companies, check out our list of the Best Meal Delivery Services of 2021.
While Plated is a good product for those seeking to pick up easy meal kits in store, you can always go this route with Home Chef as well.
Overall winner: Home Chef