Finding a meal delivery service that works for your lifestyle can be challenging. You might want a more convenient way to feed your family, a simple way to add more veggies to your weekly menu, or a way to avoid the hassles of planning and shopping during the week. Whatever your need – 1 of these 2 delivery services is for you.
Home Chef and Purple Carrot are 2 of the most popular meal delivery services out there – and 2 of the most different. Home Chef is the best meal delivery service for the classic American diet, while Purple Carrot is best for plant-based vegan dieters. After comparing menu and service features, there was 1 clear overall winner.
Home Chef won for me because of its superior customer support features, including an iOS- and Android-compatible app and live chat with customer support agents 6 days per week. Having customer support available at the click of a button provides the convenience that a good meal delivery service needs.
It’s a tie!
🍔 Menu Variety:
Home Chef (25+ choices per week)
⏰ Prep Time:
Purple Carrot (2 to 50 minutes)
Home Chef (4+ dietary options)
👍 Ordering and Delivery
🙋 Customer Support:
|👑 Overall Winner:||Home Chef|
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef wins this category because it offers more weekly entrees and add-ons. The main entree menu includes 25+ meal kit recipes that are rotated each week. The cuisine variety is mostly Standard American, with some Mediterranean and Mexican meals here and there.
What’s great about Home Chef’s menu is that you can see recipes 6 weeks in advance. This makes meal planning super easy since you can plan your meal selection ahead of time. Few meal delivery services post menus this far in advance, which is a feature I find super convenient as someone who has a busy schedule and does meal prep.
All entrees on the menu are labeled in various categories, including:
Fast & Fresh
Fast & Fresh Family
Fast & Fresh Plus
You can type any label in the search bar to filter the weekly menus by category. While this makes searching the menu easy for the category you want, note that the options shown are for the entire 6 weeks of the currently published menu. You might see 10 options per category, but only 2 of those could be for the current week.
If you want to browse by meal prep times, note the following:
Express meals take 10 to 15 minutes prep time
Fast & Fresh meals take 15 to 20 minutes prep time
Culinary Collection meals take 30 to 50 minutes prep time.
Otherwise, meals take an average of 30 to 40 minutes to prepare.
Recipes come in 2 to 6 portions per recipe, which is above average. This is great if you’re cooking for a family or group of roommates. Most meal delivery services only allow you to select up to 4 portions per recipe. In fact, recipes labeled “Family” require a minimum order of 4 portions per recipe.
Another unique feature of Home Chef’s menu is that you can choose different portions per recipe. This gives you the flexibility to choose 6 portions for a recipe you know you like and 2 for a recipe you’re trying for the first time. Meal delivery services usually make you choose the same number of portions for all your weekly recipes.
Once you’ve selected the minimum 2 meals for 2 people, you can start selecting extras. Add-ons include a wide variety of 20+ options like salads, breads, pizzas, desserts, drinks, foods bundled in price-reduced packages, and fully prepared proteins, veggies, and breakfasts.
With Home Chef’s add-ons, you can enhance recipes or even build your own meals. This significantly increases menu variety! I’m always happy to see meal delivery services that offer add-ons you can construct into your own meals.
From Home Chef’s menu, you can build your own meals with a salad, protein, side, dessert, and even a Naked juice or a canned latte from La Colombe (one of the best coffee companies, in my opinion!). Or, you can enhance proteins in your meals by ordering a protein pack.
The bundles are simple but particularly convenient since food arrives partially prepared in microwave-, oven-, or grill-ready form. The menu usually includes 6 to 8 bundles per week that are savory or sweet.
You’ll find familiar options for children and more complex recipes for adventurous eaters. Familiar options are great for kids and include recipes like the Shrimp Alfredo Risotto with Grape Tomatoes. For even more kid-friendly options, you can swap the shrimp for diced boneless and skinless chicken breasts, Impossible Burger, or double the shrimp portion for growing kids.
For the more mature palates, look for recipes on the menu labeled Culinary Collection. These recipes include more complex spices, sauces, and premium proteins like filet mignon or sirloin steak. They cost a few dollars more than the average meal price.
Since they’re more complex culinary projects, they’ll also take a little longer time to prep, averaging 40 minutes long – but will be well worth the effort. Culinary Collection meals, like the Bistro Filets Mignon with Truffle Frites, are great for a Friday night in.
Purple Carrot’s entire menu is plant-based vegan and includes 20 recipes each week. You’ll find meal kits, microwave-ready meals, and snacks. Meal kit options include 6 dinners, 2 lunches, and 2 breakfasts, and come in portion sizes of 2 or 4, while microwave-ready meals come in single portions.
Purple Carrot doesn’t offer as many weekly recipes as Home Chef, but the cuisine variety is greater. Plus, the whole menu rotates each week like Home Chef’s. You’ll find a mix of Mediterranean, Indian, and Pan-Asian-inspired recipes every week. Each meal kit is packed with veggies, herbs, and spices, and features veggies as the star flavors of each dish.
I love the look of Purple Carrot’s Crispy Bombay Potatoes. The dish comes with Cilantro Cauliflower Salad and Tahini Yogurt. Yukon Gold potatoes, onions, and beluga lentils are the main components of the dish, flavored with natural herbs and spices, including cilantro, dill, lemon, garlic, and cumin.
What’s special about Purple Carrot’s menu is its 8 weekly microwave-ready meals. Whether you’re a seasoned plant-based dieter, trying plant-based foods for the first time, or simply attempting to include more plants in your diet, having microwave-ready meals in the fridge makes meal planning and prep 100% hassle-free. Home Chef doesn’t have this option.
You won’t have to set foot in a grocery store to sift through produce or purchase extra herbs and spices you might not typically use. Purple Carrot does it all for you with its fully prepared meals. This is the easiest way to add more veggies to your menu or stay on track with your vegan diet plan.
Purple Carrot’s microwave-ready meals include the same variety of cuisines as its meal kit menu. You’ll find options like the Indian-inspired vegan Golden Aubergine Korma with Carrot Biryani. Fully prepared meals come in microwave-ready, recyclable trays – all you have to do is heat in the microwave for 2 to 5 minutes.
Purple Carrot has an upper hand with its higher quality ingredients. Home Chef ingredients are more standard grocery store ingredients, while Purple Carrot sources as many non-GMO, organic, local, and seasonally fresh ingredients as possible.
Plus, Purple Carrot uses zero artificial fillers, sweeteners, or preservatives in its recipes. Most produce is also non-GMO and organic, and the service is constantly increasing non-GMO and organic foods as it finds reliable sources with decent pricing. Quality is a top priority of Purple Carrot’s service, but it also wants to offer its meals at affordable prices.
On the other hand, Home Chef uses preservatives in its foods, such as colorants, sulfites, and/or artificial sweeteners like aspartame. You’ll find these in most of its non-fresh, processed foods like sauces and dressings, breads, tortillas, sausages and seafood, seasonings, and rubs.
In conclusion, both services offer great menu variety in different ways. If you want more menu options, bigger portion sizes, and add-ons that allow you to build your own meals – Home Chef is for you. If you want more nutrient-dense, higher ingredient quality, plant-based vegan options – Purple Carrot is for you.
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef wins for its protein-swapping feature and add-ons that allow you to build your own meals. Purple Carrot offers excellent, nutrient-dense plant-based meal kits with some dietary options, including fully prepared microwave-ready meals, but you can’t customize recipes as much as you can with Home Chef.
Home Chef’s protein swapping feature is available on its main menu recipe cards. For recipes that have swappable proteins, you’ll see a button that says “View Customize It Options.”
Swappable options even include Impossible brand substitutions for plant-based eaters. Most Home Chef meals are a balance of meat or fish with veggies and carbs, so this option is great for vegetarians or vegans who like Home Chef’s menu and service.
When selecting your plan, choose from the entire menu or just Fresh and Easy options. This filters the menu to only include meals with prep times of 30 minutes or less. Next, you can choose whether you want carb-conscious or calorie-conscious meals.
After that, you can choose from 9 ingredients you’d like to exclude. While this is typically seen as an excellent customizing option, the ingredient exclusions serve more as menu filters than as ingredient exclusion features. When you exclude an ingredient, you exclude the entire recipe as an option. Home Chef doesn’t remove ingredients from meals.
Keep in mind that both companies offer meal kits, which you can customize at home. Purple Carrot’s meal kits and Home Chef’s main menu arrive with individually packaged ingredients that you can easily swap for more desirable ones from your home pantry. While this isn’t 100% convenient, it’s the next best option when there’s an ingredient you’d like to avoid.
As I mentioned before, Home Chef offers more customizable options and add-ons. You can purchase a mix of protein packs, veggies, sides, salads, or breads to construct your own meals, and add on a dessert to round off your meal. With 20+ add-ons that rotate each week, you’ll never run out of options to mix and match meals to your preferences.
Purple Carrot doesn’t offer protein swaps or extras to the extent that Home Chef does, but it offers 3 meal plans to customize your meals. Once you’ve chosen the number of meals you want per week, you can choose between Gluten-Free and High Protein plans. And since all Purple Carrot meals are plant-based vegan, they’re dairy- and meat-free by default.
The Gluten-Free plan isn’t certified gluten-free, but the service adds zero gluten to those meals. Purple Carrot also ensures those meals aren’t prepared anywhere near recipes with ingredients that include gluten.
The High Protein option ensures that meals have a minimum 20 g of protein per dish. The service also uses protein substitutes that are minimally processed, like beans and quinoa, instead of the usual highly processed meat alternatives. Having a high protein option is excellent on a plant-based diet since that can be the most difficult macronutrient to satisfy when eating mostly veggies.
Both services tag recipes by category in their menus. You can easily scan for recipes you prefer before signing up. Just look for tags like “Express” or “Less Prep.”
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef wins this round for me because it offers 1 of the most convenient features a meal delivery service can – choosing your delivery day. It also offers an app through which you can manage all account details.
Ordering from both services is straightforward. With Home Chef, you can choose from its main menu, or its Fresh and Easy menu, which will filter your recipe options to only include meals with prep times of 30 minutes or less. You’ll select how many portions of each meal you want for how many days each week from a range of 4 to 36 servings per week.
You can then choose whether to exclude meals with recipes with certain ingredients, including pork, beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, tree nuts, peanuts, and sesame. Once you enter your delivery and payment information, you can select the delivery day for your first order and then select the meals you want.
With Purple Carrot, you choose between meal kits and prepared meals. When you sign up, you’ll have to choose between meal kits or prepared meals, but you can mix and match meal types when editing your weekly order. Orders range from 6 to 12 servings for kits and 6-10 for prepared meals. You can then select gluten-free or high-protein.
Both Home Chef and Purple Carrot deliver to the 48 contiguous US states, but Home Chef wins this round because it lets you choose your delivery day. The available days change depending on your zip code, but there are usually 3 to 5 days from which you can choose to receive your recurring delivery.
Editing your order for either service is easy, since both have a mobile app. I find that meal delivery services with apps are the easiest to use since you can manage every subscription detail from your mobile device. You can change any order detail or cancel your subscription through the apps.
The Home Chef order change cutoff is Friday 12 pm CT of the week preceding your delivery. So if you usually receive your delivery on a Wednesday, you’ll need to make changes before 12 pm Central Time on the Friday before that Wednesday.
The Purple Carrot order change cutoff is Tuesday before 11:59 pm ET. The easiest way to manage your subscription is through the website portal or via customer service on the phone.
Unboxing your delivery from either service is easy and well-organized. Home Chef’s and Purple Carrot’s meal kits arrive bundled according to recipes. Each meal is labeled with a sticker denoting the name of the meal. Here’s an example of unboxing Purple Carrot’s meal kits, which is very similar to Home Chef’s.
Purple Carrot and Home Chef include printed recipe information in your box. For both services, all recipe information, including images of how your meal should look at each step, is included in your printed recipes as well as on the website. Images of each meal prep step are excellent for both novices and experienced chefs alike when cooking unfamiliar recipes.
Printing recipes on paper isn’t environmentally friendly, but the added convenience is welcome. In my experience, having printed recipe cards for meal kits makes meal prep 100% easier since you won’t have to constantly scroll through the website on your laptop or mobile device with food-covered fingers.
Purple Carrot’s recipe booklet is super detailed and includes cooking instructions for all the meals on the menu that week. This is great if you’re interested in shopping and trying new plant-based recipes in addition to your Purple Carrot kits or prepared meals.
Home Chef’s recipe cards are full-page cards that are meant to be saved for continued use. They arrive three-hole-punched so you can collect them in a binder. Oven-ready meals from Home Chef arrive in metal trays. Home Chef’s and Purple Carrot’s fully prepared meals arrive individually packaged with heating and nutritional information clearly labeled on each meal’s sleeve.
Purple Carrot and Home Chef include detailed instructions about storing produce as well on printed recipe cards, on website recipe cards, and in the FAQ section. You can view exact storage and heating instructions for each type of produce and protein.
Home Chef advises eating fresh and avoiding freezing fresh dairy or produce, but you can freeze meat and seafood for a later time. Steak, chops, and poultry can be frozen for 4-6 months, while ground meat can be frozen for 3-4 months, and fish and seafood for 2-3 months.
Both services recommend cooking and eating fresh meal kit ingredients within 3-5 days of receiving your delivery. If the fresh ingredients are stored properly, however, they can last up to a week. Purple Carrot prepared meals also last for around a week in the fridge – otherwise, you can freeze them for a rainy day in their convenient microwave-ready trays.
Regarding each service’s packaging material recyclability, both use quite a bit of plastic. Ingredients are individually packaged in plastic bags or containers, then bagged again according to the recipe. Plastics are all recyclable for both services, and while the extra bagging according to the recipe is super convenient, that’s a lot of extra plastic.
Both services keep food fresh with reusable ice packs and insulated cardboard boxes that are curbside recyclable. Packaging material is also completely recyclable except for the fiber/denim liners used to insulate food during delivery. You’ll have to cut open the liners and remove the fiber or denim, toss them, then recycle the covers. Fortunately, the fiber/denim is at least post-consumer reused material.
You can find details about how to recycle each piece of packaging in both websites’ FAQs.
Winner: Purple Carrot
Both services offer meal kits with prep times ranging from 10 to 50 minutes, but Purple Carrot offers fully prepared microwave-ready meals that take 2 to 5 minutes to heat and eat. Home Chef offers a few fully prepared breakfasts, sides, salads, breads, and oven-ready pizzas in its add-ons, but Purple Carrot’s fully prepared entrees take the cake.
They arrive in microwave-ready trays, so that all you have to do is heat, eat, and recycle or reuse the tray. These are great for busy nights when you want fast, fresh, healthy food heated in minutes. They’re also great if you want minimal hassle in trying plant-based vegan foods for the first time or are trying to include more veggies in your diet.
If you want to improve your cooking skills or enjoy getting into culinary projects – meal kits from either service are great options. Meal kits involve cooking basics like chopping, peeling, mixing, sauteing, seasoning, baking, and more.
If you’re a novice in the kitchen, you’ll want to consider how much extra time you’ll need to YouTube any food prep skills required. Purple Carrot’s Prepared Meals will be great or Home Chef’s recipes labeled Express will also be a breeze.
Winner: Home Chef
Home Chef easily wins in this category. It offers superior customer support thanks to its app and live chat, both of which are convenient ways to get in touch. Other features include the chatbot that connects you to a live chat agent, phone, and email.
You can manage all account details via the app on your mobile device, including rescheduling your order or even canceling your subscription. You can also chat with a customer service agent via the app. Having this level of convenience really makes using a meal delivery service super seamless in your daily life, and it makes using a meal delivery service worth it.
You can reach Home Chef’s live customer support Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm CST and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm CST. The quickest way to get a response from Home Chef customer services is via the live chat option. Each time I reached out via live chat, I was connected to a Home Chef agent in a minute or less.
Purple Carrot offers similar features, including a chatbot, live chat, phone line, and email. With the live chat, you’re connected to an agent within 10 minutes, but I could only connect to an agent about 1 or 2 times out of every 10 attempts. Purple Carrot’s live chat agents typically respond every 5 to 15 minutes, so it doesn’t feel as “live” as Home Chef’s.
Purple Carrot’s phone line and chat are available 5 days per week from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm EST. If you send an email, the website requests that you give customer support 1 to 2 days to respond.
Both services also have FAQs, but Home Chef’s is more extensive and easily navigable than Purple Carrot’s. Home Chef’s chatbot also serves as an FAQ with even more answers than the FAQ on the website. Purple Carrot’s chatbot answers some FAQs, but Home Chef’s is, again, more extensive.
Winner: It’s a tie!
These 2 services are difficult to compare in terms of pricing. Purple Carrot charges a flat per-serving rate that gets lower the bigger your order is. Home Chef, however, prices its items individually. This round is a tie because different people are likely to have different preferences.
Home Chef allows you to order up to 36 servings per week, while Purple Carrot maxes out at 12 meal kits or 10 prepared meals. I compared prices starting at Purple Carrot’s maximum of 12 servings per week.
Despite having different pricing models, these services are in a similar price range. Home Chef meals start at $7.99 per serving, but this depends largely on your order. Purple Carrot starts at $8.50 per serving if you opt for the largest order.
Couples or families who want to have a wide variety of recipes and to avoid the grocery store
Singles or couples who want more weekly plant-based meals
$7.99 per serving
$8.50 per serving
$10.99 for orders of 3+ meals
$13.99 for orders under $50
$8+ per week
Free on orders $85+
2 meals for 2 people
Kits: 3 meals for 2 people
Prepared: 6 meals
10 meal kits
8 prepared meals
5 to 60 minutes
2 to 50 minutes
Microwave-Ready, Oven-Ready, Grill-Ready, Quick & Easy meal kits
Prepared, Microwave-ready; Quick & Easy meal kits
Allergies catered to
Vegan, plant-based gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, high-protein
Phone, webform, live chat, FAQ
Live chat, email, phone, FAQ
Home Chef wins this comparison because it offers the best overall customer support, you can choose your delivery day each week, and there are more recipes and extras on the menu each week.
Having responsive customer support is essential when you use a meal delivery service, especially in case you have any questions about changing your order contents, delivery day, or any other detail about your weekly order. After all, meal services are about adding convenience to your daily life, and Home Chef has your back.
Home Chef also allows you to select different serving amounts for each recipe, so this service is great for just about any size party wanting to make meal planning more convenient each week. It’s especially convenient for families since you can order up to 36 servings each week – a rare serving amount allowance for meal delivery services.
Purple Carrot’s menu is best for singles or couples wanting more plants in their diet. Its meal kits come in 2 or 4 servings, and its prepared meals are single-serving. If this were a comparison of ingredient quality and plant-based options – Purple Carrot would win by a mile!
Home Chef uses multiple delivery carriers, including FedEx, Veho, AxelHire, and CDL, depending on the region you live in. If you want to find out which carrier is used in your zip code, you can contact customer service via the Home Chef app, live chat, phone, or email.
No, but Home Chef does offer fully prepared extras in its add-on section. You can find fully prepared ingredients like proteins, veggies, or mixed salads. The main menu offers easy prep recipes that require 5 to 10 minutes prep before you pop them in the oven or on the grill.
Purple Carrot is a 100% plant-based meal delivery service. You’ll find zero animal products on its menu. All meals are prepared with veggies as the bulk content and star flavors of each recipe on the menu. The entire menu changes each week and includes Mediterranean, Indian, Mexican, and Asian-inspired flavors. You can customize your meals to be gluten-free, soy-free, or high-protein.