Dinnerly Review 2020 - Does ‘Cheap’ Mean Lower Quality?

www.dinnerly.com
VegetarianGluten-freeClassic
Our Score:
9.0
User Score:
  • Prep & Cook Time:

    20 - 40 Min

  • Type Of Food Options:

    Vegetarian,Gluten-free,Classic

  • Recipes Per Week:

    16

  • Free Delivery

    No

  • Written by: Felicity Kay on Mar 22nd, 2020

    Bottom Line

    A great low-cost option for those on a budget or non-fussy eaters - but don't expect anything exotic or beyond basic. 

    What I Liked

    • One of the cheapest meal delivery kits on the market, starting at $4.99 per serving

    • Large range of recipes to choose from each week

    • Very easy to follow recipes and cooking instructions

    What I Didn’t Like 

    • Very limited range of delivery days

    • Shipping is $8.99 per week

    Delivery 

    Dinnerly is a little bit secretive about when it delivers, and says it really depends on your location.  

    For me, I was offered just one day a week - Tuesday - for delivery, while other users I asked often have a choice of two days. 

    I don't mind having just one day a week to choose from. The box stayed cool when I found it on my doorstep on a Tuesday at 7pm - I just would have liked the choice. After all, Green Chef and Blue Apron both offer Saturday deliveries - and even Every Plate, another low-cost meal kit delivery service offers at least three days a week for deliveries

    Pricing

    Dinnerly prides itself as being ‘The cheapest meal kit delivery service in the US’, and I agree with it - it is the cheapest, with meals starting from just $4.49 per serving. 

    That price is for 4 people eating 5 times a week. For 2 people eating 3 meals a week with Dinnerly, the price jumps up to $4.99 a week (plus $8.99 shipping, for each plan, regardless of the number of people eating or meals a week). 

    This is still a LOT cheaper than other meal kit delivery services on the market - It’s under half the price of Sun Basket or Marley Spoon, for example. It's the same price as Every Plate's offerings, and actually, offers the exact same price point...except for Every Plate doesn't decrease the per-serving the more servings you order, and doesn't even give you an option for anything other than 3 meals a week on its 4-person plan. 

    Point: Dinnerly. 

    Meal Variety


    Pricing

    From $4.49 per portion 

    Foods served

    Meat, vegetarian, fish, keto, paleo

    Availability 

    Almost 98% of the continental US

    Shipping costs

    $8.99 per week

    Once you’ve signed up to Dinnerly, you’re given pre-selected options for your delivery box: You can edit these by clicking on your taste profile if you don’t like what you see. 

    In the taste profile itself, there's nothing too out of the ordinary - except for one option that I was pretty impressed by:

    ‘I don't like spicy food’? Genius! This is the first time I’ve seen this option at any of the meal kit delivery services I’ve reviewed. 

    I was even more impressed when I decided to edit the recipes in my box. I was given a whopping 16 choices of recipes. For a low-cost meal kit delivery service, this is practically unheard of - the closest competitor, Every Plate, only gives you 6 or so recipes to choose from a week! Other providers like Home Chef give you around 20+ choices, but most companies only give you around 10 or so on average. I was very impressed. 

    Even better - there was a nice mix of both meat and veggie options! Green Chef won't let you even mix options from other plans, but here I was at Dinnerly, choosing veggie, seafood and meat options to try! 

    Just a note here: there are no specific dietary options here, so if you're vegan, paleo, keto or anything else, then Dinnerly isn’t for you

    The recipes on offer are pretty standard American fare - Dinnerly isn't for you if you’re looking for crazily exotic or international dishes - but everything looked delicious and appetizing, and even had some helpful little tags on the recipe images: 

    One small thing: there are no helpful filters here, to help me filter down the type of recipes I'd like to see (Sun Basket had the best filtering), but actually, not many of the other meal kit delivery services have filters at all, so this is a fairly minor point. 

    I decided to go with some veggie dishes, a seafood dish and a meat dish. I chose: 

    • Shrimp Lo Mein

    • Refried Bean and Cheese Tacos

    • Garlic-Butter Steak Bites

    The Verdict

    As you'd probably expect from a low-cost meal kit delivery service, it was pretty easy to actually make the food itself. Even I could easily follow the instructions, and I really appreciate the breakdown of what I would need to provide and what I would use:

    Following the recipe itself was easy too - there wasn't the super-easy image-accompanied explanations that I so loved in Green Chef, but what was here was simple enough even for me to make a recipe simply and perfectly. 

    The prep work took around 5-10 minutes per recipe, and I was eating the food I’d made within 30-40 minutes of starting to prep. I liked that simple, easy approach. After all, some meal kit delivery services (Hello Fresh and Sun Basket) have some pretty complicated steps, and food that can take up to an hour to prepare, so I appreciated this. 

    I'd say that if you're looking for exotic, international tastes, then Dinnerly isn't for you - you should look at something a little more high-end and complicated like Sun Basket or Marley Spoon


    How it Works 

    Dinnerly’s sign up process is just slightly different to other meal kit delivery services I’ve come across: for one thing, it asks you first up as to which plan you'd like -

    and for another, it offers you the choice of 3,4 or 5 meals. This is one of the first times any of the meal delivery services (other than Every Plate) that I’ve reviewed have given me the option to choose an odd number of meals. I liked it! 

    Another thing I liked? That the price per portion went down as I chose a higher number of meals - it's the same approach as other companies like Sun Basket and Blue Apron...although Blue Apron also adds in free delivery once you choose 3 meals or more a week. 

    For some reason, the ‘make your box vegetation’ option just hid itself and became unclickable once I added the 5 meals...weird. 

    Another word thing - after I’d input my zip code and email address, it was time to choose my delivery day...and I was given only one day to choose from.

    This is the very first time I've ever seen only one delivery day on offer - sure, Dinnerly is a low-cost provider, but so is Every Plate, and it still managed to have 3 delivery days to my area! 

    Once you've confirmed your address and personal details and your payment method (credit card or PayPal), it's time to choose your meals. 

    What’s in Dinnerly’s Box 

    As a low-cost meal kit delivery service, Dinnerly doesn’t like to embellish anything - be that the recipes on offer, or the packaging it's sent in. 

    I really liked this approach, as it meant there was no more plastic than I would have gotten from a trip to the supermarket. In some cases, I found the produce - tomatoes, garlic and cucumbers - were placed straight into the box (and not separately wrapped in plastic, like Blue Apron did). 

    I appreciated how easily recyclable most things were - there were a few plastic clamshells (for yoghurts and other liquids), as well as some plastic wrapping (for leaves and other leafy vegetables), which I understood the need for. In some places, these might even be recyclable, but in my area, they weren't. 

    Still, I appreciated the lack of wastefulness and overuse of plastic in the box. 


    Customer Support

    As a lower-cost meal kit delivery service, I hadn't had the highest of hopes for the customer support options. I figured there wouldn't be the awesome live chat of Hello Fresh, or the Martha Stewart-taped greeting of Marley Spoon, but I was still pleasantly surprised by the range of options to get in touch: 

    I decided to call. Where was where I found myself unimpressed: I had apparently called ‘outside of Dinnerly’s business hours’, and was invited to send an email. Then the phone was hung up. 

    Dinnerly could have easily told me the business hours, and I would have called back….or offered to ring me back (like Home Chef), but no. I couldn't even find the business hours on the ‘contact us’ page (screenshotted above). That’s not cool, Dinnerly. 

    I decided to give it one more shot - and I got through within 10 seconds of calling. I was on the phone for under a minute, and was very impressed with the way the customer service agent handled my request - she did so professionally, in a friendly way and seemed genuinely happy that I had called. 

    Canceling Your Plan

    It was super easy to cancel my Dinnerly subscription, and it only took two clicks. I went to my account settings and then ‘Pause or Stop my Subscription’: 

    After I canceled my subscription, I received a very nice email from the team, inviting me to directly email their CEO which was a really nice touch (and one I'd never seen before)!

    I guess you can really tell a meal kit delivery service by the way it handles the breakup - and this was the only time I’d ever seen something like this. 

    I also received a refund for my non-delivered order within a minute of canceling my plan - this was the fastest of any meal kit delivery service that I’ve reviewed. 

    Expert Bottom Line

    Dinnerly does a really nice line in cheap variety meals - as long as you don't have any dietary restrictions, or are too fussy, it's ideal for those on a budget, and those looking for some kitchen inspiration. 

    If you're looking for anything fancy or exotic, however, Dinnerly isn't for you - you're best off trying something like Sun Basket or Marley Spoon.

    About The Author

    Felicity Kay

    Writer

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When she's not out walking her dogs, she's trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When she's not out walking her dogs, she's trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

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