How to find a Meal Delivery Service

Alistair-Clark's picture
Rank: King Kong | 1,081

When's the last time you packed a lunch and took it to work?

If you're on WSO reading this and working in finance, I'm guessing the answer is 'never'.

A 60-100+ hour week doesn't leave much time for grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, and bringing a healthy lunch (make that breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to work. You're forced to eat takeout three times a day and helplessly watch your fat levels go up and your energy levels go down.

A Better Alternative: Meal Delivery Services

Recently, I've been testing a better alternative on some of my clients at Work. Life. Fitness.: meal delivery services.

In recent years, the meal delivery market has expanded to cover a variety of tailored services for busy professionals, including ready-to-eat meals, weekly groceries, daily smoothie ingredients, and even healthy snacks, all delivered to your office or home.

Meal delivery services sell healthy pre-cooked, individually packaged meals in bulk. Most services offer a weekly delivery of fully cooked meals in individual containers. No grocery shopping, no cooking - just heat, open and enjoy.

3 reasons to try a meal delivery service

1) Stay focused and get more done. When you're getting crushed on a deal, you barely have time to eat, let alone walk down to the food court. A stack of fresh and healthy prepared meals in the office fridge solves this problem. Just microwave for 2-3 minutes and get back to work.

2) Stay healthy during hell weeks. In general, meal delivery services are healthier than restaurants and food courts. While it is possible to find healthy takeout options, it's not easy when the typical American diet is loaded with "taste-bud pleasing" salt, sugar, and fat. Meal delivery services cater to specific dietary needs like Paleo, Vegan, and lactose-free, which are often a nightmare to fulfill in your typical food court.

3) Save money. A typical ready-to-eat meal delivered by Freshly can cost as low as $8.99 per meal. In comparison, a steak burrito with guacamole from Chipotle in NYC will cost $11.49. While these savings may sound small, $2.50 a meal adds up to $1,250 a year if you eat out lunch and dinner five days a week for 50 weeks a year. If you add a $30 dinner at a restaurant instead, then these savings jump to over $5,000 a year.

10 recommended meal delivery services

There are hundreds of meal delivery services covering most cities in North America. A simple way to get started is to do a google search of "meal delivery [insert city name here]".

To make this even easier for you, I've consolidated a list of a few good meal delivery options.

Ready-to-eat meals make the most sense if you're extremely busy, but you could also try a meal kit service if you enjoy doing a bit of cooking.

Ready-to-eat meal delivery

Grocery delivery

Meal kit delivery

Smoothie ingredient delivery

Healthy snack delivery

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If you want more ideas on staying healthy at work, check another post I wrote for WSO: How to find fast and healthy food court meals (even if you're crazy busy).

Does anyone else here use a meal delivery service? Let's hear about it in the comments (especially if you can recommend a good option).

Comments (28)

Oct 31, 2016

Thanks for posting this. Have you personally tried any of these? I have been thinking of going this route for a while, but have not had the time to do any research yet, so this thread is pretty timely.

Oct 31, 2016

Sbed just on principle. I have a solution that I don't recommend for everyone but I can see how this post would be great for some folks.

Oct 31, 2016
  • Home Chef (similar to Blue Apron)

meals don't take a lot of time to prepare, are usually healthy, and saves you the hassle of shopping. I don't live in a building with a doorman so my stuff comes to my door directly, so I don't know logistically how it'd work in NYC, but these things have been game changers in my life. much much cheaper way to eat healthy because you're not throwing away produce all the time.

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Oct 31, 2016

Sprig has been solid in the past

Oct 31, 2016

I guess this depends on each bank, but are these expenses usually able to be reimburses ala seamless?

Best Response
Oct 31, 2016

I'm a big fan of these just to improve productivity...

Ones I've tried along with Pros & Cons...

Munchery

Pros: good selection, tastes pretty good, good pricing, easy ordering process
Cons: new membership pricing makes you feel a bit "locked in" (but smart decision by them), most not organic, usually at least one pretty heavy starch with every meal which is annoying. where are the BEANS/legumes? stop making me gain weight!

Sprig

Pros: Great taste, usually organic/healthier, ok pricing, easy ordering process, good for last minute decision (no planning needed)
Cons: STOPPED delivering in peninsula which sucks :-( ...and limited selection, but I didn't mind this since there was usually a few good options...although they would occasionally/frequently sell out.

Freshly

Pros: good taste, convenient
Cons: too much of a commitment to lock in to weekly meal plans and have to remember to turn off or end up with 9 meals when you're traveling (true story), most not organic, not that healthy

All the others like Blue Apron, etc is kind of pointless to me...yes, they make cooking easier, but it still takes 20-30min to prep and another 20-30min to cook, so you are still out over an hour EVERY DAY if you choose this...in other words, it can taste good, but it's not efficient IMO.

If you're going to cook, just order the ingredients off of Instacart on the same day and go to town with any online recipe...

My 2 cents,
Patrick

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Nov 2, 2016

Daggum, Munchery looks pretty darn good. But you're right--it's not exactly a diet program. Geesh. But it's nice how they have the ingredients and nutrition information (especially since I'm a calorie counter).

Oct 31, 2016

Definitely thought about trying one of these, one of the associates I work with a lot seems to enjoy it quite a bit.

Oct 31, 2016

In Dallas we have a place called snap kitchen, premade meals that last a few days and can just be heated up. They usually are under 600 calories for a full meal and can be ordered via uber eats or you can pick them up from the store.

Nov 2, 2016

There are a bunch of Snaps in Philly too. Life saver when i'm in CFA grindmode and need to save time on cooking/cleaning/shopping. Not always the cheapest option, but worth the convenience. Also has a really good selection of meals

Nov 1, 2016

you just saved my life. i go so many days without eating until 7:30/8pm seamless going without stopping all day. it's draining..

Nov 1, 2016

you dont eat at all until 8pm or you don't eat dinner until 8pm? If you dont eat at all that's insane.

I have tried a few of these services, I find them to be ok. As much as it may be frowned upon, there are some decent tasting and healthy microwave meals available now too.

twitter: @CorpFin_Guy

Nov 2, 2016

HITLER!

Nov 1, 2016

Alternative to all of these is to go shopping on Sunday and make a crockpot meal that you can have during the week for a few meals (I like it for lunch). Ends up being very cheap and tasty; you can find A TON of healthy recipes for it online.

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Nov 2, 2016

On Sundays I get groceries and cook and pack my lunches for the week. Meal delivery services are very convenient, but also expensive for what you're getting.

Nov 2, 2016

Lee Labrada's Lean Body protein shakes are legit as well

Nov 2, 2016

Why would I use a meal delivery service when lunch is catered everyday?

    • 1
Nov 2, 2016
Dollarfor60Cents:

Why would I use a meal delivery service when lunch is catered everyday?

Are you Steve Schwarzman?

Nov 2, 2016

does anyone here use soylent? its revamping my productivity. I'm addicted

www.soylent.com

Nov 2, 2016

Looking at the nutritional information, I'm going to assume the drinks are gross. What are your thoughts?

Nov 3, 2016

the coffee product is just like a mocha. the powder starts off a bit unpleasant but you get adjusted to it within a week. its a worthwhile sacrifice considering i cut my meal cost more than half, and never take more than a 30 minute lunch

One huge negative however is some QA issues with the product (a few recalls also). i never experienced anything personally as a user throughout these recalls, but this has caused me to consider switching to a competitor, but there are many competing in this space like

www.joylent.eu
http://www.spacenutrientsstation.com/buy

    • 1
Nov 4, 2016

Blue Apron is awesome and Fresh Direct has proved amazing, their produce is fresher than most super markets, pretty much everything but Whole Foods and Fairway.

But can I suggest something time saving which I'm sure no young analyst will do. Crock Pot. There I said it, you prep 1 time for 3-4 meals lunch or dinner. You can prepare cheap, easy and portioned meals which cook by themselves. Set it...and forget it!. You just put in the ingredients and when you get back from work, boom you have a warm dinner waiting for you...for the next several nights if you want.

Nov 6, 2016

By far far the best option is to use Instacart and stock up on Amy's Light and Lean microwavable ready-made dishes. They are organic, uber-healthy, in fact significantly more than any restaurant delivery, and taste remarkably good, not to mention amazing value. When value doesn't matter, Caviar delivery bar none.

Nov 7, 2016

Anybody find the portion sizes of all of these options leave something to be desired?

I'm lean and try to stay in shape / go to the gym 3-4 times a week, so I'm not a fatass, but I' need to eat through a 2 ppl portion for blue apron/plated, and munchery I also need 2 dishes to be full. Defeats the purpose when it costs >$25 per actual "meal" to be full.

    • 1
Nov 7, 2016

These services are still absurdly expensive and often unhealthy compared to just making your own. As others have suggested, just cook for a week on a Sunday evening. Won't take more than 30-40 minutes of actual 'active' time. This probably isn't ideal for those who claim to 'get bored' of eating the same thing every day, to whom all I can say is man up.

Some suggestions:
- Throw some diced beef, frozen vegetables, stock and hot water into a slow cooker on Sunday morning and leave to cook for 6-8 hours. .

  • Cut up 5-10 chicken breasts and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, combine with some frozen vegetables.
  • Roast a chicken and put it in the fridge. Every night put some lettuce / other salad items into a Tuppaware along with some chicken. Danger here is it might not last a full week.
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Nov 19, 2016

If you are in Chicago area I highly recommend Eat Purely the delivery cost is $3. Their meals are all organic and mostly healthy (under 650 calories per meal). And most importantly their food is delicious and fresh upon delivery. You also get you first meal free by a $20 credit applied to your account. The delivery is exceptionally fast too with the average time taking 20-25 mins.