Reviewing food services is something that we both fully enjoy, but of course, there must be a process to it.
We take care to make sure each service receives the same critique in order to provide the necessary information to pass along to you.
There are other factors, of course, that come into play when you're looking at all of the ins & outs of any particular meal delivery service, however, these are the ones we've found to be most important.
Both our review process and our methodology are updated and adapted when needed, so you know you're always getting a high-quality, updated review.
Our Review Process
We create 3 different types of review articles, many of which also offer a companion video, and some of which are included within a special series along with other similar content.
Those articles include reviews for specific services, comparisons between services, and ‘best of' collections of noteworthy services within a specific category.
We use a slightly different process to create each type of article, and we've outlined them here for your reference.
These reviews are centered around breaking down the ins and outs of a specific service or product, such as a meal kit, prepared meal delivery service, or another type of food subscription service.
When we do an individual review such as this, we do a deep dive into what makes the service unique and what makes it work (or not work) based on our culinary expertise.
We use these guidelines to make sure every service receives the same type of critique so that they can be accurately compared.
This type of article is great for when you're interested in a particular service, but want to know more details about what makes it tick and decide whether or not it's right for you.
Our comparison reviews are based on the idea of providing a compare/contrast between 2 similar services in order to clearly see the pros and cons of each.
This process provides a clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the two services in question, which makes deciding between them as a customer much easier.
Our review process for these types of articles is similar to that of our original reviews.
This type of article is perfect for the situation in which you're looking at 2 similar services and aren't sure which one will work better for you; we'll do the comparing and you can decide from there.
‘Best of' Collection
Our collection of ‘best of' articles is just that actually: a collection of the best services within a particular category.
This could be a specific category of food, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, keto, paleo, etc.
It could also be services within a specific niche, such as meal kit services, prepared meal delivery services, snack boxes, wine clubs, subscription boxes, smoothie clubs, etc.
This type of article is good for those interested in a specific type of service but completely unsure of which specific company to choose; you can see a plethora of information at a glance to narrow it down easily.
Our Review Methodology
So, when we try a new service, what are we looking for?
It's not just about how the food tastes or how much it costs.
There are several factors that come into play that can determine whether or not you'll end up having a good experience.
We've found these factors to be the most important when making a decision about which service to try.
Ease of Ordering
When we review any service, we start at the beginning, just as a regular customer would.
We assess the ordering process first.
Is it easy to order, or is it confusing with too many steps?
Is all of the information you need easy to find, or do you have to search around?
Questions such as these are what fuels our rating in this category.
This particular point is quite an important one, as it determines what you'll actually be eating with your order.
Most meal services offer multiple different plans, each with different types of meals offered as options.
Some of them allow you to mix & match or swap out meals as you please in order to get your perfect order, and some don't allow any substitutions.
There are many, of course, that fall somewhere between.
Which types of diets are offered?
Most services do offer some type of selections for those with specific dietary needs, but some take it further than others.
We specifically appreciate those companies that offer meal plans for some of the most common dietary choices, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and keto.
Most meal services offer a minimum of a 2-person and 4-person plan, but there are a lot of other family sizes besides just those most common ones.
Some of them offer many other options to accommodate a wide variety of family sizes.
Some even allow the ability to create custom plans.
When it comes to packaging food for shipping, there's a lot of thought that goes into the materials used.
We measure the sustainability of the packaging that we see.
For example, is their box insulated with recycled denim or plastic?
Do they wrap every single item, or combine ingredients?
Are the ice packs non-toxic, reusable, or easily recyclable?
There are many layers to this category, and most companies nowadays are pretty conscious of how environmentally friendly their packaging is, so we pay attention to even the small details.
Delivery Time Frames
Many people who rely on meal delivery services are relying on those meals to fulfill part of their overall meal plan for any given week.
It's important to know when that delivery is coming and to know that it's coming during a time that works for you.
Some services offer a choice of delivery day and/or time, and others do not.
We also appreciate services that allow you to change your delivery day or time as needed.
Taste & Creativity
Taste is a huge factor, of course.
No one wants to order food that doesn't taste good.
Creativity also plays a role, as we tend to want food that we normally wouldn't create ourselves.
These two factors combined form a large amount of a customer's overall opinion of any given service, so they're important to pay attention to when we do our reviews.
Recipes Easy to Understand
There are different levels of difficulty from one service to the next, but regardless, the recipes should be easy for a non-chef to understand.
Some meal kits cater more towards a beginner cook, so we scrutinize those ones in this category even more closely.
Some services will combine many actions into one ‘step,' which can get confusing.
Others can sometimes use terminology not widely known by home cooks, which can result in confusion when cooking a recipe.
We take a look at all of these factors when we're reviewing any service.
Accurate Time Estimates
Many meal kits boast about providing recipes that only take 15 minutes to prepare, or under 30 minutes, or something similar.
After all, that's what people are looking for in this type of service.
They want convenience.
With that being said, it's also a common problem that recipes don't actually take the amount of time that's quoted.
We pay attention to this when testing out recipes from various services, and take special note of the ones with accurate time estimates.
Freshness, Quality & Sustainability of Ingredients
When you're choosing to use a meal service, the freshness factor needs to be there, because that plays a lot into the overall taste.
Especially since they have to allow for shipping time, and time in your fridge before making any particular meal, the ingredients should be fresh, high-quality, and as sustainable as possible.
Many services out there opt for organic produce whenever possible, and many of them are completely organic.
Many are non-GMO, or use produce from local farmers instead of large chains or factories.
Each one is different, so we pay attention to those that really stand out.
The cost is one of the most decision-making factors for a lot of people looking at ordering a meal service.
Generally, the higher cost services will be of higher quality or offer something more unique, but the budget-friendly ones shouldn't be overlooked either.
After all, what we all want most is value for our money.
That's what we look at most; we compare the cost to the quality and see how it matches up for each service that we try.
A good or bad customer service interaction has the ability to make or break the entire experience when it comes to ordering from a meal delivery service.
We look at how simple or difficult it is to reach their customer service options, how many different options they have (email, phone, chat, etc.), response time, etc.
Good customer service is important when you're paying for a service, and it's a good thing to know ahead of time, so we take this into consideration in all of our reviews.
Why You Should Trust Us
You should trust us when it comes to our reviews because we're just like you.
We're busy adults just trying to do our best to balance work, kids, pets, our home, hobbies, etc. as best we can.
We also have a lengthy background in the food industry, so we know what to look for when we review these services.
We can critique these various services from both perspectives, which makes our perspective quite unique and worthwhile.
In addition, our in-depth review process detailed here allows us to fully inspect each service to make sure you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.