Who doesn’t love food? Especially, when it can be delivered right to your doorstep. No, we’re not talking about ordering pizza, we’re talking about meal kit delivery services.
These meal kit delivery services tend to work similarly. You go online and subscribe for the service. Typically, the meal kits are delivered weekly with everything you need to enjoy a delicious meal.
Some of them come with the ingredients you need to cook your own meal, some of them come with pre prepped ingredients to save you time and some even come ready to bake.
HelloFresh is the perfect example of a service that sends along the ingredients for you to cook your own meal. HelloFresh calls themselves “America’s #1 Meal Kit”, so if you’ve ever heard of these meal kit services, this is probably the one you’re most familiar with.
However, Sun Basket is gaining more traction and becoming more widely known, likely because they’ve managed to set themselves apart from the traditional meal kit delivery services in a few ways.
Sun Basket stands on convenience and prides themselves for having healthy meals made from fresh, USDA-certified organic ingredients responsibly sourced from American farms, fisheries, and ranches.
While some of Sun Basket’s meals work the same way as HelloFresh where you’re just sent ingredients that you prep and cook yourself, they also offer “Speedy” meals (with pre prepped ingredients) and “Oven-Ready” meals.
Price per serving
HelloFresh says it’s the most popular meal kit in America, let’s see how Sun Basket was able to measure up.
Winner: HelloFresh…Sort of.
Per meal, HelloFresh tends to be less costly.
However, there are a few caveats to this that you should be aware of. For one, HelloFresh’s standard meals are $8.99 per serving, but their Gourmet meals can be a few dollars more, which actually puts them on par with Sun Basket’s meals that start at $10.99 each. Additionally, HelloFresh charges a dollar more per shipping than Sun Basket.
So, why then is HelloFresh the winner, you ask?
Well, to get the $10.99 per meal price with Sun Basket, you have to order 4 recipes per week for two people. Not a big deal if you’re feeding a larger family.
But when you compare the average order size from each service, which is 3 recipes for two people each week, HelloFresh is $8.99 per serving and Sun Basket is actually $11.99 per serving. So even though HelloFresh charges a bit more for shipping, you can expect to pay a little less with their service.
This is especially true when you consider the fact that Sun Basket also has specialty type meals like HelloFresh’s Gourmet meals that can cost more than the standard price, as well as customization options that can affect price per serving for each meal too.
Because of this, HelloFresh is the winner on pricing.
Winner: Sun Basket
This is where Sun Basket shines (pun intended!). They may actually have more variety than any other meal kit out there. They’ve got:
- Chef’s Choice (which are hand picked by chefs highlighting seasonal ingredients)
- Lean & Clean
- Quick & Easy
However, HelloFresh is no slouch either when it comes to plan options. Though, you may not realize all that they have to offer when you sign up…
For whatever reason, when you first subscribe you can only choose from these four options:
- Meat and veggies: Their widest variety of meat, fish, and seasonal produce.
- Veggies: A wide variety of meals full of seasonal, naturally produced veggies.
- Family friendly: Kid-tested recipes that make quick, easy-to-cook meals.
- Calorie smart: A wide selection of dietician-approved meals that are around 650 calories each.
But, after you’re a fully active subscriber, you can personalize your menu further by selecting any of these options in the “Plan Settings” menu:
- Quick & easy
- Seafood free
- Pork free
- Beef free
Furthermore, both services offer around 15 recipes per week to choose from when customizing your order.
But, what makes Sun Basket the winner for this category is the fact that more of their plans are geared toward specific dietary needs. For example, they have the Paleo plan for those who follow the paleo diet and the Gluten-Free plan for those who follow a gluten-free diet.
Conversely, some of HelloFresh’s plans are more geared toward avoiding specific foods, rather than helping you follow a specific style of eating. For example, you can opt into their Seafood Free plan, Pork Free plan or Beef Free plan. However, you’re still going to be following the average American diet, just sans whatever ingredient you’ve chosen to avoid.
With Sun Basket, you actually get the best of both worlds, anyway. You can select a plan that accommodates your dietary preferences and have the option to opt out of specific ingredients in most cases.
Please note, to ensure you have three recipes to select from for each meal plan, there are certain combinations of ingredient opt-outs that cannot be accommodated. Non-supported combinations of ingredients will appear grayed out and aren’t available to select.
Winner: Sun Basket
This coincides with Sun Basket’s meal plans, such a variety of plans has led to a massive variety of food. Moreover, you can personally customize the majority of their meals by swapping out one protein for another.
Another way Sun Basket differs from competition is because they offer breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks and even butcher services that are delivered right to your door.
Additionally, HelloFresh meals are cooked from scratch, whereas Sun Basket offers some pre prepped meals and some oven ready meals that cut out a lot of work. So, Sun Basket even has more variety for preparation and cooking variety.
Though, with HelloFresh, they do categorize their recipes by level based on simplicity to cook. Level one is the easiest/simplest and level three takes it up a notch with the most amount of multitasking required and a wide variety of adventurous ingredients and cooking techniques, so you do still have options with HelloFresh.
Overall though, Sun Basket wins for food variety.
Accommodate dietary restrictions
Winner: Sun Basket
Sun Basket meal plans are all about accommodating dietary restrictions. They’ve got you covered if you eat:
Plus, they have options that are:
HelloFresh really only has you covered if you eat vegetarian or “normal”.
For the meals I received with each service, HelloFresh came out ahead for ingredient quality.
The only issue to be found was how much one of the veggies shrank during the cooking process. However, this is more of a quantity issue than a quality issue. Adding another carrot to our box would have remedied this.
Conversely, some of the produce received from Sun Basket was bruising and literally rotting. This was what led to the lower score they were given in the initial review. Given the price point, subpar ingredient quality is nearly inexcusable.
Nevertheless, keep in mind we only tried each service once, so we might not have seen a clear picture of the service as a whole. Perhaps this was a bad week.
Ease of use
Winner: Sun Basket
Sun Basket offers some “oven-ready” and “pre-prepped” recipes. This cuts actual time and work out of the process.
Because of this, I would deem Sun Basket easier to use.
Plus, on Sun Basket’s website, you can find video tutorials for different cooking techniques, as well as other tips and tricks. These are great resources if you’re new to cooking.
On the other hand, HelloFresh meals aren’t hard to cook and they do categorize their meals by level.
This is convenient for two reasons. One, if you are new to learning to cook, you can make sure you select the easiest meals until you get the hang of things. Two, knowing the level of each meal means you know what to expect out of that meal.
For instance, if you just got home from working late and in the fridge you’ve got a level one recipe and a level three recipe, you’ll probably want to opt for the level one.
Level 1 recipes are all about simplicity and familiarity. They involve little multi-tasking and may require only 1-2 pots and pans. Level 2 recipes involve a bit more multi-tasking and concentration. They encourage you to experiment with different ingredients and cooking techniques. Level 3 recipes take it up a notch with the most amount of multitasking and a wide variety of adventurous ingredients and cooking techniques that are still totally doable.
Ordering experience and packaging
Winner: Sun Basket
Both meal kit delivery services are similar when it comes to the order experience and packaging. You can set up both services online. They both have an app for subscription management. They both come delivered in insulated boxes with ice packs with each meal packaged separately.
This means, the only area left to judge was the delivery process. With both services, our items were still cold to the touch when they arrived. But, with HelloFresh, our first order was a day late.
Due to this, Sun Basket is getting the point for this category.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that both these services have their pros and cons.
From this side by side comparison, it definitely looks like Sun Basket is the better service, yet they actually scored lower in our in depth review than HelloFresh did.
While HelloFresh is lacking some of the variety and ability to accommodate certain dietary preferences, they tended to come out ahead for flavor and having kid friendly recipes.
On the other hand, with Sun Basket you can select recipes that are made from scratch or oven ready, which can be a huge time saver. HelloFresh has no such options
However, with all of Sun Basket’s added variety and convenience comes a slightly higher price tag.
This means we can’t pick a winner, you have to based on what’s important to you. If you’re following a paleo diet, Sun Basket is probably the better choice. If you are feeding a family with children, you’re probably better off with HelloFresh.
But hey, why not try them both if you aren’t looking for anything in particular? To help you decide whether to try Sun Basket or HelloFresh first, check out these in depth reviews: