Frequently Asked Questions
How do meal delivery services work?
While the process can vary by service, in most cases, you’ll need to choose the number of meals you want in a weekly package, pick the recipes you find most appealing, pay and, finally, wait for the package at arrive to your doorstep.
Some will have additional steps and let you customize the delivery schedule. Others, on the other hand, will choose the meals for you and provide you with a curated box. You should be able to know most of these details by looking at the official site, though.
How are meals from meal delivery services different than the meals I can buy in the grocery store?
The primary difference is in the fact that the meals provided by these services are usually of a higher quality. In most cases, they carefully select all the ingredients, with some going the extra mile of only using organic produce. Then, their team prepares the food under the supervision of a chef, before the meal is packed and sent to you.
That usually brings the quality of their recipes to the level of a restaurant, but with a more approachable price.
How long does the food stay fresh? How do meal delivery services keep the food fresh in transit?
In most cases, the package itself is insulated and cooled with dry ice. That should help keep the food from spoiling while it travels to your home. To be on the safe side, you should still move all the meals to your fridge as soon as possible.
The meals themselves are typically flash-frozen, and some services also offer local delivery or pick-up. That way, you’ll get the freshest food possible, but that might not always be achievable.
What is the best way to store these meals and juices?
It mostly depends on the service and the contents of your meals. You can usually count on keeping food in the fridge for about 3-5 days, and if you’re unsure whether you can finish the meal in time, you can always freeze it, and thaw it out when you plan on eating it.
In short, keep the food you plan on eating immediately in the fridge, and the rest, you can place in your freezer.
Juices mostly arrive frozen and need to be kept in a freezer until you plan on drinking them.
What if I have food allergies or Intolerances?
You might need to be sure that the service can accommodate your needs. Most will have a menu for those with sensitivities, but as all the food is prepared in the same facilities, some cross-contamination could still be possible.
You can check their website for more information, and if you still have questions, most will answer any query you can have. Some services will also specialize in these needs and offer meals that are completely free of most common allergens.
Are meal delivery services a good option for seniors?
Usually, yes, they are a good option. Most will provide a selection of healthy meals at affordable prices, which could be a factor for many seniors. Also, some services specialize in providing for their needs and have a wide selection of recipes that have a lower caloric value, don’t have as much sodium, or are appropriate for those with heart problems or higher blood pressure.
Do meal delivery services offer vegetarian/vegan options?
Mostly, yes. The amount of support for these lifestyles may vary from service to service. Some will offer a different menu or program with plant-based meals, while others might only have several items that don’t contain meat on their menu.
If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you might need to do additional research before making a final choice. Some services cater to these diets, as well, so if you’re worried about cross-contamination, they might be the only choice.
Do meal delivery services offer diabetic-friendly options?
This, unfortunately, isn’t as common. Some will have diabetes-friendly items on their menu, but the choice is usually quite limited.
You could opt for a service that caters to these needs, but you might need to research them more closely. You should also consult your doctor to understand what potential pitfalls you should keep an eye out for.
Can my kids eat meals from meal delivery services?
Yes, most of these services will offer meals that are safe for kids. You might have bigger problems if your child is picky about food, though. Some services will offer special items that are kid-friendly, but you’ll usually need to look for them.
Some will also have the option of ordering family-sized meals, and these could be the way to go if you’re planning on feeding your household.
Will I get the instructions and nutritional information with my meals?
Instructions are more common when you’re ordering meal kits. There, you need to finish the preparations to get the final meals. When you’re ordering prepared food, it is usually divided into servings to make it easier to manage.
You should still get enough nutritional information about each portion, though. It is normally printed on the label found on the plastic wrapping, and most services will offer that info on their website, as well.
Can a meal delivery service help me lose weight?
In most cases, yes. As long as you choose a service that uses more natural ingredients, that should, in itself, dramatically improve the quality of your diet, which can lead to weight loss. Also, most of these servings are carefully balanced to provide just enough calories to fuel your day.
Some services go a step further, offering menus and programs for many popular diets and lifestyles, including Keto, Paleo, Low-Carb, Low-Calorie, and many others.
Some also cater to those that want to lose weight specifically, and some popular diets offer meal delivery, as well.
It varies from service to service. Those on the cheaper end will usually only have a weekly menu of a dozen or so items, and you can only choose the recipes that are there. Others will provide you with more options.
Some services have a fixed menu with many different recipes. They then allow you to personalize your profile to your dietary preferences. That, in turn, will lead to them only showing you items appropriate for your specific needs.
Can I order specific meals?
In most cases, you’ll have a menu to choose from. In some cases, recipes are added weekly, while other times, the whole menu is regularly rotated. So, if you have a specific meal in mind, you might not see it until it’s back in rotation, which means you won’t be able to order it.
Some services have fixed menus, though. In that case, you might be able to order that meal if you can find it again.
How many servings are in each meal?
It depends on your service. Most of them will offer a single meal in a single serving for one person. That makes it easier to plan your meals.
However, some services can ship bigger meals and can have plans for couples or even families. In that case, you’ll normally find either two or four servings in a meal. You might need to research your service to see what they offer.
Can I choose recipes from more than one meal plan each week?
It varies depending on the service. Those that have different programs usually like to keep them separate. In most cases, the prices are different, as well. That means, it wouldn’t make sense for them to allow you to choose a cheaper option, but order recipes that belong to the more expensive program.
Other services might be more flexible, though, especially those that don’t have their plans strictly separated. You might need to research this aspect if that’s a concern.
Can deliveries be made to a P.O. box?
In most cases, no. Most services will not allow you to use a P.O. box. These packages contain food items, and these could go bad if they stay in your P.O. box for too long. There is also a question of bulk – most of these packages can get quite large and could have problems fitting into smaller P.O. boxes.
How much does delivery cost?
Each service has its own pricing. You should also keep in mind that most of them only deliver to the contiguous US, so if you live in Alaska or Hawaii, you might need to look more closely, as those that do deliver there usually charge an additional fee.
Some will offer free shipping, while others will have it after a minimum. Some will have a flat fee, while will change it based on the size and weight of the package. The exact amount is usually clearly stated on their website, so you should be able to find that information easily.
Can I skip a delivery?
Mostly, yes. You’ll need to keep in mind that they have a cutoff date after which you might not be able to skip the weekly package. After that date, your package is likely already on the way to you, and there is nothing they can do about it.
What that date is depends on the service and the day they ship. Some will require a week’s notice, while with others, you can skip the day before shipping.
I don’t need meals delivered every week. Can I skip a week or two?
Most of these services will allow you to pause if it’s for a week or two. Some will allow you to set your schedule for the next several weeks, so you can plan further into the future. Others have different options depending on the length of the break.
If you find that the weekly deliveries are too much for you, you might consider opting for a smaller package. Alternatively, some services can deliver every other week, or even monthly, so those might be a good choice.
How long do I have to wait for the delivery?
Each service will have its own schedule. Some will have a fixed day of the week when they ship, while others will allow you to choose from several options. How long will the delivery take largely depends on where you live, but it shouldn’t take more than a day or two.
When you subscribe to one of these services, they’ll provide you with all the information you need about the delivery schedule.
Can I change my delivery date and how?
Your delivery date largely depends on the schedule of the service. Some will provide some room to move it around, but even then, they mostly ship on several set days of the week, which can limit your choices.
Even if your service doesn’t have that option, you could still try to contact their customer service to see if any change is possible.
What happens if I’m not home?
If the package arrives while you’re at work, the food should be safe by the time you return home. The box is designed to keep the contents fresh and it’s packed with dry ice to do that.
However, if you’re going on a longer trip, you might need to pause your subscription if you don’t want to find several packages with spoiled food on your doorstep when you return. Most services will have such an option, and it should be easy to find.
How does one pay for meals?
While the exact procedure depends on the service, most will have a subscription offer that will be charged weekly. Some will allow you to pay several months in advance, and then receive weekly packages with your food.
In most cases, you simply need to choose your plan, customize the contents of your box if the service allows it, and finalize the order by entering your payment details and address. They will contact you when your package is ready to be shipped, as well as when you will be charged.
I have a gift certificate; How do I claim it?
Most services have an option to buy a gift certificate. That mostly means that you can purchase such an option with a limited duration, for example, a subscription lasting six months or a year. After that period ends, the person who received the gift won’t be receiving any packages until they extend their subscription and pay for it.
As to how you can claim it, this depends on the service. Most will have a page for that, and it is usually grouped with the page that contains the info on their gifting options.
Is there a referral program? How does it work?
Not all of them have such a program, and if that’s one of the factors you consider essential, you might need to do some research.
The exact rules of the program largely depend on the service. Some will provide you and your referral with a free meal or two, while others might even offer cash prizes or a discount from your next orders. In most cases, these programs are advertised on their sites, and you shouldn’t have difficulties finding all the necessary information.
How do I handle the dry ice?
Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide, and as such, it should sublimate directly into a gas. You should keep that in mind when handling these packages – as the box isn’t airtight, in most cases, you have several days until it completely dissipates. After that, your food might spoil.
As dry ice has extremely cold temperatures, it can be dangerous to touch it directly. The box itself should be sufficiently insulated, but you shouldn’t open the packets containing the material. You should instead let it sublimate before disposing of the package.
There was an issue with the ingredients in my order. How do I address it?
If you’re unsure about the food you received, you shouldn’t eat it. It’s better not to risk food poisoning. It might look strange, or the smell could be off, and if you notice any of that, you should dispose of the food.
As for what happened, the problem could have originated either in packaging or in shipping. Maybe the seal wasn’t as airtight as it was supposed to be, or the box was damaged in transit, which let all the dry ice evaporate, leaving the food to spoil. In that case, you should either contact the shipping agency or send an e-mail to your meal delivery service and ask about a refund.
Can I get a refund?
This also largely depends on the service. Some won’t have any refund policies, so if you’re on a tight budget, you might take that into account, as those on the cheaper end usually have a lower quality of customer service.
And even if you opt for a more expensive solution, that doesn’t mean that you’ll get a refund if one of your meals goes bad. They might offer a replacement in your next package, or they might discount the value of the meal from your next order, instead.