What I liked about using the services were the convenience of pre-measured foods, the variety of menu choices and the convenience of home delivery. The pre-measured ingredients simplified the cooking process so it wasn't so intimidating and time-consuming for the kids. They could easily follow the directions and cook the meals almost entirely on their own. The menu choices were different enough (usually a choice out of 6 options) from their typical ideas of dinner food, but limited enough that it wasn't overwhelming to choose from. When I previously would say, "You're cooking this week, pick a meal", they'd often fall back on a few options that they already learned, or they'd pore over the internet and basically pick nothing, because there were just too many options. So over the past 5 weeks, they tried meals like Filipino Adobo chicken, pork chops with maple-mustard glaze, parsnip and pear salad, udon noodles with roasted butternut squash and edamame, and two-bean enchiladas. It was fun for us to eat something different for dinner (and not have to go shopping for the ingredients!) and it gave the kids a broader range of skills and repertoire for their cooking.
What I didn't like about the services were the cost, the excessive and wasteful packaging, and the use of pre-packaged spice mixes. The cost ends up being more than shopping on our own for food, but less than a meal out at a restaurant for the 4 of us. With the coupon codes for the first 2 deliveries, it ended up being reasonable, but on an ongoing basis, it could get pricy. We did the 'Family Plan' for both of these companies, which is less expensive but with limited menu options compared to the 'Regular Plans'. As for packaging, even though they both make efforts to make the packaging recyclable, the fact that small amounts of sauce, meat, spices, and vegetables had to be kept separate necessitates packaging for individual items. I felt so bad about just the EXISTENCE of the packaging, even though I did recycle whatever I could. It's an awful lot for one meal! Also, they often came with pre-mixed spices, which sometimes had the ingredients listed (Sun Basket did this), but to cook the same meal, you'd have to keep ordering from them, rather than being able to recreate it yourself, shopping for your own ingredients. We did manage to mimic a few, or use some substitutions, when we tried the same recipes again for a second time, but without ordering the kit.
Between the two services, Sun Basket had the advantage of organic ingredients and more exotic and varied menu options, even in their Family Plan. Hello Fresh's meals were simpler (and also therefore faster to cook), mostly consisting of pan-fryinging or roasting some chunk of meat with a sauce, and preparing an interesting salad on the side, and thus, less "interesting". Sun Basket's meal comes with a recipe booklet of ALL the recipe options for that week, not just the meals we chose. This makes it interesting to browse, and perhaps attempt some of these recipes on our own (or maybe to tempt you to order some other meal next time when it comes back around on the meal choices). Hello Fresh sends a recipe card for the specific meal we chose. Sun Basket's method does produce a lot more waste though, if you're not planning on keeping the recipe booklet. It's about as thick as a magazine, with glossy pages and all. We did keep the booklets we have, and I've used some of the other recipes as a guide to try a few new meals for our family, shopping on our own instead of ordering from them.
So far, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to cancel the services, but I've 'skipped' all the weeks ahead that I can skip. I guess I'll have to find a way to cancel eventually, but for now I think we are still registered. If you forget to skip though, it automatically sends you the default menus for that week (and of course, charges you), so that's another drawback to these services. Overall, I'm glad we did it. This week, they cooked a meal each, but using existing recipes. It definitely took longer because of the need to measure out ingredients. Also, some of the recipes they chose had pre-packaged spice mixes, which we didn't have, so we had to make up our own in an attempt to recreate it. (We had to throw out our first attempt at the cinnamon vinaigrette dressing that we made because the proportions were so off that the whole thing tasted bitter and sour). I'm hoping they will still continue to cook once a week, but it will definitely take more effort to pick recipes and shop ahead of time.