Home Chef is a mid-priced meal kit delivery service for people looking for "Home Cooking Made Simple," going from fridge to plate in about 30 minutes. Unlike its competitors, it offers breakfast, smoothies and fruit baskets, too.
Home Chef is an uncomplicated, single-priced meal delivery service that mails ingredients to customers for cook-at-home meals without them having to trek to the supermarket to shop. Customers sign up online for a subscription and choose from a variety of menus each according to their dietary preferences, including meals free of wheat, soy, dairy and nuts. (Note: Home Chef’s central facility is not certified allergen-free, so cross-over is possible.) Each week, Home Chef sends all of the exact pre-portioned ingredients to prepare two to six meals in an ice-packed box. Preparation instructions are on the enclosed easy-to-follow recipe cards. Nutrition information for each meal is on the electronic version of the recipe card, available online and during meal selection. The website gives customers the ability to choose their meals, skip weeks or cancel online.
Shipping fee for delivery service
|$10 for orders under $45|
How easy is cancellation?
How flexible is this service about dietary restrictions?
Nutritional information meets Federal guidelines
Taste of prepared meals
|Very tasty meals, but not fancy ingredients|
Ease of meal preparation
|Above average ease; requires chopping ingredients|
How responsive is this company to consumers?
|Some issues reported|
Average price per portion
Cost of each portion
Variety of meal options
Number of recipes to choose from each week
For healthy seniors who love to cook and are looking for tasty food, but are not looking for specialty ingredients such as 'free-range' or 'organic,' this is a good service. However, because preparation requires chopping, assembling and cooking ingredients, advancing age or any disability can affect the ‘friendliness’ of this service to seniors. (Already-chopped ingredients are available from other meal-preparation delivery services.) Also, older seniors who are not computer-savvy may find it challenging to manage a meal delivery service via a website.
The usefulness of this kind of service deteriorates along with an advancing health condition. The possibility of food spoilage due to missed deliveries becomes a problem when extended doctors’ visits and hospitalizations keep a senior away from home for long periods. Because this service requires seniors to cook from a recipe, seniors with serious cognitive decline may find the sequencing of actions to be a challenge, and cooking on a stovetop may even pose a hazard at some point. However, low-carb and low-calorie meals can be found within the selection each week for seniors controlling their carbohydrate or calorie intake.
Home Chef is one of many new meal delivery subscription services which seek to simplify food preparation by mailing all of the ingredients needed to prepare meals. For a stable weekly fee, seniors can opt to receive the number of 2-serving meals they want for the week. For seniors who enjoy cooking, this could be a simple way to try new recipes without having to shop for long lists of ingredients at the grocery store. While Home Chef does offer several options for individuals with dietary restrictions, individual ingredients cannot be changed in a recipe. (They can, however, be omitted during preparation: for example, omitting salt in a recipe for someone who has high blood pressure). While Home Chef has earned a D rating by the Better Business Bureau for some reported Customer Service issues, it is a recipient of the 2017 Moxie Award and has been featured by ABC, the Chicago Tribune, FOX, Inc., the New York Times, USA Today and WGN. Home Chef may be a convenient way for seniors to eat healthfully, especially if this company can get its uneven customer service resolved.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you offer a mobile app?
Yes. The Home Chef app is available for iPhone through the Apple iTunes App Store and also for Android devices through Google Play.
What happens if I am not home for my shipment?
The delivery driver will leave the shipment at your door and, because the recyclable box is lined with cold packs and insulation, it should remain cold and fresh until you arrive home that day. If you expect to be gone for several days, you should pause or cancel the delivery service.
Do you have nutrition information available for your meals?
Yes. Full nutrition information is available for all Home Chef meals while making meal selection online and also on the easy-to-follow recipe card provided with each shipment.
Overview: Home Chef offers flexibility in the number of meals it delivers to you weekly. An example of meals includes “Korean Pork Tacos,” “Sweet Chili Garlic Shrimp” and “Teriyaki Charred Broccoli and Shiitake Mushrooms.”
Package Details: All Home Chef meals are $9.95/serving, or $19.90/meal. (Each meal serves two people.) Customers can select the number of 2-serving meals. Shipping is free on orders over $45, and $10 on orders less than $45. Smoothies and fruit baskets are $4.95 each.
Meal plans can be changed at any time as long as the changes are made at least five days before the next scheduled delivery. Meal plans can also be paused – temporarily halted, for example, due to travel -- or canceled through the Home Chef website or by emailing the company before the deadline.
Optional Accessories or Add-on Services: Home Chef offers breakfast, one smoothie or one fruit-basket as add-ons, each for an additional fee.
Contract Details: Delivery is free on orders over $45, and $10 for orders less than $45. You may modify your subscription (e.g., the number of meals per week or the number of servings), pause your subscription, skip a week, change your payment method or cancel your account at any time online (while logged into your account) or by sending a request by email to the company. The request must be both received and processed before the weekly cutoff deadline.
Warranty: If a customer is not satisfied with any product received, or has any other complaint, the company can be contacted by email for a refund or account credit within seven days of receiving the defective item or items. However, Home Chef cannot provide a full refund for orders larger than $100.
Accreditations: Home Chef has not received accreditation by the Better Business Bureau, but has received a D rating on the BBB website due to reports of its failure to respond adequately to customer complaints. On the other hand, in 2017, Home Chef won a Moxie Award from the website Built in Chicago for being Startup of the Year.
Company Details: Home Chef was founded in June 2013 by CEO Pat Vihtelic. Today, Home Chef’s 1,000 employees deliver more than 2.5 million meals each month from its distribution facilities in Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta. As its website says, at Home Chef “simplicity is our mantra ... we make planning and preparing a home-cooked meal simple, intuitive and inspirational every step of the way.”
400 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1400
Chicago, IL 60611