I have never had the issue where going to the supermarket to shop for dinner unknowingly left me without crucial ingredients or return boxes crowding my driveway. I have never had the issue where a supermarket sneaks shellfish into my order even though I am allergic and explicitly did not want shellfish when I entered the supermarket.
The tolerances on these services are just much much harder than a brick and mortar store and it feels like none of them take it seriously at all. You need to provide near 98% for every single customer or they eventually drop off as they lose patience with you and switch service, and after a couple they just don't want to bother any more.
I used BlueApron for several months, but then the last mile delivery company stopped dropping the package at my door and instead began leaving it in my apartment's mail room, which doesn't notify me when I have a package and closes overnight. That + some growing concerns over food safety (esp around their meat) lead to me dropping and giving up on them.
I’ve had the core ingredient missing from my boxes before. As in, the core ingredient is in the recipe name!
I also found the produce quality to be hit or miss. Spinach especially was regularly too wet and thus spoiled before I even had a chance to use it. That never happens to me with store bought produce.
The ecological impact also started to wear on me. I felt gross with the amount of plastic I was throwing out.
That was by far my biggest concern. I'm not very environmentally conscious, but this was just too much.
Are plastics not recycled in the U.S.? Of course, eliminating them is way better than any form of recycling, but I'm fixated on the use of "trash" to qualify plastic refuse.
I mean: they package 2 strands of thyme in a tiny little plastic bag. They have these tiny plastic boxes with a spoonful of sauce.
No recycling program is capable of reusing that kind of stuff efficiently and even if they could, it’s still simply an unnecessary luxury.
The original article kind of hinted at the absurdity of these meal kits -- it's no joke, you literally receive a single scallion in a long plastic bag. So that bag has really no use to you outside of holding a scallion.
The more I read about recycling, at least in the U.S., it feels like it's a grand scheme to make us ignore the amount of trash we create/consume instead of simply using materials that are better for the environment.
You may want to look into what specifically is recycled wherever you are. I'm in Australia and recently discovered that much of the plastic that I have been putting in the recycling bins are not actually recycled. Lots of kinds of plastic are theoretically recyclable however in practice only a few specific types of plastic are actually recycled.
It’s pretty much what you describe, and we offer instacart and amazon fresh integration.
Since we have a big emphasis on hitting your nutrition targets, it’s a bit tough to guarantee you’ll love the first meal plan we generate for you. It takes a bit of refreshing meals to get everything perfect for your tastes, and it’s definitely the #1 thing we’re working on improving.
Huge fan for a long time. The app actualy solves problems verses just a fancy design or a wish for how things should be.
1. My plastic trash output doubled overnight when I signed up.
2. Excessive amounts of carrots and other "cheap, but filling" substances.
3. My life doesn't need another subscription service to think about and manage.
4. Going to the store once a week isn't that much of a hassle, the food quality is higher, and it's cheaper.
Not sure how common my take is, but not only is going to a store not a hassle -- going to a grocery store is an absolute pleasure. It is a timeboxed task with a sense of accomplishment at the end that takes me away from my computer and gives me exercise (I usually walk.) I tend to do 2x a week to break up the task and do it more often because I like it. Shorter cycles also helps with freshness and error correction.
I can't remember the exact statistics, but the vast majority of people prefer b&m grocery shopping. In many cities and towns across America, the most fun thing you can do each week is to go to the Walmart and shop. It's a social experience. It engages all your senses. It's fun. I believe that's partly why brick and mortar grocery purchases are still around 97% of total grocery sales despite grocery delivery services being available for over two decades.
I imagine at some point in the future, someone clever will figure out a way to replicate the in-store experience online, but there's nothing that's even close right now (sorry AR/VR).
I agree with you, but the meal order kits, at least to me, doesn't solve "going to the grocery store".
They solve the issue of too much choice and too little time to make a decision. That push us to just try to same usual meals. At least with meal kits, not only you try new stuff, that you may have no tried for many reason (Does my supermarket carry this ingredient? Do I have it already in my pantry? Will I need to buy 10x too much of it to try this meal that I may not like?), but you also do it quickly.
I remember when I tried Goodfood late last year, there was a recipe I was interested in, but it was from their "family" meal plan. I still wanted to do it, so a month ago I went to get the recipe. I couldn't find a few of the spices at my local supermarket and it required a little bit of Sherry Vinegar, which sure isn't expensive and may be used in the future, but it's still way more than I need and will go to waste if I don't reuse it/like it.
I'm going to try a service that someone made in this thread, Eat This Much, and I'll see if it's works too, but I feel like it's not enough and many of theses issues will come up.
I still haven't closed my account over Goodfood, I still plan to order a few meals from time to time, to add recipes to my usual meals list. I feel like that's the kind of usage that make sense. Sure it's more expensive, sure the shipping require more waste, but it doesn't hurt if it just happens from time to time and maybe my Sherry Vinegar that I may waste in the long run isn't much different either.
I really don't mind grocery stores and I've never understood the meals thing. But I'm also a pretty boring millenial on my s6 and 17" massive laptop. So who knows.
But context is important. A lot of people can't drop everything while they're shopping. If you're rushing, don't know what you want or have a furious toddler in tow, the experience suffers significantly.
That all said, I'm surprised so many people have to turn to Blue Apron (et al) just because shopping isn't convenient for them. Don't your shops offer online services? In the UK, all the major supermarkets offer delivery and collection services at minimal cost. If you buy the same thing every week, you can reduce the total exercise to just a few minutes of engagement time.
Not sure where the mystery is.
I'm sure there are people who wonder why the OP doesn't enjoy spending time shopping for clothes.
Most supermarkets in America do not have nice cafes.
Most people go to a cafe if they want to go to a cafe, they don't go to a supermarket.
Many people have to drag kids along and keep them under control when grocery shopping.
It is a repetitive task.
For most people there is no creativity or joy in it.
Most people do not live within walking distance of their supermarket.
Most people wouldn't walk there anyway, since they are shopping for a family of three or four.
Most people don't see it as a break from other things, they see it as one more thing that has to be fit into a busy weekend (or even worse, an evening after work).
And many more.
Really the entire subthread reads like yuppie single men wondering why other people don't have the same preferences they do and being completely unable to figure it out.
This is why I hate potatoes soo much. There are wayyy too many restaurants that depend on potatoes for margin.
I've never eaten in a restaurant and thought they're bulking on potatoes.
I find restaurants steer very clear of potatoes because they don't have any wow factor, and with the volume of food that goes to waste in most restaurants to produce a perfect little plate are they really worried about how much the raw materials are costing them?
This claim doesn't make any sense. Who buys restaurant dishes by weight?
That being said, you can buy some Cantonese food by weight: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siu_yuk
I know I love mashed potatoes with my steak. And fries with my burger.
instead you can just make a list with normal paragraphs so that lines can wrap normally.
1. Item One Das Handelsgericht Zürich hat in einem Massnahmeverfahren der Raiffeisen Schweiz gegen Inside Paradeplatz und Lukas Hässig entschieden, dass der Artikel eines anonymen Autors vom 20. August 2018 zu löschen sei.
2. Item two Das Handelsgericht hat festgehalten, dass nicht klar sei, ob unter den gegebenen Umständen der Text wirklich wie behauptet von einem ehemaligen Kadermann der Bank stamme.
3. Item three Inside Paradeplatz und Lukas Hässig wie auch Raiffeisen Schweiz akzeptieren diesen Entscheid.
1. My plastic trash output doubled overnight when I signed up.
2. Excessive amounts of carrots and other "cheap, but filling" substances.
3. My life doesn't need another subscription service to think about and manage.
4. Going to the store once a week isn't that much of a hassle, the food quality is higher, and it's cheaper.
This is the money quote. The people who subscribe to these things and figure out cooking is not hard and just requires a bit of initial guidance are almost certainly going to keep recipes and do their own shopping. And now that it's proven viable and so many supermarkets deliver groceries, they're going to swoop in and eat mail-order kits' collective lunches.
The customer's cost isn't increased over regular online ordering, and there isn't the issue of increased packaging. The food is fresh from the local supermarket and doesn't have to be shipped, beyond at most a local delivery.
I've no idea how you could possibly compete with that level of ease, service, and selection. I'd not go long on BlueApron et al. I mean, Munchery just closed out of the blue the other month. They all are on the gallows block.
I have talked with a local specialty supermarket owner about this, and basically it's too expensive to do at small scale.
For large supermarkets you would think that it would work, but it turns out it's just not that useful overall. Albert Heijn in the Netherlands has had the beginnings of this for decades: small cards at the entrance of a shop with recipes, a selection of 12-15 that rotates weekly. They have a (monthly or bimonthly?) magazine with recipes. Since a few years you can order online (either for delivery or pickup) and you can put all ingredients for a recipe in your shopping basket with one click (from the website, from the mobile version of the magazine, everywhere you can think of). They have an app that syncs with your account so that you can use it as an in-shop shopping list (i.e. no more printing). They have functionality that shows you the optimal path through the store, given a set of things you want to buy. All things of which I thought 10 years ago 'if only they would add this, I would do all my shopping there!'. But now it's 2019 and it turns out that after the novelty wears off (2 weeks?), all that just doesn't matter as much as you would think it would.
They're also opening up Hy-Vee Fast and Fresh stores, which are smaller locations built around these and other premade heat-and-server dinners (Chinese food, sushi, enchiladas).
But also, yes their packaged dinner meals have saved several of my nights as a night-owl student at Baylor, studying for hours and looking up to realize it's suddenly 1am and everything's closed.
German recipe website Chefkoch.de uses Whisk to do exactly this.
I'd be happy to buy kits from a supermarket rather than by mail though, if they were able to stock a good selection.
Then, learn about proper ratios. (Best book I've found so far is "Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking"). And then get yourself a copy of the flavor bible, which makes it easy to create excellent flavor combinations. You're set for life.
(You might at some point add cooking chemistry into the mix, too. But the point is, learn to make recipes yourself, so you know they're tailored to what you like. Instead of having to try them one by one)
I primarily cook Chinese food, and as a result general technique guidance coming from Western techniques tends to work to the extent that green beans are green beans, but tends to translate imperfectly to the extent that a cast iron skillet is not a wok, dumpling dough and pasta dough are made differently and handled differently, etc.
As a result, I sort of have two different kitchens in my kitchen, there's a set of tools, ingredients, and techniques for Chinese food (and often other Asian cuisines), and there's a set of tools, ingredients, and techniques for when I make Western dishes.
Outside of that, I generally have the same issue with cooking ethnic cuisine. The specialized equipment is different, it's challenging (and crucial) to get specialty ingredients, new techniques need to be learned. But, most importantly, you have to know how it's supposed to taste, otherwise it's impossible to approach cooking it properly. I was never able to make a proper mapo tofu until I had my first really really good one and realized what I was missing (good Szechuan peppercorns).
Cooking is more about knowing the properties and flavours of your ingredients and knowing which work well together. Once you know that, you can make pretty much anything.
Baking though i'd say is an exception. The ratios of ingredients and the orser you combine and the methods you use are fairly important to get exact. Baking is a lot like chemistry.
I've also been lucky enough to have a copy of this book lying around.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless you want to work in a kitchen, but it's pretty awesome.
A cookbook will have a section on "how to prepare piece of meat X", what to think about when preparing that piece, and then some recipes centered on that piece, at different levels of work and difficulty. That shows you what directions you can take that ingredient in, what it's good for, and how to make variations on the same base ingredient.
Recipe collections never do this, everything is presented as a done deal. Here's the recipe, follow the recipe exactly. There are no connections, no progression, no explanations, no substitutions, and in the end, recipe collections never teach you how to cook.
So I'm not surprised you have issues with recipe collections. They are useless, and I wish more people knew the difference between those and real cookbooks.
This isn't meant to be passing judgement on anyone, btw, just an observation in general of how people seem to progress from these things. Either they do their own shopping and learn to cook for real, or they go back to mostly eating out.
But instead when I look at these services it's almost all ingredients you can get at almost any US grocery store.
Which is why I think these services are doomed. I don't see how they can do it as inexpensively as they do. Really it's a remarkable value.
And to many of the comments, one of the services here now has a selection of meals each week that are only available if you pick it up at a large grocery chain, that partnership being presumably how they're trying to reduce costs.
I don't know why the grocery stores don't just make their own boxes though.
And I know group cooking classes exist, but I've just never seen it as part of the grocery store offering or something they publicize.
Guess around slow times they could rearrange certain areas, like the delikatessen/hot food/bakery areas.
Or yep like you said, rearrange some areas temporarily during off-hours.
1. cookinglightdiet.com for recipe ideas & meal planning. They are typically quick, simple, and healthy recipes. Costs $4 / mo
2. Generate shopping list on that site.
3. Populate my shopping cart on the grocery store's site - we go to Ralph's typically. Pick a time to get the groceries. That service of theirs is called Clicklist.
4. Pick up groceries at the designated time ($8 fee).
Picking meals is easy, generating the shopping list & filling the cart takes a little bit of time, picking the groceries up takes minutes (way better than spending an hour and a half searching for ingredients yourself). It's like normal grocery shopping some of the perks & convenience of meal kit services. Credit to my wife for coming up with all of this.
There's still lots of dumb VC money to advertise on podcasts left even without the food boxes.
The Doordash/Uber/etc crowd can't even keep things warm.
The service I'd like would either deliver or pickup 2-3 pre-measured ready-to-prep meals in re-useable containers (i.e. glass/stainless that I return to them for re-use).
In large urban centres already serviced by a big grocer this would seem to be such a great way to lock consumers into their product!
Is this the “uncanny valley” of food preparation? Almost looks like it but not close enough.
Planning meals is still a somewhat significant cognitive load. I think that's the value proposition here. Getting a bunch of single meal portions is convenient, but not really any better than getting groceries delivered. It's not having to go through the process of finding recipes and then generating a shopping list that's the killer feature.
I think the ideal thing is the ability to click and say I want to make these four meals this week. It adds a list of perishables (meat, veggies, etc.) to my cart and a spits out a list of staples (spices, flour, soy sauce, etc.) for me to check to see if I have. Then I either have it delivered or it can print me out a shopping list.
I have a shelf-ful of cookbooks but a good chunk of my cooking is some variant of what’s in my day to day binder.
I would like that too. For this a "smart fridge" would actually make sense if it could check what you have already.
(1) I don't want randomly chosen dishes. I want meals where the side dishes compliment the main
(2) I want something more curated and well thought out. Some variety throughout the week and dishes that are less perishable. Like I want to make a fish dish as soon as I get the fish but a pasta dish can wait 3-4 days after my order.
(3) The filter choices are odd. I can't say "chicken and fish only" but I can do mediterranean? And I question how much "Cheesy Chicken and Spinach" and "Buttered toast" are mediterranean.
(4) The recipe filter is broken too. I tried to filter for main dishes and my first two choices are "Rice cake with Strawberry Ricotta and Honey" and "Grilled Peaches with Honey"
A lot of other meal planners will have more curated/appealing meal combinations, but also only serve a few different generic nutrition constraints. We'd like to keep the nutrition targets as flexible as possible, which requires a much wider search space on what goes in a meal. One approach we could try is allowing fractional servings on your recipes, but then you'd never be able to escape measuring specific amounts for each meal/recipe, and we think there's a decent amount of amount of value in keeping the servings simpler so you can eventually recall them from memory and not rely on the meal plan. Hopefully we can get the best of both worlds sooner than later.
Which... no thanks. There are foods I don't like, and I won't buy them just because you need to get rid of your supplies.
Meanwhile, I'm very happy with freshly - no cooking except "microwave for 3:30", mostly decent food quality. They still have the same last-mile problem as everybody else, though. (Seriously, could somebody just nuke OnTrac from orbit?)
I eventually cancelled Freshly because I grew tired of the lack of variation.
I suspect the reason this is so difficult is also the reason that I would pay a lot for it: it's a huge pain to come up with many recipes when you're allergic to many things. I'm allergic to almost all legumes. That includes soy, peanuts, lentils, edamame, most beans, peas, licorice, etc. However, I'm not allergic to black beans. This combination of allergies is highly unique: I'm sure there aren't that many people out there who share the exact same allergies. Sure, maybe some people have overlap, but it's likely only a partial overlap.
This means that any meal kit service would either have to 1) Provide bespoke sets of kits for almost every allergy combination possible or 2) Provide a limited number of meal sets that hit the big categories. Option 1 is nigh impossible since that's too many combinations to gain the benefits of economies of scale. Option 2 also sucks because my allergies might get lumped into a broader category and I miss out on ingredients. (Eg. I actually can eat black beans, but since they're legumes, they would likely be banned from a 'no legumes' set of meals)
The closest service I've found is https://paleoonthego.com/collections/aip-bakery
However, I think they fall prey to my option 2's issues. No nightshades??? What the heck? I love tomatoes! Additionally, I haven't even bothered ordering anything from there because the items are so expensive. Just look at some of the prices: $22 for 4 pop tarts! So in fact, not only did they fall prey to option 2's issues, but they also fall prey to option 1's issues! (lack of economies of scale)
I have no idea if this issue is ever solvable in a way that provides a stable business model. Frankly, if normal meal kit services can't make it work, I doubt one that artificially limits its customer base would work either.
Plus I think that unless the business is focused around these bespoke allergy-friendly recipes, then me blacklisting a large swath of ingredients will lead to me missing out on most of / their best meals.
Cheaper than going out, but obviously not cheaper than buying the groceries yourself.
Plenty of people spend $5 at a coffee shop so I can see a subset of the market continuing to pay $8/serving + shipping for this stuff.
For me, not having to pick a recipe and do the shopping is the biggest convenience. The results range from meh to awesome (certainly sometimes due to me botching the recipe).
Price-wise, the service is between eating out and buying groceries myself, which I think is fair.
Shipments have been on time and usually okay (had rotten tomatoes once).
I’m not sure how long I’ll stay with them, but for now, I have no intention of canceling. I have eaten healthier food with more variety, and learnt a bunch about cooking and recipe tuning in the process.
I have to say that one thing about HelloFresh meals, they always plate so well. Over the time I've been with them, I've certainly collected a number of favourite recipies. But unfortunately, recipies are definitely repeating now.
There are a number of reasons I am still with them.
1. Having everything needed just show up is really nice. I waste way less food with HelloFresh (either over buying ingredients that go bad, or making too much due to poor portion control and no one wants to eat left over 3 days after). Having just the right amount of fresh herbs for a meal can really make or break the flavour. I do still go to to grocery store for some basic stuff that I use to supplement some meals with, as some meals are occassaionally small. For example, if the meal comes with 1 potato, I may add a potato of my own. I leave the meat portion alone, and I think this has gotten me to eat smaller portions as well.
2. Having a constant stream of different meals is nice. Before, my husband and I'd settled into always making the standard rotation of around 10 meals. That gets dull really quick. It was leading us to ordering pizza more than once a week, which is definitely not good (it is tasty, but not good).
3. I enjoy making the food, and like I said, it always looks great when it is plated, so I take pictures of each creation and proud to show friends and family.
The over packaging issue, so the box and the meals within is cardboard and paper bags, I recycle both. I noticed recently they no longer plastic bag the garlic or shallots, which is just fine by me. The biggest waste right now is all the small plastic bags the sauces and spices come in. I suppose if I wanted, I could recycle those as well since they are plastic. The ice packs are non-chemical, and reusable. I've given many many away to friends and family. Basically no one I know ever has to buy an ice pack again. And even then I have too many of them, so once in a while I cut a bunch open and wash it down the drain (they say it is a non-toxic salt solution, and safe to wash down the drain)
The boxes I've also given away when people want moving boxes, but I recycle most of them.
I think recently some of the meals have gotten a little "meh". I paused my subscription on some weeks when really nothing on the list excited me. I hope that trend doesn't continue. I have not tried other services like BA.
I don’t know if this is really Blue Apron’s fault. It’s more that I thought I wanted their service, then discovered I really didn’t.
On the logistics side, there were also numerous times when the delivery time was just not convenient for me. Again, I don’t think BA really did anything wrong here per se, but it was frustrating needing to plan around expecting a big box of fresh food to show up sometime on a particular day. This was further complicated by living in an apartment complex where deliveries sometimes go to the door... but also sometimes to the leasing office, which closes before I even get home.
The way to be efficient is to cook in bulk so you have leftovers. I typically cook in bulk every Sunday, freeze six portions, and remove a portion from each the six prior weeks from the freezer.
Actually, BA portions are designed for a single meal for two or four people, (two people for the regular plan, four for the family plan.)
Here in Denmark we have a nice services where you can cancel your order or reorder every week, but I never know how much time I have at the beginning of the week.
I actually think meal kits for bulk meal prep would be more interesting. Meal prep has become a "thing" especially for those with some fitness goal - and getting a shipment that allows you bulk prepare 1-2 weeks worth of 1-2 dishes for lunch and/or dinner that fits a particular diet or fitness goal would be a lot more interesting to me (e.g. for weight loss, keto, bulking up, marathon training, etc.)
I also think a major part of the appeal of meal kits is not really in having a "freshly prepared meal" as much as in helping people more easily achieve a level of satisfaction out of making something homemade. That, and the convenience of not 1) having to go to the grocery store to buy meal prep goods and 2) not having to find decent recipes for meals that fit your nutrition or fitness goal
It seems to be likely that there is a percentage of customers who will try and use these services for the long run. The trick will be for these companies to build up enough profitable customers so that they can spend on marketing to new customers and still make a profit. I'd expect some consolidation and in a few years, a handful of sustainable businesses.
People are lazy, nothing changes there anytime soon. Yet these are the same people who drop $75 for dinner a few times a week like it's no big deal yet will compare that to a meal subscription like it's a ripoff. The audience is out there, just a matter of finding them.
I've kept the recipes that I really liked and just buy the ingredients myself at my local grocery store, no sense in paying for the food to be delivered at this point.
This is the problem - it's not going to be 'almost supermarket prices'. It'll be a 10-20% markup, which is a lot for food.
Point being, economic modeling and naively assigning a time value equal to or even just related to people's normal hourly wages is - well - naive, and does not yield accurate representations of real world behaviors.
Here's another example: I used to have a cleaner who I'd pay e10/hour. She'd park across the street from my house, paid parking, e6 per day. There was free parking available at 10 minutes walking distance. So for 20 minutes of walking, she'd save 6 euros, i.e. e18/h, almost double what she could make from her actual work! And yet she continued to pay for parking, even after I did this math for her. Point being: people are sensitive to costs in very non-intuitive (some might say: irrational, but I don't like the connotations of that word) ways.
Picking out ingredients for a random recipe is going to leave you with little surpluses here and there. It can be hard to work it all into what you cook if you vary widely in what you cook. Though I do love cooking a variety of things. It can be wasteful unless your planning is on par with a chef.
My issue is finding a good recipe which also doesn't have 15 separate ingredients to buy - these companies I'd imagine would try to have as little ingredients as possible - and have similarities that picking a few recipes means you already have crossovers.
Most recipes I see are sometimes way too much trouble or take too long to prepare (sometimes overnight!) - I thought I'd be okay eating the same thing but when you're living with others and cooking together you want some variety.
There are also regional cuisines that require more ingredients but there’s a core set that get reused a lot.
Our bin is emptied once a month now (from twice a month) - it would be once every two months if it wasn't for the diapers.
Going to the store, you get exactly what you want, good to high quality choices, and no damage! Plus, endless variety. And its way cheaper. So for me, there was little value left.
I'm thinking about non-cooked frozen meals , which you'll cook at home in some one-click cooking gadget , like an instant-pot or a smart combi-oven, or maybe some basic cooking robot.
That way you could get high quality, high-convenience at a cheaper price.
you get pre-cut ingredients.
You put each ingredient in a bin at your home cooking machine.
The machine adds each ingredient to a pot at the right time, and mixes when needed and controls the heat.
If it was, a competitor would be offering it for a mass market price($300-400 or cheaper), and have a hit.
I think that a user-adaptive program to procedurally generate a weekly meal plan, break that down into a unified grocery shopping list, and maybe even forward said list to the picker services that some grocery stores are running now, would remove every last speck of competitive advantage the mail order kits have. Instead of getting a dinner-in-a-box delivered to your door every day, you can park in a pickup spot at the grocery, pop the trunk/hatch, get your order, and take it home. Every night, your phone can alert you when to start dinner, what foods you'll need, and pull up a recipe card or checklist if you need it.
If you know how to make tacos, and like to eat them every Tuesday, you'll get taco ingredients on your grocery list every week, and will likely get frequent suggestions for recipes that also contain cilantro, chiles, lime, tomatoes, sour cream, and green onions, to use up the leftovers. Cilantro-lime chicken. Pad Thai. Crunchy ramen salad. The most efficient meals divide your grocery store haul across multiple meals, so you don't end up eating a whole head of lettuce in one sitting, but can eat a little in every meal for which lettuce makes sense, until it's gone--ideally the night before you pick up your next load of groceries.
But the biggest advantage is that I wouldn't have to think about food until it's exactly the time I need to deal with it. There're no tedious exchanges like: "Whaddya wanna eat? Dunno; whaddyou want? Don't care. Pizza? No, not that. Mexican? Nah. Sushi? Yyyyeah... okay. Sakura or Honada? I thought we weren't going to Sakura any more? Oh yeah." &c. &c. &c.
Remember when Mom and/or Dad said "We're having meatloaf and Brussels sprouts tonight. Siddown, shaddap, and eat."? That was easy. All you had to do was show up. It even worked okay after Mom/Dad got sick of your kid complaints and said, "Fine. You make dinner, and I'll unload the dishwasher." The menu was already planned, and the food ready to cook. So a program that would select a partially randomized meal, composed of stuff that I already told it I like, and can cook, would eliminate a lot of time wasted on thinking about food. The mail-order services do that, but they're not the only ones who can do that.
Buying them at local stores has most of the benefits with less of the ecological impact or high costs. In fact the one I purchased had less overall packaging than buying the parts individually, there was still a price premium however.
Not naming companies as I'm not shilling, just pointing out the success (for one person!) of a different model.
It was great for me because its a lot of clean, unexpired food for free but the amount of waste it created blew my mind.
it's not a sustainable model because once you realize you have a measuring spoon and the right beakers, its just following directions, sort of like a series of linux commands you would normally copy & paste