Sunbasket vs. Green Chef

A direct comparison between these two meal delivery services

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Green Chef prepared meal on plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Sunbasket and Green Chef are two meal delivery services that emphasize sustainability and healthful, organic food. Both are good services, and the one you prefer may depend on what you're looking for.

We tried both companies and broke down every aspect of the customer experience so that you can decide which company best suits your diet, lifestyle, and budget. While Sunbasket is impressive and offers customers a great deal more than Green Chef does, we ultimately found Green Chef to be a better value overall. Read on to see how we arrived at our conclusions.

Sunbasket Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Wide selection of proteins

  • Broad range of add-ons

  • 10 different meal plans

  • Simple and quick to prepare

  • Organic ingredients

Cons
  • Not flavorful enough

  • Extra charges for "premium" meals

  • No free shipping

Green Chef Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Consistently delicious

  • Offsets carbon emissions

  • Suitable for larger families and groups

  • Organic ingredients

Cons
  • No free shipping

  • You can't mix and match across plans

  • Each plan has a relatively small menu

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Price

Sunbasket meal kits start at $13.99 per serving. The company's Fresh & Ready meals start at $11.99 per serving, but because Green Chef does not offer a similar product, we'll ignore this for the purposes of our price comparison. Green Chef starts at $12.99 per serving for its Keto + Paleo plan and $11.99 for its Balanced Living and Plant-Powered plans.

At first, Green Chef appears to be less expensive than Sunbasket. But you can't look at price alone; you have to assess what you're getting for that price. Green Chef's minimum order is six servings per week, while Sunbasket's is four servings. When you order six servings per week from Sunbasket, the price drops from $13.99 to $12.99 per serving, on par with Green Chef's Keto + Paleo plan, and only $1 more than its other two plans. If you want four meals (eight servings) per week, the gap narrows even further, with only a $.50 difference between the services.

Both companies charge for shipping: Sunbasket is $7.99 and Green Chef is $8.99. A customer service rep for Sunbasket told us that we'd get free shipping on orders over $90, but when our order almost topped $120, the free shipping did not materialize.

A major difference between Sunbasket and Green Chef is that as of July 2021, all of Green Chef's meals are the same price, whereas Sunbasket has many premium meal kits that carry substantial extra charges. Sunbasket also offers a large selection of excellent add-ons that will likely tempt you to fork over additional cash. We tried several of these items and were consistently impressed.

Between the premium meals and the add-ons, you'll likely end up spending more with Sunbasket. On the other hand, if you stick to standard meals and stay away from the add-ons, you could end up spending slightly less than with Green Chef. Plus, Green Chef plans to offer premium meals in the future, so it looks like this very close price contest will only get closer over time. For now, Green Chef wins on price. However, it's a small difference, and price alone seems unlikely to be a deciding factor in this contest.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Meal Choices

Green Chef chicken in white bowl

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Both companies have good variety both within weeks and week-to-week, with a diverse array of veggies, proteins, and flavor profiles. At first glance, Green Chef's menu appears smaller than Sunbasket's. Two of Green Chef's three plans have nine weekly choices, but the third and most popular plan, Balanced Living, has 12. Although you can change plans anytime, there's no mixing and matching between plans. Whichever Green Chef plan you're on represents the total number of choices you'll have in a given week. Sunbasket, on the other hand, has 20 weekly options (and another 20 Fresh & Ready possibilities), and you don't have to change your plan to see or order the meals from the other plans.

With 10 different plans to Green Chef's three, Sunbasket seems to serve more types of diets than Green Chef. In practice, though, Sunbasket is really best for omnivores than for strict adherents. If you're committed to a specific diet—like keto or paleo, for example—Green Chef may be the better choice because while Sunbasket gives you access to more weekly options, it actually has fewer options than Green Chef within these specific dietary categories. Basically, Sunbasket is better if you're somewhat flexible with your diet, interested in mixing and matching from different plans, and stocking your pantry with yummy add-ons.

Many of Sunbasket's meal kits let you swap proteins. Green Chef's meals, on the other hand, are unalterable. As mentioned above, Sunbasket has many more add-ons, including breakfast items, snacks, sweets, and a whole lot more. For flexibility and overall variety, Sunbasket is the clear winner, but if sticking to a specific diet is important to you, Green Chef is likely the better choice.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Creativity of Dishes

Sunbasket let us down in this area. Even its "Chef's Table" selections, which carry a premium price and which the company describes as "designed with extra-luxe ingredients and innovative flavor combinations," failed to impress our tasters. The dishes were fine, but not particularly interesting, innovative, or worth the extra cost.

Sunbasket's meals are often built simply from a protein, sautéed vegetables, or salad, and pre-made sauce. Our "Chef's Table" fettuccine and scallop dish was tasty, but it lacked complexity and was excessively dominated by the flavor of sun-dried tomatoes. Sunbasket's standard dishes impressed us even less, particularly in terms of flavor. Innovation is nice, but to enjoy a meal, all that's required is a pleasant counterpoint of a few well-chosen flavors and textures. Too often, Sunbasket's dishes were one-note, or even somewhat bland. Only one dish was memorable: a steak dish that featured a delicious chipotle mustard vinaigrette. All others were forgettable.

Green Chef, on the other hand, wins this area handily. While our meals were not especially complex or innovative, they were all delicious, with little touches that made them distinctive and memorable. Hazelnuts added a pleasant crunch and nutty counterpoint to spicy honey-glazed carrots and green beans; pepitas and a Cuban spice blend elevated meatballs with dirty cauliflower rice; and coconut and sesame-ginger amino sauce beautifully accented flaky filets of barramundi.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Flavor, Freshness, and Quality

Sunbasket burger on plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

There were no major issues here with either company. We did find Green Chef's seafood to be slightly higher quality. The fish in our honey-citrus glazed salmon, for instance, was more moist and flavorful than the salmon in Sunbasket's farro bowl with spinach and green goddess dressing. And speaking of Sunbasket's farro bowl, the apricots in it were nearly flavorless. Sunbasket's beef, however, was excellent. We tried rib-eyes and New York strips; both were well-marbled and succulent. Overall, both services do a good job, but Green Chef has the edge here, both in terms of ingredients and the flavor profiles of the finished dishes.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Recipe Clarity/Difficulty

Neither service creates difficult recipes that require a high level of cooking skill. If you can chop and sauté vegetables, cook pasta and grains, pan-sear proteins, and follow directions, you'll do just fine. Sunbasket's are somewhat easier because the company has a category of recipes that requires no vegetable chopping. This was the case with the Farro Bowl discussed above. The farro and all the veggies were pre-prepped. All we had to do was cook the protein and combine everything.

Green Chef does not offer pre-prepped ingredients, but it does give you some assistance. On the keto + paleo plan, where cauliflower "rice" is frequently utilized, the cauliflower arrives already in its "riced" state. Roasted peppers in the dirty rice were already roasted. But there are no kits like the few Sunbasket offers with no chopping required.

Sunbasket probably wins here because of the greater level of pre-preparation that's available, as well as the presence of Fresh & Ready meals that require no cooking at all. Still, this is unlikely to be a dealbreaker either way. As in the price comparison, we don't think there's a meaningful difference in the cooking difficulty. Neither service is very difficult; and if you do find it hard, you'll quickly learn.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Supporting Material

Green Chef recipe cards

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Both companies include printed recipes in the box. We weren't a big fan of Sunbasket's. They're smaller than Green Chef's, printed on roughly 4- by 6-inch folding glossy card stock, without pictures of each step. In contrast, Green Chef uses large (roughly 8 1/2- by 11-inch) color glossy card stock with helpful pictures of each step.

In the course of our meal kit testing, we've found that sometimes reading recipes detracts from the fun of cooking. Especially with simple recipes like these, we enjoy using pictures to guide us rather than reading the tedious description of the cooking actions. "Peel and thinly slice the onion. Scrub the potatoes; cut the potatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices..." After you've made a few kits, you don't need to read these details anymore, but with Sunbasket you have to because there are no pictures.

Both Green Chef and Sunbasket have apps, but only Sunbasket puts your recipes in the app. These digital versions are a little easier to read than the printed recipes, but there are no pictures on the app either. Green Chef easily dominates this area.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Types of Diets Served

Sunbasket serves the following diets: paleo, gluten-free, lean and clean, carb-conscious, vegetarian, mediterranean, pescatarian, and diabetes-friendly. Green Chef serves the following diets: vegetarian, keto + paleo, and "balanced living," which basically means omnivore. Green Chef has subcategories within these plans, like vegan and pescatarian, but this doesn't change the menu, only the selections that Green Chef makes on your behalf if you decide not to choose your own meals. Both services also tag their kits with labels like gluten-free and dairy-free to make it easier to see when a kit has certain attributes that you may be looking for.

In Green Chef's keto + paleo category, all nine options are keto, but only four or five also carry the paleo tag. Sunbasket's selections are a big grab bag of all its dietary labels, and categories often overlap. Neither service expressly caters to Whole30, but if you're following this diet, you'll likely do equally well with either service, although you may have to occasionally leave out a minor component, like crumbled feta.

If you stick to standard meals and stay away from the add-ons, you could end up spending slightly less than with Green Chef.

As mentioned, Green Chef does not allow you to customize any of the recipes. What you see is what you get. Sunbasket does give you some different protein choices. There are some Sunbasket kits that let you choose from among a dozen or so different proteins, include plant-based "meats" and tofu.

The services are pretty similar in this area as well. Calling a winner is a tough choice, but we give the edge to Green Chef because it has more choices within specific popular diets like vegetarian and keto.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Nutritional Value

Sunbasket steak on plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

This is another category that is unlikely to sway you one way or the other. We'll go ahead and give the win to Sunbasket here for one simple reason: When utilizing grains, Sunbasket tends to include whole grains more often than Green Chef, which often makes use of white rice and white flour buns and tortillas.

Green Chef does use whole and semi-whole grains here and there, such as quinoa and pearled barley, but overall there's more white rice, white-flour pasta, and the like than there is on Sunbasket's menu. Aside from this difference, nutritional profiles are very similar, with comparable calorie counts, macronutrient breakdowns, servings of vegetables, and protein portion sizes.

Both services make all this information equally accessible, with full ingredient lists and nutritional breakdowns viewable for each recipe, both online and in each company's app.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Customer Service

Sunbasket's customer service agents are available via phone, text, and email. In addition, there is a FAQ; an automated web-based system for reporting and resolving issues with your order; "Ask An Expert," a feature allowing you to get answers from knowledgable Sunbasket customers; and a chatbot.

The self-service feature and the chatbot seem to be essentially the same thing presented in different formats. You can use them for reporting things like a damaged box, missing or incorrect items, and more, and you may receive a resolution automatically. One of our boxes arrived damaged and we were offered an immediate refund/credit through the automated system. We declined because our meals were unharmed, but it was good to know that the issue could be so easily resolved.

We had a few general questions, so we reached out to an agent via text and received a response about 40 minutes later. The agent answered all of our questions, but one answer—that we'd receive free shipping on an order over $90—turned out to be incorrect. We like chat-based customer service (with a human agent) and were disappointed that Sunbasket does not provide this avenue.

Green Chef, however, does have a web-based chat feature staffed with live agents. The company also provides phone support seven days a week. We found Green Chef's FAQ section to be more useful and comprehensive than Sunbasket's, not to mention easier to find. We reached out to an agent over web-chat to ask a handful of basic questions. All were promptly answered, and the accuracy of those answers has held up. Green Chef wins.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Making Changes and Canceling

Green Chef salmon meal on plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

The companies are similar with regard to managing delivery changes. The only difference is that Sunbasket lets you enter a temporary delivery address, applicable to a single delivery, while Green Chef only allows you to change your address in your account settings. Both services allow you to change your delivery day, skip weeks, and cancel your service from within account settings. Sunbasket allows you to cancel from its mobile app, but Green Chef only allows cancellation via its website.

It's much more meaningful and straightforward to change your plan with Green Chef. When you change your Sunbasket plan you get this message "Changing your selections will only impact future unpublished weeks. Switch back any time." This means that you must wait a few weeks for your changes to be reflected in Sunbasket's automatic selections.

With Sunbasket you always see the same menu, regardless of which plan you're on. The automatic selections change based on your preferences, but only newly published weeks will reflect recent changes, while previously published weeks won't be affected. That means you'll have to make your own choices for a few weeks before your changes fully take effect.

Sunbasket vs. Green Chef: Additional Features

Both services have mobile apps that allow you to manage your deliveries, account settings, and be notified of shipments and deliveries. Sunbasket, as we've discussed, has a huge number of add-ons that Green Chef doesn't have. In terms of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), Green Chef offsets its carbon emissions and Sunbasket donates food and meals to charitable organizations.

Final Verdict

For us, this contest hinged entirely on taste. Assuming that Sunbasket's broader offerings—its Fresh & Ready meals and broad selection of add-ons—isn't the deciding factor for you, we think the main difference between the two companies comes down to flavor. Our tasting panel preferred Green Chef to Sunbasket for every single meal, especially when price was factored in. In terms of flavor, Green Chef prevailed easily.

Everything else between the two services—diets served, cost, customer service, nutrition, and so on—is more or less equivalent. While Green Chef prevailed in some of those closely competitive areas as well, the margin of victory was slight. In terms of flavor and creativity, however, Green Chef won in an undeniable landslide. Go ahead and try both; we think the difference will be obvious. In this contest, it's the tongue that tells the tale.

Methodology

We spent countless hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.

Among the criteria we used to evaluate each company were:

  • The ordering process
  • Meal selection
  • Packaging and support materials
  • Recyclability
  • The cooking process
  • The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
  • Nutritional information
  • Customer service
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