By this point, I'm sure all of you have heard about Meal Kit services. The idea is you choose your meals ahead of time and they show up packaged and portioned for you to cook at the drop of a hat. At this point, I've cooked my way through four different meal kit boxes and there's still about 15 to go! Below is my review of Gobble, the latest in this very long review saga.
While Meal Kits are not necessarily as fun for me as planning my meals with what I have on hand, I can definitely see the appeal for people who aren't huge food nerds like me. These kits aren't cheap, and money is hard to come by. I'm here to give y'all an honest assessment of each of the services so you can choose what is best for you and your family.
Table of Contents
The Review Criteria
For consistency’s sake, I will consider the following eight metrics: Variety of Options, Cost, Ease of Recipes, Average Time Spent (Start to Plate), Clarity of Directions, Flavor, Recyclability of Packaging, and Replicability. I’ll also have a Notes section that I’ll use to pass along any other information to you that is applicable. Without further ado, I present you with my review of Gobble's Meal Kits!
Variety of Options
In terms of variety, Gobble did a pretty good job. Each week there's a total of 14 regular options plus two "premium" (read more expensive) options. I also appreciated that they had plenty of healthy options, categorized under "Lean and Clean" or "Under 600 Calories."
The flavor profiles were also pretty dang diverse and seasonally appropriate. The three meals I chose were:
- Spicy Thai Beef Salad with Bibb Lettuce and Chili Lime Vinaigrette
- Sumac Seasoned Salmon with Kale Quinoa Tabbouleh, Green Beans and Tzatziki
- Curried Squash with Coconut Rice and Burmese Style Salad
In addition, they offer an add-on section with seasonal meal kits (2 options, serves 4), 2 salad options, 3 protein options, 5 breakfast options + a breakfast pack, 3 sides options, a 4 pack of pre-made sauces, 2 soup options and 3 dessert options.
For the first box, it cost $36 for 3 meals intended to feed 2 people, and shipping was included. This means the initial box price was $6/person/meal. After the first box, the price goes up to $71.94 + $6.99 shipping for a total of $78.93. That means each meal would cost $13.16/person.
While this is just me personally, $13/person is about what you'd pay for a mid-priced restaurant takeout, which seems FAR too expensive for something I'm cooking at home. But again, that's just me. When I make things for Joe and I off the cuff, I usually don't spend more than $3/serving, and we eat really well. This has been the most expensive kit to date.
Ease of Recipes
In terms of convenience, Gobble definitely stands apart. I'd argue that this is their biggest differentiating factor. Most of the ingredients that come with the kits are already most of the way prepped, meaning you have far less to do to get dinner on the table.
My one complaint is that if something is already partially prepped (e.g. onions were sliced when the recipe called for chopped), why not just go the whole way? It's actually faster for me to chop half an onion that is still attached at the root than it was for me to chop slices of onions that were floating around in a bag. In this category, I'm rating them a 4.5/5.
Average Time Spent
Gobble's marketing promise is to give you more time to spend doing the things you love. They claim that all of their recipes take 15 minutes to prepare. As a seasoned cook, they delivered on that promise ⅔ of the time. One recipe (Spicy Thai Salad) did take me 25 minutes to prep, but that recipe also called for "marinating" the beef.
In any event, 15-25 minutes is a pretty dang fast start-to-plate time. Gobble definitely beats the competition so far, and I can't really think of many recipes that take less time than that to make. For that reason, they get a 5/5 in this category.
Clarity of Directions
Gobble did a pretty good job in this department. By virtue of having most things pre-prepped, there wasn't too much that I had to do to get dinner on the table. If you're not super confident in the kitchen, I feel like this meal prep kit might be appropriate for you.
My one complaint is that the recipe cards use very small font. I'm talking size 10 or 11 small. That means that even though the recipes themselves were pretty simple, it was a little difficult to glance over in the middle of a step to see what I was supposed to do next. All in all, though, I'd give Gobble a ⅘ in this category.
Gobble did a pretty good job in this category. The flavors were on point, and definitely not boring. I also loved that there were so many veggies in all of the dishes! That said, not all of the vegetables arrived in pristine condition, so I had to sub out some of my own stock to make the recipes complete. Overall, I'd rate Gobble at a ⅘ for taste.
The Spicy Thai Beef Salad with Bibb Lettuce and Chili Lime Vinaigrette was probably my favorite meal to come out of one of these kits so far. The beef wasn't necessarily very spicy, but there were a ton of veggies and the dressing was delightfully refreshing.
The Curried Squash with Coconut Rice and Burmese Style Salad was also pretty good. While I didn't love the salad dressing, Joe enjoyed it a lot. And I loved how many veggies there were in this particular dish. The only less than desirable bit was how mushy the squash had gotten in transit, but after giving it a good cooking it tasted just fine.
The Sumac Seasoned Salmon with Kale Quinoa Tabbouleh, Green Beans and Tzatziki was our least favorite. The tabbouleh was already made and seasoned perfectly, and the sumac spices on the salmon were on point. Sadly, the salmon arrived a little warm in the box so it tasted a bit fishy when cooked, and the green beans were quite slimy before I cooked them. I also wasn't quite sure how they were supposed to fit in with the dish, but I appreciated the extra boost of greens.
Recyclability of Packaging
If you know me, you know this category is near and dear to my heart. In fact, my biggest issue with Meal Kits in general is how wasteful many of them are. Gobble sadly lived up to this reputation. I'd give them a ⅗ in this category.
The inner lining of the bag was made of that silver popping paper, so I'm hopeful that my Kroger plastic recycling will be able to take it. There were also a whopping 7 ice packs in our box (most of which were melted), and none of them were the kind you can flush down the drain. Add to that the many different plastic bags with sticky food stuff that rendered them not recyclable, and you can see the reason for my dismay.
Replicability of Recipes
Due to the super prepped nature of Gobble's recipes, I'd rate Gobble at a ⅗ in this category. At least two items in each recipe was already prepared and not necessarily something you could find at the store. A few items that were already prepared but not explained were:
- Nuoc Cham and Steak Marinade in the Thai Salad
- Coconut Rice and Tomato Chutney in the Squash Curry
- Kale Quinoa Tabbouli and Sumac Spice Mix in the Salmon
While you could certainly do some Googling to figure out how to make something similar on your own, the recipes themselves aren't really intended to be replicated to a T. For that reason (among others), this isn't the kit to get if you're trying to learn how to cook.
A few last things to round out my Gobble review: First, there isn't a specific app for the service. Every time you want to make changes to your account, you have to login through a web browser. While maybe it's just me being curmudgeonly, I was kind of irritated that I had to go through that extra step when their biggest selling point is convenience.
I was also not super impressed with the quality of some of their ingredients. By prepping the vegetables, they become more susceptible to damage and spoilage in transport. And even though there were a total of 7 ice bags, they were packed in such a way that the salmon - arguably the most prone to spoilage - was kept less than optimally cool.
On the flip side of that coin, they did send me two chocolate chip cookie dough balls. It's hard to stay mad when there's free dessert in the equation.
Gobble Review: Conclusion
Overall, I was pretty pleased with the three meals we got from Gobble. However, I personally wouldn't use their service again. My primary issues were cost and the low level of cooking involvement, along with some quality issues with their packaging.
However, if any of the following apply to you, Gobble might be a good meal kit fit:
- You are short on time for meal prepping and/or cooking
- Variety in your meals and trying new things is important to you
- You don't mind receiving recipes that you likely will not be able to replicate
- Your meal budget allows for $13/person/meal
Until next time, friends! I hope this review was helpful, and I hope you have a delicious and healthy day.
Other Meal Kit Reviews:
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