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In the landscape of meal-kit delivery services,
companies have done an admiral job of finding ways to make themselves stand out. Some are
all vegan. Some send heat-and-eat meals. Some cater to paleo and keto diets.
Gobble’s main differentiator is its focus on meals you can whip up quickly, often in as little as 15
minutes. You’re unlikely to use more than two pans in the process. Other than that Gobble is solidly average. Gobble also
lets you add on grocery items, but Sun Basket sells add-ons, too. Gobble’s prices are about average, though its shipping fee is slightly lower than most. Its menu embraces flavors from around the world but doesn’t
cater especially well to any particular diet. Its web interface could use some work, and it could do a
better job reducing plastics used in packaging. Gobble is fine for quick, easy meals, but it’s otherwise average.

If you’re looking for a more memorable
experience with meal-kit delivery, our Editors’ Choices are Blue Apron for novice cooks, Green Chef for people who like
plant-focused meals (vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike), and HelloFresh for people with flexible diets. We also loved Hungryroot, which sends you groceries and suggested
recipes rather than formal meal kits. It’s a fun choice for people who like to
play in the kitchen.

Gobble Pricing

With Gobble, most meals cost $11.99 per
serving. That said, the company does offer special Premium meals at a higher
price. I saw a filet mignon meal that cost an eye-popping $26.99 per person and an
Italian seafood stew for $23.99 per person.

The minimum order is four servings (two meals with two portions each), although it’s not advertised as such. When you sign up, the
minimum seems like it’s three meals with two portions each, but that’s merely the
default for two people. In any event, at the default rate of three meals per week for two people, you pay $71.94 plus $6.99 for shipping, or just about $79 before tax
per box.

You can add on ingredients, such as chicken
breast or salmon filets, or small meals, like mini quiches. Gobble has soups,
cookie dough, cheese cakes, waffles, and other items, all for an additional
fee. Sun Basket also lets you pick similar add-ons. As you choose your meals for the week, you can add dips and breakfast items, should you need to supplement your meal kit with
additional groceries.

Shipping is always $6.99 for a standard Gobble
box, which is a smidge lower than the $7.99-$8.99 delivery fee that other meal
kit services typically charge. With Blue Apron, shipping is free on all but the
smallest orders. Splendid Spoon and Daily Harvest don’t charge anything for
shipping. New York-based Hungryroot (which sends groceries and recipe
suggestions) can be free if you qualify for ground delivery, though air shipments
cost $10. It’s worth mentioning that many companies waive the shipping fee on
your first order.

How Much Do Other Meal Services Cost?

Gobble costs about the same as most other meal
kit delivery services. With Gobble, $11.99 per serving is the set rate for most
meals, no matter if you’re a group of two or four people dining together. Other meal
kits vary their rate so that the more portions that ship together, the lower
the cost.

For example, HelloFresh and Green Chef both
charge between $9.99 and $12.99 per serving with a $7.99 shipping fee. You pay
the lower price if you’re ordering for four people and the higher price for two
people.

EveryPlate is one of the lowest priced options you’ll find. No matter how many
people you need to feed, it’s $4.99 per serving with a flat $8.99 shipping fee
per box. The menu is not at all vegetarian friendly or especially
health-conscious, but it’s good for American comfort food.

Sun Basket costs anywhere from $10.99 to $12.99
per serving. Blue Apron costs a little less: between $7.49 and $9.99 per
serving.

Purple Carrot, which
is all vegan, falls between $8.99 and $10.99 per serving. Shipping rates vary
based on the size of the kit you get, ranging from $5.99 to $11.99.

Most meal services mentioned so far ship a
minimum of two servings per recipe. Single-serve options are available, though
they tend to offer ready meals rather than cooking kits. Freshly, Splendid
Spoon, and Daily Harvest are examples. Freshly’s meals ($7.99-$11.50 per
serving) are a step up from TV dinners of yore, though similar in portion and
packaging. Splendid Spoon ($9.50-$13 per meal, shipping included) sends you premade soups,
bowls, and smoothies. Daily Harvest ($6.99-$7.75 per meal)
sends you frozen and prepackaged ingredients for smoothies, soups, and bowls;
you add liquid to them and heat or blend before eating.

Gobble menu preview

The Menu and Website Experience

Gobble’s menu feels contemporary while still
being homey. It offers a decent amount of choice, too. Menu items get labels
such as Quick and Easy, Kid Friendly, Vegetarian, Lean and Clean (options have
reduced carbohydrates), Global Flavors, and Customer Favorite. Vegetarians may
find the options a little restrictive, as there are typically no more than three such options per week.

Some examples of recipes include braised
chicken enchiladas verdes with avocado and pinto beans; lemon pepper chicken
with cavatappi pasta and creamy garlic sauce; three cheese ravioli with beef
and pork bolognese sauce; seared Ahi tuna with avocado, celery, and garbanzo
bean salad; and Thai tofu noodle bowl with peanut sauce.

You can browse the menu before signing up, but
you can’t see the details of the recipe until after you lay down a credit card
and pay for a shipment. Once you do have an account, you still have to click
through the menu item to see the full recipe, which is only available as a PDF.
Most other meal kit services put the entire recipe and ingredients list right
on their website, giving potential
customers all the information they could want before they choose to pay for the
service. That’s a better way to do it.

Packaging

Wasteful packaging is a real issue for meal kit aficionados. Given the required shipping and need to keep food
cold and uncontaminated (by both outside forces and cross-contamination),
minimizing material waste is a challenge. That said, some companies do it
better than others.

Gobble used excessive packaging for my orders. Each meal kit
came packed in its own large plastic bag, with each ingredient also packed in
plastic. There was one unwrapped zucchini, but everything else came in two
layers of plastic. Many of these plastics could
be recycled, if you have a facility nearby that accepts them. And of course,
recycling is really only a third-best option after reducing and reusing.

Crumpled brown paper (recyclable) lined the
box, and the meal kits stayed cold inside a silver bubble wrap bag (reusable
and possibly recyclable). For temperature control, Gobble includes a frozen,
non-toxic gel pack. These cold packs are common in meal kit boxes and are a
royal pain to dispose of properly. You have to wait for the slightly gelatinous
ice contents to melt before snipping a corner of the plastic bag that holds
them and then dump it into the trash. Now your trash bag is heavy with a
plasma-like substance that can still leak all over. You can certainly reuse
these ice packs instead by popping them into the freezer, but if you get meal
kits regularly, your freezer will be overrun by them in a few weeks.

A few meal delivery companies I tested use dry
ice instead of gel packs. If the dry ice evaporates before you open the box,
it’s a much more pleasant experience with less waste. If you encounter solid
ice, however, you must use extreme caution because the ice can burn your skin.
Splendid Spoon and Daily Harvest both use dry ice.

EveryPlate used much less plastic waste than
other kits, leaving shelf-stable vegetables such as onions and peppers intact
and unwrapped. You end up doing a little more slicing and dicing, but if you
care about packaging waste, it makes a difference.

Gobble pasta ingredients

Cooking and Eating

Gobble sent me two meals: 1) paneer and
cauliflower tikka masala with garam masala basmati rice and 2) mushroom
bolognese with spinach pappardelle. The company also included four servings of
chocolate chip cookie dough.

Of the two meals, I strongly preferred the
paneer dish. It was similar to a paneer butter masala. The portion size was
ample. It would easily serve two people without any other side dishes, but you
could stretch it to serve three or even four people with some roti, sliced
cucumber and onion, maybe some pakora or samosas as a starter. The final
product tasted warm and homey, and the meal came together easily.

Gobble paneer tikka

Here’s an overview of the recipe: Sear the
pre-cubed paneer in a hot pan with a little oil. Your cauliflower has already
been separated into large chunks, but it still needs a little love from a
paring knife to reach bite size. Throw the cauliflower in with the cheese, let
it cook a bit, and then add a packet of spices. Toast the spices. Next, pour in
the premade gravy (Gobble calls it “Indian soffrito“)
and let it all come together. After a few minutes, take the pan off the heat
and stir in a container of Greek yogurt.

About two minutes before you’re ready to eat,
dump the precooked rice (perhaps parboiled) into a bowl, cover it with a damp
paper towel, and nuke it in the microwave. Stir. Microwave again if needed.
Arrange your food on a plate. Garnish with cilantro.

Gobble pasta recipe made

Now onto the mushroom bolognese with spinach
pappardelle. This dish required the tiniest bit more legwork, namely, slicing
mushrooms, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes. It’s a two-pan recipe. One pan holds
sauteed vegetables and eventually the sauce. The other is a pot for boiling the
pasta. Easy.

The recipe calls for making a base of sauteed
vegetables, adding pre-cooked lentils, then sauce, and finally tossing it all
together with the pasta, a fresh spinach pappardelle, rather than dried,  which needed just a few minutes of bobbing
around in a roiling boil. Plate it up and garnish with cherry tomatoes,
pre-shredded cheese, and basil. The basil was missing. I accidentally received
cilantro instead. Oops.

When I looked at the ingredients and recipe, I
said to myself, “I’d much rather make a side salad of the lentils and
cherry tomatoes by tossing them together in a vinaigrette. Then I can make
pasta with mushrooms, zucchini and sauce as the main.” To me, this made
more sense. Why would you put lentils into a pasta dish? In the end, I decided
to follow the recipe. Maybe the final results would surprise me! Off we go.

Exactly 11 cherry tomatoes came with this kit.
Three were bruised to the point of being inedible. I don’t mind a bruised
tomato, but if they get punctured and sit wounded for a few days, they can
start to go bad. I inspected them, cut them in half, gave them a whiff, and
decided to send them to the pail rather than the plate. Ho hum.

Of all the meal-kit meals I’ve made, this
pappardelle was the first one my partner and I didn’t finish. It was bland. The
texture of cooked lentils felt odd next to pasta and mushrooms. If I had received basil, would it have helped? Minimally, perhaps. While cooking, I
tasted a ribbon of pasta on its own to check for doneness, and even without
sauce it didn’t stand up as a stellar ingredient. Leftovers sat in the fridge
for a few days before I finally tossed them.

I mentioned Gobble sent me four balls of
cookie dough to bake. I popped them into the freezer, fully intending to bake
them the next time the oven was on. My sweet tooth got the better of me sooner
than that, and one by one, I ate them all, uncooked. Full disclosure: I know
I’m not supposed to do that. Shame me if you want. They were perfectly sweet
and delicious.

Would You Eat It Again?

I would eat the cauliflower paneer tikka
masala again, but I wish I could get a do-over of the pasta dish. I should have
followed my instincts and veered away from the recipe. Either way, I wouldn’t
order that particular meal again. It didn’t turn me off from Gobble entirely.
I’m still intrigued by the selection, particularly the dishes labeled
Vegetarian and Lean and Clean. Many of them look like meals that my partner and
I would enjoy. I’d give it another go, but I’d be very selective with the menu.

We had a better overall experience with Green
Chef (although we wished there were fewer premade sauces) and HelloFresh, two
Editors’ Choices at PCMag. I have greater certainty that I’d love future meals
from them, whereas Gobble feels more like a gamble. Blue Apron is also an
Editors’ Choice for novice cooks. Hungryroot is a fun service if you’re an
experienced cook and want to see what you can make from a mystery box of
ingredients, which meet your dietary requirements, of course. Gobble is a decent service, especially if you’re pressed for time, but its website and packaging could both stand improvement.

Gobble Meal Delivery Service Specs

Starting Price Per Meal $11.99
Vegetarian Options Yes
Vegan Options No
No Extra Delivery Charges No
Product Category Food Delivery

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