Updated: Jun 9
Shopping for groceries during the pandemic has become a daunting, time-consuming task, involving protective face gear and endless patience to face lines often snaking through the interior of a store around the outside of the building. And after all that, you’re more likely than not to return home without everything on your list, since many shelves and entire aisles remain barren. Supermarkets have not only become overcrowded and over-complicated, with sometimes confusing social distancing measures in place, but also often stressful and scary, with the risk of the coronavirus around every corner.
Now more than ever, food delivery services offer an escape from grocery shopping - whether it’s a tedious or treacherous task in your household. They can also take the guesswork out of feeding a family and lift the burden of meal planning. Let’s face it - Parents trapped at home with kids or babies, struggling to juggle work with childcare, have no time for elaborate meals. These days, most families are feeling tired of the same old breakfast, lunch, and dinner but have no time to research recipes and shop for supplies. For many in the current climate, ordering food items online has become a critical need rather than just a convenience.
We have rounded up some of the top-reviewed food delivery services available in the Philadelphia area, including prepared entrees, meal subscriptions, and online groceries (including several local options). From chef-crafted meals to pantry staples, everything you could need to survive a pandemic is just a click away. Of course, we are mindful that not every household can manage such a luxury, which usually involves an added fee; but we hope that this round-up is helpful in providing alternative, accessible ways to feed your family over the next indeterminate amount of time at home. For those who cannot afford to feed their families, we have included a link to free food resources in Philadelphia at the bottom.
Fresh n’ Lean prides itself on using the freshest (never frozen) organically-grown ingredients - free from GMO, gluten, and artificial preservatives. If you’re looking to increase your veggie intake, this is an excellent option. You can select the number of meals you’d like to receive per day/week from the following categories: protein+, keto, paleo, vegan, and low-carb vegan. Delivered every Friday, meals arrive fresh and ready to eat or be transferred to the refrigerator. These dishes generally won’t satisfy a craving for comfort food but are ideal for squeezing well-rounded nutrients into a harried week.
Cost: $9.33 per serving with a weekly subscription
Current Promotion: $20 off your first order
Sample Menu Items: romesco cod with quinoa, bean taco bowl with Mahi Mahi, quinoa with chimichurri grass-fed ground beef
Daily Harvest offers a wide variety of healthy menu items and flexible deliveries so that you can create your own custom meal plan. As a new customer, you'll choose how many items you’d like (9, 12, or 24) and how often you’d like them delivered (weekly or monthly). There are around 80 unique, chef-crafted options for any time of day. After your first delivery, you can add additional items, change box sizes, swap out selections, or skip a week. Daily Harvest’s savory harvest bowls and soups simply need a quick zap in the microwave, while the smoothies and breakfast chia and oat bowls require the addition of a liquid, along with a spin in the blender or an overnight soak. Easy peasy! Flatbreads and snack bites round out its menu of quick, hearty items.
Cost: About $8 for smoothies and soups, $9 for harvest bowls and flatbreads
Current Promotion: $25 off your first box
Sample Menu Items: cacao & avocado smoothie, cauliflower & leek stew, spinach & shiitake grits harvest bowl
Serving all of Philadelphia and neighboring areas, Home Appetit Philly prepares fresh, delicious meals and delivers them to your doorstep. Through partnerships with local farmer’s markets, CSAs, and specialty grocers, Home Appetit is able to source high quality ingredients without artificial flavors or sweeteners, preservatives, or hormones. Menus for the week are posted Thursdays through Saturdays, and deliveries are scheduled for Monday afternoons and evenings. You have the choice of eight dishes from its variety-packed menu and can even add on individual portions, (ranging from $2 to $20) including kids’ favorites, freshly baked bread, and local grilled chicken. Meals arrive packaged in reusable eco-friendly containers that are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Cost: Starting at $100 for one person per week ($50 for each additional person)
Current Promotion: $50 for referring a friend
Sample Menu Items: spring market veggie succotash, breaded chicken cutlets with tomatillo salsa & cotija cheese, vegetarian Moroccan mushroom & vegetable tagine
Austin-based company Snap Kitchen works with dietitians, chefs, and personal trainers to devise meal kits that accommodate practically any diet. Snap Kitchen offers (gluten-free) breakfast, lunch, and dinner options that can be narrowed down based on daily calorie goal or lifestyle, including high protein, whole30, keto-friendly, and paleo. You can also build your own meal plan and then determine how many days you would like your meals (three, five, or seven). Your food comes in a container with a recyclable plastic lid and compostable bottom, ready to be re-heated in the oven or microwave. You have the option of home delivery or local pick-up at a Philadelphia-area Snap Kitchen.
Cost: About $29 to $39 per day, which includes three meals and two snacks
Current Promotion: $60 off and free shipping for new customers
Sample Menu Items: almond butter pancakes, chicken chile enchiladas, chopped brisket with BBQ sauce
Philly-area French bistro-meets-local-diner. Order via their Caviar page, and reserve a timed pickup at their center city Philadelphia location. The food is rich and a bit decadent, so we wouldn't recommend this as a daily go-to, but definitely vouch for Chef Kenny and his team if you're seeking something a bit different for a (surprisingly affordable), but still splurge-y, stay-at-home date night.
Cost: About $29 per dinner, which includes an app, a main, two sides and dessert.
Sample Menu Items: Roasted beet & arugula salad, beef bourguignon-red wine braised beef with bacon, onions, mushrooms served with carrots, parsnips, and smashed potatoes, chocolate pot de creme
Meal Subscription Services
Home Chef allows you to select from a range of recipes each week (up to five weeks ahead of time) that fit your family’s preferences and dietary restrictions. You also have the option to upgrade, substitute, or double up your favorite protein on select recipes. There are recipe categories for vegetarian, low-carb, calorie-conscious, dairy-free, and nut-free eaters, among others. Its entree-sized portions require 15-60 minutes depending on their complexity. In addition to ready-to-eat salads, Home Chef also offers five-minute lunches and dishes you can pop right in the oven or slow cooker. Home Chef’s fresh, pre-portioned ingredients ship in an insulated box designed to keep them refrigerated (never frozen).
Cost: Meals start at $14 for two servings and can be customized for an additional fee. Shipping is $10 per order, or free for orders over $49.
Current Promotion: $10 coupon to use after your first order
Sample Items: triple mushroom risotto, buttermilk-ranch chicken, teriyaki ginger-glazed salmon
Making healthy eating easy, Sun Basket features organic produce, organic eggs, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat, and fresh-caught wild seafood. It caters to many different diets, including vegan, pescatarian, diabetes-friendly, paleo, and Mediterranean, and it allows the option to mix and match from these special diets. A big draw if you don’t have time for intricate recipes, Sun Basket offers a number of reduced-prep quick meals that require minimal cooking or heating. You can also add easy breakfast, lunch, snack and other foods to any order that includes two or more dinners.
Cost: $72 per week for three meals for two people
Current Promotion: Get $35 off plus 4 FREE gifts ($60 total value)
Sample Menu Items: pork chops with dried apricot mostarda, spicy turkey Bolognese over zucchini & carrot ribbons, seared steaks with roasted cauliflower
Gobble’s plan is ideal for a busy family. Each meal requires 15 minutes or less to be ready to serve, and its single-pan meals make cleanup a breeze. All the peeling, chopping, measuring, and marinating has been done by Gobble’s sous chefs. You simply have to select your meals from its weekly menu, which includes a mix of 14 meat, fish, and vegetarian options. To help you pick, each dish is flagged with labels such as “Kid-friendly,” “Global Flavors,” and “Lean & Clean”. Gobble’s refrigerated dinner kits are packaged with insulation and ice packs to ensure the contents remain fresh for up to 72 hours in transit.
Cost: $79 per week for three meals for two people (including delivery)
Current Promotion: Six Meals for $36 (first-time subscribers)
Sample Menu Items: lemon pepper chicken with cavatappi pasta, Thai tofu noodle bowl, seared ahi tuna with avocado & garbanzo bean salad
Aimed at the budget-conscious consumer, EveryPlate differentiates itself by providing affordable meals for just $5 per serving. EveryPlate’s rotation of 11 new recipes each week are not classified for any dietary considerations, but each dinner can be prepared in six easy steps. Its weekly box includes all the ingredients you need to make three dinners, along with recipe cards with step-by-step instructions.
Cost: $39 per week for three dinners for two people, in addition to a fixed weekly shipping fee of $9
Current Promotion: Save $30 on 18 meals, plus get free shipping on the first box.
Sample Menu Items: smothered & stuffed meatloaves, pork carnitas bowls, cowboy skillet pie
Available only in the Northeast, Fresh Direct has mastered the art of online food shopping since it began delivering groceries to customers’ homes in 2002. The company pioneered the short supply chain, so that food travels the shortest distance from its source and gets delivered at peak freshness. In addition to the standard categories you would find in a bricks and mortar grocery store, Fresh Direct offers a great selection of prepared foods and meal kits, which can be added to your cart just like any other product. There are always deals on seasonal items and brand favorites, as you would find at any large grocer.
Delivery Cost: $7.99 delivery fee for a minimum order of $30. Or purchase DeliveryPass for $79/six months ($39 for Tues-Thurs delivery only) for unlimited free deliveries and time slot reservations. A free trial is available for new customers.
Instacart is an app-based service that enables you to order groceries to be delivered to your door. Unlike an online grocer, Instacart does not house any inventory but rather connects you with a personal shopper who will make the run to your store of choice on a designated date (anytime from the same day to two weeks in advance). As one of the largest grocery delivery services in the U.S., Instacart has partnered with national supermarket chains (e.g. Acme, Aldi, Giant, Wegmans), local specialty stores (e.g. Di Bruno Bros, Reading Terminal Market), pharmacies (CVS), and even big-box membership warehouses (e.g. BJ’s, Costco, Sam’s Club).
Delivery Cost: With an Express membership ($99 per year or $9.99 per month), you get free delivery on orders over $35. Shopping without a membership results in higher delivery and service fees. Note that tipping is not included and is strongly recommended, especially now when demand is higher than ever.
Philly Foodworks (PFW) is a local company that saw a need for a better distribution system for local food and in 2014 moved off the farm and into a warehouse in North Philadelphia to begin building a refined grocery retail system. Philly Food Works helps over 75 local producers sell their food and build sustainability in their business. With more than 500 local items in its online market, you can find everything from produce, dairy, and meats to prepared foods, pantry items, and beauty products. You can even purchase weekly/biweekly/monthly farm share boxes.
Delivery Cost: There is a $5 delivery fee on all home deliveries in Philadelphia and on the Main Line that are under $75 in value. Orders over $75 or community pick-up have no charge.
The Founding Farmers restaurant chain has pivoted in the current climate to become Founding Farmers Market & Grocery - an online shop offering chef-prepared meals, daily groceries, and household necessities. The website is surprisingly easy to navigate and the offerings are plentiful. From house-made sauces, pastries, deli meats, and condiments to ice cream, coffee, beer, wine, and mixers, it is truly a one-stop shop for all the essentials, and then some. Founding Farmers has also assembled family grocery packs (ranging from $45 to $100) which include a mix of produce, proteins, and pantry staples (and even two rolls of toilet paper!). You can place your order online 24/7 and schedule delivery/pick-up from the King of Prussia location from 8am-9pm, and everything is delivered contact-free to your car or doorstep.
Delivery Cost: Free (but don’t forget to tip)!
Free Food Resources
For any city residents in need of free food due to school closures, loss of income, or other challenges caused by COVID-19, the City of Philadelphia has posted a list of food sites. Open Mondays and Thursdays from 10am-2pm, these sites are distributing one box of meals per household (non-perishable items on Mon, fresh produce on Thurs).
With warmth and wellness,
Your EmmaWell Team