"Services must convince consumers that the convenience is worth it," Seifer told CNBC.
Aside from the expense, consumers cited small portions, too much packaging and inconvenient delivery schedules as reasons that they abandoned the subscription, Seifer said.
"To a certain extent you can tailor the meals to your tastes, but they do not allow for the 'I fancy this tonight' type flexibility that consumers like and can enjoy with regular grocery shopping," Saunders said.
However, there could be a more benign reason, according to Erik Thoresen, principal at Technomic.
"It's not necessarily that they won't come back," he said. "They may be trying another service."
The meal kit market is so saturated that consumers are testing several different options to see which service fits their lifestyle best, Thoresen told CNBC.
The good news is there is room to grow; some 20 percent of U.S. consumers, about 50 million people, have a strong interest in trying meal delivery kits, according to NPD research. In addition, of those who have tried the kits, 67 percent were either "extremely" or "very satisfied with their purchase," NPD said.
"Right now they all seem to be jockeying each other for market share," Seifer said.
Services like Blue Apron and Martha & Marley Spoon hope to stand out and earn consumer loyalty by offering special ingredients that can only be purchased through the subscription or by creating boxes for special occasions like Thanksgiving.
Blue Apron purchased the entire commercial supply of at least 40 specialty crops including fairy-tale eggplants, Shokichi Shiro squash and Atlas carrots. Consumers may have trouble replicating recipes with these ingredients, but they are getting exclusive access to rare and exotic produce.
But it's a challenging business and, according to Packaged Facts, the industry isn't actually profitable yet.
"Given the perishable nature of the products, this type of operation is complex and costly to run — especially so when you factor in the free delivery often offered," Conlumino's Saunders said. "This is one of the reasons why the services are not very profitable. However, the providers are limited as to how far they can increase prices because consumers won't pay above a certain level per meal."
That headwind hasn't discouraged investment. More than $650 million in venture capital has been raised by meal kit delivery service startups, according to Packaged Facts.