Reviews

Blue Apron Review: Mealkit Service Which Delivers Ingredients & Recipes Weekly

There's not much difference between all of the food delivery services, but Blue Apron does its best to stand out from the competition. Here's our review...
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The stress of a busy lifestyle, caring for your family, living up to your responsibilities at work, and managing an active social life leave you with few hours left in the day. Who wants to spend that time cooking? It’s easier to lounge out on the sofa and order a pizza from Dominoes.

However, you are what you eat, and if you decide to eat junk food or takeout 7-nights a week, it’s going to take a toll on your health at some point. Eating healthy is challenging.

You need to shop for fresh ingredients, spend time preparing the meal, and then start cooking. Cooking a good meal might take an hour or two – and who’s got that kind of time?

Fortunately, it’s possible to eat fresh food every day, without the hassle of shopping and preparation. Meal preparation services like Blue Apron make it possible for anyone to be a gourmet chef, regardless of their experience in the kitchen.

With Blue Apron, you cut out your shopping and meal preparation. All you need to do to enjoy a tasty meal is cook. In most cases, you’re ready to eat in less than 30—minutes, and your family gets a healthy meal packed with nutrients, not empty calories.

Blue Apron Home Page
Blue Apron Home Page

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Blue Apron Explained

Matthew B. Salzberg, Ilia Papas, and Matt Wadiak founded Blue Apron in August 2012. The trio had the vision of bringing fresh food to the dinner plates of New Yorkers that were too busy to shop and prepare their meals. New York is one of the most populated cities in the world, and the 24/7 lifestyle of the city means that many New Yorkers rely on takeout as their primary source of nutrition.

Blue Apron has an annual revenue of more than $667-million, and it’s a listed company, showing that consumers value this service. When it comes to selecting a food delivery service, you have plenty of options, including the likes of Plated and Hello Fresh. So, why would you choose Blue Apron over its competitors?

There’s not much difference between all of the food delivery services, but Blue Apron does its best to stand out from the competition. The chef-inspired meal kits available for Blue Apron feature the finest organic and free-range foods sent directly to your door. The company operates in all states across the U.S, but there are a few outback counties and where even Blue Apron can’t reach.

Blue Aprons Meal Kits
Blue Aprons Meal Kits

Blue Apron meals are easy to put together and come packed with flavor and fragrance. All you need to do is register for the service, pick your meal plan, order your food, and you’ll have a parcel delivered to your doorstep on your specified delivery date.

Many Americans either don’t have the time or don’t have the knowledge to cook proper meals. As a result, the TV dinner industry thrives year-round. The issue with eating TV dinners is that the ingredients are sub-par. There’s no way the nutrition of a TV dinner can compare with the quality of fresh ingredients cooked right in front of you,

The idea of the service is to take the hassle out of cooking, providing Americans with the nutrition they need without placing pressure on their time. Blue Apron also includes recipe cards and cooking instructions with every meal plan they deliver. You even get a picture of how to plate the meal correctly, turning you into a gourmet chef overnight.

With Blue Apron, you get a partner in your meal prep that can save you time. Time is our most valuable asset. Considering Blue Apron can save you hundreds of hours in shopping and meal prep throughout the year, it’s a service worth looking at for your family’s nutrition needs.

In this review, we’ll unpack the offering from Blue Apron to determine the value of the service, and if it’s the right meal delivery company to meet your nutritional needs.


How Does Blue Apron Work?

Visit the company’s website, and you’ll see they have an orange “Sign Up” button in the top right corner. The home page clearly describes the companies offering and how to sign up for the subscription service.

Navigating the site is simple, and they even offer a mobile app that’s as simple to use as the desktop version. Download the Blue Apron app on Android or iOS, sign up, order your meals, and get cooking!

Creating your account is a straightforward process, with the company asking for your delivery and payment details. Still, there’s nothing overly concerning in the sign-up process, and it’s not like you have to give them your Social Security number or anything like that.

Blue Apron asks you for your delivery address, and you don’t need to be at home when they deliver your order. Your meals come packaged in an insulated cardboard cooler with two individual ice packs to keep everything cool.

If there’s one concern we have with Blue Apron, it’s the amount of plastic involved with the packaging, as well as the cardboard waste. Remember to recycle for the sake of the planet, please.

Signing Up to Blue Apron
Signing Up to Blue Apron

Selecting Your Box Options

When signing up with Blue Apron, the company gives you the option of choosing one of five plans.

We found that there’s enough food in each meal to cater to one full serving. Blue Apron isn’t generous with their servings by any means, and you might find yourself feeling hungry after the meal if you have a large appetite. Forget about leftovers.

If you do want some leftovers, then it’s a good idea to double up on your portions and go for the Signature for 4 meal options.

Food Box Options at Blue Apron
Food Box Options at Blue Apron

Selecting Your Recipes

Blue Aprons menu has plenty of variety. However, if you’re a seasoned chef, then you might find them to have a lack of creativity. Chicken encompasses the vast majority of the recipes on the Blue Apron menu, and a lot of them are stir-fry recipes.

When signing up for your account, there’s a questionnaire that asks you your ingredient preferences. The website’s system then recommends meals for you based on your choices.

Stir fry is great for people that don’t have a lot of time to spare preparing and cooking meals, and most of them finish in 10-minutes or so. We still feel like there’s not as much variety as you might expect from one of the largest meal delivery companies in America.

One area that Blue Apron does excel is in its offering of vegetarian dishes. The company has loads of variety, and you’ll have a consistent flow of variety coming across your dinner table. Each of the meals on offer come with a picture on the website, showing you examples of the finished meals.

Different Meal Options You Can Choose From At Blue Apron
Different Meal Options You Can Choose From At Blue Apron

The Blue Apron Experience

If you’re a novice or beginner chef, and you have no idea how to cook, then Blue Apron offers you an excellent service that helps you master the skill of cooking. However, if you’re more experienced, you might find the service somewhat uninteresting.

Blue Apron focuses on meals that are easy to cook, with minimal cooking times. The idea is to cook quickly and efficiently, with as little hassle as possible. For a seasoned chef, that’s going to leave you wanting more when dinner time rolls around.

Let’s look at other factors worth considering when using Blue Apron.


Quality of the Ingredients

The food from Blue Apron is somewhat average. The company claims that it uses the highest-quality ingredients, but we found it tastes rather bland and uninspired. You might find that you need to add extra seasoning to the recipe guide, but even then, your food might lack flavor.

Everything arrives fresh at your doorstep, and the packaging keeps it that way for up to 8-hours. You get more than enough time to get home from work and pack it in your fridge.

Everything comes individually packaged and labeled, with the recipe card ready for filing away in your kitchen drawer. You can freeze the food if you want, but it should last a week in the fridge without spoiling.


Blue Apron Recipe Cards

Blue Aprons recipe cards explain how to cook the ingredients, but it might be challenging for first-time chefs that have no experience following recipe guides. You have to do multiple tasks, such as chop veggies while boiling water, and that might be too much for novices to handle.

However, if you have some experience of following a recipe, then you shouldn’t have any hassles. When we compare it to other food services like plated, the instructions are below average and don’t offer you any helpful cooking tips.

Newbies need step-by-step instructions, and we didn’t think that Blue Apron lived up to expectations in terms of user-friendly recipes.

Blue Aprons Recipe Cards
Blue Aprons Recipe Cards

Is Blue Apron Good Value for Money?

At nearly $10 per serving, we expect more from Blue Aprons offering. The ingredients just don’t live up to the company’s reputation, especially at this price point. We realize that the logistics involved with preparing the food and getting it to your door is tremendous, and the time it saves on grocery shopping is great.

However, you’ll probably find that you need to go to the grocery store at some point during the week anyway, especially if you want to eat at home every night. Using Blue Apron for your meals every night doesn’t seem like a very good value option.


What Are the Pros and Cons of using Blue Apron?

When tallying up the company’s performance, we decided to write up a list of pros and cons with Blue Aprons offering.

Pros

  • Delivery – Blue Apron never misses a delivery, and they always have everything on your menu list. You’ll never get a food parcel missing any ingredients.
  • Packaging – The food parcel comes with insulation and cooling packs to keep the food fresh while you’re at work.
  • Weight Watchers Option – Blue Apron is the only food service we could find that includes a Weight watchers option in its menu guide.
  • Fast Cooking Times – Most of the meals on the menu we got were ready to eat in less than 30-minutes of total cooking time. Some stir-fries can take half that time to prepare and cook.
  • Decent Menu Variety – While we do feel like Blue Apron sways more to the use of chicken as its primary protein in meat meals, there’s still plenty of other menu options to select.
  • Good for Vegetarians – Blue Apron has a fantastic menu selection for vegetarians, and it’s one of the best food services for people eating a vegetarian diet.
  • Mobile App – The mobile app from Blue Apron is available for download at the Google Play or Apple App Stores. The app is a convenient way to plan your meals for the week during your morning commute, or anywhere you go and find yourself with time to kill.

Cons

Quality of Ingredients – Blue apron could use a bump in the ingredients department. While all of the ingredients arrive fresh, we find that the overall meals just don’t have much flavor. If you’re already a seasoned chef, you might find the meals somewhat disappointing.

  • Pricing – At $9.99 per serving, or $7.49 for the bulk option), Blue Apron is not a cheap service. However, if you don’t have the time to shop and prep, then Blue Apron is worth the extra money. Compared to other food services, it’s not much different, but the ingredients might be of a lower quality than Plated.
  • Vegetarian Premium – Vegetarians get a nice menu variety, but they have to pay the same prices as everyone else. It’s still $9.99 per serving, regardless if you’re eating meat or not.
  • No Customization – Blue Apron doesn’t offer you any customization for your meals. Therefore, if you have allergies, it might be a problem placing your order on some menu weeks.
  • Can’t Cancel Online – You can pause your subscription while you’re away from home. However, if you want to cancel, you’ll have to send the team an email to unsubscribe.
  • Less Menu Choice – With Blue apron, you get a choice of eight different meals per week. That’s less variety than what’s on offer with other foodservice companies.
  • No Seasoning or Condiments – Like most other foodservice companies, you need to provide your condiments for your meals. You’ll need seasonings like salt and pepper, as well as oils. Blue Apron assumes you have all of these items already, so don’t expect them in your food parcel.

Other Related Blue Apron Services

Blue Apron not only delivers fresh food to your home, but they also have a range of additional services as well. With Blue Apron, you can order from their wine delivery service, with the average bottle costing around $10.

Blue Apron also has a Holiday Essentials page offering you deals on food and gift combos for the festive season. You can purchase everything from cheese and wine combos to dinner party packs.

The Kitchen Tools page has a variety of essential cookware for your kitchen, and the Pantry page has everything you need to season and flavor your meals.

Most of the pricing is within the range of other retailers, and some people might find this optional service useful.

Blue Aprons Wine Delivery Service
Blue Aprons Wine Delivery Service

 


Discount on Your First Order

When you sign up for your Blue Apron account, the website or mobile app gives you a discount of $50 off of your first weekly order. It’s worth giving them a try just to take advantage of the discount.


Who Can Benefit from Blue Aprons Food Service?

Blue Apron markets itself as a food delivery service for people who want quick meals. We have to say that they achieve this goal. If you want a quick, nutritious meal that beats a limp, flavorless TV dinner, then Blue Apron is the way to go.

Most of the meals on the menu take less than 30-minutes to cook, with a few of them being under 20-minutes total cooking time. That’s less time than you spend waiting for a pizza to arrive. Sure, you might have to put some effort into the cooking process, but it’s worth the hassle, and you might even enjoy the process.


Who Won’t Enjoy Blue Aprons Food Service?

If you have plenty of experience in the kitchen, then the chances are that Blue Apron is not for you. It’s not a gourmet food service by any means, and most of the recipes are basic and lack any real creativity.

If you enjoy cooking, then you’ll probably find yourself straying away from the recipe card, adding more spice, or changing ingredients with others that you get from the grocery store.

Also, if you’re a newbie in the kitchen, then you might find the recipe cards from Blue Apron to be less than adequate. The recipe cards give the impression that you already know what you’re doing in the kitchen, and some newbies might find themselves lost when multi-tasking the instructions on the recipe card.


Conclusion

Eating out is expensive. If you want to order-in every night of the week, it’s going to cost you. Even if you decide to eat healthily, there are limited options when compared to fast food choices, and healthy takeaways are even more pricy.

Blue Apron offers you an easy way to cook fresh food every day. If you live a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to shop and prep your meals, let Blue Apron do the hard work for you.

If you’re single, then you might not get enough value from ordering from Blue Apron, as the menu offerings come in two-serving minimums. However, if you’re a fan of leftovers, or you can live with cooking the same meal twice in one week, then it’s not a problem for you.

Families might find that Blue Apron is a touch on the expensive side, even when ordering the Signature for 4 meal plan. It’s okay for a few nights a week when you’re feeling tired and can’t go to the effort of shopping and prepping a meal. However, using the service as the primary source of your meals might be too expensive for most American families.

Overall, Blue Apron has one of the better foodservice offerings, but we don’t think that it deserves the title of the top company in the industry, it’s a mid-range offering at best.

Visit BlueApron

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Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business.His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More.He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased reporting.oliver@moneycheck.com