Meal delivery kits have been advertised a lot lately. You may have seen ads for Blue Apron, Plated and HelloFresh touted these kits as healthy alternatives to your usual dinner. Since dinner can be a huge production in some households, many of us are interested in these meal services and how they can benefit us.
Blue Apron is the leader in meal delivery kits. The company focuses on delivering farm-fresh ingredients in just the right amounts straight to your door. Blue Apron earned $1 billion in revenue in 2016, but was hit hard in 2017. Blue Apron faced unexpected costs, lost customers and had to lay off many employees. Still, many people are subscribing to the weekly recipes and incorporating them into their meals.
You may have been interested in trying Blue Apron. Should you do it? Will it save you money? It’s important to know all the facts before trying, so here is a bit of background on the prices as well as the pros and cons of the most popular meal delivery service.
More About Blue Apron
Blue Apron has partnered with 150 farms to bring you the freshest ingredients possible so you can make healthy meals you can feel good about. The company uses non-GMO ingredients and focuses on preventing food waste, so you’re given just enough food to feed your family without leftovers.
Blue Apron also has an online market that allows you to purchase the same kitchen items used by their chefs. They include utensils, skillets, knives and cutting boards.
Blue Apron also has a wine program. This provides you with access to red and white wines from renowned winemakers. Each bottle is 500 ml, making them the perfect size for two people to share. With each delivery, you receive a booklet that tells you about the wine.
What Types of Meals Are There?
Blue Apron offers a variety of meals, with different recipes to choose from every week. Two-person meals include beef and mushroom stew, pan-fried chicken, Mexican-spiced pork, catfish, chili stir-fry, pork meatloaf, spiced tomato and coconut chicken, ginger pork burgers, quesadillas, salmon and various pasta dishes. For families, the options include pizza, chile shrimp tacos, hoisin and ponzu steaks, shrimp and rice cakes, chicken thighs and various pasta dishes. The dishes encompass various cultures, which may or may not be off-putting for some.
How Much is Blue Apron?
There are several different options you can choose from. A plan that serves two people twice a week costs $31.95, including $7.99 shipping and handling. For three meals a week, the cost jumps to $45.94. The family plan, which serves four people, costs $59.92 for two meals a week. The cost rises to $87.88 for three meals a week. If you want four meals a week, you’ll pay $123.84. There is also a vegetarian meal plan available for two people for two or three nights a week. Blue Apron is also offering a new Mediterranean Diet plan. Depending on the plan you choose, you pay $8.99 to $10.99 per serving. For this price, you get the recipe and all ingredients sent to your door, eliminating the need to drive to the store and spend time picking out what you need. You may have to supply some minor parts of the recipe, such as water, pepper, olive oil, etc.
Pros of Blue Apron
Blue Apron offers many benefits, including the following:
- The ingredients come straight from the farms, so they are healthy and fresh. The recipes are just 500 to 800 calories each. They’re a good alternative to greasy fast food.
- The meals are convenient. Eliminates the hassle of having to plan and shop for meals. Everything you needs comes to your front door.
- You can change your meal preferences. You can look through the menu online and choose options that fit the tastes of your family. If you’re a vegetarian, there are meatless options as well.
- You can choose from several plans. For two people, you can opt for two or three meals a week. For families of four, you can opt for 2-4 meals a week.
- There are different recipes every week. You don’t have to worry about eating the same meals over and over again.
- You can choose your delivery date. You want your meal to be fresh, so if you plan to cook on Friday, don’t schedule it for Monday.
- No commitment is required. While it is a subscription service, you can skip weeks if needed or even cancel at any time. You don’t have to sign up for months or years at a time.
- There is no wasted food. If you don’t like leftovers, you’ll love Blue Apron because you get perfectly proportioned food. You get just enough to feed your family.
- Makes a unique date night or private party idea. Making dinner together and enjoying it afterward is a fun date idea for a couple who is tired of eating out all the time.
- It’s a fun way to try new foods. The recipes on Blue Apron are fairly unique, so if you’ve grown bored of your usual cuisine, Blue Apron may be a welcome change.
- Makes a great gift. It would be a fun gift idea for a chef or perhaps a couple with new baby.
- It’s not just about the food – it’s the service and experience. Following the directions, preparing and cooking the food are all part of the Blue Apron experience.
Cons of Blue Apron
Blue Apron isn’t for everyone. Here are some of the disadvantages we found:
- It’s on the pricey side. For a family, four meals a week costs $123.84. That’s about what a family may spend on groceries in a week. It’s not a budget-friendly way to eat dinner and it’s especially cost-prohibitive for families larger than four people because you would need two subscriptions.
- You still have the cook the meal. The prices are what you would pay at a restaurant, but you still have to cook it yourself. And do dishes.
- The recipes are a bit unique and don’t appeal to everyone. If your children are used to hot dogs and mac ‘n cheese, they’re not even going to touch many of these recipes.
- The recipes take about 40 minutes to prepare and cook. While this may not seem too bad if you stay at home and cook a lot anyway, for a busy parent with a full-time job, 40 minutes is an eternity. Many want quick recipes that take 15-20 minutes tops.
- Many of the recipes are complex. While the kits come with instructions, making sure you follow all the steps can be a chore in itself. And who wants to fiddle around with a complicated recipe with rare ingredients after working an eight-hour day?
- Many find the portions small. If you have people in your household with hearty appetites, the Blue Apron portion sizes may not work for you. After all that, you may still need to make more food, which defeats the purpose of buying the meal kit.
- It’s not a one-time thing. You will continue to receive weekly deliveries unless you cancel. If you’re not interested in receiving more recipes, make sure you cancel right away. Otherwise, you’ll be charged for deliveries you don’t want.
- Not good for those with dietary restrictions. While there are vegetarian options, if you have food allergies, intolerances to certain ingredients or need a gluten-free option or perhaps a version with less salt, you’re out of luck. You can’t get substitutions.
- Some customers have complained about the packaging waste. While Blue Apron uses special packaging to keep your food cool during delivery, the amount of packaging is way too much for a company that supposedly cares about the environment.
Now that we’ve shown you the pros and cons of Blue Apron, as well as the prices you can expect to pay, is it worth it? Blue Apron has many benefits. Those who have tried it seemed to have enjoyed the meals and the overall experience, but paying so much for meals that you still have to cook yourself is not really budget-friendly. Even though everything comes to your door, it’s still inconvenient to some degree. You’re doing the same amount of work, and likely spending even more money than you do now. You’re better off popping a frozen meal in the microwave, picking up takeout or making a meal that the whole family enjoys from scratch.
Overall, many customers have found Blue Apron to be fun to try once in a while as a change of pace. After all, it’s always fun to try something new. However, most could not afford it on a weekly basis. Plus, given that the recipes are a little too fancy for children with picky palates and the prices are a little high, it’s not advantageous for most families to use Blue Apron on a regular basis when you can serve hot dogs and mac ‘n cheese for under $5.