+6281216825037 [email protected]

To get a hot, homemade meal on the table takes
time, planning, and a trip to the grocery store, sometimes two if you can’t
find all the ingredients the first time around. The best meal-kit delivery services help
you cut corners where it counts. Blue Apron has been helping home
cooks streamline the process of meal preparation for years, and with great
success. You get recipes and the food to make them delivered to your door. Blue
Apron also excels at teaching people how to cook, with supplemental video
tutorials showing everything the recipe card doesn’t, like how to peel garlic
or dice an onion. If you’re looking for a meal kit program in part to learn how
to cook, then Blue Apron should be on your radar, if not your first choice.
It’s an Editors’ Choice.

We love Blue Apron for its variety of flavors,
helpful instructions, convenience, and competitive pricing. We also love that
it sells wine, too, plus cooking equipment, spices, olive oils, and a few other
pantry items. Where it comes up a short, however, is catering to specific
diets. There is a vegetarian line, but there isn’t much for vegans or people
who follow a keto or paleo diet. Green
Chef
, which is also an Editors’ Choice, has a fantastic
menu of plant-forward meals, which can include or exclude meat (vegans still
need to check the recipes). Purple Carrot is exclusively vegan
and also got high marks in our testing. If there’s something else that doesn’t
tickle your fancy about Blue Apron, try HelloFresh. It’s another Editors’
Choice and has a little bit of everything on its menu.

Blue Apron Pricing

Blue Apron costs between $7.49 and $9.99 per
serving. The more servings you get per shipment, the lower the price. From time
to time you’ll see Premium items on the menu, which cost more.

When you sign up for Blue Apron, you must choose
whether you want the recipes to include two servings or four. If you only want an
all-vegetarian plan, then you can only opt for two servings.

Next, you choose how many recipes you want per
week. The two-serving plans (including the vegetarian one) let you choose either two or three recipes per week. The two-serving plans always cost $9.99 per serving, no
matter how many recipes you get. If you get the smallest plan, then you get
charged $7.99 for shipping. For all other plans, shipping is free.

The four-serving plan lets you choose two, three, or four
recipes per week. So the plan with the most food is four recipes per week that
serve four people each, or 16 total servings. At $7.49 per serving, you’re looking at
$119.84 per week. That’s a great price compared with other meal kit services,
as long as you have enough people in your home to eat it all or you really
enjoy leftovers.

Add-ons, like olive oil, wine, or finishing
salts, get charged per item. There is a separate monthly wine subscription you
can order that delivers six 500ml bottles (a standard wine bottle is 750ml) for
$65.99 per month. Shipping is included; tax is not.

How Much Do Other Meal-Kit Services Cost?

Most meal-kit subscription services cost between
$9.99 and $12.99 per serving. Two services charge much lower: EveryPlate ($4.99 per serving) and
Dinnerly ($4.49-$4.99 per serving; we have not yet reviewed Dinnerly). These
two services have recipes with ingredients that are inexpensive and easy to
come by, so it’s more mushrooms and macaroni rather than quinoa and dragon
fruit —that’s part of how they keep prices low. Depending on what you like to
eat, you might find that paying a little more gives you a better experience.

Purple Carrot, the all-vegan service, also costs
a little less than average when you consider the per-serving price
($8.99-$10.99) and shipping rate ($5.99-$11.99) together. Shipping is based on
size. The smaller and lighter the box, the less you pay.

Sun Basket is more expensive; it charges between $10.99 and $12.99 per serving, plus a $7.99 shipping fee. HelloFresh and
Green Chef cost between $9.99 and $12.99 per serving, depending on how much
food you order. Both charge a $7.99 shipping fee, too. That said, many
companies waive the shipping fee on your first order.

Hungryroot is a little different. As mentioned, this company sends a selection of
groceries based on your preferences and includes suggested recipes. If you
follow the recipes, they work out to be between $8.49 and $9.99 per serving.
But you get snacks and other foods, too. For a single box, you can expect to
pay a minimum of about $75. Shipping is free if you qualify for ground
delivery. Otherwise, it’s an additional $10 per box.

Most meal services mentioned so far ship a
minimum of two servings per recipe. Single-serve meals are available, though
the companies making them tend to offer ready meals rather than cooking kits.
Freshly, Splendid
Spoon
, and Daily Harvest are all good examples. Freshly, which costs between $7.99 and $11.50 per serving, makes meals that look a whole lot like TV dinners.
Splendid Spoon ($9.50 and $13 per meal, shipping included) does soups, bowls, and
smoothies, which are premade. Daily Harvest ($6.99-$7.75 per meal) sends you
frozen ingredients pre-packed into cups or bowls to make smoothies, soups, and
a few other items; you add liquid where needed and heat or blend them before
eating.

Signing Up

When you create an account, Blue Apron quizzes you briefly on your dietary preferences, such as whether you’re vegetarian, which types of meat you eat, and so forth. Not happy with the service? Blue Apron’s online cancellation process isn’t too arduous and it’s easy to reactivate your account, should you decide to return.

After signing up, you can click on your first four deliveries to see what’s coming your way, and change out recipes or skip weeks if nothing appeals to you. Each recipe also indicates what kind of kitchen tools you need to make the meal, such as a rolling pin or a skillet. Blue Apron’s online Market conveniently sells aprons, knives, cutting boards, peelers, and other tools.

For many recipes, you also see tips, techniques, comments from other home cooks, and occasionally a wine pairing suggestion.

Blue Apron posts weekly menus on its website, where you can browse what’s on order. Each week, you choose which meals you want or stick with the defaults that Blue Apron picks for you. At present, there are 12 dishes per week. Three per week are vegetarian.

Some of the menu items say “Discontinued” on them, which is confusing. I reached out to customer service to ask about this issue and learned that some menu items had been taken out of rotation at the time of this writing due to constraints from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s a good amount of variety, aside from not having much in the way of vegan, paleo, or keto meals. If you’re in the mood for something simple, like pasta or hot sandwiches or burgers, you’ll certainly be able to put one of those in your weekly box. You’ll also find a few recipes that contain a protein, vegetable, and starch (or beans): salmon, broccoli, rice; or chicken, zucchini, orzo. Bowls pop up, too, like coconut curry lentils and kale with roasted sweet potato and garlic yogurt, or mushroom and barley bowls with fried eggs, kale, and Parmesan cheese. Those dishes happen to be vegetarian, too. But not all vegetarian meals are bowls. Sweet potato quesadillas with guacamole caught my eye, for example.

Premium recipes, which cost more, give you the option of adding a little luxury to your homemade food. Seared New York strip steaks and chimichurri with roasted zucchini and quinoa salad, for example, goes for $19.99 per serving. A Premium chicken katsu dish with shrimp and vegetable udon noodles costs $17.99 per serving. The prices are steep, but if you can’t go to restaurants, these more high-end meals could be a nice treat once in a while. Gobble offers Premium options, too.

When you look at the weekly menu, you see a picture of the completed dish, the amount of time needed to make the recipe, and sometimes other tags. A WW (formerly WeightWatchers) insignia, for example, means you can look up how many Points are in one serving. Other tags include vegetarian, carb conscious, diabetes friendly, Mediterranean, plant-forward, 500 calories or less.

What you don’t see are allergens, such as dairy, nuts, or soy. You can only see allergens when you look at the complete recipe, which sometimes isn’t available until one-and-a-half weeks before shipping day. In fact, Blue Apron says it doesn’t recommend its service to people with food allergies: “All of our ingredients are packaged in a facility that also processes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. Because of this, we don’t recommend ordering Blue Apron if you have a severe food allergy.”

Blue Apron box

Packaging

It takes a lot to ship fresh ingredients to your
home, while keeping them cold and preventing contamination. Specifically, it
takes cardboard, plastic, aluminum, and freezer packs. It really makes you wonder
how Frederic
Tudor
managed to sail boatloads of ice from Boston to
India in the 1800s with little more than sawdust and wood chips for insulation.
Those imperialist Brits sure must have loved their cold G&Ts.

Some meal-kit delivery services manage to reduce
their packaging materials more than others. Every Plate does a noticeably good
job of it, though that’s comparative praise. None are a beacon of
environmentalism. Blue Apron does alright. Similar to Purple Carrot, it
uses some rigid plastic containers that you can reuse. Those same containers
are also recyclable.

Other than little plastic bags filled with small amounts of ingredients specific to each recipe, Blue Apron packs all the ingredients together. Some other meal-kit services, such as HelloFresh and Green Chef (which are owned by the same company), package each recipe into a paper bag. That way, when it’s time to cook, you pull one bag out of the fridge and don’t have to hunt down each ingredient. Gobble and Home Chef do the same thing, but with plastic.

Common in meal-kit delivery are frozen gel
packs, and Blue Apron uses something similar but with one amazing difference:
You can dump the contents of Blue Apron’s freezer pack down the drain. Other
gel packs contain a non-toxic gel that’s supposed to go into the trash can
instead, a messy and clumsy affair to say the least. Sun Basket is the only
other company that uses something a little different. It has a water-based
substance that also contains cotton, and you can compost it or use it to water
your garden.

On a few occasions, I’ve come across dry ice
instead of those gel packs. Splendid Spoon, Daily Harvest, and Ramen Hero all
use dry ice. It’s much easier to clean up once the dry ice evaporates, but
until then, you have to be extremely careful around it.

Blue Apron’s website includes instructions for recycling all the
materials used for shipping. Being able to do so effectively requires that
recycling in your area accepts #1, 2, 4, and 5 plastics, plus cardboard,
bottles, and cans.

Blue Apron meal

The Blue Apron Experience

Cooking and taste-testing happened in an earlier version of this review. We received two shipments, which arrived on
schedule. They included recipes and ingredients to make:

  • Chrissy Teigen’s garlic and soy-glazed shrimp
  • creamy caramelized onion burgers, farro, and lentil mujaddara
  • honey-ginger pork chops
  • spiced chickpea and vegetable tagine
  • sweet potato and spicy cucumber bao

For these recipes and others, you need to supply
your own cooking oil, salt, and pepper.

Blue Apron includes large, easy-to-follow recipe
cards. Pictures accompany each step to
show details such as how small to chop the vegetables. Those with little
kitchen experience will find Blue Apron’s app a big help. It has clear
instructional videos that teach everything from how to season to taste or add
salt to cooking water. Sometimes it has info on individual ingredients, too.
Blue Apron’s mobile offering is similar to HelloFresh’s app, but provides more
information overall.

Blue Apron meal

Most of our finished meals were delicious, filling, and easy to make. Any mishaps we had were due to not following the directions closely
enough, such as making burger patties too fat and overcooking a fried egg. However, our prep time often ran longer than the recipe anticipated.

During our testing period, Blue Apron was
offering recipes by model Chrissy Teigen, who apparently wrote a cookbook. The
soy-glazed shrimp we tried from that lineup was tasty, as was the charred broccoli, but a pepper
sauce was a bit cloying. Between that and some unnecessary breadcrumbs, the
dish didn’t quite come together. In addition, one ingredient, a demi-glace, had
broken open during shipping, and we were unable to use it. We contacted Blue
Apron and they immediately issued a refund for that ingredient. We appreciate that, and the creative vegetarian recipes that don’t feel like an afterthought, too.

Would You Eat It Again?

Blue Apron’s strength is making cooking
accessible to those who want to learn. Like any meal-kit delivery service, it
bears the brunt of meal preparation by letting you choose a few recipes to try
each week and sending the right amount of ingredients to your doorstep. Blue
Apron asks you to dice, sautee, brown, and deglaze, while also providing good
instruction on how to do those things.

Plenty of other meal kits put convenience over
effort. They send you rice that’s already boiled, sauces that have been whisked
together a week ago, and sometimes even precooked meats. Blue Apron wants you
to try your hand at cooking. If you’re trying to learn to cook, Blue Apron
makes it accessible and fun. It’s very hard to screw up too badly.

Blue Apron is an Editors’ Choice, for novice chefs who want to learn. Green Chef gets also gets the award, for plant-focused meals; and HelloFresh, for omnivores.  Finally, Hungryroot is a top pick for both grocery and meal-kit delivery . 

Blue Apron Meal Delivery Service Specs

Starting Price Per Meal $7.49
Vegetarian Options Yes
Vegan Options No
No Extra Delivery Charges Yes

Best Meal Kit Picks

Source Article