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Written by: Joey Kendrick on Dec 15th, 2022

Blue Apron vs. HelloFresh 2023: What You Should Know

Both Blue Apron and HelloFresh offer high-quality meal kits for two or four people, but there are some key differences to know. 

To help you decide which is better for you, I’ve taken care of the research and testing to bring you all the information you need. HelloFresh came out on top for me, thanks to its broader menu and the option to order up to six meals per week. Its crowd-pleasing recipes make it perfect for families with picky eaters, too. 

However, these two services are certainly neck-and-neck, and some will prefer Blue Apron’s more niche offerings, including its heat-and-eat prepared meals, optional wine subscription, and WW-approved Wellness recipes.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

It’s a tie!

🍔 Menu Variety:

HelloFresh (30+ choices per week)

⏰ Prep Time:

Blue Apron (5 to 50 minutes)

🍴 Customization:

HelloFresh 

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

It’s a tie!

🙋 Customer Support:

HelloFresh 

Menu Variety

Winner: HelloFresh

When it comes to numbers, HelloFresh wins without a doubt. The website advertises more than 30 recipes each week, compared to Blue Apron’s 19, but in reality (particularly when you take into consideration its customization options), there are many more than that. 

Plus, if you’re looking for vegetarian meals, you’ll find around 11 or 12 solid options each week from HelloFresh, compared to the four or five on Blue Apron’s Vegetarian plan

I also like that you’re able to see HelloFresh’s menu for the next six weeks, so you can plan your meals in advance. Blue Apron allows you to see the menu for the following four weeks, so you can get an idea of what may be coming next.

Blue Apron recipes often include gourmet twists on classic dishes like Cheddar and Spicy Red Onion Burgers with Ranch-Dressed Green Beans and Tomatoes. You’ll also find global-inspired recipes like Spicy Vegetable Lo Mein with Shishito Peppers, Broccoli, and Carrots.

Blue Apron's Cheddar & Spicy Red Onion Burgers with Ranch-Dressed Green Beans & Tomatoes

Blue Apron offers American classics as well as gourmet and internationally-inspired dishes.

Meanwhile, HelloFresh’s menu – including its tried-and-tested Hall of Fame recipes – ensure palate-pleasing dinners for everyone. Crowd favorites like the Firecracker Meatballs regularly return to the menu alongside alternatives like Tuscan Beef-Stuffed Peppers with Pearled Couscous and Melted Mozz.

A stuffed pepper recipe in a skillet from HelloFresh

HelloFresh's Tuscan Beef-Stuffed Peppers are served with couscous and gooey mozzarella.

Both services focus on dinner recipes, but each has additional items that can be added to your box.

HelloFresh offers three 10-minute lunch kits each week which fall under its “Quick Meals” category, while Blue Apron’s Market includes breakfast (buttermilk-cornmeal pancakes with maple-fig syrup and pistachios, anyone?), prepared meals, and holiday bundles alongside pantry items, kitchen utensils, and wine.

Meal Customization

Winner: HelloFresh

If customizing your meals is important to you, HelloFresh has a new HelloCustom feature. It gives you the option to swap, add, or upgrade the protein and/or the sides for several recipes each week. 

This could be something as simple as switching the pork strips in a dish to beef – or taking out the chicken in a risotto to make it vegetarian. 

Blue Apron Customized also lets you swap one ingredient for another (like chicken for tofu), but only on its Signature plans. The other plans can’t be customized, which is probably because they are targeted to more specific diets and include diabetes-friendly options and WW-approved meals (formally Weight Watchers) that align with SmartPoints. 

HelloFresh doesn’t have such specialized plans, but it does offer a variety of categories within its main menu. These include Family Friendly and Fit & Wholesome, which let you narrow down your options beyond the basic Meat & Veggies plan.

HelloFresh lets you mix and match across all categories at any time, whereas with Blue Apron, you have to pick from meals within your chosen plan (although you can switch plans week by week). 

Screengrab of HelloFresh Personalize Your Plan screen with Veggie and Fit & Wholesome plans selected

Both services let you personalize your weekly menu.

When it comes to stating your dietary needs, HelloFresh gives you the option to customize your settings and omit any ingredients you don’t like, including beef, pork, and seafood. Blue Apron doesn’t give you this level of control.

Both services offer vegetarian recipes, but the options are fairly limited, particularly if you’re vegan. In fact, I can’t recommend either Blue Apron or HelloFresh for plant-based dieters, but they’re great for omnivores who want vegetarian meals a couple of times a week.

If you’re looking for low-calorie or keto-friendly options, Blue Apron’s aforementioned Wellness For 2 plan offers low-carb recipes. These recipes are great for boosting weight loss, as they tend to be high in protein and low in saturated fat, as well as featuring WW pro-tips to help you cut back on your sodium and calorie intake.

Screengrab of two recipes from the Blue Apron menu with Wellness tags highlighted

Blue Apron's tags highlight special dishes on the menu.

HelloFresh has some organic produce in its meal kits but doesn’t focus much on this aspect. What it does do, though, is source all its ingredients from sustainable business partners and local farmers. It also keeps things seasonal to ensure peak freshness. 

On the other hand, Blue Apron promises only certified non-GMO ingredients in its meal kits. But all things considered, neither company can guarantee that its food is safe for people with serious allergies, so be extra careful if that’s you.

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: It’s a tie

As two of the largest meal delivery services in the country, unsurprisingly, Blue Apron and HelloFresh have similarly streamlined websites. Signing up and placing an order with either company is easy and fast. Both also deliver to the lower 48 US states, but not Alaska or Hawaii.

Both also allow you to select a delivery day from the options available based on your zip code – but you can change it afterward if you need to. HelloFresh and Blue Apron also have apps that allow you to track your order.

When it comes to packaging, both companies' websites have detailed instructions on how to responsibly dispose of the materials in your box. However, they differ slightly when it comes to the packaging materials used.

Pictures of recyclable Blue Apron plastics highlighted in green and non-recyclable plastics in red

Blue Apron does a decent job of offering recyclable plastics where possible.

Blue Apron uses more plastic in its packaging than HelloFresh. While the company takes steps to be as eco-friendly as possible, there’s no denying it’s best to avoid plastic as much as you can. Most of the plastic used in Blue Apron’s packaging is recyclable, but it’s still not as eco-friendly as paper.

HelloFresh uses more paper and cardboard in its boxes. This is automatically an improvement, but there’s still plastic present in its shipments. And, like Blue Apron, some of HelloFresh’s materials aren’t recyclable in some local areas.  

An example of HelloFresh's paper packaging.

HelloFresh incorporates more paper in its packaging – but there's still some plastic present.

HelloFresh’s wealth of paper packaging does give it a slight edge over Blue Apron in terms of eco-friendliness. That said, I’m calling this round a tie overall. Both services are neck-and-neck when you consider the ordering and delivery process as a whole.

Meal Prep

Winner: Blue Apron

This category was almost too close to call since both services offer a huge variety of prep options. Ultimately, it came down to Blue Apron’s oven-ready recipes and prepared meals.

Most HelloFresh dinners are quick and easy to make. The meal kits take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, with most averaging around the 20- to 30-minute mark. Blue Apron’s recipes aren’t any faster, but it has special features that give it the edge.

Screengrab of two recipes on the HelloFresh menu with Easy Cleanup and Easy Prep highlighted

HelloFresh offers easy prep and cleanup recipes, but you provide your own pan.

Of the two, Blue Apron is the only service to offer prepared meals each week. These single-serving dinners are ready to eat after just five minutes in the microwave. Even if you don’t plan on giving these a try, Blue Apron is still my meal prep winner.

Because while both services offer sheet-pan recipes, Blue Apron takes things another step further with its Ready to Cook meals, which come with prepped ingredients and a recyclable aluminum baking tin. With tasty-sounding dishes like Oven-Baked Green Shakshuka, prep and cleanup don’t get easier than that!

Photo of Blue Apron's Green Shakshuka in a disposable baking tray

Blue Apron's Oven-Baked Green Shakshuka takes no time to prep and clean up.

With both companies, you’ll receive the printed recipe cards in your box, with step-by-step instructions to guide you through the process. You’ll also find cook-along videos on the app. 

All the ingredients arrive perfectly portioned and individually packaged in both cases, too, so you only need to get chopping and cooking!

Customer Support

Winner: HelloFresh

This was another close one and while both services offer excellent customer support, ultimately I give this hard-fought round to HelloFresh. 

There are a bunch of options when it comes to HelloFresh’s customer support. Its online Help Center features Action buttons that allow you to do everything from edit your delivery day to update your payment details, while the FAQ section is packed full of info, too. 

Screengrab of the HelloFresh FAQ page with action buttons

HelloFresh has an incredibly thorough FAQ page.

If you still come up blank, you can reach HelloFresh support by phone or via the online chat, which also fares very well! Our expert reviewer said “I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good customer service experience.”

Blue Apron has a solid FAQ section as well, and its email and phone customer support are both excellent. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with Blue Apron’s customer service, it’s just that HelloFresh is especially strong in this category.

Pricing

Winner: It’s a tie 

Blue Apron and HelloFresh’s pricing is almost identical. Without any discounts, both services start from $7.99 per serving (when you order four meals for four people per week) to $11.99 per serving when you order just two meals for two people.

Both services are great for families, but HelloFresh does allow you to order more meals per week (up to six), which is great if you have a larger household, want lunch-friendly leftovers, or just have very little time in the week to get to the grocery store! 

However, note that HelloFresh has a slightly higher shipping cost, with a flat rate of $10.99 per shipment compared to Blue Apron’s $9.99. 

Screenshot of the Blue Apron plan selection page.

The larger your order, the lower your price-per-meal.

But the best way to try out either of these services is with our introductory discount. Right now, you can get Blue Apron meals for just $5.74 per serving, and HelloFresh for just $3.32 per serving.

Screenshot of HelloFresh's Customize your plan size screen

Busy families will love the option to order more meals per week with HelloFresh.

Each service’s introductory offer can change, so I’m basing this off the listed, non-discounted prices. At the time of writing, Blue Apron and HelloFresh cost more or less the same, no matter how many meals you order, so this round is a clear tie.

Features Comparison: Blue Apron vs HelloFresh


Blue Apron

HelloFresh

Best for

Gourmet meals and add-ons 

Families and picky eaters

Starting price

$5.74 per serving (with discount)

$3.32 per serving (with discount)

Shipping cost

$9.99

$10.99

Minimum order

2 recipes for 2 people per week

2 recipes for 2 people per week

Menu Variety

19 options per week

30+ options per week

Prep Time

5 to 50 minutes

15 to 45 minutes

Clean-Up

5 to 30 minutes

10 to 30 minutes

Convenient Options

Ready to Cook, Heat-and-Eat

Easy Cleanup, Easy Prep

Allergy Options

None

None

Special Dietary Options

Diabetes-Friendly, Vegetarian, WW-Approved

Calorie-Smart, Carb-Smart, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Vegan

Customer support

FAQ, online chat, phone

FAQ, online chat, phone

Promotions

Enjoy $130 off across your first 6 orders

Get 25 free meals + free shipping + 3 surprise gifts

And the Winner Is: HelloFresh

HelloFresh wins this comparison for me because of its considerably larger menu, exciting collection of recipes, and better customization options. It’s also really family-friendly, with meals that are varied enough to suit adults and kids alike. 

Blue Apron may be the better choice for couples, particularly if you’re someone who likes to pair wine with your meals or call in extras such as breakfast dishes and pantry staples. Blue Apron also features diabetes-friendly recipes and some low-carb meals for people who follow special diets, and all of its ingredients are certified non-GMO.

Both of these services made it into our top 10, so – if you’re still unsure – why not check out our complete list of the best meal delivery services of 2023.

FAQ

Is HelloFresh or Blue Apron Cheaper?

Blue Apron and HelloFresh are practically the same price. Depending on the size of your order, both services range from $7.99 to $11.99 per serving, though HelloFresh has a slightly higher shipping fee at $10.99, compared to Blue Apron’s $9.99 fee. 

With the most recent new customer discounts we’ve included above, you can try HelloFresh for just $3.32 and Blue Apron for just $5.74 per serving.

Is Blue Apron healthier than HelloFresh?

Blue Apron may be the healthier choice for some. Its dedicated Wellness menu is inspired by the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and features WW-approved recipes that let you track your SmartPoints and watch your sodium intake.

Which is better, HelloFresh or Blue Apron?

I gave HelloFresh the blue ribbon thanks to its greater menu variety, superb customer service, and more. Blue Apron is also an excellent meal delivery service, but I feel that HelloFresh is a better choice for most American households.

About The Author

Joey Kendrick
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Joey is a writer based in New York City. He has covered many subjects, but food is his true passion. With his two cats as research assistants, he creates content for clients all over the world.
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