Written by: Felicity Kay on May 7th, 2020

Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh: Is Cheaper Better? 2020 Update

No doubt you’ve heard a little about these two meal delivery giants, you may have even tried one of them out, but committing to one isn’t that easy. I know there’s a lot of choice out there, but that’s where I come in. I’ve saved you some time and have done the testing for you - I’ve discovered which service is best, no matter your budget or lifestyle.

That’s why I’m comparing Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. Blue Apron is known for being one of the lower-priced meal kit delivery services, while Hello Fresh is slightly pricier, with no free shipping - but that doesn’t mean you should rule it out.

I’ve reviewed over 10 meal kit delivery services. Here’s what I thought about Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh. 


Quick Overview:



Blue Apron

Hello Fresh

Meals starting from

$7.49 for 4 meals a week for 4 people

$7.49 for 3 meals a week for 4 people

Shipping costs

Free for 3 meals + 

$6.99 per week

Dietary preference plans?

None

None

Meal variety

9 options per menu

17+ options per menu


Pricing and Shipping 

When it comes to working out whether Blue Apron or Hello Fresh is cheaper, you’ve got to look at a few factors including the cost per serving and those forgotten shipping fees.

With Blue Apron, prices start from $7.49 per serving if you order the most meals available (a 4-person, 4 meals a week plan). The shipping is also free making the total cost for this plan $119.84 per week. 

Hello Fresh’s prices also start at $7.49 per serving but for fewer meals with a 4-person, 3 meals a week plan - and with an added cost of $6.99 for shipping. This may be cheaper, at $96.87 per week, but it’s not better value for money as you won't be receiving as many meals and you’ve still got to add on the shipping fee. If you did go down to the 4-person, 3-meal plan with Blue Apron, you'd actually be looking at paying $7.99 per serving, for $95.88 a week.

This means that Blue Apron is actually cheaper than Hello Fresh in this case - but how about for 2-person plans? 

At Blue Apron, a 2-person plan with 3 meals a week means you’ll be paying $9.99 per serving, with free shipping included - that gives you a grand total of $54.94 a week. At Hello Fresh, a 2-person, 3-meal plan costs $8.99 a serving, with that $6.99 shipping too - giving you a total of $60.93. A difference of $5.99 a week may not sound like much, but over the course of a year, you’re looking at paying more than $300 extra for Hello Fresh.

Once again, Blue Apron turns out to be cheaper than Hello Fresh - but only thanks to Hello Fresh’s $6.99 for shipping. 

Winner: Blue Apron

Delivery and Packaging 

Both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh deliver your meal choices weekly, on every day of the week, between 8am-8pm (Hello Fresh) and 8am-9pm (Blue Apron). 

So far, they’re both pretty similar. However, Hello Fresh allows you to track your delivery from the factory to your front door, via its app. Blue Apron doesn't do this, but it does send you a notification in your account dashboard, giving you a narrower window of time that you can expect your delivery and also a notification once it has been delivered

When it comes to packaging, however, both companies have a lot of work to do. 

As someone who really tries their hardest to be plastic-free, I was disappointed with both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. While Hello Fresh’s packaging was mostly recyclable, and I could see there was a real effort to reduce plastic, when it came to packaging the individual ingredients, they were each wrapped in plastic bags. If I'd ordered a meal for 4, there were two lots of individually-packaged ingredients. It was a real waste of plastic. 

Blue Apron is also guilty of this, and perhaps even more so. While there was some effort to include recyclable materials such as the cardboard box it all came in, there is just so much other plastic (on the loose produce and vegetables) that I couldn't recycle which felt like a real shame

In this case, Hello Fresh wins on both accounts - for its trackable delivery and use of less plastic. And that wasn’t the only thing I loved about Hello Fresh, but you’ll have to read my in-depth review of Hello Fresh

 to find out more. 

Winner: Hello Fresh        

Meal Variety

When it comes to Blue Apron’s meal variety, you’ll have the choice of 3 plans - or so it seems. On signup, you’ll see 3 plan options:

 


Within each plan, you can also select a Blue Apron dietary-specific plan too. 

There are 11 recipe choices on offer weekly, all of which have the estimated cooking and preparation time at the bottom - but no allergy information (for that, you need to click into the recipe card). Once you click onto it, you can see very detailed nutritional information, which was something I really appreciated. 

I would say Blue Apron’s meals are mostly American (burgers and steaks), with a few slightly more exotic recipes thrown in. All of the meals I tried were tasty, but thanks to some slightly vague instructions, coupled with my inability to cook anything unless it's explained to me to the letter, I ended up burning a few things

Hello Fresh does slightly better here. There are four Hello Fresh food preference plans to choose from:       

 

But actually, once you finish the sign-up process and check your account, you’ll have a few other options to choose from: 

Within each plan I chose, there were always around 17-20 options to pick from. They were pretty exotic-looking choices, as well as more standard American cuisine. In each recipe card, you’ll similarly see the allergen information and the nutritional facts, as well as a suggested wine pairing (which you can buy from Hello Fresh). 

Cooking-wise, Hello Fresh was mostly straightforward… except for some serious missteps with cooking times. At one point, the recipe told me to cook something to my “desired doneness”, which I had no idea about, and ended up burning the meal. It still tasted great, but, as a cooking novice, I could have used some more guidance. 

In this case, I’d say Hello Fresh just wins over Blue Apron, for the wider variety of meals on offer, and the solid range of meal plans. 

Winner: Hello Fresh  

Dietary Preferences

Vegans, paleo and anyone who follows a dietary plan that diverges even slightly from “eats anything” will always have a hard time with meal kit delivery services - luckily, there are a few options with Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh.      

With Blue Apron, you can easily select/deselect from the following dietary preference options: 

  • Pork

  • Beef

  • Lamb

  • Shellfish

  • Fish

  • Poultry

  • Vegetarian

As far as specific dietary preferences (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) go, there are no Blue Apron recipes that cater specifically to these. There is a Blue Apron vegetarian-only plan which vegans could likely customize, but that’s about it. 

With Hello Fresh, things are slightly better: In addition to being able to choose a range of  Hello Fresh “free” plans (beef-free, pork-free, seafood free), you can also choose these plans

  • Quick

  • Calorie-smart

  • Variety

  • Family-friendly

But still, as far as catering to specific diets goes, neither option wins out. I’ll claim Hello Fresh here as the winner, just because it has those extra few plans. 

Winner: Hello Fresh  

How Easy is it to Order?

I said it in my Blue Apron review, and I’ll say it here: Blue Apron had the fastest, most hassle-free sign-up process of any meal delivery service I’ve reviewed. It’s not that Hello Fresh didn't, it just took a bit longer to sign up for the service. 

Either way, both are winners here: both have easy to use apps, notifications and reminder emails in place should you forget to order, and adding meals to your plan, as well as switching plans is super easy. 

Tied: Hello Fresh and Blue Apron

The Verdict

It’s a tough one to call, as these two meal kit delivery service providers are pretty similar. 

I’d say there’s no clear winner here: if you're looking for a lower price point with quality food, I'd go for Blue Apron, as it was just cheaper than Hello Fresh. The same goes if paying for shipping annoys you, as Hello Fresh has that $6.99 shipping charge added on top of your order. 

If you're looking for better meal options, with more choice, go for Hello Fresh. It has more recipe choices, plans, and more inspiring meals than Blue Apron.

Otherwise, if you have a dietary need or preference (such as you're vegan or paleo), I'd say neither would be a perfect fit, and you should consider a different meal kit delivery service altogether, like Freshology or Sun Basket. And if you’re still not sure what you want, check out our list of the best meal delivery services in 2020.


About The Author

Felicity Kay

Writer

Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
When she's not out walking her dogs, she's trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
When she's not out walking her dogs, she's trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!
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