Blue Apron and Purple Carrot have something in common: they both provide excellent meal kits to customers across the US. But other than that, each has a distinctly different approach to the food it offers.
Blue Apron serves up affordable, family-friendly meals that are more traditionally American and suited to those with few or no dietary requirements – think burgers, steaks, and seafood – though it does have a vegetarian plan. Purple Carrot is a completely plant-based service that includes breakfast, lunch, and snack options too.
Read on for our in-depth Blue Apron vs. Purple Carrot comparison to find out which of these top services might best suit your needs. If neither of these meal kit delivery services fully cater to your palate, you can check out this complete list of the best meal delivery services today.
14 dishes per week
12 dishes per week (two breakfasts, two lunches, eight dinners), plus four snack items
$5.74 per serving
$8.50 per serving
$7.99, or free on orders of three or more meals per week
20 to 55 minutes
5 – 40 minutes
Blue Apron has simple, balanced recipes that satisfy the needs of the average American family. Alongside its Signature plans, it offers a Vegetarian option, but there’s nothing for vegans. Many of the company’s recipes are certified diabetes-friendly, and you can exclude a limited number of ingredients like shellfish and certain types of meat.
If you’re looking for low-calorie or low-carb meals, Blue Apron’s nutritionist-approved Wellness plan features recipes designed in partnership with WW (formerly Weight Watchers), allowing you to track your food intake with the SmartPoints system. It even gives you tips on how to make the dish healthier and lower those WW points even more.
Purple Carrot is a completely plant-based service, so all its meals are vegan and safe for lactose-intolerant diners. Its plans include a Gluten-Free option and a High-Protein one, and you can further exclude recipes that contain soy and nuts.
Every recipe at Purple Carrot also comes with an estimated calorie count and nutritional values – helpful if you’re looking for the healthier options.
When it comes to the ingredients, most of Purple Carrot’s non-produce items – such as beans, nut milks, vegan cheeses, and tofu – are organic, but not all of your box is guaranteed to be organic and non-GMO. Blue Apron, on the other hand, promises only non-GMO ingredients, as well as organic options where possible.
Both services cater to very different dietary needs, but neither company can guarantee that its recipes are safe for people with serious allergies, so you should be extra careful if this is you.
Winner: It’s a tie!
Blue Apron offers a broader range of ingredients because its recipes feature seafood, different types of meat, dairy, and eggs. Look out for dishes like the Smoked Gouda & Fried Pickle Burger or the Honey Teriyaki Salmon to get your taste buds tingling.
If you’re considering the Vegetarian plan, however, Blue Apron offers a more limited three to five recipes per week. These will often include one Beyond Burger meal, such as the Grilled Indian-Style Beyond Burger or the Spanish-Spiced Beyond Burger.
Purple Carrot’s menu also includes breakfast and lunch options, so the menu does feel slightly more varied even though there are fewer dishes. Its cuisine is also more internationally-focused, with recipes such as Italian Sausages with Pimento-Style Cheese & Dilly Pasta Salad to Korean Bibimbap with Gochujang Roasted Beets & Crispy Seeded Rice.
As mentioned, Blue Apron has more dinner recipes available each week – around 14 compared to Purple Carrot’s eight or nine. At the same time, Purple Carrot also offers four “Plantry” (or snack) options, which you can add to your weekly cart.
Not only that, but now you can select from Purple Carrot’s brand new line of prepared meals, as well. You can order up to ten chef-prepared meals, from a menu of about 15 different dishes.
Blue Apron also has a monthly wine subscription service, as well as an online marketplace selling kitchen tools, its signature spice blends, and more. Meanwhile, over at Purple Carrot, you can pick up merch like organic cotton T-shirts, aprons, and tote bags.
Winner: It’s another tie.
With Blue Apron, generally the more recipes you order each week, the cheaper each serving will be. If you sign up for its Signature For 4 plan and order the maximum of four meals per week, you’ll pay just $7.49 per serving. If you choose either the Signature, Vegetarian, or Wellness For 2, each serving will cost you $9.99, regardless of the number of meals you order.
This makes Blue Apron one of the most affordable meal kit delivery services available in the US right now. And if you order at least three meals per week, shipping is free.
Purple Carrot’s delivery is free, regardless of your order size, but the meals are slightly more expensive. Customers can choose between the 2 Serving Plan or the 4 Serving Plan – for the latter you’ll pay $9.99 per serving, and $11.99 for the former. It’s still a pretty good deal taking the whole service into account, but Blue Apron wins this one for being more budget-friendly.
Purple Carrot’s single-serving prepared meals are even pricier, with a flat rate of $12.99 each. This does make sense, considering you’ve got absolutely zero prep work to do with those meals.
Winner: Blue Apron.
Blue Apron ships to locations all over the contiguous US up to seven days a week (specific availability depends on your location), while Purple Carrot ships on Mondays, Tuesdays, or Wednesdays, based on where you are. You can’t currently choose your day of delivery with Purple Carrot.
Both companies have detailed FAQs on their websites with instructions on how to responsibly dispose of the packaging in which your meal kits arrive. Much of the packaging used by both services can be recycled; however, there might be some plastic that cannot be recycled depending on your location.
Albeit not perfect by any means, Blue Apron has taken some further steps to reduce its environmental impact, having teamed up with How2Recycle to implement an easy-to-identify labeling program to make recycling that bit easier.
Winner: Blue Apron.
Both Blue Apron and Purple Carrot display the estimated cooking time for each recipe, so it’s easy to see which recipes will best suit your schedule. With Blue Apron, you should expect to have dinner on the table within 20 to 40 minutes, with only its gourmet-style recipes taking up to an hour or so.
Meanwhile, Purple Carrot has some breakfast options that take as little as five minutes to prep, while lunches usually take around 15 minutes, and its dinners in the realms of 25 to 40 minutes.
Then there are Purple Carrot’s prepared meals. These, clearly, take the cake when it comes to minimal prep time. It’s nice to have the option to cook when you can, and order the prepared meals for those absolutely hectic nights or weeks.
Both companies offer detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to cook the meals – Blue Apron even includes pictures of the process to help you further. For both services, the ingredients come packaged and portioned, together with printed instructions, so you’ll always know what you’re doing – and in what quantities.
Winner: Purple Carrot
Blue Apron is the more affordable choice and might appeal to more of the general American public thanks to its wholesome, family-friendly approach to food. Both vegetarians and omnivores can enjoy the meals on offer, as well as those who are diabetic or on WW, and its reliable service has been proven time and time again.
Purple Carrot is better for vegans or anyone who wants to try eating plants for part of the week, and for those who can't have gluten or dairy. It's a smaller, newer company, but it has some clear benefits, like free shipping, and options for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
In fact, both of these services made it into our top 10. To see the complete list, check out the best meal delivery services of 2021.
Overall winner: Blue Apron.