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Written by: Mirela Niculae on Apr 15th, 2022

Whole Foods vs. Blue Apron 2022: Which has the Best Meals?

Which meal delivery service do you choose when you want a healthy and diverse diet? While both Whole Foods and Blue Apron focus on health-conscious meals, there are differences you can’t ignore.

To me, Whole Foods seems like the most convenient option if you’re looking for menu variety and ready-made meals. Plus, the service comes in handy for Amazon Prime users or people who have a store nearby.

However, I also think that Blue Apron has its strong suits, especially for people who enjoy cooking. To help you decide, I analyzed the pros and cons of each service so make sure to keep reading. My Whole Foods vs. Blue Apron comparison will help you reach a conclusion once and for all!

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

? Price:

Blue Apron ($5.74 per serving)

? Menu Variety:

Whole Foods (over 200 choices)

⏰ Prep Time:

Tie

? Customization:

Tie

? Ordering and Delivery

Blue Apron

? Customer Support:

Whole Foods

Menu Variety

Winner: Whole Foods

In terms of variety, the Whole Foods menu is better than Blue Apron’s. At Whole Foods, you can find options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Plus, you can find delicious ready-made soups, burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas that are more kid-friendly.

Blue Apron keeps things simple – its menu includes around 19 options that change every week. Plus, you can see the menu four weeks in advance, so you can plan your meals. Blue Apron is well-known for its carefully pre-portioned meal kits, but its menu also includes a few prepared meals that only need a bit of time in the microwave.

In terms of variety, the menu is well-balanced with foods from American, Mediterranean, and Asian cuisines. The meals are close to what you can find in a respected family restaurant and you’ll often have the chance to expand your culinary experience with new recipes, like Calabrian Shrimp and Orzo with Zucchini and Parmesan.

Blue Apron also has a wine section (separate from the main meal plans) and helps you pair the right wine with the meal. Honestly, for me, this is a huge point in their favor! However, if you have kids, you may find the menu a bit too fancy. There are a few burger and pizza recipes, but overall, the Blue Apron menu is aimed at a more mature audience.

Whole Foods (the meal delivery section of it) comes with a huge offer which is to be expected considering it’s powered by Amazon. Plus, the menu works in an à la carte system where you don’t have to select a meal plan.

The offer varies based on your zip code, but it’s so diverse that almost anyone can find meals to their taste.

Everything is cooked with high-quality ingredients that follow the Whole Foods standard of quality (230+ preservatives, flavors, colors, sweeteners, and more are prohibited). Each meal is prepared by chefs in specially-equipped kitchens. You’ll find options from some of the most popular cuisines such as Asian, American, Mediterranean, and more.

Additionally, Whole Foods has a section that’s similar to meal kits, where you can choose the recipes you like and order the ingredients from Amazon. However, unlike a meal kit delivery service, you won’t receive pre-portioned ingredients. For instance, if the recipe needs honey mustard, you have to buy a whole jar and store it for later use.

Still, the section adds diversity to the menu as it provides you with ideas for new recipes for a wide range of scenarios. Honestly, it’s quite difficult to get bored with such a great selection!

Meal Customization

Winner: It’s a tie

There isn’t much room for customization with either company, but both menus offer options for a variety of dietary needs. Blue Apron is straightforward with four main meal plans (Signature for two and four, Vegetarian, and Wellness) but it also helps you personalize the menu by choosing a few favorites beforehand.

In terms of protein, Blue Apron lets you choose between meat, fish, and Beyond Meat. Plus, the recipes are nutritionist-approved with plenty of options for carb-conscious and Weight Watchers Recommended dishes.

I’m not too impressed with the selection of vegetarian meals since, at the date of my review, the menu only included four weekly options. Still, there are plenty of veggie-forward meals that help support a healthy lifestyle.

Whole Foods, on the other hand, has options for a larger set of dietary preferences such as vegan, gluten-free, or keto meals (among others). I like that you’re not limited by a meal plan and you can easily combine foods according to taste and preferences. Still, you can’t customize prepared meals – what you see on the menu is what you’ll get delivered.

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: Blue Apron

Ordering with Blue Apron is easy to understand and simple. You have to create an account (maximum five minutes), select a meal plan, and choose your meals (at least two meals for two people per week). Your order will repeat every week but you can change the selection of meals and pause or cancel anytime you want.

Whole Foods is a bit different since it’s not just a meal delivery service (meal delivery is only a part of the business model). The service works with an Amazon Prime membership, there isn’t a minimum order, and orders aren’t recurring – if you want to repeat an order, you have to place it again.

I found both shopping experiences smooth and straightforward, but you may spend a bit more time with the Whole Foods order. After all, there are more products from which to choose and it may be a bit difficult to decide. Plus, at times, I enjoyed the recurring orders from Blue Apron. For me, it was one less thing to worry about.

Blue Apron delivers to the contiguous USA and you can choose your preferred delivery date (the exact delivery days differ from one location to another). Delivery costs $9.99 unless it’s your first order, in which case, shipping is free. Plus, you receive a tracking code and a promised delivery time, which is helpful.

Whole Foods offers two options: Amazon Prime delivery or in-store pickup. With Prime, you have the option for 2-hour delivery which will cost you $9.95, but you can also opt for one-day delivery or any other options available in your area. If you choose in-store pickup, you’ll only have to pay for the ingredients and the trip to the store.

In terms of packaging, I think both companies tend to overdo it a little bit. Blue Apron will send you a box with all the ingredients neatly packed (individually) and portioned so you just drop them in the pan or pot. To keep things cool, the box is lined with thermal insulators that guarantee the freshness of the ingredients while the box is in transit.

Whole Foods packs everything in paper bags (a lot of them!) and any temperature-sensitive foods are placed in thermal packages designed to keep the optimal temperature until open. The food is usually packed in plastic containers with labels describing nutritional content and ingredients.

In both cases, it’s important to place any perishable items in the fridge as soon as you open the package.

Meal Prep

Winner: It’s a tie

If you like cooking but have no time or patience for shopping, meal kits (like the ones delivered by Blue Apron) are a good option. However, if you’re more the kind of person who wants to invest as little as possible in meal prep, Whole Foods is the best option.

The meals provided by Blue Apron are mostly kits where you receive the ingredients and you do the cooking following instructions. I love that everything is portioned so you don’t have leftovers and I truly appreciate the recipe cards even when the instructions aren’t as thorough.

Blue Apron’s meal kits take around 25 and 50 minutes to prepare, but you need to know your way around the kitchen to hit these intervals. In reality, it takes around 40 to 60 minutes to have dinner ready. Of course, there’s also the option of prepared meals that only take five minutes in the microwave. Still, Blue Apron’s offer is limited for this category.

With Whole Foods, the offer for prepared foods is richer and you have options for a wide range of dietary needs. Most prepared meals only need a few minutes in the microwave or minimal preparation and they’re ready to eat. However, I’m not too happy about the fact that Whole Foods doesn’t include heating instructions on the packaging.

Whole Foods also allows you to buy the ingredients for a specific dish (in the Recipes section) but they’re not pre-portioned. This usually means leftovers which may lead to food waste. Plus, you have to add each ingredient to your shopping cart and the entire operation can become quite time-consuming.

Overall, if you don’t want to do any prepping, Whole Foods has a good offer for prepared foods. But if you want to do the cooking without the hassle of shopping, Blue Apron is the best option.

Customer Support

Winner: Whole Foods

Both companies offer a comprehensive FAQ section where customers and users can find useful answers. However, if you need to contact customer support or reach out to a representative, Whole Foods is more accessible.

First, Whole Foods offers the standard methods of contact such as live chat and phone, but if you want to have a face-to-face talk, you can easily find their representatives in stores all over the country. In fact, the company encourages you to stay in contact with your local store since most orders are processed there.

Blue Apron also offers easy access via email, phone, and a contact form, but there isn’t a live chat option. The team is usually available Monday through Friday 10 am-9 pm, ET as well as Saturday and Sunday 11 am-6 pm, ET (except for legal holidays).

Overall, the customer experience is pleasant with both companies, and all interactions are friendly and polite. Still, I feel Whole Foods is a bit faster in solving complaints or issues with delivery.

Pricing

Winner: Blue Apron

The Blue Apron meal plan system makes it a great option for couples and families because you can order for two or four people. In fact, families have the advantage here since the price per serving drops when you order more.

If you order for four people, four meals per week, you’ll pay $5.74 per serving plus shipping ($9.99 flat fee). In comparison, a couple who only wants two meals per week will pay $9.99 per serving (before any introductory discounts). Plus, if you want the wine delivery subscription, you’ll have to add an extra $70/month to your expenses.

Whole Foods operates on a different system where you can order as much or as little as you want using Amazon Prime. Therefore, the price per food product varies, depending on the ingredients and weight.

For instance, one almond butter and jelly sandwich will set you back $3, 24oz of Mom's Chicken Soup is $7.99, and 7oz of Salmon Avocado Roll is $9.49. Now, keep in mind that these are prepared meals you only have to heat up and enjoy. If I were to buy the ingredients and make these recipes at home, the cost would be higher.

Overall, I find Blue Apron’s meal plans more convenient when it comes to cost. While you do have to spend some time cooking, you receive pre-portioned ingredients which help bring the price down. However, given that the menu isn’t as large, some people may find Whole Foods’ diversity is worth the price.

Features Comparison: Whole Foods vs. Blue Apron


Whole Foods

Blue Apron

Best for

Individuals looking for healthy foods and diversity

Couples and families concerned about eating healthy

Starting price

Between $3 and $14+ per serving

$5.74 per serving

Shipping cost

Amazon Prime rules

$9.99 flat fee

Minimum order

-

2 meals for 2 people per week

Menu Variety

200+ choices

19 choices per week

Prep Time

3 to 5 minutes

5 to 50 minutes

Clean-Up

None

10 to 20 minutes

Convenient Options

Microwave-ready

Microwave-ready

Allergy Options

List of allergens on the label

List of allergens on the label and recipe card

Special Dietary Options

Diabetic, keto, carb-conscious, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo, low-sodium, dairy-free, organic

Diabetic, carb-conscious, vegetarian, health-conscious

Customer support

24/7 online chat, phone, in-person representatives

email, phone, contact form

Promotions

N/A

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And The Winner Is: It’s a Tie

Whole Foods has the advantage of a wider network, with brick-and-mortar stores and easy access to organic ingredients. This makes it more convenient in terms of accessibility and menu variety.

However, if you want a traditional, consistent meal delivery service, Blue Apron is a better choice. Plus, it may prove more cost-efficient in the long term. Blue Apron also made it into our list of the best meal delivery services – so you can see how it performed against other top services!

FAQ

Is Whole Foods completely organic?

Whole Foods Market is the first and only certified organic national grocery store. Plus, each store has strict standards when it comes to sourcing, transporting, and handling products to make sure the organic integrity is protected.

Is Whole Foods Owned by Amazon?

Yes, Amazon purchased Whole Foods in 2017. As a result, Prime members can order Whole Foods online and enjoy the benefits of same-day delivery. Overall, the partnership helped the grocery store expand by extending its reach into the online world.

Is Blue Apron good for weight loss?

Blue Apron’s menu includes a Wellness plan and Weight Watchers Approved meals designed to provide customers with carb-conscious meals that are both healthy and tasty. So if you’re following a WW diet, you can use these recipes to stay on course.


About The Author

Mirela Niculae

Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

Mirela is passionate about eating healthy and well-balanced meals that promote weight loss and a good life. She's been writing online content for about 6 years with a focus on technology and personal development. She lives in Romania and loves exploring new cultures through food and conversation.

Mirela is passionate about eating healthy and well-balanced meals that promote weight loss and a good life. She's been writing online content for about 6 years with a focus on technology and personal development. She lives in Romania and loves exploring new cultures through food and conversation.
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