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Blue Apron Review 2021 – Does Lower Cost Mean Lower Quality?

www.blueapron.com
VegetarianClassicMediterraneanDiabetes-FriendlyLow-calorieOrganicHealth
Our Score:
9.4
User Score:
  • Prep & Cook Time:

    20 - 60 min. meal kits

  • Type Of Food Options:

    Vegetarian,Classic,Mediterranean,Diabetes-Friendly,Low-calorie,Organic,Health

  • Recipes Per Week:

    7 recipes

  • Free Delivery

    Yes

  • Written by: Felicity Kay on Feb 16th, 2021

    Blue Apron in a Nutshell

    A cheaper, efficient meal delivery service, with classic American fare and some added twists. 

    What I Liked

    • One of the cheapest meal delivery kit services on the market 

    • Free delivery on the Signature for 4 plan (and other plans, provided that 3+ meals a week are ordered)

    • Weekday and weekend deliveries available

    What I Didn’t Like 

    • Overuse of plastic in delivery boxes

    • Vague cooking instructions for absolute beginners 

    Blue Apron Overview

    Blue Apron is one of the better-known meal delivery services, or at least, it’s the one I hear advertised the most on podcasts!

    Blue Apron is more affordable than some of the other meal kit delivery services and has an extensive range of recipes on offer. Having read that the recipes were a little bit more complex to follow than some of the other kits, I wasn’t quite sure how someone less confident in the kitchen (like me) would get on with them. So how did my Blue Apron cooking experience work out? Read on to find out.

    How Blue Apron Works 

    It’s very easy to sign up for Blue Apron. You can use your email, your Facebook login details, or your Apple account. Then you’ll see this screen:

    As you toggle the number of recipes on each plan, you’ll notice some changes: on the Signature for 4 plan, the cost per serving changes, and across each of the plans, the shipping charges change. More on that below.

    You’ll be taken to a page where you’ll enter your delivery information followed by payment using a credit card. After that, it's time to choose your meals!

    Although I’d already chosen my plan, I did like being able to toggle between the two and four-person menus and noticed they feature completely different meals. 

    Now you're all set to go! This is one of the quickest sign-up processes I’ve seen on any meal delivery kit I’ve reviewed (including Home Chef, Sunbasket, and Hello Fresh). 

    Blue Apron Prices

    Blue Apron's prices and shipping costs differ depending on the number of recipes you'd like per week. The two-serving Signature, Vegetarian for 2, and Wellness for 2 plans all have a shipping cost but this is removed when you order three or more recipes a week. The exception is the Signature for 4 plan, which has free shipping no matter how many recipes you order.

    The Signature for 4 plan starts from $7.49 per serving for four meals per week, while the other three plans cost $9.99 per serving, no matter how many meals you order. I was also slightly annoyed on behalf of vegetarians when I noticed that the veggie meals cost the same as the meat meals, despite the fact meat recipes typically cost more to prepare.

    I did like that Blue Apron throws in free shipping on some plans, because HelloFresh and Sunbasket don't. Home Chef does, but only on orders over $45 (as my colleague discusses in this in-depth Home Chef review...)

    In any case, Blue Apron might be one of the cheapest home delivery meal kits on the market

    Blue Apron Menu

    Each week, there are around 11 recipes available on the Signature for 2 plan, 3-4 of which are vegetarian (and are available on the Vegetarian for 2 plan) and 3-4 have a wellness tag (and are available on the Wellness for 2 plan). The Signature for 4 plan has seven recipes available each week. 

    Here’s a look at some of the dishes available:

    Each recipe card clearly displayed the cooking time on the bottom, and also stated if the recipe was vegetarian and/or Weight Watchers-approved. Unfortunately, there was no easy way to spot allergen information and very little in the way of filtering options to make choosing recipes a bit simpler.

    Clicking through to a recipe card gives you much more information, including calories, and even a downloadable nutrition facts card:

    You’ll also see a little bit of information about the dish you're eating, the list of ingredients you’ll find in your meal delivery kit, and even a guide to the kitchen tools you’ll need, with the option to buy them, too.

    Then there are the step-by-step instructions: some of these were a little vague for a non-cook like me (I’ve highlighted these in the below screenshot):

    Otherwise, the menu options were appetizing and mostly standard American fare – tilapia, quesadilla, pork chops, and burgers – but with some kind of twist. You can browse all of Blue Apron’s recipes on its website and app.

    Here’s a quick look at what Blue Apron costs and the type of diets it caters to:

    Starting price

    From $7.49 to $9.99 per portion (+extras)

    Foods served

    Balanced, vegetarian, pescatarian

    Availability 

    The contiguous US (not HI or AK)

    Shipping costs

    Free shipping on three recipes per week and up, and on the Signature for 4 plan; $7.99 per week on two recipes per week

    Special deals

    Save $60 on Your First 3 Boxes

    Blue Apron Delivery

    Depending on where you live, Blue Apron delivers up to seven days a week to all locations in continental USA. I really liked that it includes a weekend day, as other companies don’t. Sunbasket and HelloFresh both include most weekdays, but this is the first time I’ve seen a weekend day on offer. 

    Exact delivery times aren’t stated on the Blue Apron website but once you’ve placed an order, you'll receive a delivery tracker with an estimated delivery time. My order arrived several hours before I got home but thanks to the ice packs, everything remained cool.

    Blue Apron Unboxing

    Blue Apron uses a lot of plastic. 

    When I received my delivery, it came in a big, recyclable cardboard box. 

    Inside the box, I found the standard ice pack – also recyclable or reusable – as well as the recipe cards. Each meal has one double-sided recipe card, which is almost identical to the online recipe cards.

    The meat and fish were vacuum packed to preserve freshness, but there was a lot of unnecessary plastic for the loose produce, which I didn’t like. Other meal kit providers, such as (HelloFresh and Home Chef), go to great lengths to minimize their plastic use. 

    Unlike other kits I’ve reviewed, the box presentation was quite messy and didn’t leave a great first impression. It was difficult to determine what was in there without removing absolutely everything.

    Favorite Blue Apron Meals

    I liked the :

    • Prosciutto quesadillas

    • Seared pork chops and gremolata

    • Soy-miso ramen

    Unfortunately, the instructions were a tad vague for a non-chef/reluctant cook like me and I managed to mess up all three dishes!

    The soy-miso ramen was tasty, but I managed to burn the broth; the quesadillas ended up almost perfect, except I burned both the potatoes and the quesadillas, as I didn't put enough olive oil in the pan. The pork chops went pretty well, but, I overcooked it a bit and it went slightly dry.

    All of the meals were still tasty but the instructions weren't clear enough for those who don’t cook regularly. Home Chef does this very well, offering additional instructions on its site for almost every recipe. 

    Blue Apron Customer Service

    There’s a pretty in-depth FAQ section, although having to click through to each question became kind of annoying (what’s wrong with a good old-fashioned accordion FAQ, Blue Apron?). 

    I clicked through to the “How do I contact customer service?” question, and found a “contact us” link, links to the Help Center, and phone details.

    I called customer services and was impressed with the short waiting time to connect to an operator. Home Chef and Hello Fresh both kept me waiting a lot longer than that.

    There’s also a range of email addresses to get in touch with support for specific things (such as meal and wine cancellations), and an online web form. 

    I used the web form to ask about my eggplant allergy and received an immediate answer pulled from the FAQ section, rather than anything specific to my question. I tried several times to get a non-automated response from the chatbot but was unsuccessful. 

    However, when I asked the same question via the web form, I received an in-depth response from the Customer Experience team about Blue Apron’s allergy safety standards.

    Alternatives to Blue Apron

    If you want a meal kit service that offers a more extensive range of meals, you can’t go wrong with Home Chef. It has one of the largest recipe ranges of any service on the market. It also allows you to customize most meals. 

    Another benefit is that, rather than tying you in to a specific plan, Home Chef allows you to choose the number of people you want to feed and how many servings you require and then prices each meal individually, giving you a lot more control than other services.

    HelloFresh is a good option for anyone with a lot of mouths to feed. There’s a family friendly plan (plus low-cal, meat and veggies, and veggie options) and the recipes are interesting and creative.

    There’s also a lot of choice – each plan offers up to 20 meals. However, there aren’t any specific diet plans on offer, so if you have special requirements, this might not be the best service for you to try. For anyone else, HelloFresh offers quality ingredients and a good range of original dishes.

    The Bottom Line 

    I liked Blue Apron, as the recipes gave simple meals a delicious twist. I would have liked to see more specific cooking instructions, as well as far less plastic in the delivery box. 

    Despite this, Blue Apron is a great meal delivery kit solution, as well as one of the cheapest  on the market. I particularly liked the free shipping on many of its plans.

    FAQ

    What is Blue Apron?

    Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service that offers all the ingredients and instructions you need to cook meals for two or four people. If you don’t eat meat or want to try a more plant-based diet, there’s a dedicated Vegetarian plan. All of Blue Apron’s ingredients are hormone- and GMO-free.

    How much does Blue Apron Cost?

    Prices start at $7.49 per portion on the Signature for 4 plan. Shipping is always free with this plan. The Signature for 2 and the Vegetarian plan cost more per portion and the cost of shipping depends on how many meals your order. 

    If you want a subscription where shipping is always free, check out Home Chef. Portions start at $6.99 a serving and shipping is included on orders of $45 or more. 

    How do you cancel your Blue Apron subscription?

    Blue Apron doesn’t make it particularly easy to cancel your subscription and there’s a multi-step process involved. To cancel, you have to email cancellations@blueapron.com and then work through the instructions. If any of your orders are already marked as “processed” in your account settings then you’ll still be charged for them.

    Looking for an alternative meal delivery service that’s budget friendly and offers even more variety? Home Chef, with its ranges of meal kits and prepared and oven-ready meal options, may be a better fit. 

    About The Author

    Felicity Kay

    Staff Writer, Delivery Rank

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When shes not out walking her dogs, shes 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 shes not out walking her dogs, shes 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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