Have you been curious about the meal delivery service, Blue Apron? If so, keep reading to find out what I thought of my trial week!
Have you guys heard of Blue Apron? Or any of the available meal delivery services out there? I’ve known about this service for a while, but have been very hesitant in trying it out. I’ll get more into that later, but since popularity seems to be growing, I decided I wanted to give it a shot and see what it’s all about.
I’ll start with a little background on what it is and then I’ll get into my review.
What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is a meal subscription service. Basically, you sign up for a plan – either a 2-person plan or family plan and each week you’ll receive a box complete with all of the ingredients you need for the recipes! The only extras you need are salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Sounds pretty cool right?
What is the cost?
- Two-person plan: $59.94 for 3 meals/week that will each serve 2 people.
- Family-plan option 1: $69.92 for 2 meals/week that will each serve 4 people.
- Family-plan option 2: $139.84 for 4 meals/week that will each serve 4 people.
Why did I want to try it?
I have to admit I was really skeptical about this whole meal delivery thing. I’ve read a lot of reviews and even watched a few YouTube videos about it. I was hesitant to sign up for while because I just didn’t think it was something that would fit into my lifestyle. I have a food blog for crying out loud! My job is to come up with recipes, cook them, and share them with you guys.
However, every time I’d see another review pop up I would get curious again. One of Kyle’s coworkers uses Blue Apron and was able to give us a free trial week. I had no excuse not to try it!
I purposely scheduled the delivery for last week because I had planned on being away visiting my parents. Whenever Kyle is left to fend for himself he usually just eats a lot of junk food and takeout. I figured this would force him to have healthy meals and not revert to ordering pizza every night! My plans ended up changing at the last minute, so I was able to try all the meals out for myself.
When you sign up you can choose your delivery day – I chose Saturday. The box of meals arrived on my doorstep via FedEx early Saturday afternoon. All of the ingredients came packaged in an insulated bag complete with 2 good-quality gel ice packs, which you can keep and reuse!
I already knew which recipes we were getting as you can preview those on the website. Each week there are 5 recipes to choose from – it automatically chooses 3 for you, but you can go in and change them.
The 3 I chose were:
- Seared Chicken & Mashed Potatoes with Maple Glazed Carrots & Pan Sauce
- Fresh Beet Linguine with Goat Cheese, Swiss Chard & Toasted Walnuts
- Mexican Spiced Salmon with Black Rice, Avocado & Orange Salad
The ingredients are all measured out perfectly and labeled for convenience. The chicken and salmon were both vacuum sealed and the vegetables were all very good quality! Each recipe comes complete with a bag of “kick-knacks” in a brown paper bag. Basically it contains all of the smaller ingredients needed for the recipe, such as butter, cheese, walnuts, spices, etc.
Now that you know how Blue Apron works, let’s get into the guts of my review!
My package came on the designated day and arrived in great condition. Everything was very cold thanks to the 2 ice packs and the insulated bag. After I put everything away, I left the bag and ice packs in the box and closed it up. I checked on it 3 days later and the inside of the bag was still cold! I wouldn’t say that everything could sit in there for 3 days, but if you’re not home when the package is delivered, you won’t have to worry about anything spoiling.
One of the biggest issues people had, as per the reviews I read, was the “excessive packaging” and waste. I personally felt the packaging wasn’t excessive as each recipe had minimal ingredients. Obviously the little bags and containers generate waste, but it can all be recycled. And, if you don’t have recycling available to you, you can actually send it all back to Blue Apron and they will recycle it for you!
I will say I think they should advertise that better so that people know it’s an option, but all the info is available on their FAQ page. Return shipping is free and you can save all the packaging (including the gel ice packs) from a few deliveries and send it all back at once.
I’m a huge supporter of buying local and supporting local farms, so that was one of the major reasons I hesitated to try any of the available meal delivery services. However, Blue Apron obtains their ingredients through suppliers that meet their standards for responsible farming, ethically raised animals, and sustainable fishing. If you want more info on this, check out their mission page.
Another great thing about a meal delivery service is that you get the perfect amount of each ingredient for the recipes. That means you’re not wasting any food! How many times do you go to the grocery store, buy a bunch of ingredients and only use a portion of them? Now, if you’re a seasoned meal planner you would ideally come up with another way to use the leftover ingredients. However, a lot of us probably don’t do that and end up throwing a lot in the trash.
All 3 of our meals were fantastic! Kyle made the chicken recipe for us on Valentine’s Day and did a great job. He was able to follow the recipe easily and he plated it just like the picture! Of course I didn’t get any good photos of the recipes – I thought about doing this review after we made the first recipe and then I couldn’t get decent lighting to get any shots for the rest. But, trust me, they all looked just as good as the pictures on the recipe cards!
I made the pasta and the salmon recipes and both were very easy and came out great. I couldn’t eat the pasta (obviously), but I just boiled up some gluten-free pasta for me. Kyle enjoyed the beet linguine, even though he hates beets 😉. The salmon was definitely my favorite recipe of the 3 and is one I will continue to make on my own. I really loved the spice mixture (which they included the recipe for!) and the black rice salad was really flavorful. I enjoyed all the recipes, but I think the salmon was the most creative/unique.
Each recipe uses minimal ingredients and have a prep/cook time at or under 45 minutes. Kyle took a bit longer than the estimated time on the chicken recipe, but that’s to be expected for someone that doesn’t cook very often. I think if you are comfortable in the kitchen the cooking times are spot on.
When I first saw the cost for the 2-person plan ($59.94) I thought it was high. However, after paying attention to what I typically spend on food, it’s actually not bad. I planned 3 meals to cook this week while visiting my parents and I spent way more than $60. However, this is something that will completely depend on what your food budget is, how often you cook, and your lifestyle.
I think if you’re someone that wants to get in the kitchen and cook great meals, but you don’t have the time to meal plan, choose recipes, shop for unique ingredients, etc., then I think this is something you will certainly benefit from. If you’re someone that eats out all the time I think doing a meal delivery service would save you money and get you in the kitchen!
Now, if you have a big family this is most definitely not cost effective. Even with the family plan options, it’s only for 4 people and I have a feeling young kids wouldn’t be thrilled with a lot of the meals. Unless they are a kid like I was and ate mushrooms and cauliflower over candy and junk food. 😉
I really like Blue Apron and would definitely recommend it! It’s not something I would personally do on a weekly basis, however. Obviously I love being in the kitchen and coming up with my own recipes, meal planning, etc., so for me, it just isn’t feasible. However, if I knew I had a busy week coming up I would definitely do it for times like that.
One negative aspect, for me, is that being gluten-free leaves me with limited options. I know there are a few companies out there that do cater to special diets, but I’d like to see Blue Apron at least list which recipes have gluten and which don’t. With thorough research, I was able to confirm that the chicken and salmon recipes were gluten-free. The pasta obviously wasn’t, but all I had to do there was make a separate pan for myself using gluten-free pasta.
Another thing to consider if you’re gluten-free is there may be weeks where you won’t have any options. I looked ahead at some of the upcoming options and for one of the weeks, each recipe included an ingredient that contained gluten. Plus, there is the issue of possible cross-contamination – I have no idea how they put these boxes together and gluten-free ingredients could certainly come in contact with gluten-containing ones. My advice for all of you that are gluten-free is to skip Blue Apron and try a service that has a specific gluten-free option.
I think for someone who has no dietary restrictions, works long hours and is limited on time, but wants to cook their own meals, this is a fantastic service. The whole point of all of these meal delivery companies is to get people back in the kitchen cooking with real ingredients and limiting processed food. It all just depends on your lifestyle, budget, and family size if it will work for you.
I highly recommend giving it a shot! You can usually find coupons online to get a discount on your first delivery, which is a perfect way to try it out. I definitely want to try some other meal delivery service companies just to compare, but I’m pretty impressed with Blue Apron! And, incase anyone from Blue Apron is reading this, expanding the service to accommodate dietary restrictions would be greatly appreciated! 😊
If you’re still with me, I hope you enjoyed this lengthy review! If you have any questions, please leave me a comment. Have you tried Blue Apron, or any other meal service? What are your thoughts?