I’ve Been Using Blue Apron for Two Years — Here’s What I Think About It
My subscription to Blue Apron was supposed to be a one-month thing. At the time, I was writing a book and on a tight deadline, so things like laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping were getting ignored. I needed to devote every minute to my project, but I still had to feed my family. Our local takeout options are very limited (as in, pizza, pizza, or pizza), so a friend suggested I give a meal kit a try. Why not? I figured we could splurge for one month. As fate would have it, though, that one month stretched out to more than two years.
How Blue Apron Works
I researched the various options at the time; the ones I had heard about were Blue Apron, Plated, and HelloFresh. I decided to go with Blue Apron because the recipes seemed the most sophisticated and, bonus, a friend had a discount code. With Blue Apron, you have the choice of servings for two or four people. I knew my son wouldn’t eat any of the offerings, so I opted for the two. Prices start at $9.99 per serving, which seems reasonable enough, but you have to remember that each meal is two servings. Also, you’re not buying a week’s worth of meals — you’re getting enough for either two or three dinners. With shipping, that brings the grand total up to $47.95 for two dinners or $59.94 for three. Certainly pricier than my usual grocery bill, but still cheaper — and healthier — than eating out.
Sign up for Blue Apron here.
When I first signed up, I got to pick the date I wanted for the first delivery. Then, from that point on, deliveries were made on the same day of the week. Blue Apron will deliver anywhere in the contiguous United States (sorry, Hawaii and Alaska).
I was so excited for my first box to arrive, not really knowing what to expect. The delivery truck pulled up and dropped off a large, sturdy brown box. Inside was an insulated bag filled with an assortment of loose vegetables and some in sealed plastic bags. There were also some small paper bags that contained smaller ingredients like spices and sauces, and underneath were the meats and fish on top of a large ice pack. And of course, the box also included large recipe cards with step-by-step pictures and instructions.
It took less than five minutes to pack everything into the refrigerator, put the box in recycling and store the ice pack in the freezer.
The recipes were very easy to follow, although I was surprised at the amount of time they took. After a few tries, we got down into a routine where my husband would do the prep and I would do the cooking. That seemed to lighten the load a little.
What I Like About Blue Apron
After our first meal, my husband said, “Wow, this was like having dinner at a restaurant.” I felt the same way. Everything was perfectly seasoned and the directions were accurate. (I can’t always say the same thing about recipes I’ve tried from cookbooks or off the internet.) After I hit my work deadline, we kept being enticed by the menu options, week after week, and I liked the convenience of it all, so we kept the boxes coming.
In the two years we used Blue Apron, there were literally less than 10 recipes that I didn’t like. Sure, some were better than others, but in general they were all really good and there were a few that were truly outstanding. Each week, I always ordered at least one fish option, which really appealed to me. (I never seemed to buy fish at the grocery store, even though I like it, and Blue Apron made it easy to try new types of fish and new cooking methods.)
I also liked that Blue Apron got me trying new-to-me ingredients. Korean rice cakes, farro, za’atar, labneh … these were all things I probably never would’ve thought to buy on my own, but now I use regularly.
I also loved that there was no food waste. I’m not a good judge of portion size, so when I buy ingredients at the store, I find that a lot of it ends up in the trash. With Blue Apron, everything was used.
The website and app are really user friendly, and it’s easy to skip a week or change your order. I appreciated not having to stress about stopping deliveries when we were away or just needed a break.
What I Wish Was Different About Blue Apron
I do have to say that some of the portions (depending on the recipe) were skimpy. Sometimes I found myself making a side salad or another serving of vegetables just to bulk up the meal. We’re pretty lean eaters in general, so I would imagine this could be a big issue for some people.
The other problem I had was the packaging. Initially, there was a lot of plastic. Some of the vegetables and other items were sealed in plastic bags and it just felt excessive. Fortunately, they’ve gotten better and have been utilizing more paper and less packaging in general.
Other Things to Know About Blue Apron
If you belong to WW or are a vegetarian, Blue Apron has plenty of options available.
During some of the summer months, I was nervous that the box wouldn’t be kept cool enough, but I never had a problem. The meats always arrived cold (if not frozen) and nothing was ever spoiled.
On occasion, I did have issues with missing ingredients, but the response from the company was prompt and they refunded me that portion of my bill.
I would absolutely recommend Blue Apron. In fact, to say we love it would be an understatement. We’re actually taking a little break from it right now — because we wanted to switch thing sup and try some other kits (just to see what’s out there!). But I’m pretty sure we’re going to end up returning to the one that started it all.
Have you tried Blue Apron? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!