Blue Apron has been all up in my newsfeed for a while. I first heard about it from a girlfriend months ago but poo-poo’d the expense. More and more friends tried it out with mixed feelings (many RAVES to the occasional thumbs down) that my curiosity began to take over. Blue Apron allows existing customers to extend a week’s worth of free meals to friends and family. When an offer came up, I seized it. A few clicks and a couple of days later a large cardboard box arrived on my doorstep.
- It’s foolproof. Setting up your account is simple. Meals are chosen for you based on basic dietary preferences or limitations. There is no guesswork at the grocery store or on-the-fly swaps when the ingredient you need isn’t stocked.
- Easy-to-follow instructions. I was impressed by the clarity of the instructions. Blue Apron has a strong focus on mise en place which I’m sure many folks find very helpful as they set out to try a new dish. The steps are well photographed and described in plain, approachable language.
- Freshness. The meat and produce were fresh and looked great.
- It’s pricey. Blue Apron has a few different meal options. We chose the three meals for two people plan which typically costs $60 per week. Approximately $10/person/meal is definitely not your cheapest route to dinner.
- Packaging. Much of the produce and dry ingredients came packaged in plastic. Blue Apron provides recycling instructions but doesn’t address the environmental impact of personal size groceries. Recycling capabilities vary by city and region.
- Environmental impact. I live in Seattle and my box was shipped two-day air from Richmond, CA.
- Prep time. The meals average 45-60 minutes of prep and cook time.
- Incomplete box. My box arrived with two ingredients missing: one major ingredient and one secondary ingredient. Of course the major ingredient missing was an Asian noodle that my regular grocery store doesn’t stock so I had to huff it down to the International District to shop at the Asian supermarket. Blue Apron customer service responded promptly and credited my account but for a company that selects and packs ingredients it was a major slip-up. What a headache and annoyance!
Overall, I don’t believe I am Blue Apron’s ideal customer. My approach to cooking is much more rooted in reusing ingredients to stretch your dollar when possible. I chaffed against the lack of flexibility in having only specific quantities of ingredients and was annoyed that I had to go out and buy groceries in addition to what Blue Apron was delivering. A lady’s gotta eat something for breakfast and lunch! And there was a few things that just didn’t sit well with me: the focus on prepping everything beforehand rather than taking advantage of cooking time, all that dang packaging.
If you’re looking to break your take out habit, Blue Apron might be part of a step down plan but I think there are better tools out there:
- If you would like to learn how to cook, try the Kitchn’s Cooking School which will teach you the fundamentals in 30 days.
- If you want to improve your meal planning, try Plan to Eat or read through my meal planning posts.
- If you’re looking to get out of a recipe rut use Real Simple, Food52, the Kitchn, or Martha Stewart for quick and straightforward dinners.
Disclaimer: These meals were provided to me at no cost through a friends and family promotion for current Blue Apron subscribers. Blue Apron has never contacted me for a review. My review is based on my experience with additional feedback from friends. I received no compensation and all opinions are my own.