As a frugal person and a freelancer, the phrase “time is money” resonates with me. Your time is valuable, and you want to use it as wisely as possible. That’s why convenience that costs a bit more can be worthwhile. Saving yourself some time and effort often makes life easier. In this instance, I’m talking about the recently popular meal kit trend.
Blue Apron is one of the leading meal kit providers. Every week, they ship their subscribers ingredients and recipes for meals. This is great for many people – busy parents, workers with long commutes, young adults new to cooking, and more. This post covers everything you need to know about Blue Apron. Read on to see if this convenient service is right for you.
What Is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is a meal kit delivery service that ships weekly kits to subscribers. These kits contain the ingredients and recipes that are to create fresh, healthy meals. Subscribers cook the meals themselves using the fresh ingredients and recipe suggestions. This concept is designed to make cooking high-quality meals as efficient as possible.
Blue Apron is dedicated to using ingredients that meet specific standards – sustainable seafood, non-GMO ingredients, hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat, and more. The meal kits are also portion controlled so they are designed to reduce food waste. The company states that the ingredients they offer may be fresher than what you’d find in the grocery story.
The company was founded in 2012 by Matt Wadiak, Matt Salzberg, and Ilia Papas. The service is only available to US residents at this time. Blue Apron started out small in 2012 by sending out 30 meal kits in the New York City area. By 2015, their third fulfillment center was operating. The service is now available nationwide.
How Much Does Blue Apron Cost?
Blue Apron offers two plans at different price points. These are the two plans you can choose from. Before we cover additional details, here are the prices and plans:
- 2-Person Plan – This plan serves two individuals and provides three recipes per week. This plan cost $9.99 per serving which totals $59.94 per week.
- Family Plan – This plan serves four individuals and provides either two or four recipes per week. The price per serving is $8.99. For two recipes per week, that totals $71.92 per week. For four recipes per week, that totals $143.84 per week.
On the Pricing page, Blue Apron answers additional questions about their plans and program in general. I suggest reading each answer in detail if you choose to use Blue Apron. However, here are the important highlights for you to know:
- Blue Apron will accommodate specific diets and preferences. For example, you can opt for entirely vegetarian ingredients and recipes.
- Meal kits are delivered Tuesday through Friday. You do not need to be home when your kits are delivered. They use refrigerated and insulated packaging.
- Shipping is free for all plans and meal kits.
- You can skip delivery weeks whenever you’d like. But you do need to do it by a certain time via your Blue Apron account.
- You can cancel your Blue Apron subscription – no strings attached. There’s no cancellation fee, so you can stop the service if you choose to.
- You can choose/customize your recipes for upcoming meals. Visit this FAQ page for step-by-step directions.
- Your subscription to Blue Apron will auto renew. You can read more about that here and how to cancel if necessary.
These are the points that I feel are most important to cover. You can find additional questions and answers on the Meals FAQ page and the Membership & Plans FAQ page. I recommend checking these out, too. If you have a question or concern, you can fill out a form, e-mail [email protected], or call (646) 891-4349 or (888) 278-4349.
Blue Apron Food
One of the most important factors in your decision is the food Blue Apron offers. You can view a few different recipes on their Sample Recipes page. I’ve listed some of the current recipes below. You’ll find examples for the 2-Person Plan and the Family Plan.
- 2-Person Plan Recipes:
- Fontina Cheeseburgers with Cilantro & Tomato Salad
- MasterChef Seared Chicken & Creamy Eggplant with Charred Green Beans & Fried Oregano
- Salmon & Udon Noodle Stir-Fry with Sweet Peppers, Bok Choy, & Furikake
- Fusilli Bucati Pasta with Summer Squash, Corn, & Tomatoes
- Ratatouille Tarts with Marinated Summer Squash
- Summer Vegetable & Egg Paninis with Chile Mayonnaise & Tomato-Mozzarella Salad
- Family Plan Recipes:
- MasterChef Roasted Chicken with Mashed Purple Potatoes & Green Beans
- Barramundi & Tzatziki Sauce with Summer Vegetable & Freekeh Salad
- Soy-Glazed Pork & Rice Cakes with Bok Choy & Marinated Green Beans
- Summer Vegetable Focaccia Pizzas with Marinated Tomatoes
From viewing the sample recipes, it’s easy to see Blue Apron’s goal. They offer a wide variety of options that are both nutritious and flavorful. And again, you can customize your meal plans to fit your needs and preferences. For even more recipes, check out the online Blue Apron Cookbook and the Blue Apron Blog.
Blue Apron also offers a wine subscription to pair with meal kits. The wine is $10 per bottle regardless of what type you choose. For this option, you’d pay $65.99 per month to receive six 500mL bottles of wine. You can choose reds, whites, or a mix of the two. All of the wines come with tasting notes and pairing suggestions that help you find your favorite selections.
You can purchase extra food ingredients and tools from the Blue Apron Market. The options for food are pretty broad. I’ve featured some of the examples below.
- Hot Honey by Jacobsen Salt Co.
- Plum-Blueberry Conserve by Frog Hollow Farm
- Asian Pear Chutney by Frog Hollow Farm
- Extra Bold Tellicherry Peppercorns by Oaktown Spice Shop for Blue Apron
- Meyer Lemon Marmalade by Frog Hollow Farm
In addition to ingredients, you can also choose from a huge selection of kitchen tools. From cutlery to cookware to grilling tools, there’s a bit of everything. You can browse the entire selection at the Blue Apron Market link above.
Blue Apron Reviews and Feedback
As always, we aim to provide unbiased feedback. I’ve found several Blue Apron reviews across different sites and platforms. Below I’ve highlighted the main points from each source. This should help you decide if the service suits you.
- The Overall Satisfaction Rating on Consumer Affairs is less than 2.5 stars.
- About 18% of the ratings are five stars and about 8% are four stars (above average).
- About 11.5% of the ratings are three stars (average).
- About 19% of the ratings are two stars and about 43.5% are one star (below average).
- One positive rating is written by a customer who was initially hesitant due to the cost. But once she received her meal kit, she was very satisfied with the quality ingredients. She decided to continue her Blue Apron subscription.
- A recent negative review discusses problems with payments and a promotional deal. The customer states they paid a cancellation fee that cost more than the discounted meal kit.
- A two-star review had both positive and negative things to say about Blue Apron. The reviewer preferred Blue Apron’s food over a similar service. However, she experienced several problems with late deliveries. This resulted in ingredients that weren’t fresh.
- One recent five-star review covers several great aspects of Blue Apron. He enjoys the ingredients used to create meals. He was also impressed that he received a very prompt refund for a late delivery. This reviewer is also satisfied with portion sizes and recommends Blue Apron for people who don’t enjoy grocery shopping.
- A handful of other one-star and two-star reviews express problems with deliveries. They also express issues with ingredients that weren’t fresh. These two issues and customer service issues are the primary complaints about Blue Apron.
- For positive reviews, there are a few common themes worth noting. Four-star and five-star reviews cite fresh ingredients, helpful customer service, enjoyable meals, and overall convenience.
- The author, Janet Lee, gives Blue Apron an overall score of ‘Very Good’. Out of five different meal kit services, Blue Apron had the most ethnic options. The author also notes that Blue Apron had the least amount of traditional options.
- In the Consumer Reports test, Blue Apron was the least expensive meal kit option.
- Taste-wise, Consumer Reports judges note that the food is tasty but that some options were better taste-wise.
- One downside that the author did note was discrepancies in the quantity of ingredients they received. Sometimes they received less than what a recipe called for. However, they also received more than what a recipe called for in one meal kit.
- Out of six Blue Apron recipes, four were rated ‘very good’ two were rated ‘good’. Testers reported that some of the dishes weren’t anything special. However, other dishes tasted fresh and offered great variety.
- Among all five meal kit services, Blue Apron ranked in the middle for the nutrition category.
- Blue Apron receives a three out of five-star rating in this post. This is based on 17 customer reviews.
- A four-star review lists unique ingredients and flavors as factors they enjoy. The reviewer also says the variety is good and considers the service affordable. She does note that the meals can take a long time to prepare.
- A three-star review comes from a man who has tried several services like Blue Apron. He enjoyed the ethnic spices and the meal prep process. He also lists it as one of the most affordable meal kit services. The one negative point he mentions is that the meal options are not as healthy as he’d prefer.
- A two-star review by one man simply states that the meals are not very impressive. He tried six meals and said he would not eat those meals again.
- A one-star review cites payment and customer services issues as a serious problem. The reviewer says she was charged for a meal she postponed. More incidents like this occurred, and she had an unpleasant experience with a customer service rep.
- A five-star review lists many reasons for this rating. The reviewer says the meals are delicious. She really enjoys not having to shop for ingredients. At the time of the review, she’d been using the service for seven weeks and planned to continue.
- This review article was written by a woman who wanted to write an unpaid and unbiased review of Blue Apron. The author was initially hesitant to try Blue Apron for a few reasons. One, the price seemed high to her. She was also concerned that her children wouldn’t enjoy the meals.
- Her neighbor highly recommended Blue Apron and offered her a free week trial.
- She noted that the first meal she tried, a fish and vegetable dish, was not a big success. It took a lot of time to prepare and required a lot of legwork. Her kids were not a big fan of the dish, but she enjoyed it.
- She states that the steak dish she made was the best steak she’d ever cooked at home. She said her children enjoyed it. The only complaint about this meal kit was that the asparagus was difficult to prepare.
- The last dish she made featured turkey and apricot, and she enjoyed it a lot. She dubbed the salad for this dish as ‘medium’.
- Overall, she felt that the portions were pretty small and felt incomplete. Most of the meals only had one side dish, and this didn’t feel like enough.
- As far as the cost goes, the author feels that it is too high. The weekly cost exceeds her weekly grocery budget. So it isn’t a sensible option for her and her family.
How Do I Get Started With Blue Apron?
Now that you know all about Blue Apron, you may be ready to try it out! To sign up for Blue Apron, visit their signup page to get started. This is where you’ll provide some basic information about yourself. You’ll create your account, choose your preferences, and set up diet preferences and delivery information. The FAQ covers more details about signing up.
The convenience of Blue Apron is a great option for many people. If the program appeals to you, trying it out is fairly risk-free. You can cancel your subscription at any time, or use it on and off as needed. Consider giving it a shot to see if it suits you.
Did you enjoy this Frugal For Less post? If so, it’s one of the several food-related articles we’ve shared. Some of my favorites include 50 Frugal Meals And Their Recipes and 11 Ways To Save Money On Coffee. Check out these posts and more to see how you can enjoy food that’s frugal, convenient, and delicious.