What'll It Be: Blue Apron or My Apron?

If you’re looking for #freedom from lengthy trips to the grocery store or cooking mishaps, you might find the following review of Blue Apron by one of our team members refreshing. It’s all part of our #freedom theme here at The Dime.

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If you’ve ever listened to a podcast (or, heaven forbid, the radio), you’ve undoubtedly heard ads for any number of meal delivery services. Companies like Blue Apron, Sun Basket, and HelloFresh seem to be in constant competition with one another when it comes to at-home meal prep. Finally, after hearing hundreds of ads, product promotions, and podcast sponsorships, Blue Apron managed to reel me in. Though skeptical at first, I ultimately couldn’t pass up the three free meals they offered as a promo, bringing the total cost of six days’ worth of dinners for two people to about $30. Not too shabby.

Mind you, I love to cook. Usually, I cook at home as often as I can, but as we all know, it can be a challenge to keep it going. Lately, I’ve been stuck in a rut of either making the same meals over and over again (bleh), or not planning properly and resorting instead to takeout. The unpredictable work schedule I’m currently facing doesn’t make meal planning any easier, so soon enough, Blue Apron was looking more and more like the knight in shining armor I desperately needed.  I mean, c’mon: they were going to send me three nights’ worth of FREE meals for two people, each of which included the recipe ingredients and a wine pairing option. It was a no brainer.

Within a few days, my blue box arrived. It was very well packed and organized (despite having sat on my front porch in the heat of the afternoon), and maintained a cool temperature thanks to its multiple ice packs and thick packaging. I will say that the amount of packaging seemed a little excessive; in fact, it would be interesting to compare the carbon footprint of meal delivery vs. in-person grocery shopping. But, that’s a topic for another day!

Though an initial goal of my Blue Apron trial was to compare its cost to traditional grocery shopping, I found it extremely difficult to do so. Many of Blue Apron’s ingredients are crazy specific (a PINK lemon, whaaat?!) compared to what you might find at your local King Soopers. I tried to replicate some of the recipes I received, but they weren’t exactly the same. For the most part, though, the ingredients I was able to get at the store seemed to be fairly similar in price—even if I opted for higher quality ingredients to match the quality of those in my box. I found comparable prices on things like free-range organic chicken, organic vegetables, and even grass-fed beef. A check for you, Blue.

Next up was the taste test. Both my partner and I were extremely impressed with the tastiness of the food, and were excited to be able to try something new (another check for Blue). In fact, the recipes were so tasty, we wanted to have leftovers. Unfortunately, Blue Apron is very precise when it comes to portions, and three meals really means three meals. However, both of our portions were pretty generous, and we did manage to stretch our last vegetarian option for a second round. Even so, folks (like my partner and me) who prefer to prep meals for the week in bulk won’t be able to do so with Blue Apron. Thus comes my only check in the “no” box (although props to Blue for not contributing to food waste).

All in all, Blue Apron does succeed in simplifying meal planning if you can convince yourself to get in the kitchen every night. All it takes is a few minutes to select recipes, some minor food prep, and voilà: gourmet food!

I’m super thankful to Blue Apron for re-sparking my personal interest in cooking, breaking me out of my meal rut, and giving my partner and me an opportunity to cook together. Though it won’t convince me to stop the grocery runs altogether, Blue Apron is a winner in my book.

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purpose, personal development