What is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is a food delivery service that has been rising in popularity as a service that provides deliveries of farm-fresh ingredients. The company, which boasts its support for local farms and family-run purveyors. It aims to make meal preparation easier for individuals and families alike by delivering fresh ingredients straight to the doors of their customers.
Blue Apron is recognized by news sources such as The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, and The Washington Post.
According to their website https://www.blueapron.com/, Blue Apron’s mission is to “build a better food system” that not only supports local farms and communities but the environment as well. They put the emphasis on providing ingredients for customers to cook seasonal menu meals themselves. This provides users with the opportunity to cook with their families or friends using the easy-to-understand instructions. Every delivery from Blue Apron includes easy recipes and all the ingredient.
The company’s services are made from scratch and emphasize the sense of accomplishment that comes from making a delicious meal yourself. It service lets the customers contribute their own parts helping create this better food system they are aiming to achieve.
The two primary plans the service displays on their website include a 2-Person plan and a Family plan. The individual aspects and perks of these two plans will be discussed in more detail below.
Both plans follow seasonal menus developed by Blue Apron chefs that change week to week to ensure that customers can enjoy a variety of easy-to-cook, delectable meals without repeating the same meals.
The customers can try new, high-quality ingredients and explore a variety of delicious flavors through the cycles of meals.
Some aspects – or claims to fame – of Blue Apron that have been popularly noted include:
- Their delivery of fresh, pre-portioned ingredients, as noted above
- Their support and partnerships with hundreds of family-run farms that support the use of sustainable practices for high quality crop production.
- Their goal to reduce food waste, which is supported by the delivery service’s membership model – allowing them to predict the number of orders they will need to fulfill and relay that information to their farming partners and chefs accordingly.
- The service’s willingness to accommodate a variety of dietary needs for customers who identify as vegetarians, pescetarians, or otherwise do not wish to consume fish, shellfish, red meat, pork, or lamb.
Keep reading below for a full review of Blue Apron!
The Blue Apron Team:
Originated within the New York apartments of Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas, and Matt Wadiak in the summer of 2012, the Blue Apron team has grown extraordinarily to accommodate the growing number of orders the service receives from across the country. From family and friends of the three men, to a great deal more families and new friends nationwide, the food delivery service team consists these days of thousands of employees and partnerships with over 150 farms.
The company boasts teamwork as one of their primary values, alongside lifelong learning, trust, quality, and empowerment. The teams of workers that partner with or directly work for Blue Apron include:
- Farmers & Family-Run Purveyors
- Sustainability Experts
- Blue Apron Engineers
- Culinary Experts/Chefs
- Corporate Employees
- Fulfilment Operations Employees
Sending as many as 8 million meals nationwide per month, the Blue Apron team possesses four main offices that each function to ensure the satisfactory assembly and delivery of ingredients for customers.
Services – Plans:
Blue Apron is a food delivery service designed to be accessible for both experienced and novice chefs – anyone who is looking to cook up some delicious, fresh meals for their friends, partners, or families.
The different plans available for customers may vary location to location, but the primary service plans displayed proudly on their website include the 2-Person Plan and the Family Plan. The purpose behind offering more than one plan is to provide customers with the opportunity to choose a plan that best fits their individual needs.
Don’t have a family but still want fresh ingredients for a good meal? Try the 2-Person plan and share with a partner, roommate, friend, or neighbor. The company is all about fostering an environment of community and togetherness for their customers as well as with their production partners.
The specifics associated with each of these plans include:
- Ingredients for 3 meals (each containing servings for two people) delivered once a week to the customer’s door
- Customers can choose – or opt to let the Blue Apron chefs choose – 3 meals from the 6 meal options offered on a weekly basis.
- Designed to feed a family of four – therefore providing four servings per recipe
- Depending on the customer’s dietary or scheduling preference, the family plan includes delivery of 2 or 4 family-style recipes each week.
- These recipes are selected by the Blue Apron culinary experts to be kid-friendly
- With the 2 recipe-a-week option, customers can expect one delivery of fresh ingredients. This option allows customers to choose from the 4 recipes selected by the chefs for that week, according to dietary preference.
- With the 4 recipes a week option, customers can expect two weekly deliveries containing 2 recipes each. No customization is required for this plan as families will receive all 4 recipes created by the chefs for that week.
With customization options available for each plan, customers can choose a plan that best suits their individual preferences. Although customization is not available for all recipe plans, the varying meal options the culinary experts create each week for customers are able to suit a variety of tastes.
In addition, Blue Apron also provides the opportunity for customers to skip any weekly orders before the weekly cut-off and up to 5 weeks in advance. Customers can also cancel their meal subscriptions at any time should they wish to do so. This no-commitment/extra fees policy outlined by the company in several areas on their website appears to be congruent with the values they claim to possess – namely their ingenuity to provide their customers with excellent food delivery services.
The prices for each plan will be detailed below, so continue reading to see a full review of the Blue Apron food delivery service!
The farm-fresh ingredients provided by the meal delivery service vary depending on the menu created by the company’s culinary experts each week. The service also states that their meals may be appropriate to meet the needs of several dietary preferences, including vegetarianism, pescetarianism, and more.
Important to note, however, is their added statement that prospective customers with severe food allergies may wish not to subscribe to their meal deliveries. This is because all of the ingredient boxes delivered to customers are made in the same processing facility.
Some notable features of their food/meal service include their:
- Freshness Guarantee – The food delivery service guarantees their customers farm-fresh ingredients with each and every delivery they receive from Blue Apron; however, if there is any case of there being a missing ingredient, or if a delivery contains an ingredient that is in unacceptable cooking condition, customers have up to 7 days to notify the company’s customer service team.
- Pre-Portioned Ingredients – Not only does the service include sending ingredients and instructions directly to the customer’s door, but the fresh ingredients are also perfectly portioned beforehand. This makes the preparation process of the meals that much easier, which may be especially beneficial for those with little cooking experience. The portioned ingredients are done so according to the plan selected – i.e. customers with the 2 Person plan will receive portioned ingredients for recipes to feed two people.
- Wholesome Meals – The recipes delivered by this service cover all necessary food groups and include only wholesome, fresh ingredients that customers can feel good about consuming. The meals are portioned and chosen specially to ensure that customers receive the quality – and volume – of food they are paying for, and to ensure the average person will finish the meal feeling comfortably full and satisfied.
- Non-GMO Ingredients – All ingredients used by the company are non-GMO.
- Sustainable Seafood – All of the seafood used by the company has been recommended by the advisory list, Seafood Watch, as sustainable. This ensures both quality and safety for consumption.
- Meat with No Added Hormones – Similarly, all of the meat the food service uses contain no added hormones and no sub-therapeutic antibiotics.
- Meals Created According to Crop Rotations – One of the components of what the company terms “regenerative agriculture” includes having the culinary experts within the company create the weekly meals based around the crop rotations that are best for the farmers they partner with. Doing so provides benefits for the farmers and their soil, while also allowing them to reduce reliance on pesticides and fertilizers. For customers, this also means the ingredients for their meals will be available at a level of optimal freshness.
As mentioned above, the number of recipes delivered to customers each week depends on the plan customers have chosen. The same goes for customization options, although both those who do and do not have a membership with Blue Apron are welcome to browse the weekly menus on their website each week.
Menus for Blue Apron customers are displayed publicly week to week, as well as menus for recipes three weeks in advance. These can be viewed by clicking on their ‘On the Menu’ tab at the top of the website’s homepage. Once a person clicks on the page, there are two tabs available for customers who have either subscribed to the 2-Person Plan or the Family Plan. Although all ingredients are freshly prepared for customers of both plans, the meals available that week for each plan may be different to account for the differences in the number of pre-prepared portions expected to be delivered.
Examples of meals the food delivery service has prepared ingredients for include:
- Spicy Shrimp and Fresh Fusilli Pasta with Spinach and Basil
- Vegetable Tostadas with Summer Squash, Poblano Pepper, and Cilantro Rice
- Soy-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Jalapeno Rice
- Pork Chops and Honey Mustard Pan Sauce with Creamy Barley and Green Bean Salad
- Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
- Asparagus & Summer Squash Curry with Ginger Lime Peanuts
The service directly compares the standards of the ingredients they provide to that which may be found in the average grocery store, stating that one of their primary missions is to create higher standards for both raising animals and growing food. They do this by frequently consulting and partnering with top sustainability experts that can provide guidance on how to identify and provide customers with sustainably grown foods. Holding their ingredients up to these standards – and partnering with farms that use sustainable practices – is also meant to create better outcomes for the environment in addition to providing local, reliable farms with a guaranteed market.
In addition, available on the same menu page is a link to their Cookbook, which contains additional recipes and meals they have prepared ingredients for in the past to send to customers. These recipes can be explored according to the main ingredients, as well as dietary preferences.
More information on how to custom select meals – depending on the chosen service plan – and notify the service of one’s dietary preferences is outlined below.
How the Service Works:
Blue Apron offers customers a relatively simple meal delivery process.
- Create an online account through the company’s main website.
- Following the creation of an account, the site next recommends that customers familiarize themselves with their Account Settings, as well as Dietary Preferences and Delivery Info. For customers with specific dietary needs, this will be important to look at in order to ensure that meals are customized to each customer’s satisfaction.
- Look at the Upcoming tab on your profile to view upcoming delivery/meals.
- Receive your recipe deliveries according to the preferences you have chosen on your profile. Depending on the plan you have chosen, this means once or twice-a-week deliveries of fresh ingredients straight to your residence for your own enjoyment and convenience.
Customer support is available for any questions or concerns, as are an online Help Center and FAQ page that can be accessed through their main site. These resources are available to answer questions ranging from how to skip a week of deliveries to concerns regarding dissatisfaction with or missing ingredients in weekly deliveries.
Now onto the cost, which is a factor that can be of either great or little interest to those cautiously interested in subscribing to a meal delivery service, depending on the person.
The prices of the service differ depending on which plan the customer chooses to order. One positive thing about this service is that shipping is always free for the ingredient deliveries. In addition, besides the prices outlined below, there are no other membership fees associated with the delivery services Blue Apron provides for its customers.
The number of recipes and costs of both the 2-Person and Family Plans are as follows:
- 2-Person Plan
- Recipes per week: 3 (two servings each)
- Price per serving: $9.99
- Price per week: $59.94
- Family Plan
- Recipes per week 2–4 (four servings each)
- Price per serving: $8.99
- Price per week: $71.92–$143.84
As evident above, investing in the Family Plan is slightly less expensive per serving at $8.99 versus $9.99 per serving with the 2-Person Plan. However, it is likely customers will be choosing plans based on how many people are living at their residence – but if there was any hesitation in choosing between the two plans, the choice is of course up to each person.
Although the cost of the meals may initially appear intimidating, it may help to remember that by investing in the service, customers are helping to support local, reliable farmers and purveyors as well as a meal delivery service that appears to genuinely be making strides in helping to build, as they state on their website, “a better food system”.
Furthermore, the quality of the ingredients – fresh and carefully assembled – have received a great deal of praise from satisfied users of the service. Not to mention, the price also accounts for the instructions included for each recipe – and without shipping costs to create a heavier financial burden, the service is similar in price to a few good meals out at a restaurant per week. And while high-quality ingredients cannot be promised for each restaurant outing, Blue Apron strives to ensure that each and every customer that receives their ingredient deliveries receives the quality they pay for.
Additionally, unlike in a restaurant setting, users of the service have the opportunity to practice their cooking skills with the delivered ingredients and perhaps even take advantage of the opportunity to cook with friends and family using the easy-to-follow recipes provided. Using a food delivery service like this is not just a good meal – it is an experience.
With a general overview of the service, how it works, and what it provides for customers out of the way, next exists the question of how it stacks up in comparison to some other food delivery services.
To create a fair comparison, it is worth taking a look at several key considerations, including:
- Quality: This Blue Apron review has frequently reiterated the high quality of the ingredients the service claims to provide for their users. Quality in this review then pertains not only to the program itself but to the food as well since the quality of their farm-fresh ingredients is one of the aspects of the service Blue Apron boasts of the most.
Unlike some meal delivery services that provide users with pre-made meals, Blue Apron provides their users with the chance to see the freshness of their meal ingredients for themselves through the delivery of pre-portioned ingredients. Although some may consider it more convenient to have meals premade and ready to eat upon delivery, there is more guarantee this way that the ingredients customers are receiving – and thus, the meals the customers will be preparing – are fresh and acceptable for cooking purposes.
As for the program itself, the service offers a thorough FAQ resource on their website, as well as a Help Center and contact information for getting in touch with customer support. As customer service and satisfaction are stated to be high priorities of the meal delivery service, they make considerable efforts to make themselves accessible should customers have any concerns or wish to make any inquiries. This arguably demonstrates initiative – and proof of following through on company values – that is worthy of appreciation.
- Cost: Although the prices may initially appear slightly high, compared to the cost of meals that can be found at restaurants, as well as those of other similar meal delivery services such as Green Chef, the prices for this service’s plans are fair and even advantageous depending on one’s budget.
For reference/comparison purposes:
- Blue Apron price per serving/meal: $8.99 – $9.99
- Green Chef: $10.49 – $14.00
And that is not taking into account other aspects of the compared food delivery services.
In addition, Blue Apron also frequently offers promotions for new users of the delivery service, including those that offer free meals before customers choose to continue the subscription paying the regular weekly prices.
The lack of shipping and membership fees – as well as the opportunity to cancel orders at any time – is also a commendable aspect of this service.
- Food Variety/Options: Blue Apron is able to accommodate several dietary preferences including meals suitable for vegetarians, or those who prefer not to eat specific meats such as red meat, shellfish, pork, or lamb. While the service does not subscribe to any other specific dietary goals, they do offer wholesome, fresh ingredients for meals that are chosen and created by culinary experts based on what crops and foods are in season.
Another perk is that the chefs of Blue Apron do not repeat recipes more than once a year, so each and every week is bound to offer users something new and delicious. Examples of recipes sent by the service are referred to above and may also be viewed on the Blue Apron website.
When it comes to customizing meals, customers are not allowed a great deal of freedom, but the ability to pick and choose meals also varies depending on which plan is chosen. Those who subscribe to the 2-Person Plan, for instance, may choose 3 recipes from the 6 offered by the chefs for that week, but those on the 4-recipe Family Plan will just receive all four recipes offered for the Family Plan that week.
To explore specific customization options for the plan chosen, however, customers can visit the Dietary Preferences tab on their accounts.
All in all, Blue Apron offers a high-quality food delivery service that is able to provide interesting recipes for both families, and individual or couple customers. Prioritizing quality and customer satisfaction, customer support is easily available to answer any further questions users may have in regards to the ingredients they are delivered through this weekly food delivery service.