They say that the more you see an advertisement, the more inclined you are to buy it, try it, or talk about it with other people. And after seeing Blue Apron reviews on about a million blogger’s sites, the power of advertising took me over.
I really thought it was a bad idea at first, but the positive reviews got me curious enough about it that when I saw a 2-Meals-Free promo on Facebook, I went for it. Since everyone who got the meals for free seems to have a glowing review, I thought I’d add my two cents after having no incentive to give a positive review.
What it is: In case you haven’t heard of Blue Apron, it’s a subscription meal service that plans 3 meals for you per week for $9.99 per meal (for example, if you have two people, you’d pay $60 a week.) The company delivers the precisely portioned ingredients to your door and gives detailed instructions on how to cook it. You can choose your delivery date each week and also choose to skip meals with certain proteins you don’t enjoy (like lamb or fish).
Why I tried it: Unlike most people, I actually love going to the grocery store. I look forward to it every week! Call me crazy, but I like any kind of shopping, and I especially like shopping for food. I also enjoy meal planning…perusing cookbooks, scanning Pinterest, making my grocery list…etc. So, I initially thought Blue Apron wasn’t for me. But I do start to run out of meal ideas every couple months, feeling like I always make the same thing and nothing sounds good. I also had heard that Blue Apron delivers large portion sizes and the prices is a great value for the quality of the ingredients and type of meals they make. So I thought maybe it could be worth it, or at least a fun experiment.
What we received: I kept checking Blue Apron to see the upcoming meal plan until I saw a week that included a full list of dinner options we’d like. (I was confused and thought we wouldn’t know what we were receiving, but it turns out that you always get the three protein-based meals listed, unless you skip a certain protein, in which case it is substituted with one of the vegetarian options). On the week we ordered, we received ingredients to make:
- Flank Steak with Creamed Kale and Sunchokes Two Ways
- Crispy Salmon with Barley Risotto
- Thai Chicken Meatballs with Red Curry and Bok Choy
What I liked about it: Fancy sounding meals, right? That was one of the perks of Blue Apron that I enjoyed: we tried new-to-us ingredients (lemongrass, sunchokes, boy choy and barley) and got us out of a dinner rut. The meals were a little more complex than I usually go for, but it was made easier with the step-by-step photo instructions and pre-proportioned ingredients.
I think the pre-proportioned ingredients was actually my favorite part. It was SO nice to not have to get out all the measuring cups and spoons, find the ingredients in the cupboard and make sure everything was perfectly measured. Instead, I grabbed the box, pull everything out and dumped it in the bowl in the order listed on the recipe. It’s like those cooking shows where they already have all the ingredients lined up in little bowls. So luxurious!
It was also really nice to not think about what we were having for dinner that night. It was already planned for us and I just had to execute it all. I also liked trying new meals. I never buy steak because I don’t really like it and I don’t really know what to do with it. I also would never venture to buy something like sunchokes (the root of a sunflower) because I’ve never tried them or even seen them on a menu at a restaurant. But they were really delicious and it was great to have someone just tell me what to do with them. (If you’re curious, they taste similar to a potato or a turnip)
What I didn’t like about it: Hands down, the biggest turnoff about Blue Apron is the cost. I would’ve never ordered it if it weren’t for the promotion I saw. We ended up getting six meals (three nights of meals for two people) for $40. But even with the discount, it still was much more than I usually spend on groceries.
My weekly food budget is usually about $75, and this whole experiment led be to go way over budget. Even though Blue Apron is supposedly eliminating inconveniences like going to the grocery store, we did not ever have any leftovers and I still had to buy enough food for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner the other four nights of the week.
Blue Apron certainly made me feel good about my frugality! As I mentioned, the portions were not big enough to have leftovers. Perhaps we have a bigger appetite than most, but I frequently have second helpings of our meal and David ALWAYS has at least seconds or thirds, and then we like to have enough for lunch the next day. So I’m usually cooking meals for 6-8 people even though there are just two of us, and we still spend much less than $9.99 per meal, per person.
I also wish Blue Apron was a little more flexible with the meal plans. You wouldn’t want to subscribe to this service if you have any allergies or special diet plans like gluten-free, Paleo, etc. They only option they have is vegetarian meals. We usually eat simpler meals and often skip the grains, so this wasn’t our typical diet. We liked all of the meals, but none of them were so good that I’ll want to make them again. I still have faith that there could be plenty out there that are keepers, I just wasn’t totally crazy about any of the meals from our week.
Bottom line: I’m still glad I gave Blue Apron a shot. I had fun with the whole experience and we enjoyed some meals we wouldn’t have otherwise tried. It would be really nice to have someone plan three of our meals every week, but definitely not worth it for the cost, at least for us. I think this plan could be ideal for a busy, working couple who doesn’t enjoy shopping or meal planning. If you would otherwise be eating out, Blue Apron is probably a healthier, lower-cost option. But if you pinch pennies and try to eat even more healthy, then Blue Apron probably isn’t for you.
I cancelled the Blue Apron subscription after just that one week of the promo deal, but I have to admit that the upcoming week of meals looks pretty enticing! From now on, I’ll just follow along with their Facebook page and look up the recipes on their site if they look like something I want to try!
Photos via Blue Apron