Blue Apron vs. Hello Fresh
Ever since the winter holidays and all the overeating I have done during that time, I have been looking for something to help me improve my eating habits and save time. Earlier I have tried a few ready-to-eat meal diets and did not find them sustainable at all. I tried Nutrisystem, South Beach Diet, and Medifast only to realize that I am a cooking from scratch kind of girl. Plus I have a family to feed, so getting on a personal diet just for me wouldn’t work on a daily basis for all of us.
After those diets failed me, I kept thinking about some other ways to get what I need, make cooking simplified, and save time shopping, but still enjoy healthy home-made food. This is where Hello Fresh and Blue Apron come in. I found out about Hello Fresh first thanks to a coupon I got in my FabFitFun box and got very interested in their service. Needless to say, the $90 coupon was a really good incentive too.
Long story short, I read about Hello Fresh, saw positive reviews, looked at prices with my savings, and decided to give them a try. I went online and selected two meals for 2 people each. I decided to cook just for me and my husband because our kids are very picky about new flavors and recipes, so I didn’t want to waste food on that and instead cooked them what they like, which is usually something pasta related.
I loved my experience with Hello Fresh from the beginning to the end. Ordering was easy and I had over 20 entrees to choose from. I received the box with ingredients and recipes in a couple of days. Everything was nicely packed and cool in a box with ice packs. All the packing materials were recyclable or reusable. Both of my recipes were separated – all ingredients for each one were packed in paper bags with the name of the meal on them, so I never had to figure out what ingredient belongs to which recipe. The meat was in vacuum bags and separately from produce, so that I could put it in the freezer.
Once the cooking day came, I took the bag and the recipe, and got right to it. One side of the recipe had a picture of what the meal will have to look like, the estimated time of cooking, calories, and the included ingredients. The opposite side had a list of what I will have to provide myself, like salt, pepper, olive oil, pots, and bowls. It also had a suggestion for wine that would go well with work and then with the meal itself.
Then the rest of the recipe has 6 easy steps complete with pictures. The preparation really took about 30 minutes, as expected and I didn’t run into any problems, except that zucchini wasn’t too fresh and a little wilted. Other than that I give this recipe 10 out of 10.
Another meal a few days later was just as easy, but had some carrots that did not do well in terms of freshness. Yes, I kept the ingredients in the refrigerator for over a week, but it shouldn’t make carrots wilted. One other thing I didn’t fully like was the fact that the recipe had calorie count, but did not specify if it was per entire meal or for each portion, since I was cooking for 2 people.
After my favorable experience and discount with Hello Fresh, I decided to try Blue Apron meal kit delivery service for comparison. I also had a coupon from one of the coupon aggregation sites and some serious discount, about $20 for 2 meals.
While Blue Apron is very similar to Hello Fresh, they are not identical. The ordering process was just as nice, I had many choices of meals, my order came in a timely fashion, packed nicely, cold, and in a recyclable box.
The recipe also looked nice and had a colorful picture on one side, where I also found estimated time of cooking, wine recommendation, and the list of ingredients. The nutritional information and calorie count came on a separate sheet of paper.
The ingredients for cooking were of top quality despite the fact that produce was sitting in the refrigerator for 3 weeks. While I liked the freshness, I did not enjoy the fact that both recipes’ ingredients were not separated by meals, so I had to have a recipe in hand and go through a pile of ingredients in the fridge to pick what I needed.
Moreover, my first meal called for red wine vinegar, which got spilled in the bag during transportation, so the whole bag smelled and I did not have that vinegar for the salad. It did not spoil the taste though and it was not the fault of Blue Apron, so I forgave them.
I got pretty frustrated with only one thing – 4 eggs were packed in two huge cartons, which was a total waste of paper. Plus I put one on top of another for carrying and the top one flew down and cracked all over the floor. It was really possible to pack all 4 of them into one container and save trees, space, and my frustration. I had eggs at home, so it wasn’t a big deal in the end.
Finally, I would like to say that the directions could be just a bit clearer, a tiny little bit. For example while I was making quiche, I wasn’t sure how much beating of eggs was needed and whether it was supposed to be done with a whisk or with a mixer. It turns out hand whisking was sufficient, but I was guessing the entire time.
Another recipe did not have any ingredients and left me less frustrated. It actually rehabilitated my experience and put Blue Apron right next Hello Fresh.
All in all, the meals from Hello Fresh and Blue Apron tasted good, even my husband agreed with me. They were not complicated to prepare, and were healthy and fresh. Hello Fresh could examine the freshness of their ingredients, while Blue Apron could use better packaging and clarify the directions. I don’t even know which company I liked better. Let’s say Hello Fresh wins by extremely small margin because their recipe was just a tad better looking and clearer. But overall, I am very likely to order again from both of them, depending on the deals they offer and the coupons I find.