Between figuring out what’s for dinner and running myself ragged taking kids to various activities it can be hard to meal plan and shop to make sure I have all the ingredients on hand to make dinner. I’ve seen a million meal kit delivery services pop up and finally decided to give Blue Apron a try. It’s been three weeks and there are definitely pros and cons. Here is my (unbiased and unsponsored) pro/con list:
- PRO: No meal planning required
This is the obvious one. If you read my post about meal planning fatigue then you’ll know that this is a pro. This doesn’t solve all my meal planning problems because it only provides a couple of dinners per week, but even relief for two days each week is a mental break. Grocery shopping trips have been shorter and lighter these past few weeks.
- PRO: Sustainable food systems
Blue Apron uses (say they do. I have no reason to suspect otherwise) sustainable food systems in acquiring the foods. They source from local farmers where they can, they use seasonal ingredients and responsibly sourced fish. Getting fresh, local and sustainable food without sacrificing convenience is definitely important.
- CON: Absolutely no prep done
My first complaint about Blue Apron was that absolutely no prep was done on the food. The food comes pretty much the same way as if you’d gotten it from the grocery store yourself. I knew that meal prep was not part of the service and I’d have to do some chopping. But I didn’t expect to have to wash the produce myself (The horror!). Some things are even more work because over the years I adapted time-saving tips that blue apron apparently hasn’t heard about, like pre-peeled garlic cloves and pre-washed potatoes and pre-crushed almonds.
- PRO: The recipes are delicious!
We’ve had 6 recipes so far (three weeks worth) and they have all been delicious. The recipes are easy to follow and easy to execute. Ever come across a recipe that sounds good and seems very doable but when you start cooking, things just don’t go the way they’re supposed to? Blue Apron is the opposite of that. The steps are straightforward and pretty much anyone could do it. All the results so far have been really good.
- CON: A LOT of packaging
Almost everything is individually packed, and the box comes filled with little plastic bags and containers for spices and pastes, and larger containers for produce and meats. Each box comes with a whole slew of pretty heavy duty single-use ice bags and packaging to keep it cold. Of course I want my food to be packed in a way that keeps it safe and fresh until I am ready to use it. But it’s so wasteful. Blue Apron does have a recycling program where you ship the majority of the packaging to be recycled if you don’t have recycling. However, shipping and recycling in itself isn’t always efficient. I really wish they would find a way to actually reuse some of the packaging, especially things like the ice packs and foil pack, which don’t really touch the food itself.
- PRO: All the ingredients are right there
The most convenient part of the Blue Apron package is that all the spices, seasoning, vinegars, herbs are pre-measured and provided for the recipe. One of the challenges for me when trying new recipes is that I often don’t have the space in my pantry for every kind of grain/vinegar/seasoning and oftentimes even if I buy it for the recipe, it won’t get used before it goes bad and will be thrown out (same goes for herbs). I tend to substitute these kinds of things with the pantry items I do keep stocked since I really hate buying items knowing they will be thrown out. With Blue Apron, I no longer need to dread buying a whole bottle of some obscure ingredient because a recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons.
- CON: Not enough veggies
This is a big complaint for me. I think the amount of veggies is not sufficient for four portions. Look at these examples of the recipes we received: 4oz of peppers and 1 zucchini; 1 bell pepper and 1/8th of a head of cabbage. Most of the time I serve a plate of cut up raw tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados or a green salad with the meal.
- PRO: Discovering new foods and combinations
I consider myself a good cook. But I tend to gravitate to the same foods that I am comfortable with. I prefer to cook what I know because I can tweak the recipe to our liking and to our ingredients. So far with Blue Apron we’ve tried a different kinds of grain (what the freekeh is freekeh?), a different kind of fish I’ve never cooked before and we even cooked pork for the first time.
- PRO: Anyone can do it
Even Husband has cooked a couple of the meals. One of the reasons he doesn’t like cooking normally is because he doesn’t like meal planning and coming up with ideas. Looking for ingredients and then figuring out what kind of meal he can make with what we already have is like torture for him. Measuring everything before he can start is no fun either. But give him everything he needs and the steps to follow and turns out he’s a great cook!
Overall, I am enjoying Blue Apron. I am not sure this is right for us long term but I am enjoying the new delicious foods so far though!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review. I am not affiliated with Blue Apron in any way outside of being a customer and was did not receive compensation to write this review.