With no shortage of meal kit delivery services to be found, it can be hard to know which is the one for you. Blue Apron and HelloFresh are two of the biggest firms, and they both look super appealing. To help you figure out which one is the best choice for your home, we’ve taken a deep dive look into what they both offer. We’ve evaluated their ease of use, how creative their recipes are, and what to expect when it comes to pricing. Read on while we take you through everything you need to know about the two meal kit delivery services so you know exactly which one is right for you.
Ease of Use
If you’re looking to sign up for a meal kit delivery service, it’s very likely that how easy they are to use is the main reason why you want one. After all, you could head out and buy ingredients and figure out recipes for yourself, but that’s hardly the point. Instead, Blue Apron and HelloFresh are all about convenience and saving you the need to plan for yourself or even head to the store to buy meal ingredients. Think of it as like a middle ground between cooking entirely from scratch and ordering takeout food. However you approach your plan, signing up is a breeze in either case. They both deliver to the continental U.S. states excluding Hawaii and Alaska with both services allowing you to choose a delivery day based on your zip code. Essentially, you won’t have to worry about delivery being restricted to a time that you can’t do.
When it comes to Blue Apron, you sign up with an email address and password of your own choosing, then you can pick out what kind of plan you want. Blue Apron gives you the choice of picking out meals for either two or four people, and you’re also able to choose between two, three, or four recipes per week. Preferences are laid out with three choices — Signature, Wellness, and Vegetarian. We’ll get into what those meals involve but basically, Signature is the all-rounder while Wellness focuses on carb-conscious and WW recommended options, with Vegetarian offering up meat-free dishes. From there, you enter your payment details and delivery information, and you’re ready to start adding meals. It’s as simple as that with Blue Apron clearly laying out what to expect when it comes to payment each week.
HelloFresh offers a similar experience. Hit the join button and you can immediately choose whether to sign up to feed two or four people with each meal. Again, it’s possible to arrange how many recipes per week. Unlike Blue Apron though, HelloFresh enables you to have up to six
Whatever you choose, both services pack food carefully. HelloFresh has all its fresh ingredients neatly packed into brown paper bags with meat placed underneath an ice pack. Blue Apron has a similar approach although generally offers up more individual bags which may require you to be a bit more thorough as you check through your meal box ahead of the coming week. If you’re keen to recycle as much as possible, HelloFresh has the edge with more recyclable paper bags and a bit less packaging than the alternative. Ultimately though, there’s not much between the two options when it comes to convenience and ease of use. It’s all about slightly different approaches more than anything else. Account set up is very easy and you can easily get signed up in a few minutes — the only potentially time-consuming part is trying to figure out what recipes to order.
Similarly, if you need to make changes or cancel something, both services are great. You can change delivery days easily as well as which plan you’re on. Skipping a week is simple enough as long as you do so before the new box is being prepared, plus you can cancel either service quickly without needing to deal with customer services. Blue Apron also has a feature that HelloFresh misses out on. It’s possible to temporarily change your delivery address so if you head out of town for a while, you can still receive your Blue Apron delivery.
Recipe Creativity and Ingredients Quality
With any meal kit delivery service, it doesn’t really matter if the service is cheap or easy to set up if the food tastes awful. Fortunately, both Blue Apron and HelloFresh offer some extensive options that mean there is something for everyone here. Ultimately, with food tastes so personal, we’re not going to suggest which is best as it really does come down to what you like to eat, whether your family has any specific needs, and what your dietary requirements are. Generally, both services offer an interesting blend of traditional and internal flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for a burger or you want something more creative, both Blue Apron and HelloFresh offer some great options. Typically, the priority is on those without any dietary requirements. While there are some vegetarian and pescatarian options available on both services, that’s about as far as either go with dietary requirements. Don’t count on any specific suggestions for kept, paleo, or even vegan. However, they do both offer some health-conscious options. Blue Apron has Weight Watchers-approved meals as well as its so-called Wellness range. HelloFresh provides you with calorie smart choices. Ultimately though, if you’re looking for something that caters to a specific need or allergen requirement, neither service is ideal. Instead, the focus is on traditional omnivores looking for variety. Notably, as with all meal delivery kits, both Blue Apron and HelloFresh focus on evening or main meals. Neither provides you with breakfast ideas or lunches, although we reckon you could use leftovers to make a great lunch the following day if you happen to leave any food behind.
Each week, both services offer a rotation of meal ideas that you might want to consider signing up for. HelloFresh offers 25 recipes each week while Blue Apron has 19. It’s a subtle difference that shouldn’t affect anyone who has a varied palate. HelloFresh allows you to see menu plans for a number of weeks in advance while Blue Apron only offers a week-by-week lineup. If you like to plan ahead, HelloFresh may be a better choice. HelloFresh also has an extra category that could be useful if you’re short on time. It labels some
In both cases, assembling dishes is fairly simple. The focus is on slicing and dicing or simmering with sauces often pre-made or easily assembled, so you don’t need to have extensive cookery skills. All you need to do is follow the clearly laid out recipe cards to know what to do next, with Blue Apron also offering up recipe-specific videos to walk you through certain methods. Blue Apron generally requires a little more effort but there’s not much in it. As an advantage, Blue Apron dishes do tend to be a little more diverse and interesting because they require slightly more effort. You can also often swap out certain elements like the proteins used in Blue Apron dishes, making sure you get the meal you actually want.
Besides the main meal kits, both Blue Apron and HelloFresh offer add-ons. HelloFresh offers items like sides, desserts, and even ready-to-bake or heat-up meals. Alternatively, Blue Apron has butcher bundles that provide customers with more protein, as well as lunch kits that work as meal prep bundles. Sides and a dessert are also offered. It’s useful to have some variety for some extras if you’re keen to treat yourself to a dessert after a meal and don’t want to head to a store, although neither offers vast choices to pick from.
When it comes to ingredient quality, both Blue Apron and HelloFresh are pretty great. Generally, meat and seafood are fresh and suitably cold when they arrive, while vegetables are in great condition and ready to slice and dice up. Items like spices and other additives are measured out so you don’t need to weigh anything yourself. HelloFresh has some organic produce but mostly prioritizes ingredients coming from sustainable business partners and local farmers. Alternatively, Blue Apron is focused on only having certified non-GMO ingredients.
Winner: Blue Apron
Meal Kit Pricing
Pricing for both Blue Apron and HelloFresh is very varied, depending on how often you plan on using them. That’s before you account for any extras or sides. As with many services, the best value is often gained by committing to the most expensive packages. When signing up to Blue Apron, you can choose to cook for either two or four people. It’s also possible to sign up for two, three, or four recipes per week. Opt for just two people and only two
In a similar way, HelloFresh offers varying plans depending on your needs. Cooking just two meals a week for two people costs $58 per week working out at $11 per serving. Alternatively, the price per serving drops to $10 if you opt to cook three meals a week, with it gradually decreasing the more recipes you commit to. The best value service for two people is to go with six
You also need to factor in other pricing differences with meal kits. With both companies offering add-ons, your bill can increase a lot depending on if you add desserts, breakfasts, or sides. HelloFresh has slightly more add-ons but Blue Apron offers a wine pairing subscription service that provides you with six 500ml bottles of wine each month for around $66. Each bottle is paired with your menu selection so you get to enjoy the right one for your meal. While none of these extras are essential and you can get by solely on the meal kits for your main meals, it’s likely you’ll be tempted to spend more with the respective services while you’re there. HelloFresh has more choices, but we appreciated the quality of the items on Blue Apron.
As with all meal delivery services, it’s worth looking out for special offers with both companies often keen to entice new subscribers in with deep discounts so you can try out their service for far less than usual. Don’t just settle for the most obvious price when looking to give them a try.
Blue Apron vs HelloFresh — The Verdict
Both Blue Apron and HelloFresh are great options if you’re looking for a good meal delivery kit service. They both offer fresh ingredients and an expansive array of recipe ideas. While neither offers many choices for people who eat specific diets, they’re ideal options for omnivores looking to expand their options for cooking without having to spend hours figuring out what to cook and what produce needs purchasing. They’re also both well suited for novice cooks as well as those who are more used to cooking from scratch. We think HelloFresh is slightly simpler for the most inexperienced chef thanks to focusing on meals that require less preparation but there’s not much in it. Instead, Blue Apron has the advantage of offering slightly more diverse recipe options with the bonus that your cooking skills will also improve if you stick with it. Neither is challenging by any means.
Because HelloFresh is slightly simpler, we’re leaning toward it being a better option for those really short on time and looking to enjoy some dinner shortcuts. It offers slightly quicker recipes that can make a big difference if you’ve had a long day at work and simply want to settle into an easy-to-cook meal. However, while HelloFresh has a larger menu than Blue Apron much of the time, Blue Apron tends to have some more interesting choices that reflect a more diverse approach to cookery. If you want to enjoy food you might not have ordinarily tried, Blue Apron is better.
When it comes to cooking for fewer people, Blue Apron is also a better choice as it tends to be cheaper for smaller orders such as a couple looking to buy only a few recipes each week. It also caters slightly better for those looking for low-carb meals or WW-friendly choices. However, if you like to plan ahead, you’ll truly appreciate that HelloFresh offers weeks in advance so you know exactly how to plan out your food for the next few weeks. It’s also slightly more environmentally friendly thanks to its use of paper recycling bags, but both still use plastic too.
As when picking out your favorite restaurant or meal, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here. Both Blue Apron and HelloFresh are worth checking out if you have the time and money to see what works best for you. It all comes down to the kind of food you like most, and what food your family enjoys too. Neither service is overly complicated to navigate or cook through, and both offer reliable service with high-end ingredients. You just may find a new favorite meal by trying out these services too, diversifying your food tastes.
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