June 3, 2015

An Unpaid Review of Blue Apron


Raise your hand if you’ve read about 50 blog posts about Blue Apron. Yep, me too.

If you’ve somehow avoided the onslaught of paid reviews, the gist is that Blue Apron is a meal planning and delivery service. Every week you get a box with all the ingredients and instructions to make 2-3 dinners.

I liked the concept, but I was hung up on two main things – the cost (which runs about $9-10 per person, per meal) and whether or not my children would actually eat the meals. And, frankly, after seeing some of the things people got in their boxes, I wondered if I would actually eat them. 

Fortunately, my neighbor is a Blue Apron subscriber (she loves it!) and when I asked her about it, she offered to give me a free week trial, which is apparently something you can do after you’ve been a subscriber for a while. It took me all of five seconds to accept. I set up my account, put in our preferences, and voila – my box was scheduled to arrive later that week.

I got the plan where you get 3 meals, each of which serves 2 people. The regular cost for this would have been $59.99. I generally spend about $75 a week on groceries, so $60 for three dinners is an enormous chunk out of my grocery bill.

My first box came on Saturday and when Ella, Star and I were making a library run that afternoon (Bart stayed home with a late-napping Ani), I saw the box on the doorstep and felt an enormous sense of relief that I wouldn’t have to figure out dinner. I could just pick one of the three meals out of the box and make it. Score.

We got home from the library, and Bart entertained the girls while I started pulling things out of the box. Since I love food and cooking, it was kind of like Christmas to open it all up and see all the beautifully packaged ingredients (although I would have liked it if things were divided up by meal, instead of all being mixed together).



The meals for our week were:
I decided to go with the fish since I didn’t want it sitting in the fridge for several days, and I got to work.

Each recipe has a beautiful full-page, full-color card with the final dish on the front with which ingredients you need, and then on the back there are step-by-step instructions with photos of how to make the meal.

Immediately I felt annoyed that I still had to wash all the produce – it’s one of my least favorite tasks, and I would WAY rather meal plan than wash food.

I also could not get the rice flakes to stick to the fish – they mostly just fell off the fish and burned on the bottom of the pan (the recipe warned that some would fall off, but the vast majority of mine did. I think they were just too big – if I were to make this recipe again, I’d definitely run the flakes through the food processor to make them a little smaller).

And it definitely wasn’t a time-saver. It took me about 35 minutes to make dinner and then there were plenty of dishes afterward to cook.

Ella quite liked the fish, but had zero interest in the vegetables, and Ani wouldn’t eat it at all. For the first time in my parenting life, I let her have cereal for dinner instead of eating what I’d made. Bart gave it a 6 out of 10. I thought it was fine – nothing I’d want to make again, but I was happy to eat it. 

The next two meals were better. The steak was the best steak I’ve ever made at home (this is probably because I almost never make steak because I feel like it never turns out that well, which is probably because I buy really cheap steak) and the girls ate it without complaint. My only trouble was peeling the asparagus stalks. I don’t know if I have a totally weird peeler or what, but after five minutes of peeling that resulted in only about 2 Tablespoons of asparagus peels, I just skipped the rest of it and threw it all in to sauté.

I was dubious about the turkey, but they turned out to be surprisingly delicious – the bits of dried apricot gave it a nice little sweet taste that I loved. The cucumber salad was only medium for me, mainly because I don’t particularly like cucumber, but it was better the next day when I had the leftovers.

So what did I think about Blue Apron overall?

I liked trying new recipes and using new ingredients, and it’s really fun to have dinner just show up on your doorstep.

I feel like tons of the reviews I’ve read about it talks about how generous the serving sizes are. I totally disagreed. I feel like we eat fairly modestly (I’ve had several readers tell me that they double almost every recipe I post on my blog because they eat so much more than we do, apparently) and the girls eat fairly little for dinner always (they eat a huge breakfast, medium lunch, and light dinner) and we only had a teeny bit of leftovers one night (the turkey). The fish dish, especially felt very small. You’re legitimately getting one meal for two people – I wouldn’t count on it stretching through children or ending up with leftovers.

I also felt like they weren’t quite complete meals. Bart really likes to have at least two side dishes, and most of these had just one, so I felt like I needed to supplement (plus, as I mentioned, the meals just aren’t that big).

The main bonus, I think, is not having to meal plan, but I don’t mind meal planning, plus, even with Blue Apron, you’d still have to come up with 3-4 dinners for the rest of the week. And you can just look on Blue Apron and get the recipes for the week without paying, if it’s the meal planning you really really hate. (Although a lot of the Blue Apron recipes have specialty ingredients that might be difficult or expensive to track down on your own. I suspect that they might do this because it makes it seem like you’re getting a better value – it’s harder to justify paying $10 a person to make your own spaghetti – and because it’s more difficult and expensive to track down those items on your own. I would have had no idea where to purchase yuku juice for the fish recipe).

 Lots of people have compared it to restaurant quality meals and I’d agree with that – the food was definitely high quality – but I don’t want to eat restaurant meals three times a week. I feel like I have a good variety of meals in our dinner plan, but they’re a little simpler and less heavy/fancy feeling than some of these were.

You also can’t avoid grocery shopping by doing Blue Apron, unless you only eat dinner 2-3 times a week and never eat anything else. So . . .that doesn’t help me all that much.

Plus, there is a fair amount of waste, since everything is individually (beautifully) packaged and you have the big box and the multiple ice packs. Most of it you can recycle, but recycling still isn’t nearly as good as not having had the packaging in the first place.

And – the final nail in the Blue Apron coffin for me – the cost is just more than I could justify. I can make meals that we like more, provide leftovers for lunch, and that use less dishes for a lot less than $20 a meal.

Frankly, I’d rather spend my $60 a week and go out for dinner 2-3 times. Last weekend, we went to a Greek place in Chapel Hill and got two large plates that fed all of us for $20. It was fresh and delicious, I didn’t have to cook any of it, and there were no dishes to deal with afterward.

Or, for $60 I could buy quite a bit of high-quality semi-prepared food at a place like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s where I could get more food on the table with less hands-on time.

It was fun to try out and I was a little sad to cancel my account at the end of the week, but I wouldn’t pay for it myself. (Bart, on the other hand, was fairly relieved it was over – he was just not that thrilled with any of the meals and was ready to go back to our regular eating). I could see it being a fun gift for a housewarming or graduation present for someone who likes to cook, or a cool at-home-date idea. I also can imagine possibly using it if I lived somewhere that groceries cost considerably more than they do in Durham, North Carolina.

That said, if anyone has free meal trials for Hello Fresh or Plated, I’d happily try those ones out too. You know, as a service to others.

And if you’ve tried it out (or are a subscriber to Blue Apron or any of the other similar services), I’d love to hear what you think and why you are or aren’t a fan!

94 comments:

  1. I've purchased two boxes from Blue Apron in the past couple of months and have another one coming this Friday. We both work long hours, and with no kids, we tend to fall back to eating cereal or Taco Bell for dinner more often than I'd like to admit. So I've been considering it a treat with the bonus that we are spending some time together cooking, and eating something good for us. All the food we've received (fish and vegetarian meals) have been good and we've learned some cooking techniques that we've repeated on our own. I'm not willing to pay the $60 on a regular basis (or wash so many dishes - I'm with you on that), but maybe every once in a while.

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    1. just don't try to cancel. They have no link for it, and the websearch takes time, with false addresses. I really enjoyed them up to that point. Now I they seem like hucksters. I was only going to cancel temporarily, while I left the country for some months. Now I'll never go back.

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    2. We're calling to cancel tomorrow. They sent us 3 rigatoni recipes in a month even though they aren't supposed to repeat, they don't send you complete meals so we've had to grab mcD's afterward. Mac n cheese and a salad isn't dinner. Broccoli calzones aren't dinner. I asked if they consult a nutritionist. No answer. Poor nutrition= don't feed your kids if you want them to grow. Not for working adults either.

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    3. I am excited for my first meal and just wanted to read some reviews. But excuse me, how is grabbing McDonald's nutritious for your children? The only way they are going to grow it outwards.

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    4. I'm with you on the cancellation process. It is a pain in the you-know-what and no one even bothered to respond to me so I received the next order without even being able to select my options. The first box came late and the meat packaging had torn so there was blood in the bottom of the box. Not exactly healthy! I was really disappointed that their customer service and business ethics don't live up to the image they try to portray. You're better off finding their recipes on their website for free and taking an hour to grocery shop yourself. Guarantee you'll spend only a fraction of their price (especially in the Durham area where I am, too).

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  2. I know a lot of people really love these meal box things, and I'm happy they're at least inspiring people who wouldn't normally get into the kitchen to at least cook SOMEthing, but my general opinion of them is pretty low. They definitely seem to be targeted to people who eat out a LOT, and therefore think the price is reasonable and the food is, um, normal.

    For people who cook three times a day, seven days a week, however, the concept and the cost are a little ridiculous. This is the first review I've seen of Blue Apron that seems more applicable to my own situation. And it's pretty much as I suspected it might play out in the kitchen of an everyday cook.

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    1. It must be nice to have time to cook three meals a day, but when I'm working long hours at the office and have no wife/significant other to do the chores at home, it is nice to be able to come home and have everything ready to cook when I get there.

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  3. Thank you for this great post!!! I keep reading all these glowing reviews of Blue Apron and I have always been super skeptical. I like to cook and I already have several go to meals that I can keep on hand when I haven't planned my meals for the week so this service just seems ridiculous and expensive. But to each their own I guess!

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    1. I find it kind of funny that you've read "all these glowing reviews" of Blue Apron and just one that was a little more critical, and it's that one you choose to believe. Seems like you were just looking for someone to validate your decision not to like something you've never tried.

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    2. The issue is finding unpaid reviews. This was covered in the first sentence of the review.

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  4. We did Blue Apron for a while after I had Kinsley because I was always too scared to go to the store with both kids. We wound up always skipping the weeks that we weren't crazy on the meals but for the most part it really worked well for us. We always had a TON of leftovers... but people always tell us that we eat like birds so I think we might be the exception to that rule. That and Jay pretty much never eats what we eat for dinner anyways so it wasn't a major loss on his eating habits. We haven't done it since we moved though because we're super close to a Trader Joes here and now I just make their premade dinners 90% of the time. And we can get our entire week of food at Trader Joes for $60 versus doing Blue Apron and still having to go to the store to get all the basics. I feel like I heard that Plated has a kid friendly dinner option which would be fun to try, but I also think I might have made that up too.

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    1. I am astounded that you can get a week's worth of food for $60 at Trader Joe's! Love the store, but we must eat a lot cause that just doesn't happen for me, no matter how strategic I plan...

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    2. I keep on reading that people spend $60 on their weekly grocery shopping and I am amazed! I plan my weekly meals and for the most part buy at regular grocery stores (Giant, Shoppers, Safeway...) We are 4 and I rarely spend less than $200 per week. And no, I don't stock up in soda, snacks and cookies... Is it the area we live in (Montgomery County)or is there any secrets? I'm all ears! :)

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    3. Hi Ribga, I completely agree, I spend about the same as you weekly. I wish I knew the secrets of these people who spend so much less.

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    4. I had the opportunity to intern for FreshRealm this past summer and it was amazing! They are a great meal kit delivery service that lets you pick and choose what meals you want with no subscription necessary, plus the meals are family friendly! Here is the site if you want to take a look, freshrealm.co.

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    5. I am always at $200-250 a week for a family of 5. I have teenagers so that is self explanatory as to why the bill is so high. I am trying it for the first time this coming week. I ordered the 2 meals for 4 people. I got a coupon from a friend but I can already tell this will 1)not be enough food 2)too expensive to keep up. Trader Joe's is awesome and has a lot of pre-preped foods and I agree it would be significantly cheaper. Too bad TJ's does do a meal plan in a box! lol

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    6. Ive received about 6 boxes from Blue Apron. The first couple we really liked. But they seem to repeat some of the same ingredients over and over such as vinegar/citrus dressings and or sauces. My husband doesn't care for citrus or vinegary dishes. So Ive skipped the next several weeks. Not sure if I want to continue even though I like the idea of not wasting food. I don't think what they are giving you is worth the money. And we too, would just prefer good tasting family style menus instead of "restaurant" style. And I also would like to know how anyone spends 60.00 per week on food. We are two, don't eat much meat, live in southern oregon and I spend at least $125.00 for a weeks worth of food.

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    7. She said she uses TJ's premade dinners. I take that to mean their frozen pastas and orange chicken and rices and the like. A bag of pasta is $3-$4 add some frozen green beans at about $2 and you have dinner for 2 adults and a toddler for $6 add some cereal, milk, lunch meat, bread, lettuce and tomatoes and there is your $60+/- per week. If you cook from scratch and use a decent size or high quality portions of beef, chicken or fish in your dishes and fresh fruit and vegetables it it can't be done.

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    8. Food must be expensive in my area as well. Sometimes I shop for one meal and end up spending way more than I would if I had eaten out. Also, going to the grocery store tends to make us buy things we didn't actually need.

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  5. I tried Hello Fresh and I liked it, but I agree, it's not time saving for me either.

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  6. *weeping* I've read your posts about how little you spend on food a week and can't for the life of me manage even a hundred a week! How do you feed a family of 4 on $75??

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    1. I spend about the same amount! Here are what I believe to be big contributors for cutting the cost in our house: we don't eat a lot of meat so I buy it like once a month and usually on sale and larger quantities that I freeze, we don't drink a lot of milk, and I hardly buy anything from all of the middle aisles- the occasional pastas or can etc. That costs me about $50 a week and then I spend about $100 a month on stuff from costco/trader joes, every so often I stock up on bulk at winco.

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    2. I hear you. I cannot spend so little. I spend about $140 or so, which includes things like paper towels and toilet paper. We are only three and my toddler doesn't eat a great deal,but I do buy him lots of organic snacks. I live in a rural area so I am limited to the expensive local store and they know they can keep the prices high because of the location. I too feel so sad that people can spend so little while we are breaking the bank!

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  7. I've tried free trials of Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and...something else. I can't remember. I love the trials, because it's so fun to get the big box of cute food and cook several meals you never would have come up with on your own. But it's just not worth how much they charge for it and the packaging makes me feel SUPER guilty. Also, the trials are always of the two-person plans and I'm cheap so I don't upgrade - it's hard to make them stretch to two adults and two kids!

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  8. I can see that it's too expensive and fancy for a family with young kids (like yours and mine). My mom does it but she is definitely more of a gourmet cook so she loves the specialty items and not having leftovers. If I was ever given a trial or purchased it I would consider it like "at home cooking school". I've always wanted to take a professional cooking class but never have so this feels like a fun way to try new ingredients and recipes. On another note, can you share how you do meal planning? How often you switch up the recipes? What time of the day you meal prep? How many hours you spend in the kitchen? That would be great to read!

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  9. So glad you wrote this! This is exactly how I suspected I'd feel if I tried it out. I like to meal plan and cook for my family, so I'm perfectly comfortable throwing together a healthy meal that all of us will eat on nights when I don't feel like making much effort.
    Also, how do you spend so little on groceries! We spend about $100 (sometimes more sometimes less and it averages out to that) a week on groceries, and I thought we were doing really well. Granted, my kids are really good eaters and eat a lot at dinner which is our most expensive meal of the day. I'd love to see a post where you compare your meal plans (which I love peeking at when you share them) with your grocery receipts if you're willing to share. Thanks again for a great post!

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    1. Omg, seriously, everyone quit asking her how she spends so little on groceries a week. She is obviously lying. How guilable can you be?!

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    2. Omg, seriously ladies. Please quit asking how she spends so little on groceries per week. She is obviously lying. Don't believe everything you read online, use your own brain.

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    3. I spend a little more than that on groceries for 6 people with one teenage boy. A lot of how much groceries cost depends on where you live.

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  10. Oh my word! Yes to this post. I realize that it's difficult to write a completely honest review of a company when they're paying you (I'm not against sponsors, it's just challenging) but some of the ones for Blue Apron have been a bit too, well, glowing. Thank you for an honest look at what seems like a great idea but doesn't always play well to my large family reality.

    And side note, we spend $120 every 2 weeks for our family of 7. I'm always amazed by how it works out.

    Oh and one more thing, your photography is incredible.

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  11. I would never pay that much for this service. Actually the only scenario in which I can see myself doing so is if I had a child who really enjoyed cooking and wanted to learn some new things - then I can see it being a fun project for them. Not for me generally, though.

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  12. Oh my goodness, thank you for this. I'd read several reviews of Blue Apron and always thought--but this is crazy, who pays this much for this! Does anyone really hate meal planning that much? Don't they use Pinterest? Sure the meals sound fancy and sure it would be great for a dinner's worth of ingredients to just show up on my doorstep, but you said it best when you talk about how it's only 2-3 nights worth of dinners. I cook about 4 nights a week for my family of 3 (one is a toddler who barely qualifies as a meal-eater) and also spend about $70-75/week on groceries, and that's for meals that almost always have leftovers. So the thought of spending $60 on 3 dinners alone seems ludicrous to me. And also I kind of like meal planning :) Clearly I'm not their target client. Anyway, I'm sorry I wrote a novel here, I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your honest review.

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    1. Yes, I just want to let you know, some people hate meal planning that much. I will do anything to not have to think about what is for dinner.

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    2. The problem is time - my husband and I both work long hours, on top of a long commute. There's rarely time for us to sit down and plan meals.

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  13. I've made a couple of their recipes but never ordered the actual food. I liked using their recipes because they were definitely things I wouldn't have thought of to try on my own. I tend to pick recipes that don't have too many unique ingredients unless they are easy to substitute. I highly recommend the chickpea burgers - I've made them twice!

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  14. I'm so intrigued here. I get the idea that some people have trouble with meal planning (and sticking to that plan), and grocery shopping and having strange ingredients on hand....but all that is the stuff I really like about cooking. I mean, I like heating and stirring too, but grocery shopping is one of my favorite things, more-so when I have a list of things to work from.

    Also, THANK YOU for this review, I appreciate the honesty and the "this is fine, but probably not super great for X, Y, and Z reasons).

    xox

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  15. For us, I think it's a time and a place kind of thing. We ordered a few trial boxes (like getting a few meals of a box for free) when my daughter was born. It eased me back into cooking- first few weeks of a first child felt so crazy. Then we went back to our regularly scheduled stuff. I cook at home about 6 nights a week and our tight budget didn't allow for that. Almost two years later we just got our second box from Blue Apron. I went across the country for a wedding for 5 days and ordered a box for my husband. I knew he'd eat healthier if he had the meals laid out for him, all of the shopping done. In that instance, money well spent. I think he got the same box you did- and he loved those meals. I don't love meal planning, but I can't justify this expense on a regular basis. My scenarios would be after another baby or during another deployment (months of cooking for me and a toddler can be hard with most meals designed to feed 4-6). I agree that the portions don't seem large. Maybe they are bigger for the family boxes? I've also tried Plated and I liked theirs better. Blue Apron is a bit cheaper though.

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    1. I forgot two things: my husband who was afraid of the kitchen when we married, fearlessly cooked all three meals and loved the clear directions. He can't wait to cook that steak again, he said he'd never made a steak that good. And I do use the recipes they post - it helps out with my meal planning and I can adjust quantities.

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  16. I know I already commented on this on your Facebook or whatever, but seriously I don't think it sounds that awesome. I too thought "that doesn't look very tasty..." too expensive. Too fancy. Too wasteful. I would way rather eat out and skip the cooking and clean up if I was going to spend that money! I'm so surprised people (like design mom with her family of 8 $$!, though I know she's so super busy) like it so much!

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  17. Glad you mentioned the wasteful packaging...that was one of the first things I thought of when I heard about Blue Apron. Not only is it wasteful, but hello - you're paying for all that waste. If I really felt like I was in a pinch and needed food delivered, I'd order it from my local grocery store which delivers for a pretty reasonable fee.

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    1. I was happy to learn from my son that is trying Blue Apron now, that it's free to mail back the packaging and gel packs. He said, once you have a few collected, you mail them back for free and they even issue a food credit for recycling with them. I read on the Blue Apron website about free shipping to mail boxes/gel back but I didn't see the part about credits with my own eyes. I hope this info may be helpful to someone.

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  18. SO SO glad you wrote about this! I've seen these sponsored posts all over the interweb and I just can't understand what all the hype is...granted, if you're getting paid/getting everything free to review, of course it's hard to talk smack but still, the cost is crazy to me! It's so good to hear an unbiased perspective and know that it's really just the sponsored posts talking...unfortunately. We too spend about $75 for groceries a month and I feel like we eat a ton - it's me, my hubs, and our three toddlers. We started using eMeals about two months ago though and absolutely LOVE it! I paid for a year subscription and plan on using it until I die. You should try it! The meals are huge; we always have leftovers and all the meal planning is done for you so one trip to the grocery store a week it is! :)

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  19. Oh my! I love this review. My sister did a Blue Apron box once with a friend and I swear she could have written this. She basically said all the same things.

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  20. I know this isn't really what your blog is about but I would love if you would share your meal plans with us. I always really like your recipes so I'm sure I would enjoy your meal plans too....I absolutely hate meal planning so I think you would be saving my sanity!

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  21. Love this honest review. I'm up in Canada so it's not something I could partake in even if I wanted to, but I agree with you - I just don't see how this would be a financially feasible option for most families. And the waste - I don't think I could live with that. Anyway…I second (tenth?) all the previous comments asking for insight (i.e. a blog post) on how you grocery shop and how you keep your grocery budget so low! Pretty please…! :)

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  22. I think Blue Apron is quite expensive, but for NYC standards it's pretty comparable in cost. I don't like their meals because as you said they're a bit too fancy for my taste and not necessarily kid friendly. I usually spend $150/week for a fam 4 in NYC planning 5 meals/week. And I think the comment above about Trader Joe's being so expensive is so funny bc in NYC they're the cheapest since their prices are the same country wide.

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  23. Love honest reviews! This would not be a good fit for my family! The money is the main reason. And I would feel guilty about the packaging. Thankful for Sam's Club

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  24. Hi! We received our first box yesterday, and I have to say it will also be our last! We thought it would be a time saving way to eat healthy foods, but it definitely was not. It was an hour of ACTIVE prepping and cooking, which just doesn't cut it if you work and have young kids. Plus I also had to make a separate meal for the little guys. And when taste was just ok and you have a whole lot of pots and pans and dishes to clean afterwards, not worth it. Good for those who have time and like trying their hand at fancier dishes with different spices, but just not the saving grace for busy people. I like making my family simpler foods with less ingredients and will save the fancier stuff for the restaurants!

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  25. So it did serve all your kids? What do you have 3? Plus you and your husband?

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    1. We have three very young children, and it. . .kind of fed them. They don't eat much and they didn't really LIKE any of the meals and the serving sizes were pretty small, I thought. If you have kids that regularly eat a full dinner, you'd definitely not want to count on the box for 2 feeding extra kids.

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    2. How about this. Instead of being a scared pushover of a parent, make one dinner and make them eat it, or go to bed hungry. Like our parents did to us. Quit being scared your child won't like you if you aren't their maid/slave/friend/cook. You are the PARENT. Actually act like one!

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    3. Katy, here is an idea, how about instead of being rude to the OP, you keep your mouth shut and put more into reading comprehension. the meals are for TWO so even if she made the kids eat dinner, there wouldn't have been enough, AND she already said in the blog that typically she makes them eat what is for dinner but didn't at this point due to the small servings, and the uniqueness of the ingredients.

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    4. AMEN TO THAT KATY LEANER!!I, personally didnt read everything above and dont care about whether she was saying it at the right time I just seriously wish parents would stop letting their children run their lives and being afraid of them so felt compelled to giving you an Amen Amy. Not since this really is clearly out of context I ask that you all feel free to continue your bickering amongst yourselves. Have a Great Day!

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  26. I've been getting Blue Apron for about a couple months, with a couple weeks off, so I set my own schedule depending on holidays, vacations, etc. I'm a single mom of a teen with special needs, I work full-time, he's involved with Special Olympics and other extra-curricular things, and my time is really limited. I adore cooking and it killed me to be in such a rush after work to have to just throw together mac n' cheese or pick up a pizza or stuff like that. I know I would have time to cook a decent meal, but it's the planning, shopping, and then cooking that was getting very tough. So with Blue Apron, while it is a bit more than I would normally spend, it saves me the stress of the planning and shopping (I can't really take my son into a store very easily for major shopping and the only time I have to shop would be on my lunch hour which, because of work, I most often can't even do!). And, like you wrote, it's kind of like Christmas opening up the box when it arrives. And, fortunately, my son is loving all the meals that have come (we did give away a meal with coconut broth for a Thai soup - I hate coconut!) and eats everything (although the jerk chicken meal was a bit too spicy for him, delicious for me though!). I love the quality of the food, the variety and uniqueness of the meals, they do take a tad more than the 30 minutes to prep that they advertise but not much more, and most of the time I can get by with one or two pots or pans so not much clean-up. As for the packaging - it's all recyclable so I feel OK about it (not great, but OK). I'll continue to use them, maybe not every single week, but will continue. I gave a couple of the "free" meals to friends - didn't know you had to give a credit card and a commitment. That kind of stinks, in my opinion.

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  27. Wow, you only spend 75 dollars a week for 5 people? do you grow your own food? curious how you keep your budget. I spend 125/week for 4 the national average for a family of four for a month is around 700/per month. I thought I was doing well...around 14 bucks per day B/L/D. Would appreciate any grocery advice.

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    1. I wrote a whole post about it here! http://www.everyday-reading.com/2015/09/thirteen-ways-i-keep-our-grocery-bill.html

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  28. Don't you people realize that this service is not intended for housewives with a family of 6? Of course they *like* to go grocery shopping because without that daily activity they would be at home literally all day. This service is intended for young, busy, professional couples, where both go to work but still would like to cook a home cooked meal once in a while rather than get takeout night after night.

    Listening to some of the folks complain about or deride this service reminds me of people with basic flip phones trying to make fun of iPhone users.

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    1. My post wasn't meant to say that Blue Apron is a terrible service - I just wanted to share my experience and why it wasn't a great fit for my family. Especially because I've seen dozens of sponsored Blue Apron posts written by women who don't work outside the home and have three or more children.

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  29. Don't you people realize that this service is not intended for housewives with a family of 6? Of course they *like* to go grocery shopping because without that daily activity they would be at home literally all day. This service is intended for young, busy, professional couples, where both go to work but still would like to cook a home cooked meal once in a while rather than get takeout night after night.

    Listening to some of the folks complain about or deride this service reminds me of people with basic flip phones trying to make fun of iPhone users.

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  30. My elderly (82/84) parents often complain about the lack of fresh and good tasting produce in their town. I live 2000 miles away and want to spoil them.

    I signed up after asking Dad if he could handle the cooking, and he replied: Let it come. I'll be happy to report on this, albeit 2nd hand. Watch this space.

    -Mysterygirl

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  31. Are you Rachel Maddow? She always says that.

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  32. I'll just take that as a compliment. She and I are about the same age, and I'm "reporting" to all of you, right?

    So....My parents just finished their first week.

    They loved the prime rib with potatoes and mushrooms, and were so-so on the catfish with grits but they live in catfish country, and go out for fried fresh catfish routinely.

    They did surprisingly well with the chicken meatballs ("chicken meatballs?!"). It specified a "weird" raw Brussel sprout kimchi which I begged them to cook first. They didn't. But even though dad messed up and mixed the cooked rice in with the raw chicken, they liked it and would "do it again that way."

    I love my dad getting to be a more experience cook in his eighties and these new recipes are getting them out of their life-long food ruts.

    I might be enjoying it more than they are, but they don't want to cancel their 2nd shipment.

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  33. $75 per week grocery shipping for a family of 4 (ok 3 1/2) and $60 for going out to dinner 2-3 times per week? I need to move my family to your city. In Miami, I spend at least $50 on pizza take out and our weekly grocery bill is no less than $150 per week for a family of 5 with 3 small children. That's eating out a few nights a week.

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  34. $75 per week grocery shipping for a family of 4 (ok 3 1/2) and $60 for going out to dinner 2-3 times per week? I need to move my family to your city. In Miami, I spend at least $50 on pizza take out and our weekly grocery bill is no less than $150 per week for a family of 5 with 3 small children. That's eating out a few nights a week.

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  35. if you are new to Blue Apron. DON'T SIGN UP if you want any type of reliable meal delivery services. They consistently leave key ingredients out of the box and there is no way to get replacements. It defeats the whole purpose of the meal delivery service if you have to go out and shop for subsitutes. In my last box, I was missing main 2 ingredients --noodles and quinoa--which were the starches for two meals. I email them everytime an ingredient is missing and the best they can do is to refund you $10-15. I've been subscribing for a year now and their quality of service has declined drastically ever since they've been expanding. There is at least one ingredient missing in every other box.

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    1. I suffered the same experience with blue apron, including missed deliveries. We gave them 6 months and they could never get it together. About to receive our first Hello Fresh box. Fingers crossed.

      Delete
  36. I was pretty satisfied with the service until I saw that some of the vegetables were from outside the US. I was under the impression that Blue Apron prided itself on "local" sourcing. Surely red bell peppers are always growing - SOMEWHERE in the US. I reached out to the company over six months ago and have yet to receive a response. Very disappointed.

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    Replies
    1. My parents have received 12 meals so far. Nothing has arrived unusably frozen, even though they are in a cold and snowy area. They let BA know they were missing a garlic head and were credited $5 which I thought was fair.

      Delete
  37. I think the key is who is buying Blue Apron and why. I'm a single, professional woman who has to make choices about my scant "free" time. Over the years, I've given up cooking in order to spend the time doing other things I love. It's unfortunately led me to less than healthy food choices and I found my self doing things I never thought I would do, such as running through the drive-thru on a regular basis. With the 3 weekly meals for 2 I can come home, pull the fresh, tasty ingredients out of the fridge, cook things I never would do on my own otherwise and eat better. I can also minimize the amount of food I throw out, like 1/2 the bunch of cilantro I didn't use before it spoiled, or the shallots that sprouted. It's not that I wouldn't love meal planning and grocery shopping and spending less for groceries, but this service allows me to make me 3 meals a week (6 or more since each one easily makes 2-3 servings), has re-introduced me to cooking, healthy eating, and the creativity and satisfaction one can get from cooking meals rather than mindlessly grabbing takeout, eating out, fast food or other prepared food options.

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    1. I'm in the same situation and found that thefresh20 works best for me. It's more time to cook than I'm used to, but I think once I'll get faster as I cook more and start doing more prep. I double the recipes if I think I'll really like it and then have lunches as well. I chose the for one plan. And I can substitute ingredients if I don't like something. I love it!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Alicia! I feel like you are speaking for me!

      Delete
    3. I am also a single young professional. Blue Apron seems expensive but when I think about all the take-out I used to eat and the fact that I can now take my leftovers to work instead of buying crappy food from the cafeteria I think I may even be spending a bit less on food than before I had Blue Apron. It's not for everyone but it works for me. I also like that the service helps me broaden my previously very limited food horizons. For instance, I never would have bought a food like beets because I've never tried them and just figured I wouldn't like them; but beets came as part of a recipe for Blue Apron and I discovered that beets are delicious! My professional situation as well as my single - personhood is what makes Blue Apron work for me but I agree that it doesn't make much sense for families.

      Delete
  38. I love it. Just finished up my second week and have to say that it is perfect for empty nesters. The first box arrived with the fresh endive frozen but there was more than enough romaine to make the salad. I get three meals on Thursday and love to come home and be able to make dinner without fighting through the grocery store at 5 pm. We have both loved every meal even though I did think I would. The serving sizes are large enough to satisfy us and some meals we have had leftovers for lunch. I really like not throwing away ruined food from the too large meals I cooked on my own. It is hard to learn how to cook for two after cooking for teenage boys for several years. I'm also learning that I can feed two people with much less than I was used too. It sounds simple but seeing is believing. I'm using their recipes to plan meals for the rest of the week and am saving money. I'm a big fan. I completely see that this wouldn't work for a family with young kids but it really works for us.

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  39. My husband and I are in our 70's (early) and I thought with my husband's illness and lack of appetite, this would be easy for me. The salmon was delicious, very flavorfull meal. BUT.....it was just too labor intensive....I love to cook, but this was just too much work for me. And what a mess my kitchen was! Loved the meal, just might be too much work....

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  40. It is not only about not going to the store...That saves you time and money.
    It is the fact that you are learning good wholesome meal prep with the finest of the finest ingredients that I would guess you could not find any of this quality in your town.
    Check out their videos and information on their suppliers.
    Plus establishing an on going cook book folder ..the meal prep instructions cost $.
    I save the containers for my RV for for meal prep on the road or camping.
    A meal of this quality would cost ....."With their top of the line ingredients" well over $20 per serving plus tip in any top end restaurant....That is $ 120 plus tip driving to the restaurant than home for six meals.
    This is not a fast food replacement!
    This Grommet cooking at home and a learning experience.

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  41. As a young couple with no kids that enjoys cooking we really enjoy blue apron. I've been getting tired of the same old recipes and lacking in time to be creative I decided to give it a try. I hate meal planning, so having dropped at the door was great. However, I can see that once I have kids it may get pricey and may not work as well though.

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  42. I've been using Blue Apron for several months now, and I really like it. We get the family plan, two meals a week for 4 people.
    Pros: I can choose which two meals I want from the four meals they offer each week. I can easily skip weeks. If I don't see two meals that look interesting to try or just look delicious, I skip. I don't enjoy planning and have a tendency to fall back on meals I have the ingredients for and that I make a lot. The only thing I have needed to provide for their meals is olive oil, everything I need is right there. I have learned a few different cooking methods. I've eaten things I never made previously (oven roasted parsnips are now a favorite of my family). I think, overall, Blue Apron is an excellent value. It's $70 for 8 total meals. That cost includes the packing, the shipping, and their overhead costs. It's actually quite a reasonable cost per person. Everything is recyclable, and you can even send the ice packs and clean packaging materials back to them, on their dime. And, their app works really well.
    Cons: They only have 4 delivery days, W-Sat. I tried Weds, but the box can arrive any time until 8pm, so it was stressful wondering if the box would get there. I was typically getting a 4:30 delivery. The issue then becomes, is the main meal thawed enough to use. I cook M-Th, and one meal over the weekend, so I wanted to be able to use it when I got it. I just switched to Sat delivery. I was concerned things would be too thawed and I couldn't put in the freezer. So far, it hasn't been the case, and I like knowing I have Mon and Tues meals all set. I don't think their prep and cook times are reliable, so I've learned to add time in. And it's annoying that they don't give the measurements of their spice blends. I'm sure they feel its proprietary, and they will provide the info if you contact them, but it's annoying.

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  43. My Blue Apron experience was poor. Missed deliveries, late deliveries (1 was 5 days late) rotten produce, wrong ingredients, wrong recipe cards...the list goes on and on. Although customer service was always prompt to refund for the errors, I was not impressed with the company's inability to correct the problems. Cancellation was easy. We're now about to receive our first Hello Fresh box, and hoping the experience will be better.

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  44. I'm a single woman, 30, with a busy work schedule (often traveling.) Between eating out and groceries I spend much more than $60 a week. I'm not at all a cook, previously cooking very basic stuff (grill or bake meat + rice or potatoes + veggie) and my breakfast and lunch is even more simple lol

    I've been doing blue apron for 6 weeks now and I absolutely adore it. I am shocked how much I like the food even when I'm pretty sure I won't. I've only had a few meals that weren't really good (to me.) Because it's just me, I tend to get 2 sometimes 3 meals out of it. So it's actually replaced most of my dinners and lunches. I still will eat out but normally just once or twice over the weekend now.

    I'm eating meals that are more fresh, well rounded and saving money by not eating out as often.

    I haven't tried other services but I've really had a blast learning to cook with blue apron and enjoying new foods and food combinations.

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  45. I'm researching reviews on Blue Apron because I am tempted to try and found a trend among the mix reviews. Blue Apron may not be a good fit for families that want to "stretch" their dollars on these meals. These meals are portion controlled @ 500-800 calories per meal so for families with hardy and growing appetites aren't going to find this option worth the service. You can make a meal for less than $10/meal on certain menu items but there are other meals that are more costly, like steak or cod. Also please factor that you are paying for delivery and packaging services. Hence the average price of $10/meal is actually on par since you are also paying for convenience. These meal services were never meant to replace your normal meal planning and cooking routines at home because the service is only 2-3 meals per week, it is a supplement and provides variety and convenience when you are in a bind. A general food service like this will also not be able to accommodate ppl with certain nutritional health needs or likes/dislikes.

    I live in Southern California and have a family of 5 (kids 7, 9, and 10). My weekly groceries averages $200-$300/mo; I will caveat that I buy 80-90% organic on the items that we eat most like dairy, cheese, chicken, eggs, dirty dozen veggie/fruits). Eating out for us in this region is $60 (fast food type or take out) to $100+ (restaurants). Hence $10/meal is actually not a bad investment a few times a week for my family given the convenience factor. I hate meal planning and need new ideas to mix things up (we love Trader Joe's but some of these convenience food aren't totally healthy either). Both my husband and I work full time and I can see us using these meal services a couple of times a week when the kids have long activities days and Friday nights, when we do family movie nights at home.

    I love to cook but just don't have time to spend an hour cooking :)

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  46. I have had this service for about a month now. We (wife and I) have had the opportunity to try several new dishes that we may have not tried otherwise. This is a pro. As far as cons, the amount of packaging (although the website does give great advice about how to return the ice packs with a free return shipping label and most everything else is recyclable), the pricing ($10 a plate) and the (in my opinion) massive prep time and complexity of the cooking process are more cons than pros for me. I have actually had both anxiety and anger while reading the instructions because they are so involved. There is also way too much "salting and peppering" in there. The instructions seem to have phrases copied and pasted in there and do not always flow very logically. It will say add the product to the pan, salt and pepper, remove from the pan, salt and pepper, then once everything's assembled salt and pepper. Come on! Someone in editing needs to look these over from start to finish. We have had eggs arrive cracked, meat sliced open with juices at the bottom of the box, and leafy produce that was not fresh. Now these thing wouldn't normally bother me too much but when you have to supplement these ten dollar per person meals it ends up not being worth it!

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  47. I am on my second Blue Apron box and I have now cooked 4 of their meals. I really liked all of the meals in the 1st box and I like the 4th meal (in the 2nd box) but a little less. So far I like Blue Apron because I am single and I order the 3-meal for 2 people plan and I actually get 3 meals out of each 2-person meal (and I am not thin!). So, for $60 I get 9 meals which I eat as lunches and dinners. Eventually, that may get repetitious but for now it is not. In the past I have bought and thrown away a lot of vegetables so I tend to not buy them at all since I was letting rot a fair amount of money. With the Blue Apron Service, I am eating a lot more vegetables than normal for me. I have eaten a lot of cabbage, kale, collard greens (my 1st time) these last 4 meals and enjoying them. So for me, not having to plan a menu, shop or do anything but follow easy recipes (to me they are easy) is a wonderful and healthy convenience. I also live in the Philadelphia area and I can't buy healthy food, not even at the grocery store (Giant, Wegmans) for $10 a serving. If I do hit the wonderful Wegman's buffet, I am buying every unhealthy but wonderful dish in the buffet - Chinese, Indian, Fried Chicken etc. because warmed vegetables in a buffet taste like crap. Also Trader Joe's has well known reputation for selling inferior "fresh" vegetables so I really don't know how the other reviewers feed their families of 3 - 5 at Trader Joes for less than $10 a serving as healthily as they claim with food that tastes good.

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  48. I have never used Blue Apron but I do use Green Chef and I am quite happy. The cost of the meals depends on the type of meals you choose. We are currently receiving the vegetarian meals. My kids don’t like the vegetarian meals but they are very picky eaters. I love them. I pay about $80.00 per week for 6 meals. I receive my meals on Friday which I love because I know I will have a nice meal on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have four kids so my weeks are full with soccer practice, tennis clinics, violin, church and more. I plan my simple meals that my kids like Monday - Thursday. My box arrives with all of my ingredients labeled and three beautiful and easy to read recipes. Most of the meals only take about 30 minutes to make. I love it because under normal circumstances I would never make these meals. What confuses me about this post is how much you spend per week on groceries. You said you typically spend $60.00 per week. I would really love to know, HOW!?!? I buy mostly organic foods and prepare very healthy meals for my family, but honestly, my grocery bill is more like $300.00 to $350.00 per week. That doesn’t include toiletries and household cleaning products which my husband buys at Sam's Club. I could never buy the ingredients in these recipes for $80.00. I think $80.00 per week is a great deal and in fact my grocery bill has gone down since I started with Green Chef. I have been thinking about going to 8 meals per week. If you haven’t tried Green Chef, give it a try.

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  49. We are a middle aged couple with very chaotic work schedules. In seventeen years of marriage my husband only cooked about five meals...before Blue Apron. It was his idea to learn to cook and readily agreed to the BA subscription after receiving a free week that my sister sponsored for us. After a month or so we are finding it to be a good choice for us. It doesn't cost us more than we would have spent on ingredients for comparable meals and there is no waste of food. We find the portions to be plentiful and sometimes have a little bit of leftovers. All of our contents have been well packaged and nothing has been missing. We are adventurous eaters so we enjoy the variety so far and while not all of the meals have been delicious...we have also been disappointed when eating out too.

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  50. We are also a middle aged couple with busy work schedules. We enjoy Blue Apron and have had the same experience as yellowhorse. It's been a great option for us.

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  51. So, after trying Blue Apron, I planned to write an unsponsored review on my blog but now I feel like I could just link here because our experience was IDENTICAL.
    We got the trial for free from a friend, were horrified at the price, were hungry after the portions, and I was overly irritated bc I had to was produce!! Plus we didn't even think the final product was anything special :-/

    My neighbor uses it to help after a new baby, but it doesn't REALLY help because you still have to make a (pretty time-consuming!) meal!! And you still have to go to the grocery store. You totally nailed it on the idea to just look at their meal plans if you're in a rut.

    My husband and I thought that if we liked it we'd do it once a month as a little in-home date night, but we decided against it. Thanks again for the great review!

    thekriegers.org

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  52. I have tired 3 boxes of Blue Apron and so far, I have not been impressed. I am a fairly good cook and have a well stocked kitchen and Blue Apron just doesnt seem to jell with my style of cooking. I have found it annoying to open up the thousands of little bags for the ingredients of each recipe like the spices, flour, etc. The cooking time seemed to exceed well over the given time in the instructions and I was still not being completely satisfied with the final product.

    Making burgers or spaghetti balls from ground beef from scratch or pizza from pizza dough.. No thank you. Why would I want to do that when I can order a pizza or buy ready made pizza from Trader Joes.
    Some of these recipes are definitely restaurant quality and they are more fancy than what I expected. After a long day at work and then gym and walking the dog, I just want to put together something quick and simple, not spend over an hour prepping and cooking and cleaning dishes, all for a meal for just two servings. Meh.

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  53. Glad to find this review. I was SO disappointed with Blue Apron due to the cost, and the fact that it is actually impossible for people who live in non-doorman apartment buildings to use due to their delivery methods. My wife found the meals bland. Back to meal planning!

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  54. My wife and I tried Blue Apron this week. The first meal (salmon and potatoes) took my wife an hour and 25 minutes to prepare, and took me a half hour after dinner to clean up the numerous dishes, pots, and utensils. The second meal (chicken and noodles) too me an hour and 5 minutes to prepare and my wife 25 minutes to clean up the numerous dishes and utensils used in preparation. We are throwing away the third meal, and not bothering to prepare it, because we just do not have time to spend over an hour preparing dinner and 20-30 minutes cleaning up the mess after dinner (and I mean just lightly rinsing and putting the stuff in the dishwasher).

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  55. I was disappointed with Blue Apron primarily because it didn't have enough food in the meals to satisfy my daughter or I. I looked at it as an adventure but found it to be a rip off.

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  56. Don't get me wrong, I love Blue Apron (it basically taught me how to cook!) but found that for me, personally, there was something missing. I started my company Takeout Kit to address the issue of 'meal kit anxiety' or stress that comes from not being able to cook your meal kits before they expire. Takeout Kits have long shelf lives (2 months) and can stay in your pantry until you're ready to cook. We're focusing on creating global dishes that are fun and exciting to cook and might typically require hard-to-find ingredients. We're also about half the price of Blue Apron (score!). Happy to send you a kit to try, Janssen - email me at rachael@takeoutkit.com
    Check us out https://takeoutkit.com/

    ReplyDelete
  57. I have many read of the comments here, would like to comment. on a few:
    1. $200 for food I live about 30 miles north of Tampa, FL, somewhat suburban/rural) . Its my wife and myself, we do the bulk of our shopping at Walmart, not the cheapest place in our area, but close to where we live. Anyway for the 2 of use, moderate eaters are weekly bill from Walmart is $100-200, but that includes fresh seasonal fruit, paper goods, pharmacy , some wine and beer etc. For food we guess about $50-70 per week. I all depends on what you consider "grocery shopping"
    2. We also have our go to food ( I do most of the cooking) for a quick dinner, takes me about 30-40 minutes)
    Even though I have never used blue apron don't plan to mainly because of price and other negative reviews. 12fbill12@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  58. you guys should try FeedYouFit.com their a New York based company and the food is excellent. It amazing food with very clean labels. Ive lost a decent amount of weight from their meals as well.

    ReplyDelete

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