Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh, two popular meal kit services but often we get asked which one is better. In an effort to save everyone time in research, I’ll share simple anecdotal evidence regarding our experiences of Hello Fresh and Blue Apron.
This “review” hasn’t been sponsored or paid for by either company, and while we have affiliate links available to click on, this is our transparent experience with both companies.
Blue Apron: https://fave.co/3MuUK2B
Hello Fresh: https://fave.co/3NAw7TD
Don’t feel like reading? We recommend Blue Apron.
Convenience is key with meal-kit delivery. These companies curate some decent recipes, throw all the ingredients in a box, and ship it right to your doorstep same day every week. Great on paper, but there are some drawbacks. In general, we find these services to be extremely wasteful. Neither of these companies take any kind of meaningful precautions in preventing plastic waste – it’s almost as if they go the extra mile to ensure more trash! Covering plastic items with more plastic, delivering multiple ingredients that need to be mixed in separate plastic containers. It’s a shame and a drawback of these services. A simple way to improve this would be to mix ingredients for you to prevent cost and waste, and find more economical packaging such as paper instead of plastic, but cutting time and costs is the focus of these businesses and these improvements, despite being easy to implement, will never be on their radar.
We get it, these boxes can be fun to make, and Blue Apron especially does a good job at curating more interesting recipes than Hello Fresh and using ingredients that most people won’t typically utilize. Sometimes it’s just nice to have the ingredients and recipes at your finger tips, but we can’t help but feel like the whole approach is… well just read ahead.
Often… not so fresh. We did about 6 weeks with Hello Fresh and in almost every box we had an issue. Their customer service was often unfriendly and not the easiest to get ahold of. They would require pictures (understandable) but it felt more like a hassle to them to replace issues with the box than it did to make the problem right with representatives often asking what we’d like to do or overall lack friendliness. An example of a common problem would be the disparaging size of produce. We’d get a recipe for a cucumber salad but the cucumber in the box was the size of my index finger. Barely enough for one let alone two. Another common problem was getting vegetables that were often beat up if not outright rotten.
Hello Fresh recipes tend to be repetitive and not inventive. Often having very similar ingredients or styles. Every week we were basically oven cooking French fries in some form or another, and sure you can change out your recipes (some at extra cost) but Blue Apron has the tendency to use ingredients that most people wouldn’t use. They seem to be a lot more creative with coming up with fun things for people to make. If you’re looking for something a little more charming, Blue Apron is the clear winner.
One plus we found was in navigating Hello Fresh’s website, which is a bit easier. This is a nitpick type thing though and wouldn’t dissuade a person one way or another.
We found our experience with Blue Apron to be overall better, often receiving better and fresher ingredients. Produce looked cleaner, nicer, and like it wasn’t sitting around in a warehouse for weeks. Meat quality is superior in Blue Apron boxes as well. Beef, delivered by Hello Fresh is SUPER fatty, the same goes for their pork, and the fish always tasted “fishier”. Proteins from Blue Apron just all around tasted better and appeared better in quality.
That said, while more inventive, has some draw backs. They are less accurate on recipe instructions, often mixing up amounts, ingredients, or even missing steps! We did about an 8 week stint with Blue Apron and on three separate occasions they sent the wrong or different ingredients. It wasn’t just to us, it was to all their customers. They notified us with an email and explained how to “fix” the recipe. That said if you’re confident in the kitchen the less intuitive instructions shouldn’t be a problem.
When Blue Apron first started they had you putting ALL the individual ingredients into separate bowls – wasteful and time consuming. They’ve since improved on the use of bowls and utensils and we have found that overall they have improved the logic of their meal-kits while maintaining some of the more unique recipes.
Taste and Portions
We simply found Blue Apron to taste better as well. They offer bigger portions, and thus you had leftovers more often with Blue Apron. For people that are unwilling to save leftovers this may not be a big deal, but we love having left overs (feels like meal prep) and it was nice to have enough for a second meal! As mentioned before, the ingredient quality of Blue Apron appears superior and thus tastes better, too. It’s not that Hello Fresh didn’t have some nifty recipes or good tasting flavors, we just liked Blue Apron better.
Which one to choose?
Meal-kit delivery services are fun, but not long term. We don’t find any of the recipes to be particularly “fast”. They’re time consuming, and the waste from the boxes is ridiculous. If you do it for a few weeks, pause, then do it for a couple weeks type deal, we can see the merit in it. The best form of cooking at home? Meal prep. Local ingredients, faster, easier, and if you hate grocery shopping, then use Instacart or Uber.
So which to choose between Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh? But if you decide to join one of these things and you’re on the fence, we’re confident in our suggestion that Blue Apron is the superior choice.