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If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I rarely do product reviews. This is mostly because I almost never try new products. I mean, I would actually have to buy something to try something, right? Most of the time, that’s not happening.
Still, I felt compelled to try recipe delivery service, Blue Apron, right away. This is partly because I know so many people who’ve tried it and absolutely love it. The idea of having fresh food delivered to my doorstep also sounded heavenly. Even so, the pricing structure seemed like a terrible value. Was there something I was missing? Regardless, I thought writing an unpaid Blue Apron review would be fun and something you would all be interested in reading. So, I soldiered on.
To get to the bottom of things, I signed up for Blue Apron delivery with a $25 coupon. That meant the 3 meal/week plan for two people came out to around $35 (instead of $59.94). I could live with that, I thought, considering the after-coupon price per meal worked out to around $5.83.
6 Reasons I Absolutely Hated Blue Apron
But, when the big day came, I fell out of love with the idea in a hurry. Blue Apron is hands-down not for me; nor is it for people who think like I do. I’ve got a billion reasons why (OK, more like six…but who’s counting?), and I’m about to break them down for you – Club Thrifty style. If you’re chewing over Blue Apron, consider these downsides before you pull the trigger.
Reason #1: Blue Apron is expensive!
Paying around $35 for a weekly Blue Apron subscription is one thing, but paying $60 is absolutely nuts. At $60 for three, two-person meals, that’s $10 per plate you’re forking over. $10 per plate! At that price point, you might as well head to Applebee’s and get curbside takeaway instead. You won’t have to cook it or deal with the clean-up, yet it will cost about the same.
If you did the grocery shopping yourself and cooked these same meals, you would save big. Like, real big. One meal I created, Spiced Cauliflower with Jasmine Rice and Cilantro-Yogurt sauce, cost less than $2 per serving when I priced out the ingredients at the grocery store. When you added up the price of cauliflower, the Jasmine rice, cilantro, and the herbs and spices, it was literally less than $4.00 for more than two servings at my local grocery store, Meijer. That’s a savings of $16 per meal. Multiply that by three and you’re saving $48 a week!!! Just to be clear, you’re saving roughly $192 a month…or $2,496 a year just for going to the grocery store!!!
To put that in perspective, if your family makes $80,000 a year (a very nice living, BTW) and you use Blue Apron’s 3 meal a week plan, there goes that 3% raise you received this year… plus some. Yeah, no thanks.
If you really need a meal planning program, I’d use something like The $5 Meal Plan instead. The meal planning problem is solved plus you save money! Each meal costs about $2 a person. Just head to the grocery store and pick up the ingredients. Learn more here.
Reason #2: Their recipes require sooooooooo many dishes.
Part of the allure of Blue Apron is that they send so many complex and unique dishes. While this is a good thing in some ways, more ingredients also means a lot more prep.
When I made the first two Blue Apron dinners we received, I couldn’t believe the huge mess I created in the process. I needed like five different bowls to prep veggies and sauces, then at least three pots and pans to cook the various ingredients.
As someone who likes to cook and eat simply, I say “no bueno.” I don’t need to wash, dry, and put away a giant sink of dishes every night.
Reason #3: Blue Apron creates a ridiculous amount of waste.
I expected a certain amount of waste with any type of meal delivery service, but the trash Blue Apron meals creates is absolutely absurd. Not only do you get a giant box with packaging materials in the mail, but you get a few giant freezer packs as well. They appear to be reusable, but they would add up quickly if you were receiving a box or two every week. What on Earth are you supposed to do with them?
Beyond that, every ingredient you handle comes in its own plastic packaging. I swear, a tiny sprig of an herb will come in its own plastic baggie. Even when you need to add two teaspoons of vinegar or a tiny dash of wine, it comes in a tiny plastic bottle or bag. Add this up over several meals, and the waste is absolutely insane.
Reason #4: I have to cook this?
I realized I would have to do the cooking when I signed up for this, but hear me out. How on Earth is this a good deal – or a time-saver – when you have to spend at least a half an hour prepping, a half an hour cooking, and a half an hour cleaning up? Why not pack up the kid, head to your local buffet, and skip the hassle altogether? Why not just throw some scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit on a plate and call it good?
When I was making our Blue Apron selections, I couldn’t help but think this was yet another way we complicate our lives. I mean, it’s almost like we aren’t happy with all the ways we’re wasting time and money already – we need more ways to be wasteful and unintentional every day!
Reason #5: Some of the meals were gross.
You know what’s worse than paying $10 per meal, creating a bunch of trash, then cooking and cleaning up yourself? Doing all of that and thinking the food is gross. While we enjoyed a few of the meals we received from Blue Apron, several were not good at all.
This crazy pasta dish, for example, was pretty strange. I followed the recipe to the “T,” (it’s pretty hard to mess up when all of the ingredients are portioned out), yet it was runny, bland, and mostly inedible. When you’re living within a strict grocery budget, it’s crucial to buy things your family will actually eat and enjoy. But, with Blue Apron, you may or may not get something you like every time.
Remember, food down the drain is money down the drain, too.
Reason #6: Blue Apron has entirely too many steps.
I totally get what they’re trying to do as a company. By sending us innovative meals with some snazzy ingredients, they’re making it easy for us to try flavor combinations, and perhaps even foods we’ve never tasted before. But for me, it was all too much. Maybe I’m not experimental enough in real life, but I don’t like it when a new recipe requires 20-30 different steps.
During a few of the recipes, I had a pot on every single one of my burners going. Four pots!?!?! And for what? To have a few toasted pine nuts on top of one recipe, and three different sauces in another? In the end, none of it tasted that great, either.
My Blue Apron Review: The Verdict
If you’re thinking of trying Blue Apron or a similar service, don’t let my thoughts deter you. I know several people who think I’m totally wrong and use Blue Apron or a similar service faithfully. At the end of the day, to each their own. One person’s torture is another person’s idea of fun, and it always has been.
On the other hand, if you’re frugal and hate waste like I do, you should really brace yourself before you try it. The giant piles of trash might make you as uncomfortable as the sinks full of dishes you’ll create. And in the end, you might find the service only marginally helpful and way too expensive like I did.
The bottom line: If I’m paying $40 per meal for a family of four, we’re going out to dinner and skipping the trash, the cooking, and the clean-up.
Have you ever tried Blue Apron or a similar service? What did you think about it?