Blue Apron Review – Personal Finance Perspective
This post is unsponsored. There have been a ton of posts in the blog world about Blue Apron, but I don’t think it is a coincidence that they haven’t bothered with a sponsored campaign in the personal finance blogger world. We are not their target audience.
Despite not being in their target audience in the blog world, I’m in their target demo in the real world. I tried Blue Apron for two weeks. The first week was with a hefty discount that anyone can get, the second week was partly because I didn’t cancel soon enough and partly so T would have some good food while I was out of town. I was traveling for part of the second week, so I tried five out of the six meals.
Things that I really loved:
No meal planning! I generally enjoy meal planning, but my stress had reached a peak and I just wasn’t able to do it.
New recipes I really liked: I liked all of the five meals that I tried, and really liked several. Some I will make again, others I would make again but they had some unusual ingredients that I’m unlikely to buy. I don’t cook a lot of meat and fish at home, and when I do, its the same few dishes/cuts. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever cooked salmon or roasted pork. This is mostly because when I’m looking for new recipes, I don’t think that I’d like a salmon dish or a pork dish as much as some other dish that I’m more comfortable with. Blue Apron helped me branch into a few new areas. I also really liked some of the different flavor profiles. I’m a huge fan of trying new dishes, and Blue Apron made it super easy.
They also give you the recipes when you skip a week.
I like cooking and eating home cooked food: If you don’t really care for cooking, this option doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yes, just get your takeout. For me, this setup is much more appealing than it would be to spend the exact same amount of money on takeout.
Less grocery shopping: It only covered us for 3 nights, which doesn’t eliminate the need to go to the store. Still, it allowed me to plan something very simple for a few nights, and have something yummy the other nights. Since we’ve been doing such a poor job of meal planning lately, we’ve sometimes ended up at the store more than once a week. This is a problem that I know how to solve, I just hadn’t had time/energy to solve it. Blue Apron was nice in this pinch. The second week, I came home from traveling late Thursday, and we still had 2 meals left for Friday and Saturday. It was such a relief to not have to worry about shopping until I’d had time to decompress, yet we still got a good home cooked meal.
Things that I didn’t like:
Price is high: This is the big deal breaker. Without a discount, the pricing is about $10 per a plate. That is a lot for home cooked food! I did find the portion sizes a little bigger than what I’d serve myself (one dinner actually was designed for 3 portions), but still. It is just not reasonable for anyone who has frugal values.
That said, it isn’t completely insane. Some people say they could just get takeout for this price. For us, getting takeout actually takes more time than cooking, unless we pay a premium for Seamless/delivery. Where I live, I can’t get cooked food for two delivered to our door for $20, and it is at least a 45 minute errand to pick it up (and still a bit over $20). I can’t remember the last time we went out to eat at a proper restaurant for <$20. We don’t really do much “fast food”, and even Chipotle is closer to $20 than to $10. Restaurants are really expensive here, even more than they were in LA/Santa Monica.
No leftovers: With the exception noted above, I found it annoying to do all of the cooking work and not have leftovers for the next night or for lunches.
Unfriendly packaging: Their website does tell you how to recycle everything, but there is a lot of packaging.
Quality Control: The first week was perfect, but the second week was missing an ingredient (!) and had one of the wrong recipe cards sent. The recipes are available online, and we just made the recipe without the missing carrot – but we’re paying a price for the convenience, which makes this completely unacceptable. We’ll be contacting them with a complaint, and I’ll report back on what they say. I haven’t seen anyone else complain about mistakes, so maybe we just had bad luck.
The price is just too high for me. Honestly, I liked it so much that I might add it in occasionally (once per a month or less) to change things up, despite the cost. The next month is slated to be busy at work. If weekly menu sounds really appealing, I’ll probably do it. I’ll likely eventually cancel all together, because this just isn’t a good financial deal. I can see why people love it, but I can’t imagine doing this on a regular basis as a primary source of our food. The only possible way it will save you money is if you are already eating lots of dinners out at places that are >$10 per a serving. And if you are doing that, you are probably not that concerned about cutting your food budget.