It’s been nine months since I started Blue Apron, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting a meal delivery service. As I mentioned in the last BA post, the one answer to everyone’s question is: Is it worth the price? I vouched for the value then, and there have been numerous articles and other media coverage that have verified such when compared to the time in meal planning and shopping. Remember: Always make sure you understand the difference between price and value.
Last October I said that I got the 3-meal plan each week, which is two servings each of three different meals. At first I thought that that’d never be enough and I looked at other meal services to complement and supplement the BA deliveries. As the holidays approached, I found myself getting busier and busier, and actually had to throw away a couple of meals that I didn’t get around to cooking and had gone bad. It’s against every fiber in my being to throw food away, and I was disgusted at having to do that. So then I switched to every other week for deliveries. Things were great. But since you can’t actually schedule that, you have to go onto their website and add some weeks and cancel others, and I found myself forgetting to cancel deliveries, in which case I’d come home to unexpectedly find a box of Shrimp & Squid Ink Spaghetti with Sugar Snap Peas sitting on my front porch.
In the meantime, I tried out another service to supplement the BA. After extensive research, I chose Home Chef. I did the back and forth of trying to cancel some weeks, while keeping up with which week I was going to get BA and which week I was going to get Home Chef, and it mostly turned into a cluster because more times than not I end up with two deliveries on Tuesdays.
So in April, I completely suspended my BA account and went exclusively with Home Chef. Here are the Pro’s of Home Chef:
- Same price as BA
- More meal selections each week
- Dessert and other add-ons (which I never got)
- MUCH easier menu cards to read
- The cooking process and time was cut by at least a third
- There were fewer pans and utensils used in the Home Chef meals, therefore less cleanup
- The menu cards would tell you why you should save half the scallions, whereas BA would just tell you to set half aside. This is a big deal because it allows you to see the big picture when cooking an entire meal, and you actually know when, why, and how you are going to use them. It just makes for better flow.
- The Home Chef ingredients for each meal came bagged together individually in each box, whereas with BA you just got a box of ingredients. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. But it does save you some time overall when you’re not trying to sort a box of ingredients.
The Con’s to Home Chef:
- Lots of packaging that I think could be reduced by 25% or more
- More meal selection, but not as creative as BA, but still very good! This wasn’t a deal breaker for me as I can be a little creative in the kitchen.
- The Home Chef website isn’t as easy to navigate as BA, but again, not a deal breaker
The Con’s of BA: One thing I grew very weary of from BA is that their meal selections tend to be a little on the creative side. By this I mean, instead of just preparing a meal, there were a lot of sauces to make, etc., and quite frankly at the end of the day, I just want to eat. Another thing is that with BA, the extra steps meant there was extra prep work, and their menu cards would sometimes give you a 1 >>> 2 >>> 3 process, when in fact you could do steps four and seven together with step two. So there was a lot of back and forth. Again, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you think it’s going to take 40 minutes to prep and cook and then it takes 90, there’s only so much wine in the bottle to get you through it and still be sober enough to enjoy the meal. Also, while I did find their meals to be very intriguing and appetizing, sometimes I’m just not into all of that. I just want a well balanced, fair portioned meal.
One thing I can say about BA is that their customer service is impeccable. If they make a mistake and you call them, they will go above and beyond to make it right. Also, I love the comments section on their meal pages. You can find the recipes online, and below that are comments. You can get a lot of ideas from people who have already tried these.
Blue Apron is like that girlfriend or boyfriend that is high maintenance and is always trying to impress you, and they’re fun at first, but after a while they wear you out and you just want someone with a good head on their shoulders and who’s got it together. That’s what Home Chef is like.
One thing I now do is to put everything into individual bags for each recipe instead of the crisper drawer in the refrigerator when it’s delivered. This way I can just grab the whole bag and go from there. It saves room and time.
In the end, the meal services are totally worth it and you will try some very creative things. Think again if you think three meals a week won’t be enough, because they will.