Smart Home Cooking Challenge: Blue Apron
Update April 18, 2020: We did this meal kit comparison in 2017. Read our latest summary of meal delivery services.
For several years, we have been enjoying cooking at home more often thanks to boxed meal kits from Blue Apron. We love the convenience of having a box arrive at our house once a week, with everything we need to make a healthy, tasty meal for two, without any planning or shopping required.
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When we started using Blue Apron, there were very few competitive services available in our area. Two years ago, we decided to see what else was out there, so we tested Plated, Hello Fresh, and Din (now out of business), and Blue Apron remained our favorite.
As more and more competitors have joined the market recently, we decided to take another look, testing Home Chef, Sun Basket, and Terra’s Kitchen over the last several months. The three services each had their own unique qualities and we found that the entire market has evolved and improved in many different ways.
All services now store your meal preferences – something that is important to us since we do not eat beef. They also offer many more food choices – Blue Apron in particular now lets us choose from 8 every week – and some like Terra’s Kitchen offer more than 50 choices. Prices are also lower overall, with most services starting at 9.95 per meal per person, with SunBasket a bit higher for its organic ingredients and Terra’s Kitchen as high as $17.99 for high end meals.
All of the providers include complete nutritional facts and full recipes, and most all are offering faster preparation options – some as quick as 15 minutes. You can also buy add-ons from many of the services, such as smoothies, snacks, salads and desserts. Blue Apron even offers a premium wine pairing subscription.
The different services also have improved packaging and recyclability. Terra’s Kitchen has a unique refrigerated shipping vessel that gets picked up and re-used. If you don’t want to recycle the packaging yourself, Blue Apron will let you ship it back so they can recycle it for you.
After trying all the new services, we have to say Blue Apron definitely remains our favorite. The quality of the ingredients, the customer service, the packaging, and most importantly, the taste of the meals remains by far the best of all the services we have tried and we are proud to recommend them as the clear winners in our two Smart Home Cooking challenges.