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Updated onMay. 15, 2022

Blue Apron Meal Delivery Review

Since Blue Apron came into America’s kitchens in 2012, it has been the prototype of meal kit delivery services in this country. Its tempting dishes straddle the fence between familiar and innovative…but will seniors bite?

Blue Apron Meal
$Starting at $7.49 per Serving

OVERALL RATING

8/10

Quality

10/10

Ease of Prep

7/10

value

9/10

Delivery

9/10
Pros
  • Four to eight new recipes every week, depending on meal plan

  • Easy-to-follow instructions

  • Generous portions

  • Excellent wine club

  • Special menu for vegetarians available with the 2-Person plan

  • Only fresh, organic fruits and vegetables with a freshness guarantee

  • Hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat

  • Nationwide coverage

  • Customer service is proactive at addressing complaints

Cons
  • Shipping is not free on all orders

  • Recent multiple issues with cancellation and being charged afterwards.

  • More than one complaint about items being damaged during the delivery process

  • Limited offerings for different dietary needs.

  • Vegetarian dishes are only featured among the 2-person plans.

The Bottom Line

A great option for most first-time meal kit customers, the disorganized packaging and complex customer service issues may make it a less-than-perfect fit for seniors.

Blue Apron is a startup with a mission–a mission to combat food waste and unsustainable food growing systems. The fruit and vegetables that Blue Apron uses are grown with minimum pesticides. Hormone-free meats come from over 100 American family-run farms and ranchers that raise their animals with care. The company also partners with select fisheries that source sustainable seafood.

Buffalo

Hormone-free meats come from over 100 American family-run farms and ranchers that raise their animals with care.

Impressive as their food sourcing practices are, this New York dynamo isn’t the only service that sells itself on responsible and sustainable food sourcing. What it does do is make an art out of its brand extensions…at a killer price point. A monthly wine subscription program gets you six 500 ml bottles accompanied with tasting notes, pairing advice, and a story behind each wine to please any oenophile. Three reds and three whites come straight from vineyards, specially selected to match your monthly recipes, and are intended to be enjoyed right away at home.

group of wines in box

The connoisseurs at Blue Apron, in fact, wrote an entire book on meal kit delivery. The prized cookbook, which features all the recipes that have been available for meal kit delivery through Blue Apron enables readers to prepare select meals with or without a delivered meal kit.

And if you want to buy these goodies–or supply your kitchen with the right utensils to make your Blue Apron meal kits work out right–they are easily accessible at the online store. Thinking of sending Blue Apron to someone else? An electronic gift card can be sent for a meal or choice of wine to anywhere Blue Apron delivers…which is most of the country.

For seniors who want to try their hand at meal kits without spending a fortune, Blue Apron is a great starter kit. The most economical of its competitors–and one of the stars among the meal kit startups of the 2010s–it is a great first place if you are adventurous enough to try meal kits but not adventurous enough to pay for weeks of gourmet or exotic fare.

Three New York entrepreneurs first expedited their own meal kit boxes from a Queens kitchen in August 2012. Within two years, fulfillment centers opened up and Blue Apron Market soon opened, serving as a brick-and-mortar store for carefully curated kitchenware. Next came Blue Apron Wine, a direct-to-consumer delivery service. As more fulfillment centers opened, the company hit Wall Street with its initial public offering – making it the first American-based meal kit company to go public.

For seniors who want to try their hand at meal kits without spending a fortune, Blue Apron is a great starter kit.

Blue Apron has seen some growing pains in recent years. A history of safety and health violations has plagued its Richmond, California distribution center, which the company attributed to startup operational issues. Its market value has gone down over 81%, and 6% of its workforce was laid off recently. Nevertheless, the company has begun selling family meal kits at 17 Costco branches.

Total orders may have slipped because of ongoing issues with customer service. While reviewers acknowledge that the customer service department is quick to rectify mistakes, the inconvenience of inadequate delivery mistakes has put off many would-be fans. The total number of meal deliveries went down 24% within a single quarter of 2018.

Blue Apron’s site is one of the easiest to use among its competitors with a clean interface and stunning four-color recipe illustrations.

Your first order of business is to choose between two meal plans. The 2-Person plan consists of two or three recipes selected from eight unique options each week. The Family plan is scaled to the proportions of four individuals and offers two, three, or four new recipes in its plan.

Once this decision is made, customers can freely choose recipes and decide how many Blue Apron meals they want to purchase. The next step is to order the box, which will arrive with carefully portioned ingredients that are just right for that specific recipe.

“Healthy cooking made fun and easy” is the company mantra. Part of its offering includes presenting fresh, innovative food that is interesting without being too exotic or unfamiliar. A typical week’s offering can include seared steaks with sweet potato fries and salad, Piccata-style chicken with roasted broccoli and garlic mashed potatoes, or Cajun tilapia and spicy scallion relish with cauliflower “dirty rice.” Comfort food takes the edge off haute cuisine: Honey-sesame chicken and green beans comes with Korean spiced rice, whereas Bob’s Burger cheeseburgers are topped with caramelized shallots. Each existing Blue Apron recipe is usually available once a year.

large sample recipe top down

Unlike some competitors, Blue Apron does not have special offerings for different dietary needs. Vegetarian dishes are only featured among the 2-person plan. The site, however, allows customers to select their preference to eliminate beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fish, or shellfish.

Reviewers rave over the tasty, generously portioned menus that arrive fresh to your door. Some cooks point out that many dishes pack up 1,000 calories per serving, although many under 500 are available on the website.

Quality Rating 5/5

With Blue Apron’s “2-Person” category, the price of one meal kit serving is $9.99 irrespective of the number of total meals ordered. Shipping costs $7.99, which applies to 2-person orders under three meals. Shipping is waived when a 2-person, three meal plan is ordered, however.

If you opt for the Family plan–which offers free shipping in all cases–a single serving is $8.99 for two recipes, $7.99 if you order three, and $7.49 if you rack up four recipes in a week.

Value Rating 4/5

If you are trying to eat healthier and cheaper than at restaurants, Blue Apron is definitely a service that can help you change your food and spending habits. It can also be a great solution for seniors who cannot easily travel to the grocery store themselves.

Two Person Plan Serves 2
Family Plan Serves 4
$9.99/Serving
$8.99/serving
Weekly Cost
Weekly Cost
2 Meals/Week: $47.95 3 Meals/Week: $59.94 Shipping $7.99
2 Meals/Week: $71.92 3 Meals/Week: $95.88 4 Meals/Week: $119.84 Shipping Free

Blue Apron ships meal ingredients throughout the continental United States. Depending on your location, you may be able to choose and reschedule the desired delivery date. Unless you are a Blue Apron Wine subscriber, which requires someone at least 21 to sign for the package, you don’t need to be at home to receive a delivery.

Delivery Rating 4/5

Your Blue Apron package comes with everything you need for the meal in pre-portioned amounts, along with step-by-step, generously sized recipe cards to guide you through the cooking process.

large meal box

Blue Apron meals arrive in insulated packaging for optimal freshness. Like some of its competitors–but unlike others–the company has been slammed for excess packaging waste from individually packaged ingredients. The large ice pack, however, can be reused or recycled. A few people have complained that the ice was stored at the top of their package, crushing some ingredient, or that there was significant condensation.

If you are trying to eat healthier and cheaper than at restaurants, Blue Apron is definitely a service that can help you change your food and spending habits.

Nutritional and calorie labels come with each order. However, this nutritional information is stored slightly hidden in the condiment bag, which some reviewers suggest would be more helpful if it was clearly printed on the recipe cards.

Many seniors would find a box full of loose ingredients cumbersome, particularly when considering the logistics of transferring them to the refrigerator and determining what goes together. For some older adults who want meal kits to take the bother out of cooking, Blue Apron may not be the best option.

Blue Apron meals arrive in insulated packaging for optimal freshness.

Another consideration for seniors is potentially having to deal with customer service if issues arise. If you notice that there is an ingredient missing or your food arrives damaged or not in an acceptable cooking condition, the Blue Apron team will replace, refund, or credit this so long as you contact them within seven days of delivery. While this is a nice gesture, it may be discouraging to some knowing that their meals for the week could come missing key ingredients.

Because Blue Apron defaults to a standard order if the customer does not specify one, you can easily feel stuck with unhappy results.

Cancelling Your Plan

Many customers have reported numerous emails or phone calls with customer service when trying to cancel their plans. The effort that may be required to stop a Blue Apron subscription has inspired a host of YouTube tutorials, blog posts, and angry reviews. While you can join a plan online, your cancellation options are either to call an 888 number or send an email to a dedicated email address by the “changeable by” date reflected in your account settings…then wait for yet another email with instructions on how to complete the cancellation process. Only then do customers receive an automated reply with a link that could have been provided in the first place online. Reviewers recount having to specify a reason for cancelling the account and repeatedly answer “Are you sure?” inquiries.

Judging from the complaints, even the actual process for cancellation isn’t as easy as it sounds. First, a credit card is required to open any account–even to redeem a gift card meal from someone else. When a gift card runs out, customers have complained that Blue Apron continues to send meals and charge the account without express consent. Deliveries can be skipped but not stopped altogether without going through the cancellation process.

Blue Apron’s interactive instructions cover everything you need to know, from which kitchen utensils, pots, and pans to use to the proper way to prepare each of your ingredients. Blue Apron’s blog also has a nice selection of How-To videos that can show you what to do if you’re feeling stumped.

If you don’t have proper cooking utensils and/or dishes, you can order some from the Blue Apron website. The market page offers a selection of high-quality cooking gear that you can use to prepare its (and other) meals.

Blue Apron has set the gold standard in tailoring itself to individual dining preferences, and its prices are competitive with its top industry rivals. But with an upward cost of $60 week, seniors will want easily organized contents. Non-drivers need a service that delivers the correct meal ingredients the first time they’re ordered. Anyone considering meal delivery as a solution to the logistics of shopping will want reassurance that they can quickly cancel if things don’t work out.

Whether Blue Apron is for you depends on why you are considering ordering a meal kit.

If you order restaurant delivery anyway but want to minimize costs, it is still a great “starter kit” for some consumers on a budget who cannot go out frequently. If you have trouble getting around but don’t have assistance with daily tasks, Blue Apron deliveries will add complications that its competitors don’t have.

The effort that may be required to stop a Blue Apron subscription has inspired a host of YouTube tutorials, blog posts, and angry reviews.

If you aren’t tech savvy or simply don’t want to deal with the possibility of a lengthy cancellation process, Blue Apron may pose some aggravating customer service issues for seniors. However, if you’ve researched some time-saving hacks to cancel Blue Apron quickly, the price is right for you, and you like what you see in its weekly menus, it could be the perfect way to bridge the gap between saving time and maintaining your independence.