Blue Apron, Hellos Fresh and other meals by mail plans

Just wondering if anyone has tried any of these companies. I have been hearing commercials for these on several podcasts I listen to. I enjoy cooking though during the week I don’t have a lot of variety and tend to save that for the weekend. If anyone has tried any of these I’d love to hear some opinions.

I just happened to be looking at this website when I saw the title of this thread. It’s a website rating home delivery food services, both cook your own and fully prepared.

I stumbled on it, so I can’t vouch for whether it’s a good rating or not. But I did learn about some of the services from the list, then went to look at them on yelp.

I’ve asked several people about Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. I got OK reviews. The people I asked weren’t thrilled. But they liked the service well enough to keep it.

I have a couple of friends who use/have used Hello Fresh. One seems very pleased with the service (2x adults, 2 x teenagers) and the other dropped it quickly when she found the serving sizes were far too small for she and her partner.

We use “Sunbasket.”
We think the recipes and the quality of the food is very good. The portions are fairly small (I could probably eat two portions with no problem).
The price is reasonable, and it saves the hassle of shopping, but each meal still takes 20-45 minutes of prep work to prepare.

If you have an established repertoire of go-to recipes, or shop for a lot of people, you might also want to consider grocery delivery services like Peapod and Instakart.

It’s hard to beat all your groceries coming to your door directly at a time and day you specify, saving all the time and hassle of driving there, shopping, waiting at the butcher or deli counter, checking out, packing, driving back, and unloading from the car.

Although there are fees, they’re pretty minimal (and with Peapod if you order enough per month, practically free except what you choose to tip), and doing the math, I’m saving money if I value my time at even half my hourly rate.

I know it sound silly, and I thought it was silly before doing it and getting hooked, but now I think of having to physically go to the grocery store every week as being as archaic and reminiscent of caveman days as things like writing physical letters to your friends, or knapping axes from flint.

We’ve done Blue Apron for a couple of years, and also tried Hello Fresh and Plated. We prefer Blue Apron. Can’t remember exactly what we disliked about the others, but I think there was something about blandness.
It’s a good way to get a push into variety and you can do a little picking and choosing to get dishes you prefer, and cancel a week now and again when it just doesn’t appeal to you.

We’ve done Hello Fresh and Home Chef. I like them both a lot. Right now Home Chef gets my business because you can choose a minimum of two Mel’s a week, but with Hello Fresh you’re locked into three.

We eat out less because everything is ready to go. I just pull out the bag and start cooking. Also lost weight because of portion control. Almost every meal has been worth it.

Are they specific Mel’s, or just any old Mel? :wink:

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

I’m dying here. I’m also drinking so that doesn’t help…


Hubby and I are compiling a list of possible Mels.

Mel Torme
Mel Gibson
Mel Blanc…

There can be only one!

We did Home Chef for a couple of months. I thought it was yummy most of the time, and in the cooking, we found another excuse to bring the family together. However, I had a problem with all the excess packaging and plastics. So, ethically, it always left a bad taste in my mouth.

We’ve tried a few of them:

PROS - you don’t have to shop (IMO the only reason to consider them, really), the recipes are usually pretty interesting and might push you out of your rut/give you some ideas for expanding your repertoire (though note they are freely available online)

CONS - expensive (typically $20 for ingredients for 1 dinner for 2 - many of the meals you could shop for yourself for a fraction of that), there’s still often a lot of time consuming prep work (you might be making a weekend-style recipe on a weeknight, if you know what I mean), the amount of packaging is pretty shocking if that bothers you

I’d recommend giving it a try for a week or two with a podcast bonus code, you’ll quickly figure out if it’s something that would work for you.

We’ve done Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, and I think Green Chef as well.

Blue Apron’s the one we’ve stuck with, at least as far as you can call getting 3 for a week every couple of months “sticking with it”.

The ingredients are high quality, and the recipes are good- that’s the main reason we do it periodically, is so we can try out some recipes with unusual ingredients without having to get a full-size container of something. For example, a few weeks back we got one that was steaks with miso butter and soy glaze. They were very good. But we probably wouldn’t have looked that up, gone to the store, got a full sized container of white miso and another of soy glaze, just to give a different way of cooking a steak a try. But in the context of it being a component of a meal that’s not that expensive, and pre-measured in single recipe portions, it was worth it. And we have gone and got the ingredients to do it again. Another example is that one of them had a carrot and green onion slaw that sounded like it might be not too good, but turned out to be surprisingly awesome. So we’re going to do that one again as well.

Blue Apron publishes their recipes, so we can look up measurements to do it on our own, which is nice.

We have used Hello Fresh in the past, and currently use Gobble.

Random thoughts:
Packaging - Yes the packaging is an issue, but how else are they going to deliver portioned ingredients?
Cost - I find the cost to be good. The discussion that you could buy the same ingredients for less discounts the fact that you would be buying retail containers of sometimes exotic ingredients, so it really isn’t comparable.
Portion size - I find the portion sizes to be large for us. Sometimes 800-1200 calories per person. YMMV.
Complexity of the recipes - if you are an experienced cook, then they are very doable, and fairly simple. I find I do have to apply some reasonableness to their sequence of events and timing, and make adjustment. But, if you are not an experienced cook, I can see where they might be a small stretch.

We have tried almost literally every single one of these services because Mrs. Cups is a master at signing up for the free (or discounted) meal and then cancelling right away.

Without getting into much detail about each one, I can safely say we LOVED Home Chef. It had the best food, the best ingredients the notebook format for the recipies were great and the pictures were the best.

Go with Home Chef

I had Blue Apron. The meals were good, but the main issue was that they way underestimate prep/cook time. I didn’t feel like coming home from work and spending an hour and a half on dinner. They meant we would end up not cooking a meal for a few days, it would go bad in the fridge, and then we just wasted 20 bucks. The final straw was when we had multiple boxes where the chicken opened up in the box getting all over everything.

My local Costco now carries pre-packaged Blue Apron meals for about $25 each, I think for 6 servings. Probably more like 4 real-life servings. It gives you a chance to try it out without committing to a subscription. The one I tried was pretty good.

My BIL gave us 2 weeks of Blue Apron for Xmas a few years ago. It was pretty good I guess, and it made a good gift, but I wasn’t impressed enough with it I’d buy it for ourselves. You still have to do all the work, and I’m certain I could purchase the same ingredients myself at a better price. The dishes were good, but there wasn’t anything particularly special or unique about the recipes.

The best thing I can say about it is, again, it was a good gift, and it perhaps expanded the usual dinner menu to things we wouldn’t necessarily have thought to cook on our own. Also, the recipes come on these glossy sheets that you could punch holes in and put in a binder and make again.

We’re doing Plated right now and enjoying it. These are the things I love most:

[li]don’t have to buy groceries (except for a few things for breakfast, etc.)[/li][li]portion control is good and something I struggle with on my own[/li][li]food waste is eliminated because they give you only as much as you need for the recipe (with occasional exceptions but even then the excess portion is less than if you bought it at the store)[/li][li]the meals always include a fair amount of vegetables for good nutrition[/li][/ul]

Only one negative:

there is a lot of packaging to throw away. I wish these new services would do some kind of package recycling, particularly the shipping boxes and cold packs.