Since I started using Blue Apron, many readers and followers have requested a review. Here's my Blue Apron review.
I hate meal planning and grocery shopping. This used to not matter because I had a husband who enjoyed grocery shopping and cooking. Now that a husband is no longer in the picture, all this unpleasantness falls on me.
The good news is that I've found a solution: Blue Apron.
Subscription shopping has long been a part of my strategy for household staples like paper products, non-perishable foods and personal care items. I stumbled across Blue Apron when researching grocery delivery services like PeaPod. Blue Apron takes it to the next level. Rather than simply deliver the groceries you choose, Blue Apron creates a meal plan and sends you the ingredients and recipes.
As someone always looking to find ways to make more time, the idea of someone else taking care of the planning and the shopping thrills me. I've been using Blue Apron for a few weeks now, and I've received requests to share my experience. Here's my Blue Apron review. Because I love you all.
Healthy Meal Planning and Convenience
Convenience represents my main concern as I put together my healthy meal plans. Luckily, Blue Apron uses good ingredients and most of the recipes are reasonably healthy. The meal options include a two-person plan and family planning options.
The two-person plan provides ingredients and recipes for three meals per week. The family plan offers meals for four people, and you can choose four meals per week or two meals per week. (You can learn more about pricing on the Blue Apron website.)
When considering which option to choose, I had to consider my small family of two. However, the two-person plan didn't quite have what I needed (with three meals a week), especially since we occasionally have company. I also didn't like the idea of getting two meals for four people each week. In the end, I settled on getting the family plan for four meals a week.
It's more food than the two of us need, but it also means leftovers. We can eat the same thing the next night, and it offers flexibility if I want to invite someone over for dinner some night. Other leftovers can be heated for lunches or used in other ways.
Some weeks, if I know I'll be out of town, I've frozen the meat for use later. Most of the other ingredients can be kept for a couple of weeks without too much trouble. Some of the fresh produce has been a little wilted or moving toward less than fresh when it arrives (the food is delivered in a cold pack each Friday for me, but your schedule might be different), but most of it is pretty good. Other than a couple small issues, I've been happy with the quality of all the ingredients when they arrive.
Tweaking My Blue Apron Experience
One of the things I like about Blue Apron is that all of the ingredients are included. If a recipe needs vinegar, a little vial of vinegar is included. Pre-measured flour, breadcrumbs and other items are all included. It's a nice touch, and you can also adjust the recipes slightly as you see fit.
Sometimes I skip deliveries. You're not locked into getting your meals every single week. I've noticed that my four-person, four meals a week plan allows for even greater flexibility. Each week, my plan is broken down into two different deliveries. You can look at the menu weeks ahead and decide if you want to skip something. If you will be out of town, you can skip all your deliveries until you return. Sometimes, if I haven't used everything from one week, I'll go in and skip one of my two Friday deliveries, so I only end up getting half my normal delivery.
Of course, Blue Apron only provides you with what you need for these dinner meals, and fruit usually isn't involved. My milk, eggs and bread are delivered from the local dairy each week, and I do make one quick trip to the local grocery once a week for produce, snacks and what I need to fix my son's lunches. This saves me a great deal of time, with my trips to the grocery store averaging about 15 minutes, instead of 75 minutes (yes, I timed it), with most of my food delivered to my door. That's a time savings of an hour a week — an hour I can use more profitably than wandering the grocery aisles.
How Blue Apron Saves Me Money as Well as Time
My plan costs $139.84 per week. However, you aren't charged for what you don't have delivered. If I only take one delivery, my credit card is charged $69.92. And, of course, if I skip the week entirely, I pay nothing.
I've discovered that I'm actually saving money each week, thanks to Blue Apron. When I lived in the Philadelphia area, my husband spent more than $300 a week shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. On an expensive week, here's what I spend for my groceries now:
- Blue Apron: $139.84
- Reed's Dairy delivery: $14.21
- Quick grocery stop: $36.79 (that's from my most expensive week so far)
Now my weekly cost is $190.84. On an expensive week, that's still a savings of $109.16. On less expensive weeks, when I skip a Blue Apron delivery, the savings are even greater. The important thing is that this move to letting someone else plan my meals and do the major shopping on my behalf saves me more than $5,600 per year. Not to mention the time I save.
Sometimes the menu isn't quite what my son and I enjoy (but we eat it anyway), and there are times we supplement with fruits and vegetables I buy at the store (most of the vegetable side dishes don't make it to leftover status because we finish them off), but overall I see Blue Apron as a win for my family.
What do you think of my Blue Apron review? Are there are things you'd like to see me address? Have you tried this type of service? What did you think?