I love to cook. And we have a family full of adventurous eaters. (minus Elliott) This gives me a lot of freedom as I strive to serve a diverse and healthy weekly rotation of meals. We rarely eat out and we really enjoy sitting down to a meal together in our home. However, I do all the cooking in our house and I definitely hit a wall from time to time as far as creativity in meal planning. I am also mostly vegetarian, with the exception of ethically sourced fish from time to time. Typically I serve vegetarian meals a few nights each week with no complaint and modify my own meal on the nights when I cook meat for my family. I always need more inspiration for Veggie meals.
Thus the interest in food delivery services such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron. We ordered each service using a great coupon, which I’ll provide at the end of this post, and cooked through each box hoping to discern which service had the most to offer. They both have similar recipes and pricing structures so I knew it would be a challenge to pick one over the other.
Delivery: Both offer free delivery and arrived promptly on Saturday morning in similar boxes. Each company used plenty of ice packs and everything was fresh when I opened the boxes. However, I noticed one difference right away. The Hello Fresh meals were divided up into their own little boxes inside the big box. This made it easy to keep everything together. I simply picked up each meal box and put it in the fridge. The Blue Apron items were all mixed together in the big box. So it took a bit more effort to sort things out and put them in the fridge. Not a big deal but the convenience of having the meal items packed together made a good impression on me.
Cooking: Each service includes meal cards with clear directions. I had no problem understanding or following the steps to achieve the delicious meal on the picture. My meals looked exactly like the picture every time and everything was very good. Additionally I picked up new cooking techniques and ideas for future meal planning. Blue Apron uses large individual cards, Hello Fresh gives one book that contains all the recipes. Once again I saw a small step that Hello Fresh had taken to make things a bit more organized.
Quality: The quality and freshness of each box was great. Both companies used high quality meats that were antibiotic free, locally sourced, grass fed etc. The produce looked great and was super fresh. Hello Fresh does take it one step further. I noticed anything like beans or canned tomatoes in Hello Fresh boxes were organic or GMO-free with a BPA free liner. I did not see this in the Blue Apron box. Additionally Blue Apron packages all their own sauces and spices while Hello Fresh provides a miniature version of the sauce or spice instead of packaging those things at their facility.
Customization Options: Each subscription is VERY flexible. We were able to pause, skip and opt out of certain weeks. From a Budget perspective the cost on each service is good for what you receive. It’s cheaper than eating a meal out and much healthier. However, it is a bit more than we would want to spend every single week. My solution was to look at the meals offered and choose two weeks out of the month to receive the service. It keeps things fresh and helps me on busy weeks. Both services make it really easy to hop on your account and pause the subscription for as long as you want. Here is one place where Blue Apron pulls ahead a little bit. They actually give you the option to choose NOT to receive meals that contain things your family doesn’t eat. For example, you can choose not to receive meals that contain fish or red meat. Hello Fresh does not give that option at this time. You are given a choice between vegetarian (which was helpful for me) and classic (meals with meat).
Conclusion: I really enjoyed each service and feel that using it twice per month is a great way to fit it into our budget. This allows me some freedom in meal planning and some help during busy weeks. Hello Fresh is ultimately my pick. I loved the meals they sent, the organized packaging and the easy to follow recipe book. I also liked having the actual spices and sauces from the manufacturer and not receiving something that was put together at the packing facility. Hello Fresh also allows you to give $40 coupons to your friends, something that I could not find Blue Apron doing. I definitely think it’s worth a try, using the coupon. If it’s not something you enjoy it’s easy to cancel after you receive the first box with either company. They each showed great customer service and no pressure to keep the service. If you have questions about anything that I failed to mention in this recap please comment below and I’ll give my input.
If you want to try Hello Fresh yourself, check them out here and use the following coupon code to receive $40 off your first box:
(All opinions are from my first hand experience, I was NOT compensated in any way for this review)