By this point, most people know how a meal kit works. Basically, you choose a meal from a website, someone does the grocery shopping for you, packs it into a box, and sends it to you. Convenient right? I know. They were created in order to help everyone enjoy fresh, healthy meals without all the fuss.
But many people wonder if spending the money for these services is worth it. Also, it is not like there is only one meal kit company on the market; there are several. That leads you to the daunting task of actually choosing one. Who offers better food?
That’s why we’re here.
The two most popular meal kits today are HelloFresh and Blue Apron. They each have a few qualities that make them unique, as well as many similarities. Let’s dive in and see how they compare against each other.
As far as the different meal plans go, both HelloFresh and Blue Apron are very similar. They both offer Traditional Plans, Family Plans, and Vegetarian Plans. You can choose how many people you are cooking for, 2 or 4, and how many meals you want per week. The huge plus to both of them is that they are both obligation-free. You can cancel at any time, or you can freeze your plan and pick it back up later. No fuss,o questions.
Also, they both offer wine. They give you the choice of ordering 6 reds, 6 whites, or a mixture of 6. However, Blue Apron’s wine box is about $20 cheaper than that of HelloFresh.
The differences between their meal plans are subtle. HelloFresh allows you to order 2, 3, or 4 meals per week for the Classic Plan, whereas Blue Apron only has the option of 2 or 3.
One thing that Blue Apron boasts, that HelloFresh does not, is that it has teamed up with Weight Watchers and offers a plan with healthier, fit choices that go along with someone who is following the Weight Watchers diet. They call this their “WW Freestyle Plan”. This is a huge seller for them and one thing that is making them more competitive in the health-focused market. Other than the WW Freestyle Plan with Blue Apron and the extra meal with HelloFresh, there is no significant difference between the two.
Menus and Recipes
Food, taste, and options: these are the most crucial elements when making your choice. First off, when you visit both of their websites, you will see that their food and recipes both look absolutely mouth-watering. The presentation is impeccable and the food looks 5-star quality. After you look through their menus, getting progressively hungrier, you will see some similarities and differences.
Let’s start with how they are the same. Both meal kits offer a huge variety of fresh choices for meat eaters and vegetarians, and both change their menus each week. They each offer simple choices, such as pasta carbonara or grilled chicken, but they also offer exotic, global flavors, such as curries and banh mi. So if you are a house with a picky teenager and adventurous spouse, fear not, you are safe with both kits. Plus, you always have the option to just skip an ingredient while you are cooking.
Blue Apron is the only one to offer a marketplace, giving you the ability to order kitchen tools that you may need to cook their recipes with. There is nothing worse than getting home from a long day of work, waiting to dive into a nice dinner, only to find out that you can’t cook it because you don’t have the right utensils.
When it comes down to it, who has better food? The popular choice seems to be HelloFresh. It is the favorite in the United States and does offer more menu items. Most weeks, it offers more than 10 choices, whereas Blue Apron offers an average of 6-8. And as the saying goes, “the more the merrier.” Though Blue Apron’s food is delicious, HelloFresh seems to have just the slightest edge over the competition.
Let’s face it, loads of new diets are coming onto the scene, making things challenging for food and beverage companies everywhere. Being able to appeal to all strict diets is one of the most important things a meal kit service can do. So who does it best? On this front, they are basically equal. Both meal kits offer vegetarian choices, include allergen information, and let you choose meals to your tastes. You can also customize your likes and dislikes on your profile in order to view meals that work for you. Another cool thing is that you can save meals you like and ones you want to avoid cooking again. That way, when they are offered again, you can make better choices. Since the menus are set in advance, neither of them cater to specific food allergies, so you need to be mindful of those on your own. But with cooking being up to you, it is easy to omit what will cause a reaction. So, no matter if you are a super picky toddler or someone who will tear apart anything, you are good to go with both options.
What if you can’t cook? Which one will be easier for you to put together and be satisfied? The whole point of a meal kit is simplicity, for everyone. And both give you exactly that. Both create the meals for you, shop for you, box it up for you, separately measure and package each ingredient for you, and ship it straight to your house at your specified time. Both give you the recipes with detailed instructions and pictures. Both let you even choose your recipes, giving you total control over the difficulty or simplicity of your meals.
However, they do each offer something small the other does not. Blue Apron offers a tablet view of their recipes. They really aim to cater to the person who wants to be a bit fancier in the kitchen but not making it too difficult. HelloFresh caters to the complete newbie by offering20-minute recipes and giving cooking time + “Cooking Difficulty” with each recipe. But bottom line, they are both winners in this category, creating perfect little happiness-filled boxes for all levels of expertise in the kitchen.
Cost and Delivery
Pricing is something that must be on your mind by now. Who has more affordable prices and delivery options? Well, that depends on the plan you decide to order. Blue Apron’s meals are all $8.99 per serving, no matter which plan you choose. HelloFresh’s meals vary between $6.99-$9.99 per serving. So let’s see what the total numbers look like for each of their most popular plans:
● Blue Apron: 3 Signature meals, for 2 people= $59.94
● HelloFresh: 3 Classic meals, for 2 people= $53.94 + $6.99 shipping= $60.93
So, Blue Apron turns out to be the slightly cheaper option and offers free shipping. HelloFresh always charges for shipping, which is nearly the price of a portion! Sorry HelloFresh, but Blue Apron is the winner in the price category, even if it is only by a smidge.
Sustainability and Recycling
As you know, our society is becoming significantly more aware of being environmentally friendly, as we should be. So how do the two meal kits compare?
HelloFresh wins this category by a landslide. Though they both package everything separately, including the spices, HelloFresh has 100% biodegradable and recyclable items. Blue Apron does not offer this to its customers. They do, however, give you ideas and tips on what to do with your packaging, but that is not as good as making it completely recyclable. So, good job HelloFresh on considering Mother Earth in their business plan.
Which Meal Kit is the Best?
Now that you know the facts, you have to decide: which one should you choose? I guess it really depends on what you value most.
If you are more price-sensitive, Blue Apron is the cheaper option. If you value variety, HelloFresh is your best bet.
Both offer something new to you and do it exceptionally well. If you really want to make the comparison, order one week from each and decide which one you like better (they both have great intro deals). Maybe you will love both equally and decide to do rotating weeks/months. Do what is best for you and regardless, you’ll enjoy fresh meals delivered straight to your door.