While Blue Apron is the original meal kit delivery service in North America, Home Chef has ridden their coattails into the market, learning from their success and mistakes along the way.
As the meal delivery industry grows, companies are continually differentiating themselves.
Blue Apron may be known as the first, but you just might deem Home Chef as the best for your needs. We’re comparing these two big time meal kit companies head-to-head so that you can find out which option you should choose.
|Home Chef||Blue Apron|
|Best For||Big families with|
different dietary needs
|People who like reliability and learning|
|Delivery Areas||98% of the United States||48 contiguous US states|
|Household Size||2, 4, 6||2, 4|
|Price Per Plate||$8.97||$11.99|
|Shipping Cost||$10 on orders under $45||Free|
|Intro Deal||$30 Off on First Order||$20 Off on First Order|
|Sustainability||Recyclable containers with denim insulation||Less packaging than other options|
|Additional options||Ready to eat lunches, breakfast, smoothies, and online kitchenware marketplace.||Add wine and order supplies from their marketplace.|
Recipe Quality / Taste
Both Blue Apron and Home Chef have high-quality ingredients and delicious recipes. The weekly menus make you excited for your coming delivery and relieved that you don’t have to plan a single thing.
Blue Apron has a strong emphasis on teaching novice chefs about food and how to cook. While browsing their selection of recipes online, you can click on each ingredient to learn more about the origins, uses, and more. There’s also a video library of tips and techniques like How To: Hold a Chef’s Knife.
Blue Apron is more geared towards those who want to experience new flavors and try new ingredients. Meals are largely staples with an exciting twist, like the Fontina & Apple Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Roasted Broccoli.
Home Chef is a great meal kit option for larger families or people who like to entertain. You can have meals delivered up to six times per week, with up to 6 servings in each meal.
While Home Chef isn’t as focused on teaching about food, they’re all about changing how you approach meals. Every meal is sent with a high-quality recipe card and your first order includes a three ring binder to store them. With this recipe book, you have a library of easy-to-make, delicious recipes that you can whip up anytime. Perhaps, with this, takeout will become a thing of the past?
There are tons of different meals available, so there’s something for every type of cook and every palate. Each week you can choose from tasty options like Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Burgers and Steak with Creamy Ranch Sauce.
Standard meals are ready in around 30 minutes. Express meals are ready in 15 minutes or less and you can even add on ready-to-eat 5-minute lunches. Premium meals are available, too, which are excellent for special occasions. Ingredients for each meal are in separate bags, which makes it easy to pull together everything you need before you cook.
Winner: For the gourmet twist on simple meals, we vote Blue Apron the best in quality and taste. With a long, proven track record, you’re not likely to have a meal that’s anything less than amazing.
Variety / Flexibility
Both meal kit delivery companies include all the ingredients you need to make your delicious meal, along with thorough recipe card instructions. The types of diets they cater to, the number of meals to choose from, and the extra options available are where one kit stands out.
There are four meal plans to choose from with Blue Apron:
- Standard 2-serving
- Standard 4-serving
- Weight Watchers Freestyle
While this is more flexibility than many meal kit companies, it doesn’t compare to the more à la carte approach of Home Chef. There are also many fewer dietary restrictions that are accounted for. While vegetarians are covered, other needs like gluten-free, lactose-free, and various allergies are seemingly ignored.
What they lack in dietary options, Blue Apron works to make up for in their wine program and extensive kitchen supply marketplace. You have the option to add on six 500ML bottles of wine for $60 per month. The bottles come with tasting notes, pairing tips, and the story behind each bottle, so you can be the host who’s in the know.
Instead of meal plan options, Home Chef allows you to pick your specific recipes from 18 meal options each week (versus 10 or less with Blue Apron). Premium meals like Lamb with Red Pepper and Jelly are available to add on for an extra charge.
Home Chef caters to more dietary needs than any other meal kit company we’ve seen. Specialty diet options include:
Similar to Blue Apron, a simple online marketplace is available, where you can buy any needed kitchenware. In addition to dinner and supplies, you can add on smoothies, seasonal fruit baskets, and 5-minute lunches. Furthermore, you can swap out proteins in most meals to keep every eater pleased.
Winner: For the variety of dietary restrictions that are accounted for, the larger number of meal options, and the helpful extras–like ready-to-eat lunches and the ability to swap proteins–Home Chef wins the Flexibility round.
Delivery / Service Level
Blue Apron has been in the business for longer than anyone else. But does that mean that they have this critical part of meal kit comparisons locked down?
Like its competitor, Blue Apron delivers to all 48 contiguous US states. They deliver 7 days a week and you can select which day works best for you when you sign up. They send you an email as soon as your delivery ships, so you’re reminded to look out for its arrival. In addition to having more delivery options, shipping is always free with Blue Apron.
Maybe they do have the meal kit delivery game figured out…
While their competitor delivers every day, Home Chef only makes deliveries from Tuesday through Friday. Having only four delivery days can be limiting–customers of Blue Apron like the flexibility to receive their kits on weekends.
Home Chef is slightly less expensive per meal than Blue Apron, but there’s a $10 shipping charge for orders under $45. However, this is one of the few meal kits that you can find in grocery stores. So you can give it a try without ordering a week’s worth of meals or copping a shipping charge.
Winner: For the flexibility of receiving orders any day of the week, Blue Apron takes gold in the delivery battle.
Most meal kit services have a lot of packaging including insulation, ice packs, and cardboard. These two options are, unfortunately, no exception to that rule.
The Blue Apron website has a dedicated section on recycling ideas and options, but there’s little other information on their sustainability practices. They are one of the only companies in this category that doesn’t sort ingredients by meal. It’s a bit tedious when separating the ingredients for cooking, but also uses less packaging overall. That’s a small win for the planet.
You won’t find much about locally sourced food, recycling options, or animal welfare on the Home Chef website. Their ingredients are individually packaged in plastic bags and containers, creating more waste than is ideal.
However, they’ve committed to one practice that helps them stand apart slightly in this area: Home Chef boxes are lined with recycled, biodegradable fabric. These materials are a lot better for the environment than styrofoam–and quite a bit more expensive, too. We have to give them props for the extra effort.
Winner: Tie! Neither of these kits are especially great or terrible for the planet. Frankly, neither of them seem to pay a whole lot of attention to the idea either way.
Value for Price
How do the costs of these two kits compare and where is the real value in each? While the prices are very similar, the winner is clear.
Blue Apron’s pricing is as simple as it gets. It is $9.99 per serving, per meal, with shipping included. Plus, you can add six bottles of wine for an additional $65.99 per month.
Let’s break it down:
|Plan||2 Servings(Signature, Freestyle and Vegetarian)||4 Servings(Family)|
Pricing is straightforward and relatively affordable, at $9.95 per serving. There are tons of customization and add-on options, which can change the total cost of the weekly delivery.
Here’s the break down:
|Recipe Type (1 meal)||2 Servings||4 Servings|
|5 Minute Lunch||$15.98||$31.96|
|Premium Meal||Market Price||Market Price|
Winner: Home Chef is one of the more affordable meal kits. The price is approachable and the variety of options are plenty. With this meal kit, you’re confident that even the picky eaters and those with large appetites will be happy with their dinner.
Which Meal Kit Is the Best?
These two kits both stand out in different ways. While the overall winner may not be clear, they each have their own apparent strengths.
If you have a lot of people to feed–or folks with diet restrictions to consider–but still want variety and convenience, Home Chef is a strong meal kit contender. You’ll also learn some handy techniques, gain tasty, reusable recipes and have the option to enjoy smoothies or fruit baskets.
If you’re into learning about cooking and food in general, but don’t want anything overly complicated, check out our full review of Blue Apron for more details. If you want meals that are tried and true, but a bit more exotic, and if you love free shipping, then Blue Apron may be the meal kit for you.
Which meal kit is the winner in your eyes? Let us know what you think in the comments below. If you’re ready to try these meal kits for yourself, order Home Chef and Blue Apron online today!