Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

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renue74
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by renue74 » Tue May 07, 2019 12:23 pm

It's a fad.

About 10 years ago in my area a crop of meal prep kitchens popped up. You would be X amount and go into a commercial kitchen and prep meals...maybe drink a little wine. Then you would put all the meals in aluminum dishes and take home to freeze....using later.

They lasted about 2 or 3 years and then went away.

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tooluser
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by tooluser » Tue May 07, 2019 10:41 pm

I visited many of the referenced sites, and I don't understand why one is not allowed to choose the portion size, especially for the weight loss sites. One site claims it's "not a one size fits all" solution, but all the meals are controlled to 1200 calories a day. That is *precisely* the definition of "one size fits all"! With other sites you have no idea how much you are getting.

As a giant I am sensitive to these issues. I don't want to buy a "serving" or a "meal". I want to buy a serving or meal *for me*, which is different than the norm I am sure, but makes all these services annoying and/or useless. Good thing I know how to cook, heat things up, or assemble cheese and crackers with some pickles on the side.

michaeljc70
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue May 07, 2019 10:45 pm

tooluser wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 10:41 pm
I visited many of the referenced sites, and I don't understand why one is not allowed to choose the portion size, especially for the weight loss sites. One site claims it's "not a one size fits all" solution, but all the meals are controlled to 1200 calories a day. That is *precisely* the definition of "one size fits all"! With other sites you have no idea how much you are getting.

As a giant I am sensitive to these issues. I don't want to buy a "serving" or a "meal". I want to buy a serving or meal *for me*, which is different than the norm I am sure, but makes all these services annoying and/or useless. Good thing I know how to cook, heat things up, or assemble cheese and crackers with some pickles on the side.
Good point. A serving on Blue Apron was not sufficient for me. I am 6'1" and 190 pounds. A serving for someone 130 pounds and 190 pounds is not the same.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed May 08, 2019 8:22 pm

tooluser wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 10:41 pm
I visited many of the referenced sites, and I don't understand why one is not allowed to choose the portion size, especially for the weight loss sites. One site claims it's "not a one size fits all" solution, but all the meals are controlled to 1200 calories a day. That is *precisely* the definition of "one size fits all"! With other sites you have no idea how much you are getting.
That would add a lot of complexity. Instead of everyone who orders the "Southwest Chicken" getting two chicken breasts, some would get three. Or four. Or 2.5? It breaks their economy of scale to a significant degree. You can always order the plan for four and eat two meals or something.

GT99
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by GT99 » Wed May 08, 2019 8:37 pm

stoptothink wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:27 pm
rgs92 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 7:21 pm
My personal feeling is that these are the equivalent of Timeshares for eating.
That's an interesting way to put it. Personally, I don't understand the appeal at all. Seems like the worst of all worlds to me; not particularly convenient, expensive, and wasteful. I guess if you would like to learn to cook but don't really know where to start, it is an option; not a cost or time efficient one, but it's an option.
I'd have to agree - I don't see how the long term market for these type services is big enough to sustain more than a few small businesses.

If you want convenience (but want to eat at home), get pre-made meals - there are lots of services that deliver decent, healthy options (my city has a ton of local small businesses doing this). They are no more expensive (often less expensive) and have less packaging waste.

If you want value, buy the ingredients directly. Most people live somewhere with grocery delivery service these days.

If you're someone who really enjoys cooking, you're probably not going to want to be constrained to exactly what they give you and you'll be adding and altering anyway - might as well just buy your own ingredients.

So the only target market I can really come up with for this type of service is people who want to learn how to cook.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Wed May 08, 2019 8:52 pm

There's an excluded middle between pre-made meals, which I would never bother with, and completely from scratch. That's what they're trying to fill. Busy people who want to cook but not plan, or ones like me kind of stuck in a rut and needed some jolting. Planning new and different meals is more difficult that some imagine.

Luke Duke
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Luke Duke » Thu May 09, 2019 9:25 am

We did trials of Blue Apron and Hello Fresh and enjoyed both. The food was good and the variety was nice. However, it cost more than we wanted to spend on a regular basis. Both sites publish all of their recipes which we find useful. On occasion, when we want to add a little variety into our dinners we will visit one of the sites and find a recipe that looks good. Several of the recipes have made it into our regular rotation.

https://www.hellofresh.com/recipes/
https://www.blueapron.com/cookbook

lightheir
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by lightheir » Thu May 09, 2019 9:34 am

stoptothink wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 11:09 am
newtoseattle wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 11:05 am

I have no financial interest to disclose - but my cousin told me about "cook smart" - its very similar to all the other services, but they don't send the food. You choose the recipes and it makes a grocery list for you (if you live near a big city there is a link for grocery delivery if you like) - all the recipes modify for vegetarian, etc. I don't love all of them - but its a great compromise because its so much cheaper then the delivery services...

So I'd recommend checking them out
Isn't this really easy to do on your own, with a few clicks of a mouse, for free? I have a hard time understanding the hassle of "meal planning" and therefore the value in having someone else do it. I guess it is because it is something that we have totally automated.
It is easy to do on your own. But so are Keurig K-cups vs drip coffee, and the K-cup beats drip coffee in nearly every situation where you lay the two out side by side due to convenience.

I did enjoy my time with Blue Apron; the best things about for me were:
1. Made me cook a bunch of meals with ingredients I never would have tried on my own, so I learned about them in a good way
2. Got me into very regular cooking habits, which is an extremely good thing, and is very underappreciated. It's hard to go wrong when you COOK all the food you eat (as opposed to grabbing it premade or heating it up.)
3. The premeasured stuff actually does help and save time/frustration (I hate to admit, but it does.)

It ultimately wasn't for me long-term as I'm happy cooking my own food from scratch, but I did find it useful for the time I was with it. It will be most useful for people that currently don't cook and want to get into cooking, or are afraid to cook and want with something 'simpler' (even though it's basically full-on cooking for a typical home cook.)

Cycle
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Cycle » Thu May 09, 2019 9:38 am

Yes. It's expensive so we just lookup new recipes and buy ingredients ourselves.

We have a meal plan spreadsheet
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

penguindance49
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by penguindance49 » Thu May 09, 2019 2:12 pm

Tried Home Chef for two weeks for a trial. Wasn't super impressed. Like everyone else, I thought the packaging was super wasteful. I'm not their target audience - I love food shopping and have a well stocked kitchen. There is zero need for me to be sent a tiny plastic bottle filled with 1oz of olive oil. I was just getting bored of the food I was cooking and wanted some inspiration and be sort of forced out of the box to try new things.

All of these websites have their menus posted publicly online, as well as their recipes (most at least do). Sometimes when I'm in a rut of "ugh what do I want to cook next," I'll go onto their websites and see what's on their menu, then pick up any necessary ingredients on my way home from work.

Dasnyc
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Dasnyc » Thu May 09, 2019 2:22 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 10:24 am
We used the Martha Stewart one, Marley Spoon.

a small but substantial enough portion of the meals (say 20%) required a LOT of prep, which I define as taking me more than 25 minutes before actually starting to cook. Chopping greens, mixing this, shaving that, etc. Those meals ended up requiring about an hour+ of concentrated time and on weeknights that's not always possible. Some meals were very quick and easy, most all of them were delicious - out of about 60 or so there were only a couple that were not good. Sometimes we would skip a week here and there when the menu preview revealed things that were not in our taste.

The packaging was a bit of a concern although we are less sensitive than some on that. I saved a lot of the freezer packs to use in our lunch bags, but we did reach a point where we needed no more. We asked if there was a way to return them, and the company said we could ship them back, but it would be at our expense and they would not offer any compensation for it--not even an account credit. Sorry, the service is expensive enough, we're not going to ship heavy items back to you at our expense to reduce your costs.

There also were hardly ever enough for leftovers, and we depend on leftovers for next-day lunches as well as filling some dinner gaps during the week. When each meal costs you $35 for four then not having leftovers does change the economics.

All in all, it solved *some* of the problem of cooking at home--planning the meals and grocery shopping--but the inconsistent and sometimes heavy prep times along with the cost (it ended up being similar to eating out with no drinks at a fast casual place once you consider the time + cost of delivery but without leftovers) led us to stop it.
Used Blue Apron. Similar experiences. More work than I would have liked, no leftovers, Lots of wasted packaging and slightly on the expensive side.

michaeljc70
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon May 20, 2019 8:48 am

I just saw Blue Apron stock is at 68 cents and was put on notice to face possible delisting. I'd put my order in soon if you want to try it. :D

RJC
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by RJC » Mon May 20, 2019 1:07 pm

We've tried a few including Blue Apron and noticed a few things:
1. Takes about 45-60 min to prep and cook. Where's the convenience in that?
2. Makes you dependent on the service over time.
3. Starts to add up after a while.

A Trader Joe's opened up across the street so we've been going there. They have a lot of simple pre-packaged options.

randomguy
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by randomguy » Mon May 20, 2019 1:15 pm

penguindance49 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:12 pm
Tried Home Chef for two weeks for a trial. Wasn't super impressed. Like everyone else, I thought the packaging was super wasteful. I'm not their target audience - I love food shopping and have a well stocked kitchen. There is zero need for me to be sent a tiny plastic bottle filled with 1oz of olive oil. I was just getting bored of the food I was cooking and wanted some inspiration and be sort of forced out of the box to try new things.

All of these websites have their menus posted publicly online, as well as their recipes (most at least do). Sometimes when I'm in a rut of "ugh what do I want to cook next," I'll go onto their websites and see what's on their menu, then pick up any necessary ingredients on my way home from work.
To some extent that is the value of these services. They force you out of your comfort zone eating wise. Granted we aren't talking about extremes. I suppose they are also a bit of training wheels for someone that has never cooked. But they aren't going to be cheap. They aren't going to be fast (way too many steps).

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Mon May 20, 2019 1:33 pm

niceguy7376 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 3:04 pm
Went to local kroger store this weekend and they had similar packed dinners (need to be cooked at home) for $16 for two people.
I'm noticing Publix is having more prepared meals available recently. We need to check them out.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

miles monroe
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by miles monroe » Mon May 20, 2019 1:35 pm

hard pass; doesn't make economic sense and is an environmental disaster.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon May 20, 2019 1:53 pm

RJC wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 1:07 pm
We've tried a few including Blue Apron and noticed a few things:
1. Takes about 45-60 min to prep and cook. Where's the convenience in that?
2. Makes you dependent on the service over time.
3. Starts to add up after a while.

A Trader Joe's opened up across the street so we've been going there. They have a lot of simple pre-packaged options.
I haven't used Blue Apron, but I did Hello Fresh. Meal prep isn't much longer or shorter than making a similar meal without them. It's not pre-prepared of course. It's "convenient" because the time spent shopping for the ingredients is not necessary. By neglecting that your calculation is off.

I don't know why you'd be "dependent". You don't get it every day.

Definitely can be expensive. You would probably want to have more than one to get more discounts.

In my case, it was to jump-start myself back into cooking. I'd gotten lazy, making pasta or stir-fry almost every meal. This gave me some experiences, and got me looking for similar menus I could put together or adapt.

SeaToTheBay
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by SeaToTheBay » Tue May 21, 2019 12:02 pm

I'm actually surprised by how many people here are saying it's just "a little expensive." To me, it's a lot expensive! Most of my main dishes end up being around $3-4 a plate, and that's with healthy (often organic) ingredients and good portion sizes. Sure, if I'm trying a new recipe, it might cost closer to $5-6/plate due to buying certain ingredients I don't have much other use for, but still - the jump to ~$9-10+ per serving for meal kits, especially when there aren't leftovers so there's not much time savings, adds up fast.

My weekly grocery bill for my wife and I is about $120 on average. If I did Blue Apron 5 days a week that would suck up $100+. And I still have to worry about breakfast, lunch, snacks, and weekends!!

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Nate79
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Nate79 » Tue May 21, 2019 1:42 pm

Recently tried one shipment of Blue Apron thanks to a fellow BH giving a free coupon. Honestly I was not impressed. Food was ok, not great. Tastes were good but instructions were underwhelming (maybe should have tried videos instead of the text inserts). But the cost is outrageous for what was in the box and no way in the world would I pay that much for so little.

Trism
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Trism » Mon May 27, 2019 8:15 am

I've tried a couple of these services, and the reason that they didn't work for me was because I expected convenience.

NOPE.

Too many of the meals take multiple pots/pans/skillets and numerous steps.

Also, I would find myself eating both servings in a single meal (I'm > 6'1" and 210#), like others have mentioned.

So I was spending ~$25 on meal for one that took 20-30 minutes to prepare, and I still had a sink full of dirty pans when I was finished.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon May 27, 2019 1:17 pm

Trism wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 8:15 am
Too many of the meals take multiple pots/pans/skillets and numerous steps.
I'm not sure what you thought it was. Dump and stir canned stuff, or microwave pre-prepared meals? I'd never have considered them if it didn't involve cooking meals from fresh ingredients for the most part.

With HelloFresh, you usually used a baking sheet or pot, and a skillet. I quickly learned that lining the baking sheet with foil was a big help.

Trism
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Trism » Mon May 27, 2019 4:06 pm

Earl Lemongrab wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 1:17 pm
Trism wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 8:15 am
Too many of the meals take multiple pots/pans/skillets and numerous steps.
I'm not sure what you thought it was. Dump and stir canned stuff, or microwave pre-prepared meals? I'd never have considered them if it didn't involve cooking meals from fresh ingredients for the most part.

With HelloFresh, you usually used a baking sheet or pot, and a skillet. I quickly learned that lining the baking sheet with foil was a big help.
Pre-measured, pre-chopped, pre-cut... a lot of the buzz words used in their product information suggest convenience.

I knew it would require more effort than pushing one button on the microwave, but it turned out to be NOTHING approaching convenient.

I also hated having several meals' worth of uncooked food in the refrigerator, wondering how many nights I could get away with skipping all of the unpleasant steps without everything perishable turning into garbage.

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Tamarind
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Tamarind » Mon May 27, 2019 5:01 pm

MI_bogle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:56 am
Used it for the free trial twice, as several friends had it.

Lots of packaging waste, which I didn't like

Meals were just fine, liked the recipes and the directions.


Between the cost and the packaging waste I concluded it would be much better to just try to expand cooking ideas by looking at stuff online and putting a small effort in, rather than purchasing a delivery meal plan
+1. My experience as well. No harm to try the trial but I suggest you plan to only use it for a couple of weeks then cancel. The website for HelloFresh provides the recipes they send even for non-subscribers, which I find more helpful than getting the actual box. I like to cook but needed some new recipes that would be relatively quick to make. YMMV.

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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Earl Lemongrab » Mon May 27, 2019 5:23 pm

Tamarind wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 5:01 pm
MI_bogle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:56 am
Between the cost and the packaging waste I concluded it would be much better to just try to expand cooking ideas by looking at stuff online and putting a small effort in, rather than purchasing a delivery meal plan
+1. My experience as well. No harm to try the trial but I suggest you plan to only use it for a couple of weeks then cancel. The website for HelloFresh provides the recipes they send even for non-subscribers, which I find more helpful than getting the actual box. I like to cook but needed some new recipes that would be relatively quick to make. YMMV.
Sure, I don't think there's much doubt that if you can plan and shop effectively then that's a better approach. That's what I'm doing now, after using the meal service to jump-start me a bit. I'd become pretty lazy in my planning and cooking.

As I mentioned, all the menu lists and instructions are on the web pages of the services. You can pick meals as if you had the service and procure the ingredients yourself.

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southerndoc
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by southerndoc » Mon May 27, 2019 5:52 pm

There are probably local options available. Here in the Atlanta metro, there are several (Publix grocery store chains, Fresh n Fit, etc.). Have you looked to see if anything local is available to reduce waste? Fresh n Fit may be a national franchise. Basically there are several drop off points where they drop off cooked meals which remain in a refrigerator. Much less waste than Blue Apron.

I hated Blue Apron.

mikemikemike
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by mikemikemike » Mon May 27, 2019 6:57 pm

MI_bogle wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 8:56 am
Used it for the free trial twice, as several friends had it.

Lots of packaging waste, which I didn't like

Meals were just fine, liked the recipes and the directions.


Between the cost and the packaging waste I concluded it would be much better to just try to expand cooking ideas by looking at stuff online and putting a small effort in, rather than purchasing a delivery meal plan
I agree with all of this. Used HelloFresh (a similar service) for about 5 delivery boxes. Couldn't get over the waste. And once first-time-sign-up coupons ended, it was spendy. There are 2 butchers, a good fish market, 3 produce markets, two great bakeries, a big all-service grocer, and a decent liquor store within 5 minutes walk of my house. So I don't really need these services anymore. But ymmv.

Jackson12
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by Jackson12 » Wed May 29, 2019 11:43 pm

Tried it with a special reduced price offer. Portion sizes varied widely. We aren’t used to overly large servings and eat healthily , don’t stuff ourselves, etc...but even so, some Blue Apron meals had such skimpy portions that the 4 person meals barely served 2.

The vegetables also cane in random and that affected recommended cooking times. Not impressed.

epilnk
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Re: Anybody try the Blue Apron or the like?

Post by epilnk » Thu May 30, 2019 1:43 am

We used Blue Apron twice a week for the better part of a year and were very satisfied with it. It pried our family out of a rut and got our sons to try a wider variety of dishes. Most importantly, it taught our 16 year old to cook, and cook well. His brother was already quite capable in the kitchen but the younger one had never showed much interest, and something about this style of cooking just worked for him. He was guided through restaurant quality meals, he mastered techniques and observed common themes, he learned where and how he could cut back the spices, etc. He learned how to put together a meal, saw just how much can be accomplished with garlic and butter, and discovered unfamiliar ingredients like creme freche and capers.

We outgrew it and discontinued it. I didn't think the cost premium was too bad but the packaging waste was really hard to stomach, as others pointed out. My teen saved his favorite recipes and now recreates or adapts many of these himself - leaving out the offensive bell peppers, probably adding capers. I'm a little amused by the overuse of capers.

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