What Is Blue Apron?
Blue Apron is an online food delivery start-up company that is based in New York City at 5 Crosby St. It was co-founded in 2012 by Matt Wadiak, Matt Salzberg, and Ilia Papas. In 2015, the third year since it was founded, this recipe delivery business had an estimated value of 2 billion dollars and had grown to 2,500 employees.
What does Blue Apron do that makes it special? It delivers all the ingredients, fresh and precisely measured-out, that one needs for a meal of one's choice. The subscriber chooses a meal, and Blue Apron delivers the recipes, along with all the ingredients in the amounts called for by each recipe, so the subscriber can make himself a freshly-cooked, delicious meal. The co-founders came up with the idea of Blue Apron because as food lovers, they liked trying out new recipes to cook at home. But they soon realized that making a meal at home took a lot of time, effort, and money. Also, finding the best recipes often took a lot of trying out different recipes. Thus they came up with the idea for Blue Apron.
They tried it out first with Matt Salzberg’s friends, who loved the idea and couldn’t stop talking about it. Since that time, the company has experienced only growth in every sense. They established connections with local farms where they get the fresh ingredients, and later with ranchers and pasta makers. In the beginning, they offered only three kinds of meals: poultry, fish, and beef or pork. Later, they expanded their menu and also added diet meals and a marketplace of cooking supplies. By the end of 2014, Blue Apron was delivering a million meals per month to their subscribers, and in the following year, they were delivering over 5 million meals every month.
Blue Apron is dedicated to improving food delivery in general, while caring about the environment and community, so they have established four main missions in their business: First, to create better standards for growing food and raising animals, which is good for the environment and guarantees high-quality ingredients. Second, to regenerate the land, which implies regenerative agriculture. As the farmers and vegetable growers use the soil every year, it is important that they take care of it so that it can be used again in the future, for many, many years. Blue Apron has partnered with over 150 farms across the country. Third, to eliminate the middleman by skipping wholesalers, regional grocery warehouses, and grocery stores, as this guarantees fresher ingredients. Fourth, Blue Apron reduces food waste by delivering the exact amount you need for the meal, so you avoid the waste of leftover fresh ingredients. Blue Apron saved an estimated 2,800,000 pounds of food just in 2016.
Besides food, Blue Apron's offer now includes cooking supplies. They offer preparation tools, cutlery, cookware, bakeware, pantry supplies, and wine, all at reasonable prices. For example, their ultra-lightweight cast iron skillet costs $100; their prep bundle costs $57.95; their chef and petty knife set costs $159.99, and their Zester-Grater costs $14.99. There are many more cooking supplies in their offer that you can check out in their online marketplace on their official website.
Blue Apron Reviews
Blue Apron has been making a strong impression. Consumer Reports, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing unbiased reviews for consumers since 1936, on its popular website consumerreports.org, has given Blue Apron an overall rating of “very good," pointing out that with Blue Apron's service makes it easier for one to experiment in cooking meals, since they offer a large number of recipes, including a lot of ethnic dishes, such as Greek, Mexican, or Asian. Also, they offer the lowest prices in meals, with two types of plans to choose from: a 2-person plan for 3 meals per week and a family plan with two or four meals per week.
Consumer Reports tested six of Blue Apron's meals, of which four were rated “very good,” and two were rated “good.” The only drawback they pointed out was that in some of the meals, there was a slight disagreement between the recipe and the amount of the ingredient that they actually received.
The website thekitchn.com also did a review of Blue Apron, and gave their overall impression that it is great for weekend meals but not on an everyday basis. They were impressed with the packaging and how the ingredients arrived fresh and chilled, and that the recipes were precise. The cons noted by thekitch.com were that they don’t have meal choices other than fish, meat, and vegetarian, so you have to check the week’s menu for the ingredient details, which is inconvenient if you are allergic to some foods. Also, they concluded that some dishes are a bit overpriced, and if ordering regularly, the small packages are not justified or cost-effective.
Blue Apron Nutrition
Blue Apron provides nutrition labels on every meal, and the information is available online 3 weeks before the delivery. Consumer Reports has reviewed the nutrition information of Blue Apron meals and noted that Blue Apron puts only the number of calories on their nutrition labels, so if you need to limit certain dietary components like fat, carbohydrates, or sodium, you have to measure the content yourself according to the ingredients you put in your meal.
Blue Apron stated at that time that the nutritional content could not be easily measured because of the varying sizes of servings and amounts of oil and salt used when cooking. Averagely, a Blue Apron meal contains between 500 and 800 calories per serving. For the rest of the nutritional information besides calories, you will need to estimate it yourself. The Consumer Reports review was done in August 2016, and the criticisms about their nutritional information appear to have been heeded, since on Blue Apron's website, there is now precise information for every meal they offer, including fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber, sugar, protein, vitamins, calcium, and iron content, aside from the total number of calories.
When it comes to allergens, Blue Apron cautions that the ingredients are produced in the same facilities that produce (shell)fish, wheat, milk and milk products, peanuts, soy, eggs and tree nuts, so keep that in mind if you are allergic to some of these ingredients. They also warn that when several meals are packed in one box, one ingredient can come in contact with another in the process of delivery, so they recommend not ordering Blue Apron meals if you have a food allergy.
Blue Apron Cost
Shipping at Blue Apron is always free and they offer two types of plans:
- 2 Serving Plan – Seasonally-inspired meals for two, in which you get three recipes per week, with each recipe serving two people. The price for each serving in this plan is $9.99 with a weekly total of $59.94.
- 4 Serving Plan – Family-style meals for four, which means that each recipe serves four people and there are two versions: There is one where you receive two recipes per week, which costs $8.74 per serving with a weekly total of $69.92, and there is one where you receive four recipes per week, which also costs $8.74 per serving but with weekly total of $139.84.
Wine costs $10 per bottle and $65.99 per month, which includes shipping and tax.
It is important to know that Blue Apron has a weekly subscription service, and you can skip a week or cancel anytime you want as long as you give a week’s notice.
Blue Apron Menu
The Blue Apron menu is changed every week, and their website contains plans for four weeks ahead so you can choose whatever you like. On their website, you can see what meals are being offered at the time. To get all the additional information you need, you can click on each meal you like, which will take you to a page about the meal where there is information about cooking time, how many calories per serving, all the nutritional facts, and a short description of the meal and a wine recommendation for it. Also, there are food preparation and cooking tips and techniques (for example, how to hold a chef’s knife), recommended tools from the test kitchen, and a list of ingredients and exact instructions on how to prepare the meal.
To give you an idea of the kinds of meals they offer, check out these options that Blue Apron has offered for a week in the past:
- Roasted Pork and Mustard Pan Sauce with Asparagus & Fingerling Potatoes
- Tandoori-Style Chicken & Rice with Summer Squash & Raita
- Nashville-Style Hot Catfish with Red Cabbage, Apple, & Pecan Slaw
- Stir-Fried Wonton Noodles with Bok Choy & Radishes
- Baked Spinach & Egg Flatbreads with Sautéed Asparagus & Lemon Aioli
- Fregola Sarda Pasta Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Fried Leek, & Spicy Ricotta
As for the family plan, they were cooking:
- Stir-Fried Chicken & Udon Noodles with Asparagus & Carrots
- MasterChef Junior Chinese Five-Spice Salmon with Roasted Cauliflower & Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Mole-Spiced Beef & Red Quinoa Bowl with Avocado & Lime Crema
- Three-Cheese & Baby Broccoli Stromboli with Tomato & Oregano Dipping Sauce
As you can see, these are delicious, healthy options, and you can always find something tasty that you like. Blue Apron makes a wine recommendation for you to pair with each meal, and offer monthly wine shipments, which is a rare service among food delivery companies. They offer 500 ml bottles, which is 2/3 of a standard wine bottle and perfect for two people. They aim to provide just what you need for each meal and not more than that. They imagine avoiding leftovers, even for wine. They have also cut out the middleman when it comes to their wine, so that the wine comes directly from the vineyard to you, skipping the winemaker, bottler, importer, and retailer. At a monthly price of $65.99 dollars, you will get three bottles of red wine, three bottles of white wine, along with notes on tasting, tips on pairing, and the story behind the wine. Of course, you could also simply order one bottle of wine at the price of $10.