Why We Don’t Order from Blue Apron

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

When it comes to eating, Mr. FAF and I have two main options: (1) cooking at home and (2) eating out.

There’s a third option which we have never tried and don’t plan to any time soon: (3) ordering from Blue Apron, Hello Fresh or similar services.

I have had my neighbor offer a code for some free meals, but I never took her up on her offer. And mind you, I LOVE free food.

I’m writing this post not to criticize or try to damage the reputation of these brands.

I think whoever came up with this idea is a genius, and that the people starting and developing these services are talented.

This is how capitalism thrives: new ideas that fill a niche will get recognized and make profits.

In this post, I’ll specify the four reasons why Blue Apron and similar brands are not a good choice for us.

I know if I do this, they will never reach out to me for affiliate marketing (aka loss of business), but I stand by what I believe in.

1. Expensive

For a couple, each serving is $9.99 or almost $20 a meal for two. For a week, it costs $59.94 for 3 meals, and you still have 11 meals to plan for.

The company says it’s cheaper than eating at a restaurant. The problem is that $9.99 is only the cost of the materials. We still need to spend time cooking (at least 30 minutes), use our cookware, and pay for the electricity/gas/water we use to make these meals.

If the couple enjoys cooking a simple restaurant-quality meal together, that’s a perfect choice for them. For Mr. FAF and me, if we have to make an effort to cook, each serving will be much cheaper than $9.99. My monthly food expenses for March and April were less than $90.

If we don’t want to cook, we can go to an inexpensive restaurant and spend $10/each on a delicious meal, including tip, without having to deal with all the cooking and the dishes.

Source: www.blueapron.com

2. One-time meals

The servings are meant to be single meals that a person can finish in one sitting. It means there’s no economies of scale – the ability to reduce costs when a large amount of goods or services is purchased or produced.

For example, when Mr. FAF and I cook, we make sure our food will last for a couple of days so that we can save time and energy.

For Blue Apron, the portions are meant for just one meal. It means the next time we want to eat something, we have to roll into the kitchen and spend at least another 30 minutes cooking instead of microwaving leftovers for less than 5 minutes.

It’s just neither efficient nor sustainable for us.

3. Too much packaging

I’m not an environmentalist. But when I see the amount of plastic wrapping in a Blue Apron box, I just wonder how much of the cost per meal goes toward labor to wrap all the ingredients and seasoning in those tiny plastic bags.

This is probably the main reason why I didn’t get the free Blue Apron meals from my neighbor. I just can’t bear the thought of getting a little bit of everything in heavy packaging. I know I won’t spend that much money on the service, so someone else can try that free meal and use the service instead.

4. Passive waiting

Mr. FAF and I go grocery shopping on the weekends, pick what we need, put them in the fridge, and then forget about it until we need to cook. Oftentimes, those grocery shopping trips are our frugal dates.

For Blue Apron, we will need to wait for the package to arrive at our house in order to start cooking. I think I’d prefer knowing that everything I need is already in the fridge.


Blue Apron is a new company (active since 2012). There are a lot of thing the company can improve upon. I know it’s always easier for an outsider to point out the shortcomings of an emerging product.

And I don’t plan to be that person. After all, the company must be doing something right to get to this level of popularity.

However, if Blue Apron can continue to grow and address all of the concerns I mentioned above, I will definitely consider being one of their customers one day.

For now, Mr. FAF and I will just roll into the kitchen and cook whatever groceries we have in the fridge and microwave the leftovers the next day.


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20 thoughts on “Why We Don’t Order from Blue Apron”

  • We’ve done Blue Apron once in the past but found it to be too much work. Not sure if they just sent us some horrible meals or what, but they weren’t that good either.

    • Hi Michelle, I can’t believe you took the time to visit my blog and even leave a comment! I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I’m always amazed at your hard work and success. I’m sure you’ve inspired so many people to start a blog of their own.

      I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t have a good experience with Blue Apron. I haven’t ruled out them out yet. But I’m not sure when or whether we will place an order. Many people have had a great time making Blue Apron meals, so I guess it really depends on the person and lifestyle. 🙂

  • I think subscribing to boxes, such as Blue Apron, is great for expanding your skills, but horrible if you are on a budget. We also cook with whatever ingredients we have and enjoy our leftovers ? so I’ll pass on this…maybe I’ll try it one day.

    • I’ve read articles about how Blue Apron can save a lot of couples money. But I think they must have spent a lot on eating out to begin with. My lunch/dinner usually costs around $1-3, so $9.99/meal is still a luxury for a home-cooked meal. That said, I hope Blue Apron will find ways to cut costs, prices, and packaging. It would be a much better business model and product. 🙂

  • My wife and I have never really considered blue apron only due to the fact we have a grocery store within walking distance and we have plenty of recipes that we can try from the internet that we don’t feel like we need a box being shipped to us. Now if it was $9.99 with the food already cooked and ready to consume immediately. I might change my tune 🙂

    • I know! There’re so many recipes on the internet. I hate printing out stuff and wasting paper. Looking at the number of glossy recipes and flyers they include in the box just pains me. $9.99 restaurant-quality food with free delivery sounds good to me too. ^.^

  • $10 a meal is pretty steep in my part of the country. For other high cost of living areas I could see it saving some money. Your reasons are spot on for not diving in.
    I wonder if it could help with weight loss as well. Do you know if they tailor calorie count to gender and body size?

    • I live in DC, and $10 is also pretty steep to me. 🙂 I’m not sure if they have particular plans based on gender and body sizes. But if you want to lose weight, you can do it on a budget. If you read my post about how I lost $36 over 7 months, you’ll see that my meals are just a little more than $1. I just used inexpensive ingredients (i.e. tofu, beans, rice) and ate lots of fruit and veggies.

      Losing weight is like paying off debt. It may be slow and not fun at the moment. But once you see the progress and final outcome, it will be rewarding. Best of luck!

  • We actually tried Blue Apron last year when a friend gave us a free meal coupon. We were actually sent two free meals. When we weren’t paying for the service, I loved it, because the food arrived, we could save it for a couple of days until we were ready to cook it, and there was enough for a few leftovers (but not a lot). We ended up paying for one week of it, because my mom was coming to babysit our kids and I thought, “she won’t have to drive half an hour to the grocery store.” But she didn’t make anything because the recipes were too trendy for her very traditional taste! But. the. packaging. If I didn’t have so much trouble with the cost, the packaging would do me in. They will take it back, but you’ve got to empty out the gel-filled cooler bags, pull out the lining (which is supposed to be compostable but a year later hasn’t broken down in my compost heap at all!), and rinse out all four-hundred-and-fifty-seven little plastic containers your food comes in. I’m with you on this one–pass.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with Blue Apron! I’m glad you at least had a good experience with it in the beginning. I also read somewhere that Blue Apron will take the packaging back, making it more environmentally friendly. At least the company is heeding critiques and trying to do something about it. I just didn’t know it involved so much work for the customers (i.e. washing those tiny teeny plastic bags). It does sound tiring!

  • I did Blue Apron for a while. While it was great for not having to think about meal planning a couple of nights a week, there were some serious downsides. First, I’m gluten-free, so had to improvise with my own supplies as they couldn’t offer gluten-free options (that may have changed since I quit, I have no idea) and the recipes frankly were too hard to follow and took too much time – and that’s from someone who loves to cook (I’ve done two cooking vacations in Italy) and entertain. Not worth it in my opinion

    • It’s great to know what you think about Blue Apron as a good cook. I’m glad it gave you a short break. But following a complicated recipe can discourage me from cooking too.

      • I agree that the recipe should be simple. I have friends to tried a different meal service and like it better, but I’ve been reluctant to try it. I do get an “ugly” produce box delivered every two weeks. It’s good quality, organic produce that just isn’t grocery store pretty. That’s kind of fun and I can customize it to my liking. I hate wasting food, so it’s a sure way to get me to eat more veggies.

        • I’ve read about Hungry Harvest. They deliver “ugly produce” too. I wonder if that’s the service you were referring too. I wish they sold “ugly produce” at the store. I’d be the first one to buy it. Sometimes I feel bad that even fruit and veggies are discriminated against for their looks. @_@

  • My ex was a busy CFO so he used Blue Apron sometimes and we made meals together. It was pretty good but the portions were small (although I eat A LOT). It taste like what I could buy at the grocery store but delivered. It’s amazing for the ultra busy people who don’t want a personal shopper but that’s like .01% of the population.

    I recall we made sweet and sesame salmon I believe. They gave us every single ingredient needed and even a spatula (note what you said…seems a bit wasteful). I thought it was a bit odd to ship raw fish in a box…

    • Wow sounds like it worked out well for him given how busy he was. I honestly would just buy some pre-cooked food from the store or have it delivered. Sweet and sesame salmon sounds really yummy. I hope you had fun making and eating it! 🙂

  • We tried Blue Apron for a little while (probably about 3 or 4 months so it merged between two seasons). We tried it because we were having trouble coming up with ideas on what to make for dinner (it just gets boring after a while, you know?), we wanted to try new things/recipes/ingredients, and lastly we wanted to inspire the whole family to joing in on the meal preparations.

    We cancelled the subscription because they kept using the same ingredients for like 4 weeks straight (we get it – sweet potatoes are in season), our teens didn’t care for some of the ingredients or spices, and frankly we realized that there were too many steps to prepare each recipe! We weren’t actually saving any time when there were SO MANY ingredients. Granted, some are premeasured, but you still have to chop others up and figure out the right time to add them to the rest.

    We may revisit one day when it’s back to just the 2 of us. We considered it a good/bad experiment.

    • I’m glad part of the experiment turned out to be good. We won’t know for sure about something until we try it out. Eating sweet potatoes for almost 4 weeks straight doesn’t sound too appealing to me either. I guess the ingredient is cheaper when it’s in season.

      Following too many steps in a recipe, I realized, is what throws me off the most. I usually just look up cooking videos on Youtube and choose the short ones to watch. It may not be ideal, but the alternative would be me not really following any recipes at all, which usually doesn’t turn out very well. @_@.

  • I just discovered this blog through frugalwoods, so I’m commenting on a bunch of articles as I read through them. I live in DC too, so I couldn’t avoid the BlueApron wave – we were gifted a month of this service and I thought the meals were really tasty and it was nice to learn how to cook with different ingredients. However, it wasn’t worth it to us to continue the service, not only because of the cost but because it took 1-2 hours to cook the meals, which was absolutely crazy for a working couple who just wanted to come home and have a tasty and convenient meal.

    • Hi JM, welcome to the blog! I’m so glad you took the time to visit the site and read my posts. =)

      I too get discouraged by the amount of cooking I’d had to do after paying such a high price for all the ingredients. 1-2 hours a meal * 5 meals/week = 5-10 hrs/week of cooking. I know for a fact that I can spend a tiny fraction of this amount to prep lunch and dinner for the whole week.

      I see that a lot of people enjoy this service though, so I guess it really depends on what they like and how much they enjoy cooking with all the ingredients prepared for them. ^.^

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