Meal kit delivery services used to be regarded as a luxury expense. You had few options and the services were just down right expensive. Nowadays, that’s not the case. There’s a kit for everyone on any budget.
That made it more difficult to decide which meal kit delivery service to choose. How do you know which one is right for you? If only there was a way to compare different services side by side to know exactly what they offer and help you decide which service is best for you…
Oh wait, that’s why we’re all here. So let’s get into it. Today, we’re putting the two most famous meal kits side by side to face off. Let’s find out which is the best choice!
Blue Apron calls themselves “America’s Most Popular Meal Kit” and HelloFresh calls themselves “America’s #1 Meal Kit.” If you’re new to meal kits, these are probably the two you’ve heard most about. I tried them both and here’s how they compare:
Blue Apron offers meals for the standard diet and for vegetarians.
HelloFresh offers meals for the standard diet, vegetarians and calorie conscious.
Price per serving
$8.99-$9.99, depending on your meal plan.
$8.99, but they offer Gourmet meals that can be significantly more expensive.
The Vegetarian Plan is $9.99 per serving.
The Vegetarian Plan is $8.99 per serving.
They both claim to have Kid-Friendly recipes. However, Blue Apron meals come across as more chef-y/fancy, so they’re less kid-friendly compared to HelloFresh.
HelloFresh Kid-Friendly recipes are actually kid tested. My kid tried the pasta recipe we received and enjoyed it.
HelloFresh charges $8.99 for shipping.
48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii)
48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii)
As you can see Blue Apron and HelloFresh both have their pros and cons. In fact, they scored nearly equal in our individual review of each service. However, let’s talk about the winner for each individual aspect so the true winner can be determined.
Winner: Blue Apron
Any discounts aside, Blue Apron can be a bit cheaper than HelloFresh for the same amount of meals per week. While the price per meal is just about equal, Blue Apron’s free shipping charge sets them apart from HelloFresh. In reality, Blue Apron’s free shipping sets them apart from most of the meal kit delivery services as this isn’t the norm.
While there are lots of similarities with both services’ plans, such as two person or family-friendly, it’s HelloFresh’s Calorie Smart plan that makes them pull ahead as the clear winner. Meal kits can be a great way to eat healthier but not all companies can deliver on that. I’ve seen services have meals that are over 1,000 calories per serving.
Conversely, HelloFresh’s Calorie Smart meals are about half this, coming in around 650 calories per serving. Best of all, they’re tasty!
HelloFresh has the larger selection of recipes each week. They offer 15 recipes per week, whereas Blue Apron only offers 11 meals per week.
Also, the style of meals between kits was different. With Blue Apron, the meals feel a bit fancier, like a chef would make them, probably because there’s recipes created by real Chefs like Amanda Frietag and Chrissy Tiegen.
However, HelloFresh meals have a homier quality. They seem like something your grandmother might cook you for dinner. They have a comfort food vibe.
Other than this, they’re evenly matched. They both offer some meals with Beyond Meat, a meat substitute for vegetarians. They both have restaurant quality taste.
Our recommendation is to decide which you’d like more, comfort food type meals that are still healthy to eat or would you like the luxurious experience of Blue Apron.
Accommodate dietary restrictions
Winner: Honestly? Neither
They both don’t accommodate special dietary restrictions. Blue Apron and HelloFresh aren’t for you if you’re:
- Gluten Free
- On Keto
- On Paleo
- Some with food allergies
I suppose if we have to pick, HelloFresh is the better option. While they both have meals that accommodate vegetarians, HelloFresh has the larger variety in vegetarian meals. HelloFresh receives their third point.
For the meals I received with each service HelloFresh came out ahead for ingredient quality.
The only issue to be found was how much one of the veggies shrank during the cooking process. However, this is more of a quantity issue than a quality issue. Adding another carrot to our box would have remedied this.
Conversely, with Blue Apron one of our veggies was a little banged up. However, it wasn’t overly ripe or rotting. It simply wasn’t aesthetically pleasing. But the bigger issue was the fact that our package of steak was leaking.
To sum up, we had minimal issues within both kits with the quality of ingredients. But, based on our experience, HelloFresh wins because everything was more refined. The ingredients looked nicer and packaged better.
Ease of use
Winner: Blue Apron
Both services say they’re more suitable for amateur homecooks rather than complete novices. However, Blue Apron has video tutorials that you can watch for every meal. So while you may have trouble at first if you’re just learning how to cook, you’ll probably get the hang of it a lot faster with Blue Apron.
Plus, Blue Apron meals seem to have fewer steps than HelloFresh meals. In my experience, Blue Apron sent more pre prepped ingredients as compared to HelloFresh. However, this is not to say HelloFresh meals are complicated to make. Blue Apron has just found little was to make the process a little simpler on the customer.
Ordering experience and packaging
Overall, the order process for both services was quick and easy. They both offer an app for customers to use to manage their subscription. The only issue with ordering was the fact that you have to order your first Blue Apron box about a month in advance.
This means, the only area left to judge was their packaging. With both services, everything came in an insulated box and our items were still cold to the touch. With HelloFresh, our first order was a day late and still fresh. While this was inconvenient, the fact everything was still fresh actually tells me their packaging is good.
So, why did we name HelloFresh the winner if our delivery was late? It all comes down to the leaking package of meat. The meat was still fresh when we used it, thankfully, it was kind of sketchy to pull a leaking package of meat out of a box of food. What if it got on our other ingredients? What if it caused the meat to spoil?
In our case, it didn’t but it was still worrisome at first. Because of this, we gave the point to HelloFresh.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, both HelloFresh and Blue Apron have their pros and cons. If you add up our points, HelloFresh is the winner. However, in our initial reviews, they scored almost exactly the same because they’re both really great services.
With Blue Apron, you’ll have to order about a month in advance, but you can get recipes created by Chef Amanda Frietag. How cool is that? The recipes we received were delicious and fancy and felt like high end restaurant meals. Best of all, Blue Apron made them easy to cook because they offer video tutorials that’ll walk you through the whole process.
Conversely, HelloFresh meals aren’t too hard to cook either. Plus, they’re equally as tasty and flavorful. The only difference was that these meals felt like straight up comfort food. They felt good to eat. However, they were reasonably healthy. The portions of protein compared to veggies made sense.
Plus, after the initial sign up period, they are both right around the same price. They get delivered the same way (in insulated boxes with all the ingredients you need). They both offer family friendly meals and vegetarian meals.
This means, you need to pick the winner. What is more important to you? Free shipping and video tutorials (Blue Apron) or more vegetarian options and familiar homey recipes (HelloFresh). Thankfully, with both these meal kit delivery services, you can cancel at any time so there’s no penalty for trying both before you decide which is right for you!