Food subscription boxes have become extremely popular, especially in the last few months. Whether its to change up a mundane meal plan by trying new recipes or saving time, everyone has their reasons for wanting to try it. At first, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. It seemed expensive and after all I’m a moderately experienced cook. I know what I’m doing, right?
Well once we moved to South Carolina things seemed to change. We started cooking at home less and eating out now. When we did eat at home, it was pretty much only spaghetti. It almost felt like I had lost some of my cooking mojo. After visiting some friends and talking to them about their experiences with the boxes, we decided to give it a whirl. Thankfully, both Hello Fresh and Blue Apron have offers that you can extend to your friends to let them try it out at no cost.
We started out trying Hello Fresh one week and tried Blue Apron the following week. Here are the meals that we tried:
Blue Apron: Spiced Pork Chops & Mashed Potatoes with Kale, English Peas and Goat Cheese, Roasted Chicked & Mixed Mushrooms with Crispy Rosemary-Orange Salad & Chipotle Pan Sauce, and Crispy Catfish Sandwiches with Spicy Lime Aioli & Chopped Salad
So, here are some thoughts we had from both experiences:
1. Hello Fresh seems the more “healthy” option… but just barely. Hello Fresh meals range between 450 and 800 calories per serving. You are able to look at all nutritional info (calories, protein, sodium, etc.) before you pick your menu with Hello Fresh, but Blue Apron just gives a rough estimate of the calorie count only. Overall the Blue Apron options seem a little higher on the calorie count. +1 for Hello Fresh
2. Packaging for Hello Fresh is more “user friendly.” I love the way that Hello Fresh came packaged. Both boxes were medium cardboard boxes with an insulated bag and ice packs inside, but I preferred Hello Fresh’s method of boxing up all ingredients that pertain to that one recipe. Blue Apron wasn’t organized in any way, so it took a little more time to organize before cooking. +1 for Hello Fresh
3. There were bones in our Blue Apron fish. We had the Crispy Catfish sandwiches on the Blue Apron menu and I was super excited to try it out. We both really enjoyed the sandwiches… except when my husband started spitting out bones. To me, that’s a huge no no. What if we had been feeding them to children? Not cool. -2 for Blue Apron
4. Portion size: Blue Apron is larger, but is bigger really better? Blue Apron definitely had a larger portion size, but I felt myself getting full about 3/4 of the way through the meal. Some of my food went to waste because I didn’t want to gorge myself and the meals weren’t the type to store well. -1 for Blue Apron
5. Blue Apron comes with literally all of the things you might need to make dinner. This includes flour and butter. To me, this is unnecessary because I have these things in my pantry/refrigerator already. For others, it might be helpful. (No points awarded)
6. Meals from Hello Fresh seemed to be more “user friendly.” I had no trouble following the instructions for the Hello Fresh meals. I seemed to be constantly confused when making the Blue Apron meals. As a result, I don’t think they turned out as good as the HF meals did. +1 for Hello Fresh
7. Blue Apron wins on the money front. It’s $10 cheaper than Hello Fresh. Even so, $59.95 (Blue Apron) for 3 sets of meals for 2 people is pretty steep. That’s already 60% of my weekly grocery budget gone. With Hello Fresh, it’s $69.95. That’s 70%. To me, that’s a little much. +1 for Blue Apron
8. Comparing meals to meals, there may have been some ~user error~ that caused issues for Blue Apron. Nick and I both cooked the Hello Fresh meals. We spent time together in the kitchen and enjoyed taking our time preparing the meal. With Blue Apron, however, I did all of the cooking myself and due to some distractions, my 100% was not in it. As for taste, I would give the meals from Hello Fresh a respectable 7. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Zucchini & Parm Chicken and Nick said the Ginger Beef Stir-Fry was bland (I wholeheartedly disagree with him on that.) As for Blue Apron, it’s harder to rate because there were aspects of each meal that I really liked and other things I did not like. For example, I enjoyed the bread used for the sandwiches, but there were issues with our fish (see #3 above.) The Roasted Chicken was delicious, but the instructions for the “salad” (I use quotes because it was cooked collard greens, which I don’t consider a “salad”) caused an oil explosion from my stove and the pan sauce was almost non-existent. The pork chops, on the other hand, were one of the best pork chops I’ve ever had. I might give Blue Apron a 6 but again, the issues may have been caused by me (other than the fish, which was definitely not on me.)
To be honest, I’d like to try both boxes again to get a better feel for them before deciding to move forward with either of them. If you’re interested in trying Hello Fresh, you can get $40 off your first box by clicking here. (There is a referral code attached to this which gives me $20 off a box when you place your order.)
I would love to hear what you think about the boxes, whether you’re a seasoned veteran of food subscription boxes or just starting to explore them. Let me know in the comments below!
Disclaimer: Neither Hello Fresh nor Blue Apron had anything to do with this post. I received two trial weeks of each box from a friend. This content is not sponsored in any way and is just me giving you my two cents!