Blue Apron

4.35 Stars

Updated:

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Based on our experience using Blue Apron, the company offers a wide range of meal kits you prepare yourself and ready-to-eat meals that only require heating up. Recipes are designed by professional chefs in collaboration with nutritionists. Ingredient standards include sourcing food from farmers who use humane and sustainable farming practices to ensure freshness and quality recipes.

Editorial Breakdown

Menu Variety

4.3 Stars

Cost

3.9 Stars

Ease of Recipes

4.7 Stars

Healthiness

3.9 Stars

Overall Rating

4.35 Stars

Bottom Line

If you enjoy cooking, Blue Apron values quality and meal variety for a reasonable price. However, the service does not cater to those with food allergies.

Retirement Living’s editor signed up for Blue Apron, one of the most recognizable meal delivery services around, to see how tasty and varied its weekly meals are and whether it’s a viable choice for seniors looking for easier dinnertime options. 

Blue Apron prioritizes quality, sourcing most of its ingredients directly from farms and food producers. The meals arrived fresh, and each dish had tons of flavor. Seniors who want a rotating menu of flavorful options, including meal kits you prepare yourself and ready-made heat-and-eat meals, will appreciate Blue Apron’s affordable delivery business model.

Pros:

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Prepared meals and wellness plans available
  • Fresh, unique recipes each week
  • Lots of add-ons that include snacks, breakfast, and desserts

Cons:

  • Cannot accommodate food allergies
  • Meal customizations can get expensive

Our Experience Using Blue Apron

After testing Blue Apron’s meal delivery service for one week, I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the complexity of the flavors presented with each meal. While signing up for the service and scheduling my first delivery was trickier than expected, I appreciated how easy it was to customize my order with add-ons, substitutions, and “seasonal” options. 

I conducted my testing in the fall, which meant I could choose from a rotating menu full of autumnal produce, Thanksgiving-type sides, and comforting winter casseroles. This is one of Blue Apron’s standout features, as its ever-changing menu helps reduce redundancy for long-term users of the service.

For the purpose of my test, I ordered three meals per week with two servings each. If you’re new to meal delivery kits like I am, you may also struggle to determine exactly how much food you’ll need to satisfy your appetite. 

Blue Apron doesn’t provide additional context into what constitutes a “serving,” so I selected the “two servings” option for my household, hoping the portions would be enough to satisfy my husband’s appetite as well as my own.

After cooking the three meals delivered by Blue Apron, we found that its “two servings” meals were plenty for two people—we even had leftovers of the orecchiette pasta dish (pictured above). What’s more, the service helps cut down on food waste. For example, the ragu called for currants, which I would have skipped during my trip to the grocery store. I needed just two tablespoons of currants for the recipe, and that’s what Blue Apron delivered. Without the service, I would have had to buy a whole bag of dried currants for one recipe, and likely wasted the rest.

Blue Apron’s recipe cards were detailed, clear, and intuitive—perfect for a lesser-experienced home cook. The cards bolded each ingredient, which helped me follow along while working at the stove. 

The end result was tastier than expected, and the time estimates to prepare each meal were accurate. See the images above to compare Blue Apron’s product image against my plated result.

A few other things to note about my experience with Blue Apron:

  • Keep scissors on hand to open all the plastic packaging. Blue Apron packages each ingredient separately, and they do not have tear strips for easy opening. 
  • Blue Apron won’t send replacement ingredients. However, they will issue a meal credit for missing ingredients you need to replace if you fill out a form online. Our box was missing two required ingredients for one of the meals. Luckily, I had substitutes on hand, but without them, the dish wouldn’t have turned out. 
  • Store your ingredients immediately. I didn’t cook my third meal until five days after delivery, and my ingredients were still fresh by that time. Blue Apron’s website includes instructions for properly storing food in the fridge.
  • Pay attention to your first delivery date after signing up. Your delivery will be scheduled after providing payment information. Our first scheduled delivery was 17 days out—a long time for new customers looking for a quick mealtime solution. After poking around the “Account Settings,” I realized I could choose an earlier date. Blue Apron’s first available delivery to my location was eight days from the day I signed up.

Blue Apron for Seniors: Our Verdict

Blue Apron is best for seniors who don’t want to think about what’s for dinner but still crave fresh, high-quality meals. It won’t save you any money, but the service promises easy recipes you can build upon (if you enjoy being in the kitchen).

Choosing Blue Apron means you can skip a trip or two to the grocery store, and its pre-portioned ingredients help cut down on food waste—Blue Apron will send you only what you need for each recipe. Plus, seniors 55 and older are eligible for $110 off their first order and free shipping. 

Meal Options 

Blue Apron offers 16+ meal kits each week, plus a great range of extras, including “Heat & Eat” prepared meals, brunches, desserts, and salads. The company promises high-quality ingredients—think humanely-raised, hormone-free meats and sustainable produce sourced from small farms, for example.

However, its organic options are limited. If an organic diet is a must-have, consider opting for Green Chef. 

Blue Apron and Dietary Limitations

If you follow a specialized diet, such as keto, gluten-free, or paleo, Blue Apron does not have plans that cater to your needs. There is a rotating menu of vegetarian dishes each week, but you’ll have to leverage the company’s substitutions and replacements to satisfy more specific dietary needs.

Blue Apron also does not accommodate food allergies.

DietMeal Options Available
KetoNo
Gluten-FreeNo
Low-CarbYes
PaleoNo
VegetarianYes
VeganNo
Allergy-FriendlyNo
Dietary Restrictions

Healthy Meal Options

Recently, Blue Apron has partnered with nutritionists to design healthier meal plans. For example, its Wellness plan features meals labeled as “carb conscious” and “600 calories or less.”  

Blue Apron’s website says that all Wellness recipes consider calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium, but we recommend studying the nutritional labels provided for each meal before ordering.

One meal I selected was a seared chicken breast in Dijon pan sauce. I chose it because it had a wellness label, meaning it was designed in collaboration with nutritionists for healthier eating. Upon reviewing the nutrition information available online, I noticed a few discrepancies.

This meal, pictured below, is higher in Vitamins C and A, potassium, iron, protein, and fiber (all good things for seniors to watch), but its sodium, saturated fats, and cholesterol levels were high—45% or more of the recommended daily value.

Keep in mind that nutritional information will vary by dish. For example, Blue Apron’s healthy grain-based meals that feature barley, quinoa, farro, orzo, couscous, and more. These recipes are designed in collaboration with a registered dietitian and have lower cholesterol levels than other dishes.

How Blue Apron Works

The process of creating an account and ordering meal deliveries with Blue Apron is similar to other meal delivery services: pick your preferences, choose how many meals you want each week, and pay for your first order. 

Then, Blue Apron will ship your weekly meals in one box, including easy-to-follow recipe cards and every ingredient you’ll need to cook the meals. 

1. Define Preferences

To sign up for Blue Apron, the company prompted me to specify my preferences (as many as I liked), the number of servings per meal, and the number of meals per week. 

Seniors (55+) are eligible for a hefty senior new customer discount: $110 off their first order and free shipping.

Blue Apron sign-up process for choosing meal preferences.
Screenshot of Blue Apron’s sign-up process. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard

Choose among eight “categories” of menu preferences, including “fast & easy,” “veggies,” “wellness,” and an “I’ll try it all” option for the adventurous foodie. While you can adjust these preferences at any time, the company will use your initial choices to “recommend” meals for your first round of deliveries.

Blue Apron sign-up process for choosing meal preferences. Source: Retirement Living
Blue Apron’s menu of pre-defined dietary preferences. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard

Again, Blue Apron does not accommodate individual food allergies. However, you can select protein preferences if you’re a pescatarian or indicate that you’re a vegetarian.

Blue Apron’s menu of pre-defined dietary preferences. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard
Blue Apron’s menu of pre-defined dietary preferences. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard

2. Choose Meals

Once you select your meal preferences, you’ll choose your meals for the week. Blue Apron will present options based on your defined preferences as a starting point, but you can customize, substitute, and upgrade according to your interests. 

For an additional fee, I could also select various “add-on” options. Add-ons can include meal kits for two or four, breakfast and dessert options, and “heat & eat” options, which are ready-to-cook, single-tray meals.

A sampling of customization options. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard
A sampling of customization options. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard

My Blue Apron account gave me 18 add-on options, but I suspect this number may change depending on the meal preferences you select.

For example, I could sub for a “carb-conscious” Sheet Pan Pesto Salmon with Roasted Vegetables for no additional charge. Or I could choose Creamy Butternut Squash & Five Cheese Ravioli with Pancetta, Fried Sage & Breadcrumbs for an additional $14.

Blue Apron also uses labels to aid in your selections, such as “ready to cook,” “carb-conscious,” and “wellness.”

3. Select Shipping and Delivery Date 

Outside of its introductory promotion, Blue Apron shipping is $10.99. Blue Apron will deliver seven days a week to most locations, but enter your ZIP code at sign-up to view your options. 

You’ll receive an email with tracking information when your box ships. You can also track your shipment through the app.

You can change your delivery day from week to week in your account settings (pictured below). Just be sure to note your specific cut-off date and time for changes.

Blue Apron delivery settings. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard

4. Unbox Your Delivery

In your Blue Apron Box, you’ll see information about how to store your ingredients and your food for the week, which is protected by an insulated foil layer.

Blue Apron includes large, clearly formatted recipe cards for each meal, but you can also use the website or app to follow cooking instructions if you prefer to use your phone or tablet in the kitchen.

Despite clearly stating its commitment to waste reduction on its packaging and website, Blue Apron’s packaging is still heavy on the plastic. That said, the company claims that 85% of the delivery box contents are recyclable, and each box includes instructions for disposing of the box properly. 

Blue Apron box contents and ingredients. Source: Retirement Living
Blue Apron box contents and ingredients. Source: Retirement Living

5. Cook Meals:

To cook a Blue Apron meal, follow the step-by-step instructions. Most meals take 25 to 35 minutes to make, but some may take 45 to 60 minutes, depending on how quickly you work. 

Website instructions for cooking Blue Apron’s “Ground Pork Ragu and Orecchiette Pasta” recipe. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard.
Website instructions for cooking Blue Apron’s “Ground Pork Ragu and Orecchiette Pasta” recipe. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard.

For testing purposes, I selected meal kit plans, which include pre-portioned ingredients and cooking instructions. If you choose ready-to-cook recipes, you’ll get ingredients that have been chopped and washed, as well as a recyclable oven-proof dish, so all you have to do is assemble and bake.

Blue Apron Costs

Blue Apron follows a price-per-serving structure of between $7.99 and $12.49, depending on the number of servings and meals you order per week. The more meals you order, the more you save.

Under our subscription plan, our first order totaled $76.93 before discounts and included three meals per week for two servings each. Our price per serving was $10.99. 

Below is a breakdown of how much it will cost to use Blue Apron. Note: These are starting prices, as your final total will vary based on the meals you choose, how many meals you order per week, and your desired number of servings.

Price Per PortionOrder Size & TotalShipping
Starting from $7.995 meals per week for 4 people: $159.80$10.99
Starting from $8.994 meals per week for 4 people: $143.84$10.99
Starting from $9.493 meals per week for 4 people: $113.88$10.99
Starting from $9.992 meals per week for 4 people: $79.62$10.99
Starting from $9.495 meals per week for 2 people: $94.90$10.99
Starting from $9.994 meals per week for 2 people: $79.62$10.99
Starting from $10.993 meals per week for 2 people: $65.94$10.99
Starting from $12.492 meals per week for 2 people: $49.96$10.99
Blue Apron Costs

Like most meal delivery services that allow customizations, there are additional charges for upgrades and substitutions. Additional costs may include:

  • Premium and craft recipes: $13.99 – $26.99 per serving. This includes more extravagant tastes and ingredients, like seared duck breast, fried pork belly, smokey sweet potato and poblano soup, spinach and arugula salad, crepes, and more.
  • Heat & eat options: $5.99 – $13.99 for single tray servings of ready-to-cook meals. Can also order two or four trays for an added fee. (See image below.)
  • Sales tax: Applicable sales taxes will be added to each delivery, depending on your location.
Blue Apron’s “Heat & Eat”  meal add-on options. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard
Blue Apron’s “Heat & Eat” meal add-on options. Source: Retirement Living’s Blue Apron account dashboard

Blue Apron’s prices are comparable to other meal kit services like HelloFresh and Home Chef; however, we think Blue Apron’s meals have higher quality ingredients and better taste. 

Plus, its costs are comparable to modern-day grocery prices and what I might spend for the same ingredients. A senior household of two would spend about $95 for five vastly different dinners per week with Blue Apron.

This service surely won’t save you any money, but it will simplify your life. The convenience factor alone makes Blue Apron a great solution for busy seniors who enjoy cooking but would like to find a simpler alternative.

Blue Apron Complaints

The most common complaints about Blue Apron are its costs, excessive packaging, and spoiled and/or missing ingredients.

The company has a 4.1 rating on Trustpilot (out of 5), and 80% of its reviews are 4 stars or higher. Those who rate the service negatively mention receiving spoiled or rotten ingredients and having issues contacting customer service for a resolution, even though Blue Apron has a freshness guarantee. 

The most common complaints about Blue Apron on its Better Business Bureau page reference costs, specifically the process of automatic billing and higher fees after the introductory discount expires. Having read Blue Apron’s policy agreement, we recommend making note of the date of your recurring charges and its cancellation policy before signing up.

FAQs About Blue Apron

How long does the food from Blue Apron stay fresh?

According to Blue Apron’s freshness guidelines, the company recommends storing all food as soon as possible after delivery and using any seafood ingredients within two days. During our test, the produce lasted five days in the refrigerator.

Does Blue Apron have a guarantee?

Blue Apron has a freshness guarantee that promises to issue a meal credit for any additional ingredients you need to replace due to quality or for items that were missing. Under this policy, you’ll need to fill out its online form within seven days of receiving your delivery. 

Is Blue Apron high quality?

In addition to sourcing ingredients from sustainable farms, Blue Apron uses high-quality ingredients from top brands. During our test, we could choose meals that included premium ingredients like duck breast, organic grains, pork belly, salmon, and more.

How do you cancel a Blue Apron subscription?

You can cancel a Blue Apron subscription by navigating to the Plan Settings page in your Account Settings, clicking “Edit,” followed by “Pause/Cancel Subscription.” Any orders shown as “Order Processed” or “Shipped” cannot be canceled.

Conclusion

Based on my experience with Blue Apron, it’s easy to see why it’s such a popular meal delivery service. While it won’t save you any money, the prices are reasonable for the quality of the ingredients delivered each week, and the menu offers excellent variety. Seniors who want to make mealtime a bit easier without sacrificing quality should consider Blue Apron.

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