Several of our friends have asked for my opinion on meal delivery services in recent months because of my background as a professional chef. Though I had seen the advertisements for Blue Apron, I didn’t have the chance to give these services a try until the last couple of weeks when we were staying with one of our daughters. Finally, curious enough to give it a go, I ordered boxes from two of the most popular services so I could compare and write a review. Here are my takeaways from my recent experiences cooking with Blue Apron vs. Green Chef:
This booming start-up was the brainchild of 2 founding members who had zero food industry experience, but who saw the potential value of making meal time easier. After bringing on a third co-founder who had the foodie knowledge they lacked, Blue Apron went from tiny start-up to a huge $2 billion company delivering over a million meals a month! They are now the giant of the meal delivery industry, so of course I had to give them a try:
- Pricing: Not only does Blue Apron NEVER charge for shipping, it is overall much cheaper. If you went with the “Carnivore” plan from Green Chef, the most similar package to a Blue Apron plan, you would spend over $1500 more per year for comparable food. However, one might argue that the all-organic ingredients offered by Green Chef are worth the extra money (see more below).
- Wine Pairings: You can sign up for Blue Apron Wine, a subscription service that sends you 3 reds and 3 whites per month for $10 a bottle. The selections are chosen to complement that month’s recipes, but your box also comes with tasting and pairing advice. The Italian in me loves the option of adding wine, and I think this service is valuable to younger cooks that aren’t yet comfortable selecting a wine to go with a particular dish.
- Recipe Instructions: The recipe cards have both instructions and ingredient measurements so you can make the dish again on your own. Green Chef doesn’t include measurements, so you have to hunt the recipe down online. As a professional chef, it’s difficult for me to follow someone else’s instructions, especially when my opinions on cooking certain items differ from the recipe. However, for beginner chefs, I think these recipe cards are really quite useful, second best to taking a hands-on class.
- Skipping Deliveries: Blue Apron’s website makes it easy to skip multiple weeks ahead of time in case you’re on a trip or money is tight. Green Chef only allows you to postpone one week at a time.
- Website Overall: The website has a lot of extras like instructional videos, interactive recipe pages, and a shop with pantry items and kitchen gadgets you might need. So important for people just learning to cook!
Price: $8.74 per meal for family plan, $9.99 per meal for couples plan with free shipping
This granola-crunchier version of Blue Apron was founded almost two years ago in Boulder, Colorado. Their goal is to bring Americans back to the dinner table with healthy, organic meals. Their idea that dinner time should be a relaxing time to decompress and make conversation sounds exactly like something my grandmother would have said. Here are my takeaways from Green Chef:
- Organic Ingredients: All of Green Chef’s ingredients are certified organic and GMO free, and are sustainably sourced.
- Large Portions: Their portion sizes are more substantial and might even allow for leftovers, whereas Blue Apron’s recipes make much smaller portions that might leave you hungry if you have a big appetite like me.
- Labeled Ingredients: All the ingredients for a recipe have a color-coded sticker so there’s no guesswork. This saves time when you’re separating the contents of your package.
- Special Diet Options: Green Chef offers plans for all sorts of dietary needs, including paleo, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. While Blue Apron offers meat-free recipe options, they do not accommodate gluten-free or paleo diets.
- Easy Prep: Unlike Blue Apron, Green Chef washes and chops a lot of ingredients for you to save you even more time and effort in the kitchen.
Price: Between $10.49 and $14.99 per meal, depending on the dietary preferences of your plan, plus $9 shipping per week
If you are looking for a less expensive service that really helps you hone your cooking skills, go with Blue Apron. If you have a special diet or are willing to pay more for larger portions and organic ingredients, Green Chef is the better choice. As for me, overall I was really impressed by the quality of both services, but I think I’ll stick with my own recipe creations.