Why meal-kit delivery services like Blue Apron and Plated are worth the price, according to moms who use them

Unprompted, unbiased reviews of Blue Apron and Plated from the moms who have used them for months

Plated, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh… all companies that promise to deliver an instagrammable foodie lifestyle to your doorstep.  Idyllic images of chopping fresh vegetables, affordable prices, and cool menus are alluring. For those who have tried them, are they worth it? Why not Pinterest a recipe and just shop for the ingredients? 

who uses meal kit deliver services?

Surprisingly, millennial urbanites and men are the dominant customers of meal kit delivery services… not families. The new wave of meal planning has had increased competition from grocery store alternatives and new meal kit delivery companies. Customers sign up and drop out – one study showed only about 4% using the meal kit service after a year.

The research may not be in favor of long-term sustainability for meal-kits. When asked, “how do you meal plan?” two moms, who are long-term customers and love the service, shared their reviews with us. Quick-to-sign-up and quick-to-abandon millennials may not be the loyal customers these companies seek… it may be the service for busy parents.

Here are two real reviews from moms who have been using Blue Apron and Plated for awhile, and shared their thoughts on the meal kits.

real reviews on meal kit delivery services

First up: Blue Apron seems to dominate the marketing landscape (even though Hello Fresh globally has more customers), and seemingly every online influencer has tried the service. Here’s what one of our good tastemakers had to say about it…

Blue Apron Review

by Alicia, attorney and mom of three under the age of 7

“About a year ago, my husband and I relented to the numerous offers from Blue Apron that we received via podcasts, mail promotions and similar marketing efforts, and we have never looked back.  My husband primarily does our grocery shopping, but I was meal planning, which did not work well.  We took the plunge with Blue Apron, because the service offered half off the first order.  The sign up process was easy enough.  Blue Apron allows you to select 3 meals a week in portions of 2 or 4.  Even though we are a family of 5, we have always selected the 2 meal option, because our kids are picky eaters.  Usually, we default to whatever the service selects for us, because I often do no think to log in before the orders are sent.  

I have never been disappointed with default options, and for eaters who like diversity, Blue Apron does a good job of selecting different types of meals rather than the similar options each week.

Overall, we are satisfied Blue Apron customers.  We enjoy having interesting meals selected for us. I derive no joy from scouring pinterest for hours only to spend too much on meals that I do not like that much.  My husband and I also have learned basic cooking techniques that we can implement in other meals that we prepare.  On that note, my husband now does most of our cooking AND enjoys it, which is a win win for anyone who is looking for more help from their spouse during meal prep time.  Another benefit is that the exact amount of ingredients are sent, so we do not have bottles of unused condiments lingering in our fridge.  

What Blue Apron Solves

We have a problem of inventorying and throwing away old stuff, so this another exciting benefit.  Blue Apron is cost effective; we spend the same or less on similar meals, because we do not have to buy large portions of ingredients that go unused.  We also do a better job of actually making the meals we order; previously, we were often guilty of buying a host of items that were never used, because we resorted to a frozen pizza instead. Finally, the meal prep time is quick and easy; no more than 45 minutes is spent on preparing any given meal.  

A few critiques: 1) on occasion, the ingredients have not been the freshest, although those times are far and few between; 2) there have been a few times where items were forgotten. No worries though, Blue Apron comped us for all or part of our meals when we complained of issues. We also feel that clean up can be a bit much, because the directions tell you to put items in separate bowls during prep time, but I leave things on the cutting board on paper towels to cut down on the number of dishes needed. All in all, my husband and I are Blue Apron believers.”

Try Blue Apron

Blue Apron’s weekly meal plans start at $47.95.

One of the other popular companies, Plated, has a great app and lets users choose their meals weeks in advance. Here’s what one of our good tastemakers had to say about it…

Plated Review

by Jessi, college counselor and mother of 2

“I first tried Plated in 2014 and immediately loved the meals.  But with a demanding 2 year old and a tight budget due to a home renovation project, the Plated meals’ prep time (anywhere from 35-60 minutes) and price per serving (about $11) were deal-breakers. 

Why we resumed the service

Fast forward to fall 2018.  I resumed my Plated subscription and my husband and I have been savoring the delicious meals.  As a novice home cook, I appreciate Plated’s clear, simple instructions.  Before Plated, I NEVER could cook chicken correctly and therefore avoided it altogether.  Embarrassing but true. 

Plated has boosted my confidence in the kitchen which is an added value beyond the meals.  

Reviews of various meal prep kits regularly rate Plated as the most expensive of the bunch.  Plated is also rated as having the best tasting, most sophisticated meals and fresh, high quality ingredients.  I concur.  I’m a bit of a picky eater, but Plated’s meals combine ingredients and flavors that have pushed me out of my comfort zone.  One of my favorite Plated meals is their “Pan Roasted Pork Chop with Pear Brown Butter Sauce, Sautéed Kale and Blue Cheese.”  I normally am not a fan of pork chops, pears or kale!  I fixed this meal for my mom and she said she wanted to lick the plate.  (She’s a classy lady so she didn’t, but still.). Out of about 30 Plated meals I’ve prepared, I’d rate at least 20 as solid “A” meals with nothing below a “B-.”

Why we chose Plated

Plated allows customers to select the number of meals they want each week, along with the number of servings.  I select my meals two weeks in advance and may skip a week (with notice) at any time. There are 20 meals to select from per week, along with two desserts.  Typically there are 4-6 seafood meals, 2-3 vegetarian meals and about a dozen chicken, beef and pork meals.  (Note that Plated’s meats are all hormone and antibiotic free—yay!)  The calorie count ranges from about 500 to 1000 per meal.  Most of my Plated favorites fall between 580 and 780 calories each, which is not bad for a delicious and filling dinner! 

Plated is an excellent choice for anyone who doesn’t mind spending a little time in the kitchen and craves delicious, sophisticated meals.  The price is a drawback, but it is balanced by the fact that I rely less on takeout and have learned valuable cooking techniques.”    

Try Plated

Plated offers meal plans starting at $47.80 per week.

Talk to us

How do you meal plan? Any favorite cookbooks or websites? Join the conversation and share your best tips with our good taste community and comment below!

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