You must have heard of these popular meal delivery services and maybe you’ve even tried them!
Both of these giants offer you similar benefits: Affordable and simple to cook meals at home.
As life is super hectic nowadays, finding the time to go grocery shopping is not always easy which is why these meal delivery services have skyrocketed in popularity!
Delivered right to your door are pre-portioned ingredients along with recipes showing you how to prepare the meal. This saves you plenty of time whilst also giving you the freedom to enjoy cooking at home.
But which of the two services should you go for? And how do you know that you’ll pick the one that’s right for you?
Well, that’s where we come in, saving you time and making your life a whole lot easier. We’ve done all the research so in this article, we’ll be sharing everything you need to know about both of these services.
This will help you decide which one’s right for you based on your lifestyle, budget, and dietary preferences.
You’ll discover how Home Chef and Blue Apron differ in terms of pricing and shipping costs, orders, delivery and packaging, meal variety and much more!
Before we jump into how the meal delivery services work, here’s a quick summary we’ve put together for you:
$6.99 to about $15
$7.49 to $9.99
Free when you spend over $40, otherwise $9.99
Free on 3 more recipes per week, $7.99 for 2 recipes per week
2 meals for 2 people per week
2 meals for 2 people per week
5 to 60 minutes
5 to 50 minutes
Oven-Ready, Express 15-Minute Meal Kits, Fast & Fresh Meals
Heat & Eat Meals, Fast & Easy Kits, Sheet-Pan Recipes
Packaging mostly recyclable?
So what exactly are Meal Subscription Services?
In a nutshell, these services simplify home cooking. They save you time and hassle by delivering fresh ingredients to your door on a weekly basis. This gives you the luxury of having one less thing to worry about – meal planning and grocery shopping!
With these services, also known as “meal kit delivery” services, you choose from a selection of meals each week, and then you get the pre-portioned ingredients with the recipes delivered to your door on the day of your choice.
This gives you the opportunity to be able to simply cook good quality meals at home.
Instead of having to do everything separately – meal planning, looking for recipes, and grocery shopping – everything will all be rolled into one when you choose to use a meal delivery service.
It’s not surprising though that it will cost a bit more than doing your own meal planning, after all, it’s the convenience you’re paying for!
And on the flip side, it’ll be more work than just ordering a take in, but you get the benefits of the food being healthier, education in cooking, as well as the meals, being portion-controlled, leading to less waste as well as a smaller waist!
These services are also a plus if you’re someone who actually enjoys cooking and tasting new foods, but don’t have the time that’s necessary to plan and prepare all your meals.
Now we can see how much convenience meal delivery services can provide, the question is are they really worth it?
Let’s find out by comparing how Home Chef and Blue Apron work, starting with their pricing and shipping.
Pricing and Shipping
Price is one of the first factors on people’s minds when it comes to choosing which service to go for?
Comparing Home chef’s and Blue Apron’s prices, however, is not so straightforward.
This is because Home Chef doesn’t have a standard price for meals – each meal is priced separately. And on top of that, the price goes up if you choose to add extras such as gourmet additions or ingredient upgrades.
On the other hand, Blue Apron charges per meal plan. When you order 3 meals for 2 people, you’ll pay a standard price, and similarly, the price is fixed for 3 meals for 4 people.
This isn’t the case with Home Chef. With this service, there are a variety of meals starting at $6.99, however many of these tend to be salads. If this isn’t all you’d want for dinner, you’ll probably pay more.
Generally, the meals at Home Chef will come to around $9.99 – and this is without upgrades. Going for upgrades will cost you an extra $2-5 per serving. And then there are the gourmet options which are even pricier, ranging from about $17-20.
In order to see whether Blue Apron or Home Chef is easier on the pocket, we need to take into consideration both the cost per serving as well as those shipping fees.
At Blue Apron, the price per serving depends on both the number or servings and meals that you order.
Blue Apron’s prices start as low as $7.49 per serving when you order 4 meals per week for 4 people. With this plan, the shipping is free, so the total cost per week is $119.84.
Home chef’s prices per serving range from $6.99 to about $15, but these prices could increase a little if you decide to “customise” your meal. If your subtotal is over $40, your shipping will be free, but under $40, it will cost you $9.99.
So 4 meals a week for 4 people at Home Chef will come to around $160, with free shipping.
Blue Apron on the other hand will charge about $120 for the same number of meals and servings. $40 is quite a bit if you think about how much you’ll save in a year!
Who wins for the price? We say Blue Apron!
Home Chef has a whopping number of meal options with over 20 choices to pick from per week, whereas Blue Apron has up to 11 choices per menu.
Home Chef also has a “Customise it” option – which we’ll be looking at later in this article – allowing you to upgrade the ingredients or customize the protein in any meal.
The larger variety of meals along with the option to “customise” your meal exactly how you’d like it sure puts Home Chef in the lead here!
Who wins for variety? We say Home Chef!
Home Chef and Blue Apron do have vegetarian options however none of them specifically cater to vegan, paleo or any other specific dietary preferences.
That being said, Home Chef has a calorie-conscious and a carb-conscious option that you can select to help them recommend the meals that’ll suit you best.
But in terms of specific dietary preferences, both of the services, unfortunately, lack this benefit.
Who wins for dietary preferences? We say none!
How easy is it to order?
Blue Apron and Blue Home Chef do things a bit differently here. Let’s first look at Blue Apron’s order process.
Firstly you create an account by giving your email and address. You’ll then be taken to a page where you’ll be asked to select the number of meals per week as well as the number of servings.
You’ve got a choice of 3 different plans, as you can see below. The Vegetarian and Signature Plans serve just 2 people up to 3 times per week. The Signature Plan for 4 is designed for 4 people up to 4 times per week.
With Blue Apron, you select the number of meals and servings per week then you choose meals from the menu which all have a standard price.
Once you’ve chosen your plan, you’ll then be taken to the page (shown below) where you fill in your delivery and billing information.
Once this is done, it’s time to pick your meals from the menu, which all have a standard price. With up to 9 meal choices, Blue Apron have plenty of mouth-watering recipes that you can select such as Seared Steaks & Crispy Shallot which is served with mash Potatoes and Maple-Soy Pan Sauce (see below). This delicious meal will serve 4 people and takes approximately 50 minutes to prepare.
If you prefer vegetarian, one dish you definitely won’t want to miss out on these Spicy Vegetables Quesadillas served with Watermelon Radish & Cabbage Slaw (see below). This dish will take you about 40 minutes to prepare and serves 2 people.
Now let’s look at how Home chef orders work! When you’ve signed up, there will be a few optional questions you can answer to help them recommend meals most suited to your preferences (see below).
As you can see above, you’re first choice asked to select your preferred plan. Then you have the option to select whether you’re an Omnivore, Carnivore, Pescatarian or Vegetarian.
The next question asks you if you are “Calorie-Conscious” or “Carb-Conscious”. And lastly you’ll be asked if there are foods you want to avoid.
Once you’ve chosen your meal preferences, you select the number of meals per week as well as the number of servings.
Next, you’ll be asked to fill out your shipping information.
And now it’s time to choose your meals!
With over 21 choices to pick from, there will probably be a recipe to suit whatever you’re in the mood for! If you feel like some chicken, why not try Crispy Caesar Chicken with Roasted Broccoli.
This delicious dish takes between 25-30 minutes to prepare.
And we can’t forget to mention Home Chef’s fantastic “customise it” option! Below, you can see the 5 different options available to customise the Crispy Caesar Chicken meal so you can get your food exactly how you like it!
Or maybe you’re a seafood lover and would love the Teriyaki Grilled Salmon with Roasted Garlic Broccoli and Snow peas. This will take you only 20-30 minutes to make!
If you’d like to customise it, below are the available options:
As mentioned earlier, the meals at Home Chef cost different prices but most meals will cost you about $9.99 per serving. Some gourmet meals however can go up to $20.
Orders from both services seem fairly straightforward. You select the meals you want, then the delivery date, and then it arrives at your doorstep!
Who wins? Both!
Recipes and Cooking Skills Required
Blue Apron’s cooking instructions can sometimes be a bit vague, especially if you’re a beginner. Unless you have experience with cooking, there could be room for mistakes whilst you prepare the meal. It will help if their recipe instructions were more specific.
Home chef is definitely better in regards to how straightforward their recipes are. The meals are very easy to prepare due to their clear and easy-to-follow cooking instructions.
Who wins for easy-to-follow recipes? We vote Home Fresh!
Do they accommodate food allergies?
As we mentioned earlier, both services don’t offer specific dietary plans, so certain allergies are not catered for.
We don’t recommend either service for those of you who have severe allergies.
Who wins here? We say neither!
Delivery and Packaging
In terms of delivery, Home Chef and Blue Apron are quiet similar. Home Chef delivers Monday to Friday 8am-8pm and Blue Apron delivers Tuesday to Saturday 8am – 9pm.
For some, having that Saturday option can be a big plus!
It’s also great to know that both services deliver to nearly the entire continental US. Do enter your zip code if in doubt, and you will be told if they don’t deliver where you live.
So not many differences with both their deliveries, but there is a difference when it comes to both of their packaging!
Blue Apron appears to be ecologically conscious, but they do use a lot of plastic for loose ingredients and produce. The big cardboard box that the delivery comes in is recyclable but the unnecessary use of plastic containers makes Blue Apron lose here.
Home Chef on the other hand really do go out of their way to minimise using plastic and use only recyclable materials. And the plastic containers that are included in the packaging are reusable.
So the winner is? Home Chef!
Can I skip a box or cancel my subscription?
With home chef, you can easily pause or cancel your subscription any time on the website, with just one click.
In terms of skipping a box with Blue Apron, they make it very easy to skip any number of weeks – you can even skip orders up to five weeks in advance! This is quiet convenient if you ask us and makes it easy to plan ahead.
If you want to cancel your subscription completely though, you will need to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and then you’ll receive an email with instructions to guide you through the process.
Who wins here? We vote Home Chef!
The good news here is that both services use very good quality ingredients and you will rarely if ever, be disappointed!
Who wins? It’s a draw!
If at any point you do have issues with orders from Blue Apron, you can contact their customer service representatives by email.
Likewise, Home Chef allows you to submit help requests online.
In addition to this, both services have an online help center that includes answers to the most frequently asked questions.
If you’re someone who prefers to contact customer services by phone, then this option’s also available from both services.
The winner? We say both!
Now that we’ve seen how both of these great services work, let’s quickly recap the pros and cons of each:
Home Chef Benefits
- Can pause or cancel the subscription with just a click
- Clear and easy-to-follow cooking instructions
- Almost all packaging could be recycled or reused
- Customizable meals
- More variety of meals
Home Chef Negatives
- Not suitable for people with severe allergies
- More expensive
- No standard price for meals
Blue Apron Benefits
- Saturday deliveries
- More affordable
- Standard prices so easy to calculate what you’ll be spending weekly
Blue Apron Negatives
- Delivery boxes contain a slight overuse in plastic
- Vague cooking instructions for a beginner
- Less choice of meals
- Doesn’t cater to certain allergies
As we’ve seen, both services have different approaches so which one to choose is really down to your own preference.
Are you someone who likes to customise your meals and want a wider range of meals to pick from? If you answered YES, then go for Home Chef!
If you’re not fussed about having too many options, but your main focus is having a good meal delivery service on a budget, then go for Blue Apron. It’s probably one of the cheapest home delivery meal services on the market!
It’s important to note that if you have if you so have specific dietary restraints or severe allergies, both of these services probably won’t be your best options.
However if your someone who could eat anything, then there are lots of delicious options in both services to pick from.
We’d love to hear which one you’ve decided to go for! Or if you’ve tried them already we’d love to hear your thoughts!