What’s the best food delivery subscription box? Blue Apron vs. Plated vs. Hello Fresh

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Last update: July 31, 2017.

Don’t have the time to go the grocery store because of a busy life? Do you love trying new, healthy recipes? Have problems with making only what you need? Meal boxes may be a solution to all these problems. Food boxes like Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh do all the hard work of shopping and creating new yummy, easy to make recipes for you. They’re like a mix of meal planning, grocery shopping, and recipe discovery apps all rolled into one.

These food delivery subscriptions work by having their chefs create delicious, balanced and healthy recipes. The service does the grocery shopping for you and ships you everything you need to cook the meal: meats, veggies, seasonings, etc. Food delivery subscriptions are healthier and cheaper than eating out, but are still convenient. Food delivery subscriptions are also great for those looking into meal planning and those on diets as most meals are between 500 to 800 calories.

We know why you’re here — to hear which is the best.. so let’s get on with the reviews!

Blue Apron

Blue Apron offers two different plans to fit busy couples and families. The website is easy to use and has how to videos if you’re unsure how to do something. Blue Apron also offers tips and tricks for each recipe on how to use the ingredients. The two person plan consists of one delivery a week. Every delivery comes with pre-portioned ingredients for three delicious recipes. This plan costs $54.94, which breaks down to $9.99 per meal, per person.

The family plan has one or two deliveries a week that can be scheduled to fit your busy life. Blue Apron offers the choice if you would like two or four recipes options per week. The Blue Apron’s culinary team creates meals that both the parents and the kids will enjoy. The family plan has two options, one being the two meals per week, which is $69.92, or $8.74 per meal, per person. The four meal option is $139.94, which breaks down to the same $8.74 per meal, per person.

Both plans can be customized to fit your dietary preferences. Blue Apron also designs its recipes to use seasonal, farm-fresh produce. All the Blue Apron meals are between 500-700 calories per serving and take less than 35 minutes to prepare. You will need only salt, pepper and olive oil in your house. (For us, this is a big YESSS! 🙂 )

The major downfall of Blue Apron is that all the boxes come from the same processing facility, so if you have a serious food allergy, Blue Apron may not be for you. Another down side is the fact the Blue Apron does not let you choose your recipes and recipes are not repeated for a year, if at all. Blue Apron does list all the recipes on the website if you misplace your recipe cards, or if you like using your tablet in the kitchen. All the Blue Apron recipes are in six steps, which are made up of smaller steps.
Blue Apron delivers nationwide to the contiguous United States for free.

2016 UPDATE: Blue Apron now offers wine pairings and marketplace items like kitchen gadgets that you’ll probably like so we’ve moved them to an A rating!

Rating: A +

Plated

Plated is weekly box that has fresh and seasonal ingredients, pre-portioned for the recipes you choose. They’re committed to using sustainable sourced seafood, seasonally fresh produce, and meat raised without antibiotics or added hormones. Plated recipes begin at $12 per plate, and boxes are customizable. This makes the price of Plated boxes vary from week to week depending on your selections. After the first box, deserts can be added for $4 per serving. Furthermore, after the first boxes, you can add, swap, or remove recipes in your boxes. Plated offers free shipping to 95% of the US after $50, if the order is under $50, shipping is $6.Currently,

Plated does not ship to Hawaii and Alaska, and there are also a few cities in Texas, including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Laredo, and Midland, where they haven’t yet shipped. According to Plated the most popular boxes are:
2 recipes (4 total plates) = $48 per week
3 recipes (6 total plates) = $72 per week
4 recipes (8 total plates) = $96 per week

Plated ingredients are pre-measured and pre-packaged inside the box. Plated also stores a PDF of the recipe in your account so you can keep it on file. Plated’s target customer doesn’t seem to be families, but singles or couples with busy jobs. Plated does offer vegetarian options. With Plated, you do need to have eggs, salt (Kosher or sea salt), pepper, olive oil, and vegetable oil.

Like the other food delivery boxes, Plated does not have boxes meant for special diets or serious food allergies. But you can select recipes that don’t have the allergens, or ingredients that are not in your diet.

The Plated website is easy to use, but information about all but four examples what is offered is not available unless you sign up for the program.

Rating: B +

Hello Fresh

Hello Fresh is a customizable food delivery box. Hello Fresh creates recipes and you choose what you would like to eat. Hello Fresh promises to bring you the freshest and healthiest food, with a dash of fun, a sprinkle of learning, and a dollop of deliciousness, all for a great price. Hello Fresh also works with small farmers, butchers, fishmongers and fellow culinary enthusiasts to ensure that only the best ingredients are shipped to your table.

Hello Fresh’s boxes are shipped out on Thursday. Hello Fresh offers two boxes: the Classic Box (for Omnivores) and the Veggie Box (for Herbivores). The Classic box is $69 for three meals for 2 people ($11.5 per meal), or $129 for three meals for 4 people ($10.75 per meal).The Veggie Box is $59 for three meals for 2 people ($9.83 per meal), or $109 for three meals for 4 people ($9.08 per meal).

The meals range between 500 to 800 calories. Like Blue Apron and Plated, you will need ingredients like salt, pepper, sugar, a good cooking oil, and butter in your pantry. Hello Fresh delivers nationwide to the contiguous United States for free. Hello Fresh also offers $15 off your first purchase when you sign up for their newsletter. Hello Fresh also has all the recipes from its start in 2013 to the next week’s box, if you want to try their recipes out. All the Hello Fresh have a difficulty level rating, to help those who may not be skilled in the kitchen. Furthermore, the Hello Fresh recipes have what tools you need listed at the top of the recipe cards, and are made of six steps, which are made up of smaller steps.

Like the other food delivery boxes, Hello Fresh does not have boxes meant for special diets or serious food allergies. But you can select recipes that don’t have the allergens, or ingredients that are not in your diet.

Unlike the other boxes, Hello Fresh is available in other countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Belgium. And each country has a selection of different boxes to pick from.

Rating: A –

So which is best?

Overall, there is a food delivery subscription that will fit everyone’s needs. All three subscription are very good, but the winner is tied between Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. The winner will come down to what you want or need from a food delivery subscription. Best website goes to Blue Apron, as the website is really easy to use, easy to find recipes and works great on mobile and tablets.

Blue Apron is also the best value for cost per meal, and offers new recipes every boxes with very few repeating in the next year’s boxes if you’re going to use this subscription for all time. Blue Apron also wins when it comes to shipping as you can select what date and time you would like the package to be delivered to your door. Both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh offer recipes that the whole family can enjoy.

Hello Fresh is the winner when it comes to selection, as you get to pick out of five different recipes (unless you get the Veggie box then you have three selections)of what you want, and two to four different boxes (depending on where you live in the world) to pick out from. For those with dietary restrictions and allergies, Hello Fresh is the best choice as you get to pick what meals. If this is an issue for you, you can leave out the ingredients or substitute other ingredient you have in your pantry.

Plated came in last, behind Blue Apron and Hello Fresh, due to the higher cost of each meal, higher shipping fees and the awkward website design. However, Plated is still a very good option, as you get to pick what comes in your box.

All three food delivery subscriptions save on time, but Hello Fresh and Blue Apron’s meals can be made in under 35 minutes, whereas Plated can take longer to cook. If you’re outside the USA, Hello Fresh is the only option of the three we have looked at that ship to different locations. All three subscriptions allow you to skip weeks if nothing sparks your fancy or you can cancel your subscription at any time before the shipment date.

Our final rank:

#1 – Blue Apron

#2 – Hello Fresh

#3 – Plated

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