Thank you to Blue Apron for sponsoring this post!
Hi friends! As you know, Matt and I have tried a bunch of the meal kit recipe delivery companies and basically can’t live without them now – not having to meal plan is the best!
Since we started mixing it up, and because we’ve tried other services in the past, I’ve had a lot of questions from you guys about the differences between the services, so when Blue Apron pitched a compare and contrast post to me I thought it was a great idea.
Don’t worry – while they are sponsoring this post and offering a deal for you guys if you want to try them out, they wanted the post to be authentic and truthful and specifically said they did not want to influence what I wrote.
Pictured above: Tandoori-Style Chicken and Rice (<- recipe) – the yogurt sauce was sooo good!
Before I get into the comparison, let’s talk about basics of the three services. All of the meal delivery kits:
- Deliver fresh ingredients in a refrigerated box right to your doorstep. No food waste (everything comes in the exact amounts you need for the recipes) and no trips to the grocery store.
- Offer recycling options for their packaging. (More info on Blue Apron ’s recycling program here.)
- Allow you to create delicious, chef-designed recipes at home by following the steps on the recipe cards.
- Offer different plan options based on your needs – a 2 person plan and a family plan (generally 2 adults + 2 kids). HelloFresh also offers an adult 4 serving option, though, and you can get 3, 4, or 5 meals per week (the other services just offer 3 meals per week).
- Change their recipes each week, constantly adding new dishes, so you don’t get bored with the same old recipes.
Pictured above: Spicy Miso-Glazed Baked Chicken Wings with Purple Rice and Zucchini & Cucumber Salad (<- recipe) – this was one of our all-time Blue Apron faves!
There’s also no commitment with the services – you sign up for a weekly plan, but you can cancel or pause/skip weeks at any time if you are out of town or for whatever reason won’t have time to cook.
This comes in really handy with all our travel!
Pictured above: Seared Chicken and Caramelized Fennel (<- recipe) – another all-time fave!
#1 – Price
One main difference is price.
Blue Apron and HelloFresh are a lot more affordable – each meal is $9.99 per serving on the 2 person plan ($8.99 on the family plan for Blue Apron , $8.74 for HelloFresh), and shipping is free. On the 2 person plan for 3 two serving dinners per week, this ends up coming out to $59.94 per week.
HelloFresh does have some “premium” meals, though (things like steak), which add $5 per person to the order if you select those options. I like that with Blue Apron (and Sun Basket ) everything is the same price, even steak. 🙂
Sun Basket is $11.49 per serving for the 2 person plan, and $9.99 per serving for the family plan. There’s also a $5.99 delivery fee each week. On the 2 person plan for 3 two serving dinners per week (or 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts), this comes out to $74.93 per week, so about $15 more per week. Definitely not cheap, and that certainly adds up!
So, Blue Apron definitely comes out as the overall winner on price – it starts out the same as HelloFresh, but they don’t have any “premium” upcharges for certain meals.
#2 – Specialty Diet Accommodation and Meal Selection
One thing I wish Blue Apron would offer is a gluten free option; while some weeks there do occasionally end up being 3 gluten free recipes for us to select, for the most part most of their meals contain wheat, which is why we switched mostly to Sun Basket when Matt needed gluten free meals.
With Blue Apron , they offer a regular and vegetarian plan, but you can mix and match between the meal offerings each week. They used to have a weird restriction where you couldn’t pair certain meals together (like a specific veggie dish and a steak dish), but apparently they just changed that – awesome news. That drove me crazy because we like getting some meat and some veggie meals, but didn’t always want the specific ones they’d let you pair together.
HelloFresh also offers a regular and a vegetarian plan option; they don’t have a special gluten free plan, but they note which of their meal options each week are gluten free (and dairy free and nut free), and you can mix and match any of them/pair anything you want together (although as I mentioned above some include an upcharge if they are “premium”, which is kind of lame).
Regarding gluten free, there were usually 3 gluten free options offered each week from HelloFresh, but no more than that, so that meant if you didn’t like the look of those meals, you were out of luck.
Sun Basket offers paleo, gluten free, and vegetarian plans, and you can mix and match within those categories based on which recipes you like the look of the most.
There were enough options in each category from Sun Basket that you could mix and match nicely and still easily do all gluten free, too, which was awesome.
Sun Basket also offers a breakfast option – you can swap out one of your dinners for the ingredients for 2 fast two serving breakfasts, which is fun, especially if it’s a week where you only want to cook dinner twice.
#3 – Organic vs. Non-Organic
All the services do a great job of offering fresh ingredients that are sourced from quality suppliers and artisans.
That said, if organic food is a priority for you, and you are okay with paying more for it, then Sun Basket is going to be a better option for you because a lot of (not all, but a lot of) their ingredients each week are organic.
#4 — Deliciousness
Obviously this is not an official or scientific measure and is completely subjective, but we found Blue Apron and Sun Basket to have the tastiest meals, with Blue Apron being the overall deliciousness winner.
Between Blue Apron and HelloFresh, I liked the additional variety and flexibility with meal selections that you had with HelloFresh, but we thought their meals were much more basic and boring/bland.
One of the things we love about Blue Apron is that they are really creative and have you using unique ingredients – and their meals are really flavorful and taste like something you’d get at a restaurant vs. just something you’d easily throw together on your own.
That said, Blue Apron can tend to overly portion the carbs and underportion the veggies in some of their meals – we sometimes find ourselves adding extra of our own veggies.
Regarding deliciousness with Sun Basket , we love that all their meals pack in tons of veggies, but sometimes they lacked creativity – a lot of their paleo meals were “protein with a side of sauteed greens”, for example, which was kind of meh, and also had us reaching for cereal an hour after dinner because they didn’t include enough carbs. Opposite problem here!
A couple other small differences to consider:
I love this (well, I did before I was pregnant, anyway – ha) – especially because the bottles are smaller than normal bottles so it’s just the right amount for a weeknight dinner (that doesn’t leave you hungover). Only $10 per bottle, too!
HelloFresh also recently launched a wine program, but I haven’t tried it so I can’t review that. 🙂
We prefer Blue Apron and HelloFresh’s recipe cards because they have photos of each step of the process. Makes it a little more fool-proof, in my opinion, plus I like seeing what everything should look like.
Sun Basket just has one finished meal photo on their recipe cards, and recently they started sending whole recipe books with ALL the recipes from the week (vs. just the 3 you received), which we didn’t like because then we were paging through it trying to find our meals. It also seemed like a waste of paper because we wouldn’t use the other recipes.
If Matt’s able to move on from the gluten free thing we’ll likely start working Blue Apron into the rotation much more again just to mix it up (we miss it!); for now, though, our Blue Apron weeks have been limited because they don’t usually have enough gluten free options for us to work with.
If you are looking for an affordable, classic option, I’d go with Blue Apron .
If you have dietary restrictions (beyond vegetarian) or are very passionate about organic food, however, you may want to consider Sun Basket instead.
I hope this post answered questions you guys might have about the three services!
Let me know if there are any other things you’d like to know.
And now, if you’d like to try out Blue Apron (if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?! meal delivery kit services are THE BEST… we can’t live without them now), the first 25 readers to click here will get three free meals on their first Blue Apron order!
Have you ever tried any of the meal delivery kit services? What did you think?