Hello everyone. Sous Chef Andrew here and it has been far too long since my last post.  I don’t know about you, but lately I have noticed more and more advertisements for meal kit delivery services.  A quick google search shows that there are at least twenty different companies now that offers some kind of meal kit delivery.  My question is, is it worth the cost?

As we analyze this question let’s dissect the main selling points of these meal kits.  I will use my experiences with Blue Apron and Sun Basket to analyze the validity of the main selling points.

  1. You get all the ingredients you need for the chosen recipe outside of salt, pepper and oil.  No grocery store for you and as a result it is a money saver.  

This is true to an extent.  It is true the only additional ingredients you will need in your pantry are salt, pepper and oil.  However unless you plan on spending a lot of money, most likely the meal kit will only provide food for the number of meals you select.  For example if you choose 3 meals then you get ingredients and recipes for those 3 meals.  That is what Matt and I typically did since during the week having easy recipes with the ingredients delivered was great.  Paying for 5-7 meals did not make sense as we like to cook and experiment on weekends. The problem was, what about breakfast, lunch and snacks?  We still obviously had to go to the market and we were seeing we were not really saving any money.  While it is convenient to have the ingredients of your recipe delivered we were still going to the store and spending practically the same money on groceries on top of paying for our meal delivery service.

2. You can choose the size of each of your meals based on how many people are in the household.

This one is very true and it is great.  There will easily be enough food for the amount of individuals you pay for.  This is great especially if you live alone or with just a partner and no kids.  Part of what makes cooking difficult for 1-2 is the enormous amount of leftovers.  The meal kit delivery services is great because the portions come as advertised.  However I might be a little hesitant for those with large families since there will be no leftovers and  everyone will be eating the same recipe.  Unless your family eats the same thing (I have never heard of such thing, but maybe that exists?) this might be a problem.  I know leftovers are essential for large families too.

3. Several of the kits now have options for gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, keto, etc.

I really have nothing to add here except that it is true.  No matter your dietary needs there is a meal kit delivery service out there for you which is fantastic.

4. The recipe is easy to follow that chefs of all skills can create a quality meal.  For veteran chefs it just makes things easier and quicker and for us beginners it allows you to gain confidence in the kitchen.

I found this to be mostly true too.  The recipes are generally very simple that anyone with any cooking experience should be able to handle.   However I will say if you have never cooked at all then some of the recipes might be a little tricky.  Some of the meal services have videos on their website which can be helpful if you really have no idea what you are doing in the kitchen, but some don’t.

If you are a beginner with even minimal experience these services are a great way for you to get some more experience in the kitchen as the recipes are easy.  Personally I gained most of my confidence in the kitchen while using Blue Apron so I can vouch for this. I will say though eventually there are diminishing returns.  Technically they have a wide variety of recipes that you will never have to worry about repetition.  However I found after awhile most of the recipes were generally prepared and cooked the same that I found my growth as a chef stagnated after 3-4 months.

For those of you who are very experienced in the kitchen, I am not sure you will find these recipes inspiring or fun.

5. No leftovers because they portion the ingredients out which saves you money by not overbuying things you will not use.

This is very true.  If you are someone who spends their weekend throwing out expired food then the meal kit services are for you.  However, remember that the meal kits only provide food for meals you pay for which means you better have a large budget to afford their breakfasts and lunches too or you will still be going to the grocery store and may still have expired food!

Verdict: Are the Blue Aprons’ of the world worth the price…..it depends.

Recommend for the following

  • 1-2 person households.  Less groceries are needed in general and you will not have to worry about leftovers that will last you a month.
  • Novice chefs looking for experience.  The recipes are easy to follow and if cooking on the stove gives you anxiety then this is a great use of your money at least for the short-term.  Honestly once you have confidence and are ready to push yourself (like I was after 3 months) I think you will save money by dropping the subscription and use the supermarket instead.
  • People who don’t have time or the desire to plan out meals, but still want to cook.  This is great for you.

Avoid if you are the following

  • Veteran chef who knows what they are doing.  I do not see any value in this for you and if going to the store is inconvenient for you I would use your money for the Instacart annual membership instead (we have a whole post on that here.
  • Large families with diverse eaters.  I just don’t see how this would work for you.
  • If you are a good planner.  Honestly at the end of the day you are just paying for someone else to plan and deliver your meals.  A good 90 minutes during the weekend can do that too (30 minutes to plan, 45 minutes to shop and unpack)

Are you someone who uses a meal kit and delivery service and has a similar or a much different viewpoint?  I would love to hear in your comments.

Sous Chef Andrew

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