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If you’ve spent enough time on social media, you’ve likely seen an ad for at least one of these meal kit delivery services. They’ve recently risen in popularity given that one of the biggest barriers to getting nutritious, delicious meals is the inconvenience. People just don’t have time to take a million trips to the grocery store during the week or the money to consistently buy quality ingredients.
If you have specific dietary needs, such as being gluten-free, paleo, or keto, meal choices can be limited, which can make meal prep tedious and frustrating. However, the best meal delivery services can allow you to easily filter dietary restrictions or dietary preferences to make it much easier to meal plan and have the quality ingredients delivered right to your door. But which one is best between Blue Apron vs Hello Fresh vs Home Chef? Our team of product testers tried all three, so keep reading to learn what we found.
- Meal kit delivery and online market
- Cook dinner in 25-50 minutes
- Over 70 weekly staples to choose from
- New menus every week
Pros & Cons
- Responsibly sourced produce and protein
- Option to skip a week
- Recyclable packaging
- Wide variety of menu options
- Subscription only delivery plans
- Not ideal for weight loss
- Meal service that delivers ingredients and recipes
- 6 different plans available, including vegan and pescatarian options
- Can swap out different proteins and sides
- Can purchase between 2 and 6 meals, in portions to feed 2 or 4 people
- 40 weekly recipes to choose from
- Sourced from U.S. farmers
Pros & Cons
- Saves on meal-prepping
- Can swap out ingredients
- Chef-curated recipes
- Sourced from U.S. farmers
- 6 meal plans to choose from
- Customer reviews complain about ingredient inconsistencies
- Some reviews claim meal portions are small
- Can choose from meal kits, pre-made meals, or grill-ready ingredients
- Recipes can accommodate two, four or six people, and you can get up to six meals per week
- No specific meal plans, but you can narrow down your choices
- Menu changes weekly, with up to 30 meals to choose from
- Requires a subscription, but you can cancel or skip a week anytime
Pros & Cons
- Menu changes weekly to prevent food boredom
- Options for meal kits or pre-made meals
- Can skip a week if you don’t need a delivery
- Can accommodate larger groups and families (many meal delivery services cap out at four servings per recipe)
- Reasonably priced
- Doesn’t accommodate a lot of dietary restrictions
- Options can be limited if you’re on a specific diet
- Requires a subscription (that you can skip or cancel, but you have to remember)
|Price per meal
|$7.49 to $12.49
|Up to 4 meals per box
|Up to 8 meals per box
|Up to 6 meals per box
|Fresh or frozen
|Signature, Vegetarian, Wellness, Signature for Four
|Veggie, family friendly, fit & wholesome, quick & easy, pork free, pescatarian
|Oven-ready, calorie-conscious, carb-conscious, vegetarian
Quick Look: Blue Apron vs HelloFresh vs Home Chef
Who Should Buy Blue Apron
- Parents looking for family-friendly comfort food meals
- Those who anticipate ordering a large number of meals
Who Should Buy HelloFresh
- Home cooks who want more variety in their meal options
- People who value plenty of menu options in their subscription service
RELATED: 5 Best HelloFresh Alternatives
Who Should Buy Home Chef
- Singles and busy professionals looking for an easy way to cook their own healthy meals
- People looking for a service that offers prepared meals for a quick dinner
Key Similarities Between Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Home Chef
- All offer the option to skip weeks when meals are not needed
- All offer some level of customization on the weekly menu
- All supply saveable recipe cards with their weekly menu
- All have the option for vegetarian meals
- None have free shipping
- None are entirely free of common allergens
- All have both the desktop and app option for ordering
RELATED: Best Plant-Based Meal Delivery
Important Differences Between Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Home Chef
- Home Chef is the only service that offers oven-ready meals
- Blue Apron is the only one that has meals approved by Weight Watchers
- Blue Apron has the least menu options of the three
The big question with these meals is always whether or not it’s cheaper than actually going grocery shopping. As every budget is different, we can’t speak for everyone, but you can compare each option below to what you’re willing to spend every week:
Blue Apron: Blue Apron’s meals are priced from $7.49 to $12.49 each with the cheaper menu options being available when you order more portions. Smaller orders tend to be on the more expensive side, which is why Blue Apron may not be the most cost effective option for singles.
HelloFresh: The good thing about HelloFresh is that meals are consistently around $9.99 per meal, so you know how much you’ll be paying every week. If you choose to switch out some ingredients or add-ons, this price may vary.
For example, I often swap out ground beef for ground turkey for an extra dollar per portion, but sometimes you can swap produce out for no cost. You can also choose “premium” meals that include steak and salmon as the main protein, but expect to pay almost double per portion. The last thing I’ll say is sometimes I wish the portion sizes were a tad bigger. I’m an active girl!
Home Chef: Meals are priced around $12.06, but vary widely depending on the type, cuisine, and portions you order.
RELATED: HelloFresh Review
When our testers tried these kits, the ingredients were a little inconsistent, but mainly high-quality! Meat and dairy products don’t seem to be a problem, but you might have to keep an eye out for that produce if you want fresh ingredients. Here’s what our testers had to say:
Blue Apron: Our tester Sarah C. says, “The fresh produce is typically OK, but nothing out of this world. Sometimes produce can be bruised, which I assume is from the shipping process. However, once it’s all cooked up, everything is fine!”
HelloFresh: “Despite the name, I’ve had many experiences where my food from HelloFresh wasn’t as fresh as I’d like. The items I’ve had the most issues with are vegetables like peppers and scallions. I don’t usually have issues with the meat or dairy products,” according to our tester, GGR SEO director Ashley Little.
Home Chef: Our tester Emily had the best experience of them all with Home Chef. She says, “Ingredients look fairly fresh upon delivery and taste great. Meals typically need to be eaten between 3-6 days from delivery, but I can make them stretch if needed.”
RELATED: High-Protein Meal Delivery
Arguably the most important aspect of a meal delivery service—is it actually tasty? If you’re going to commit to a food subscription, it’d better be worth the weekly delivery in terms of flavor. The good news is, we had a mostly terrific experience in this sector, according to our team members:
Blue Apron: Sarah says that, while the Blue Apron recipes are mostly good, some could be better. “I’ve had some boxes that are so flavorful and some that are just bland,” she says. “One thing I like about Blue Apron is that they keep their recipes pretty straightforward, but every once in a while, the meal could use a bit more oomph to it.”
HelloFresh: Ashley liked the room for customization in terms of self-seasoning. “I’m almost always satisfied with my meals. HelloFresh does not include typical seasonings like salt and pepper or butter, so you can season your food to your own taste.”
I, for one, have never had a bad meal with HelloFresh in the 20+ boxes I’ve ordered. I’m personally very adverse to bland food since I grew up with very flavorful home-cooked meals, and the sauces and seasonings they include in their boxes never disappoint.
Home Chef: Our team member, Emily, was more than satisfied with the flavor Home Chef had to offer: “I’ve tried a few different meal delivery kit services (Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Green Chef) and this is by far the best (hence why we have ordered it constantly since September 2022),” she said.
RELATED: Best Low-Carb Meal Delivery
From our experience, we found all of these meal kit companies have done an excellent job of making the process of placing weekly orders seamless.
Blue Apron: Our tester Sarah didn’t find ordering hard in the least. “[It’s] really easy to use on the app!” she said. “Once you log in, the dashboard is clear and easy to navigate to pick your meals or skip a week. Blue Apron will pre-select meals for your week based on your preferences, but changing your recipe is easy if you want something different.”
HelloFresh: Our tester Ashley says, “Very easy. If you do not select meals, HelloFresh will automatically pick some for you. It’s very easy to swap meals, add extra meals, swap proteins with meals, and add additional products such as snacks, protein, and desserts.”
I personally think it’s a little treat every week to order with HelloFresh when I am setting up my own box. They have a ton of options to choose from in case you’re sick of pasta and just want a bowl or a salad and they are very transparent about the pricing if you want to customize for alternate ingredients.
Home Chef: Our tester Emily also didn’t have any issues with her ordering. She says, “Very easy to do. I get email reminders every week to go select my meals. Once logged in, the first page you see is your upcoming menus. Home Chef automatically selects meals for you based on your stated preferences and the types of meals you’ve selected in the past. If you forget to update your meals, this is what will auto-ship to you.”
One of the main concerns people have with meal delivery services is the potential for a lot of waste—not to mention the carbon emissions that come from shipping. Due to this, we looked at what steps, if any, each company is taking to be more environmentally conscious.
Blue Apron: We found that all the cardboard can be recycled and the ice packs are drain-safe, fully recyclable gel packs. Though it wasn’t our experience this time, many customers report there being a LOT of packaging with Blue Apron recipes.
HelloFresh: They recognize they are one of the most used meal kit delivery services in the country and thus make a conscious effort to make compostable and recyclable packaging. Like Blue Apron, the ice packs are fully recyclable and the instructions to recycle are clear.
Home Chef: While their packaging can be recycled, they don’t provide clear instructions on how to do so.
RELATED: Best Gluten-Free Meal Delivery
Blue Apron Reviews
We couldn’t access any customer reviews on the website, but can see what people think about Blue Apron in the Apple app store. Currently, Blue Apron has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars out of 39,200 reviews with most of the reviews praising the recipes and convenience of the service. The more critical reviews pertain more toward technical difficulties with the app itself rather than the service.
Like Blue Apron, reviews are most accessible in the Apple app store. Currently, HelloFresh has an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars out of 130,300 reviews. Most reviewers are empty nesters and parents who love that the service removes the dreaded question of “What’s for dinner?” in the household. Several of the more critical reviews complain about not being notified when they will be charged for the week and not being able to see the menu before paying.
Home Chef Reviews
Currently, Home Chef has an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars out of 12,600 reviews. Most reviewers love how the service has gotten them back in the kitchen or made them more confident in cooking most of their meals at home.
From what we saw, all three meal kit companies excel in customer service.
Blue Apron: Our team member Sarah says they were really easy to deal with and helped her when her box showed up late. Customer reviews seem to agree with an overall rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on the Blue Apron website.
HelloFresh: “Easy to work with from my experience, but it seems like customers have difficulty canceling,” says GGR team member Ashley.
When I’ve had issues in the past such as being sent the wrong protein, I was able to contact someone right away via live chat in the app and was given a credit within 5 minutes of me contacting them.
Home Chef: Our tester Emily had some issues with incorrect meal kits or ingredients, but noted it is “super easy to provide feedback, the responses are quick, and credits are immediately applied to the account for your next meal delivery.”
For most people nowadays, home-cooked meals on a regular basis are far out of reach. However, it can be easier than ever to prep meals with the right delivery service. Even as a single, ordering multiple portions for the week could make meal prep easier than ever with exactly zero trips to the grocery store to do it.
Whether you need low-calorie options for weight loss or have specific dietary needs that make it difficult to meal plan, I think meal kit delivery services are a wonderful investment. This is especially true if you already spend a ton of money eating out, as, when you do the math, the cost is likely the same. If you’re going to spend the money, you may as well spend it on home-cooked meals made from high-quality ingredients…and you don’t even have to leave your home to do it.
Blue Apron vs HelloFresh vs Home Chef: FAQs
What is the difference between HelloFresh and Blue Apron?
Both are very similar, but Blue Apron offers frozen meals while HelloFresh does not. Outside of that, both offer family-friendly options, weekly delivery, and are similarly priced.
Is Home Chef the same as HelloFresh?
Home Chef is not the same as HelloFresh, though they offer similar services in terms of their weekly deliveries and meal kits. Home Chef also offers oven-ready meals while all HelloFresh meal kits require some type of equipment and cooking.
Does Home Chef offer healthy options?
Each Home Chef meal is chef-designed to be as nutritiously made with high quality ingredients as possible.
Are there cheaper alternatives to HelloFresh?
There are plenty of meal kit services out there with varying prices. Depending on your needs, Dinnerly and EveryPlate are some alternatives. Check out our list of the cheapest meal delivery services for more ideas.
Is Blue Apron worth it?
Blue Apron does have a price point slightly higher than similar services. However, if you have a family to feed, it might be worth it for busy parents to invest in as the more portions you order, the lower the price tends to be.
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