Monday, May 24, 2021

Overhyped or Underestimated: My Honest Review Of Blue Apron

I have had this idea for this blog series for a few months now and am finally getting around to posting the first edition. I have lots of product review ideas but want to make sure that I 100% review and test the product before posting my review. I got this idea because so often I see the same products promoted all over Instagram by the influencers I follow. I always wonder how great the products truly are and if people would actually spend their hard-earned money on the products they promote. In the last few months, I have tried a handful of "popular" products that I wanted to share my true thoughts on. All the products I will be reviewing in the series I have completely bought with my own money. I think part of the issue is with products being promoted on Instagram is there is not enough time to fully try the product out before hand. I am not saying bloggers promote products all the time without testing them out. What I am saying though is that I think oftentimes bloggers will try a product once or twice and really love it. They then promote the item but have they really used it enough or long enough to truly give an honest review? 

So that is where I come into play. Anything I post in this series is going to be items I have fully used many times over and over again.

The first brand I am going to be reviewing is Blue Apron. Once in college, I had tried to order Hello Fresh but quickly got frustrated with it and gave up. Basically, it did not come on the day it was supposed to and I had plans for the weekend but had to wait around for the food to show up, and then the box was damaged in shipment so it never ended up coming. That kind of ruined my experience with meal deliveries as it seemed like a hassle and expensive. My mom started to try Blue Apron a few months ago and I quickly decided to give it a try after she kept raving about out it. I love it because I don't have to find recipes each week, my grocery store runs are for very few items, and I don't have to eat the same thing for a week when cooking for one. I also find that I don't hate the actually process of cooking as much as I used to. I did some research on different meal delivery brands as there are a TON out there. I didn't really want to try Hello Fresh again. I was tempted to try Sun Basket because they had a specific Gluten Free option but the price was not as good as Blue Apron. The only other one I have heard bloggers talk about is Home Chef but I decided to go with my mom's recommendation.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 ⭐️ (Underestimated) 

This brand definitely passed my expectations all around. Everything tastes so good, is easy to cook, and the customer service experiences I have had have all been amazing and they always seem willing to help. I got a refund for a missing item once and they let me change my meals once even though my window for picking was technically up. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because I did have a box arrive late last week and I have run into a few times where one of the ingredients was missing from the box.

1. Are the portion sizes big enough? I have never gone hungry or wished the portions were bigger. The 2 person portions are enough to get at least two meals out of for just me. Sometimes I can even get 2 dinners and a small lunch depending on the meal. I find the pasta dishes are really filling. 

2. Can you skip a week? Yes, you can skip any week you wish as long as it is a week out from the shipment. I have skipped I think two weeks so far when I was out of town. 

3. Are the items gluten-free? This was my main hesitation with choosing this brand and I will say I have not really had too many issues. Obviously, I would not recommend this to someone who is celiac necessarily but if you are like me and just avoid gluten I would say it is totally fine. There are plenty of meals that have rice or potatoes as a side. Some of the pasta dishes even have an option of choosing Banza pasta instead of regular pasta. The only things I have avoided are pizzas and sandwiches for the most part. I had tried two pasta dishes that were both really good. You can view the full recipe and nutrition info before ordering so I normally pick my meals that way. A lot of the Asian recipes just have soy sauce so I simply use my own GF soy sauce and then it is is totally GF. I tried tacos this past week and I did have to use my own tortillas but I didn't mind doing that because to me that is an easy thing to swap. The only other thing I would say might be helpful is GF bread crumbs but that really is it. All in all, I have never had a week where I am lacking choices because of my diet. 

4. Do they really send you everything you need? Yes! It seriously is the best they will send every single ingredient in the correct amount. The only thing they don't include is olive oil and salt/pepper. They will even include the spices, honey, butter, sugar, etc. 

5. Are the recipes easy to follow? Each order comes with a printed out recipe card. I would say the recipes are easy to follow except I do have a few comments to make on this. Sometimes some of the steps are completely unnecessary and make more work than what is really needed. For example, the recipe might say to shred the cheese but then you are just melting it into something so that is really not needed. I have also had a recipe say to chop up peanuts but they are just getting sprinkled on top so again not really needed. I also think that sometimes it is best to go right into steps 2 or 3. It will always start with what needs to be chopped, peeled, etc but sometimes it saves time to just do that step while you start prepping the meat or other items you can start on first. With all that said I think the instructions are super clear. My dad even successfully made a meal when my mom was out of town and he NEVER does the cooking. 

6. What happens if you forget to pick your meals for the week? So you are supposed to pick your meals a week before the scheduled delivery but one week I totally forgot until like a day or so after and I chatted with them and they still let me change my choices. It had auto-selected meals that I really didn't want. Obviously, if I waited until the very last minute I would have been out of luck but they were really helpful. Also, I now have the app on my phone which reminds me to pick my meals each week. You can also pick them way ahead of time if you wanted to do one large batch for the upcoming month. 

7. What if you are missing items in your box? I had this happen once to me and I did have to run to the store to get potatoes. While it was annoying they ended up giving me a pretty generous credit that applied to my next order. So if you ever run into issues when ordering definitely take advantage of the chat feature on the app and website. 

8. What day does it get delivered? You can pick what day of the week you want it to come. It will come on the same day each week unless you go in and change the day it gets delivered. I could choose any day except Monday so I chose Tuesday for mine. They even do weekend deliveries too. 

9. Is it really expensive? No, I think considering it comes with everything you need and includes free shipping when you spend $50. To me, it is so affordable considering the quality of food, portions, and convivence. I 100% would spend just as much per week at the grocery store for dinners. 

10. Are the meals similar week to week? This was one thing I was worried about but so far there seems to be a really good variety from week to week. I have been getting weekly boxes for about 2 months now. The protein or side might be the same but they really mix up the flavors and spices which makes it always feel different. I also noticed now that the summer months are upon us they have been adding meals that you can grill out with which is really cool that they adjust meals to the season too. 

11. How much is shipping? Shipping is free over $50 otherwise it is $5.99. I get three meals each week which is about $60 so shipping is always free for me! 

12. Does the box get shipped in ice? Yes, it is shipped with two large freezer packs in a padded bag. The thing I really love though is the ice packs are sink safe so you can dump them down the drain and not have to worry about what to do with them each week. 

Some of my favorite meals I have tried so far:

Tomatillo Pork Tacos with Lime Cabbage Slaw 

Pork Tacos with Lime Cabbage Slaw 

Beef over Curry-Spiced Rice with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

Beef Over Curry Spiced Rice with Cilantro Sauce 

Seared Pork Chops & Apple Salsa with Pimento Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Seared Pork Chop & Apple Salsa with Mashed Potatoes 

Soy-Ginger Marinated Shrimp with Crispy Garlic & Lemongrass Rice

Soy-Ginger Shrimp with Garlic Lemongrass Rice 

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