Blue Apron and Dinnerly are both meal kit delivery services that make it possible to have all the ingredients you need for easy-to-prepare meals delivered right to your door. Blue Apron is one of the leading, most recognizable names in meal delivery services, but others like Dinnerly offer other options that may better suit your lifestyle.
Since both meal delivery services have something of value to offer, we thought it was time to take a closer look and compare them head to head. If you’re thinking of trying one of these popular meal kit services, here are all the details that will help you decide in the battle of Dinnerly Vs. Blue Apron.
About Dinnerly and Blue Apron
Founded in 2012, Blue Apron was one of the pioneering meal kit companies in the United States. The idea was to take the stress of meal planning and grocery shopping off the hands of busy families and individuals and also supply them with a healthier, tastier, more wholesome option to fast food.
Blue Apron’s popularity soared, and today they’re one of the top leading names in meal kit delivery service. Blue Apron is a subscription service where customers can choose weekly meal kits from a selection of chef-created recipes. They offer a good variety of meals, and their kits are packed with fresh ingredients that make mealtime a simpler, more enjoyable time in your house.
Dinnerly came along a little later in the meal delivery service boom. Dinnerly was launched in 2017 after realizing there was an unattended niche in the meal delivery market. Meal kit delivery is great, makes life easier, and offers some variety, but the pricing of many services puts them out of budget for many households.
Dinnerly came along to offer a budget-friendly meal kit option, offering meals at barely a fraction above what you would pay to go to the store and purchase all of the ingredients yourself. Dinnerly definitely comes in at less than what you pay for a meal out, even in the most casual restaurant.
While Dinnerly and Blue Apron are similar in many ways, there are also details that set them apart. If you’re deciding between the two, consider some key pros and cons.
Table of Contents
Dietary options are an important thing to consider when choosing a meal kit service. Whether you’re following a specific dietary lifestyle or have specific ingredients that you need to avoid, it’s good to know where a meal delivery company stands on this, and also if having dietary preferences is going to subtract from the variety that’s offered to you.
With meal kits, you always have the option of omitting certain ingredients when you prepare your meals or adding in extras -like more protein if you’re following a keto plan. However, doing that work yourself takes something away from the ease and convenience of subscribing to a meal delivery service.
Dinnerly offers dietary options that include low-cal, healthy/nutritious, low carb, and vegetarian options. Dinnerly also includes dairy-free and no added gluten meals on the weekly menu. However, if you have a food allergy, you should know that there is a risk of cross-contamination in the Dinnerly kitchen/prep facility. Dinnerly doesn’t separate its menu into meal categories. Still, they do make it easy to spot which meals will fit into your dietary lifestyle by including easy-to-identify tags on each meal.
Blue Apron offers two separate menus to accommodate dietary preferences. Blue Apron offers a vegetarian meal plan and a wellness meal plan that includes meals that are nutritionally balanced and fit in with a carb-conscious (although not specifically low-carb), low-calorie, and Weight Watchers diets. On any given week, customers have about 4-5 meal options each week.
Currently, Blue Apron doesn’t offer any meals that are specifically designated as dairy-free or gluten-free meals. They suggest that customers with severe food allergies look at each recipe closely and understand that Blue Apron might not be the best meal kit delivery service for their needs.
While both Blue Apron and Dinnerly offer vegetarian meals, neither offer vegan meals or meals that are plant-based, this means that most vegetarian meals will both of these companies will contain either dairy or eggs.
Meal Prep & Variety
If a meal delivery service doesn’t offer meals that are easy to prepare, with a good variety of meal choices on top of it, then that kind of takes away the point. Most customers are looking for a combination of good variety and knowing that the meals won’t be complicated or time-consuming to get onto the table.
Blue Apron offers in the range of 18 to 20 weekly meals with their Signature Menu. Their vegetarian and wellness meal plans offer fewer options. Included in Blue Apron’s menu is a small selection of prepared, heat & eat meals, in addition to the meal kits that they’re known for.
Blue Apron also includes how long each of their meal kits takes to prepare, right where it’s easy to spot. Most meals take an average of 30-35 minutes, but there are a few selections on the menu that take a little less time or a little more. Their heat & eat meals only take five minutes if you pop them in the microwave.
The variety of Blue Apron’s weekly meals is decent and includes some options that even picky eaters will love. You’ll find some meals on the menu that are classic favorites, like burgers and pasta dishes, but you’ll also find some new tastes and more elevated dishes, like a duck dish with blueberry and thyme pan sauce.
Dinnerly’s selection of meals is larger than Blue Aprons. On average, dinnerly offers 35-40 menu choices each week, plus some add-ons like extra protein, dessert, and snacks. Dinnerly doesn’t offer heat & eat meals, and you have to dig a little to find out how long each meal kit takes to prepare. However, they do offer meals that are designated as “Under 30 Minutes”, which makes it easy to make your weekly choices if you know you won’t have a lot of time to prepare dinner during the week.
Dinnerly features a good variety of meals, most of which are classic flavors that appeal to a wide range of appetites. They’ve even marked some meals as kid-friendly, which is perfect if you’re feeding little ones or even an adult that’s very picky about food. However, this doesn’t mean that Dinnerly is boring. There are plenty of interesting choices like Feta & Sundried Tomato Meatloaf.
How good your meals taste all comes down to the quality of ingredients that go into them. One advantage of meal kit delivery services is that you don’t have to spend time tracking down the freshest and best tasting ingredients for your meals.
Both Dinnery and Blue Apron are focused on offering their customers the freshest ingredients, including fresh vegetables and fruit, along with high-quality proteins. Looking at a Blue Apron review will tell you that overall their ingredient quality is on par with their customers’ expectations. The only issue with Blue Apron ingredients is that they’re not transparent about where they source their ingredients.
Dinnerly is very similar to Blue Apron in terms of its focus on ingredient quality. They do go as far as to say that they only pack antibiotic-free chicken into their kits, but there isn’t readily available information about where they source their ingredients from.
Neither Dinnerly nor Blue Apron consistently offers organic ingredients. To keep their pricepoint aligned with what their customers want, Dinnerly and Blue Apron are more focused on freshness and the best quality rather than including organic food in their meal kits.
Taste & Sample Meals
So, what can you expect in terms of taste and types of meals you get to enjoy when you sign up with Blue Apron or Dinnerly? Let’s take a look.
Blue Apron meals strive to be restaurant quality that you can enjoy at home, cooked by you and without the costs of ordering takeout. Many Blue Apron customers say that they offer impressive meals with flavors and tastes that are consistently good across the board. If you’re a bit inexperienced in the kitchen, Blue Apron offers great meal kits for boosting your confidence and skill level.
You generally get two meals with each Blue Apron meal kit, although plans are available for serving four meals at the table instead.
A few examples of favorite meals at Blue Apron include Miso Mushroom & Brown Rice Bowls, Deviled Chicken with Honey Chipoltle Sauce, Garlic Caper Pork Chops, and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta.
Dinnerly offers quite a variety of meal kit options, with lots of different flavors, but they still manage to create recipes that have wide appeal. Some say that Dinnerly meals can be a little on the bland side, which is something that you can resolve with your own herbs and spices. Considering Dinnerly’s lower price point, this may be a trade-off you’re willing to make in order to fit meal delivery into your budget.
Some sample meals from Dinnerly’s menu include Cripsy Parm Chicken Fingers, Seared Steak with Maple Mustard Sauce, Lemon Butter Tilapia, Homestyle Chicken & Biscuits, and the Loaded Deep Dish Pizza.
|Meals Per Week||2-person Box||Family Box|
|Recipes Per Week||2 People||4 People|
Blue Apron’s pricing is right on par with most other meal kit delivery services in the same category. Like many other companies, how much you pay per serving is dependent upon how many meals and servings you choose to order each week.
With Blue Apron, you can choose either two, three, or four meals per week and then decide if you want those meals to include two or four servings. Keep in mind that pricing is always subject to change, but currently, you’ll pay just under $8 per serving if you choose the maximum plan of four meals with four servings each. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll pay just under $12 for two meals per week, with two servings each. The pricing for three meals is in between.
Blue Apron also charges a flat rate shipping charge of $9.99 per order.
Dinnerly’s pricing is one of their main attractions. They’re priced to cost considerably less than many of their competitors. Their most expensive subscription plan, which includes three meals per week for two people, currently costs a little over $6 per serving. You can choose between two, three, four, five, or six meals per week, with either two or four portions each. The largest meal plan, which includes six meals per week for four people, costs just $4.99 per serving.
Dinnerly also charges a flat rate shipping charge of 9.99 per order.
Packaging & Recycling
There are two reasons that packaging is important when choosing a meal delivery service. The first is that the quality and integrity of the packaging help keep all the parts of your meal kit fresh and at peak quality during transit and also while the box is on your doorstep waiting for you.
The second reason that packaging matters is about waste. Meal delivery companies, in general, take a bit of heat for all the extra packaging materials that can potentially end up in landfills, not to mention the resources that go into creating those packaging materials.
Blue Apron has been targeted for the amount of plastic that they use in its recycling. However, they also work with sustainability partners in an effort to improve the sustainability of their packaging materials. Approximately 85% of Blue Apron’s packaging materials are recyclable.
Blue Apron ships its kits in insulated boxes with recyclable ice packs that help to maintain optimal temperature during shipping. While Blue Apron does use a lot of plastic, some customers also like that everything is packaged separately and clearly labeled with instructions. In other moves to be more eco-friendly,
Dinnerly overall has more eco-friendly packaging materials. They offer a nice guide on their website that tells you how to recycle every piece of packaging, and most of it can be recycled with your curbside recycling or at your local recycling center. Depending on the climate of where you live, dinnerly may also ship your box with an extra insulated liner to make sure the quality of your ingredients isn’t sacrificed to a heatwave.
The one area of complaint that Dinnerly does have regarding packaging is that the packages aren’t clearly labeled, so sometimes there’s a bit of guesswork with what an ingredient is and which meal kit it goes with.
Blue Aprons gets pretty good reviews in the customer service department. We’ve found their customer service team to be responsive and helpful in addressing any issues. Blue Apron does allow you to skip weeks if you’re going to be away or simply want to take a break from meal delivery.
Reviews are a little mixed on how easy it is to cancel or deactivate your subscription. Some customers have found this to be a breeze, while others were frustrated with the fact that they had to contact customer service directly to do so. One thing that Blue Apron does not have is the ability to pause your subscription. That said, even if you deactivate your account, it’s easy to reactivate it again if/when you’re ready to resume your subscription.
Dinnerly also allows its customers to skip weeks and easily cancel their subscriptions. In contrast to Blue Apron, Dinnerly does also allow its customers to pause their subscription without actually deactivating their account, which is a nice convenience factor.
There is something to love about both of these companies, and they both fill an important niche in the meal delivery market. Blue Apron wins overall for exceeding standards in the quality of their ingredients, the taste of their meals, their efforts toward greater eco-friendliness, and their level of customer service.
All that said, Dinnerly is still a great choice, especially if you’re looking for more variety and want a budget-friendly option. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few final things to consider.
Choose Dinnerly if you:
- You want great variety in your meal options
- You are looking for a more budget-friendly option
- You have picky eaters that will love Dinnerly’s familiar tastes
- You like having the option to add on extra proteins
- You want the option of dairy & gluten-free meals
Choose Blue Apron if you:
- You are interested in trying new cooking techniques
- You like the idea of the option of heat & eat meals
- You are looking for meals that are full of flavor
- Customer service is a priority for you
- You enjoy super fresh ingredients and generous portions