We’ve heard from our customers that when they recreate Blue Apron meals on their own, they’ve been surprised by the high cost of buying the individual ingredients compared to receiving a Blue Apron delivery. We were curious to see the price difference ourselves, so we headed out to stores around the country.
Our shoppers were tasked with re-creating three meals from one Blue Apron delivery: Chicken Potstickers with Baby Tatsoi, Center-Cut Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions & Blue Cheese Grits, and Kumquat-Glazed Tilapia with Brussels Sprouts & Almond Freekah.
As ever, the original cost of these three dinners for Blue Apron customers was $59.94, the standard price for a Blue Apron delivery of three recipes, two servings each. But for our shoppers who were aiming to follow the exact same recipes and produce dinners in the exact same portions—while doing their own shopping – the grocery bill was on average more than 60% higher. The highest price paid, at a Whole Foods Market in Philadelphia, was $146, almost two-and-half times what Blue Apron home cooks spent.
At store after store – from neighborhood green grocers to large, national grocery chains – our shoppers found that buying ingredients on their own cost more than getting a Blue Apron delivery.
In addition to the higher cost, our shoppers found the experience frustrating. Many of the stores didn’t carry everything they needed to make Blue Apron meals so delicious. That meant trips to multiple markets to hunt for ingredients, with additional time and money spent getting from store to store. In most cases, shoppers found fewer than 75% of the ingredients they needed to recreate the original Blue Apron meal at any one store.
So, how is it that we’re able to deliver recipes with farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients while keeping our meal prices lower than grocery stores?
Our Blue Apron sourcing team buys directly from hundreds of farms and family-run purveyors, supporting local communities while saving dollars and cents on every ingredient we buy, and passing on those savings to our customers. So whether the shopping list for a particular meal includes offbeat entries like kumquats, dumpling wrappers, and lemongrass or easier-to-locate soy sauce, limes, and onions, we’re able to deliver the best ingredients to our customers at the best price.
Plus, since supermarkets need to have full inventory at all times, some of it’s bound to go bad. At Blue Apron, we buy only the seasonal ingredients we need for each recipe because we don’t have a storefront where we have to keep all sorts of things in stock. This means no food waste and lower costs.
And, when you shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or a local supermarket, you’re almost always taking home more than what you need. With the perfectly pre-proportioned ingredients in a Blue Apron box, you’re never investing in an entire bunch of parsley, or a full jar of hoisin—an “investment” that would likely, let’s admit it—wind up in the garbage can.
And that’s the win-win: A serious emphasis on the best in-season ingredients and an obsession with not wasting food saves you an awful lot of money.