You’ve seen the advertisements online…pick your three meals, and we send you everything you need except for olive oil, salt and water.
BLUE APRON (circa 2014)
Two years ago, I was an avid user of Blue Apron…one of these types of companies, maybe one of the first. In any event, I liked it. A lot. My husband, did not. He disliked everything about it that I loved…it was convenient and allowed me to cook. It allowed me to cook new and innovative recipes. Most importantly, it shipped to MY door everything I needed (except olive oil, salt and water). After a while though, due partially to my husband’s resistance and partially to the, in my opinion TOO, creative (and limited as Blue Apron at that time did not allow you to pick your menu) meal planning, I discontinued my Blue Apron subscription. I also always had a little angst as I had no idea from where Blue Apron obtained its produce and meat. I was aware it wasn’t organic (and that is mostly what our family buys/prepares) but that was all I knew.
The top three pros/cons of Blue Apron:
Pros: GREAT, almost idiot-proof, illustrated recipe cards for the most challenged of cooks; Large portion sizes; and Incredibly tasty
Cons: Inability to select recipes to be delivered; Complexity of the meal preparation: the meals in my opinion began to get too creative; The meat or fish was often expiring within days of receiving our box, so you were forced to make the meal ASAP
SUN BASKET (2016)
Fast forward two years and it seems that this idea has spread and new versions are sprouting (yes, pun intended) up all over. And of course, I’ve been intrigued…and clicking…and thinking. I’ve clicked and viewed many of the options and I finally gave in and decided to give Sun Basket a try. Their slogan is “From the best farms, to your table.” They claim to use organic produce (whenever possible), that the labels tell you where the food comes from, responsibly-raised, hormone-free meats, and sustainably-sourced seafood. They also advertise healthy 30 minute recipes and a recycling program for the shipping/packaging materials. They also offer vegan and paleo options.
I received my first order this week. As compared to Blue Apron, where all the ingredients were packed in one large box all together without organization (and you had to sort through the recipes and match up what you needed), Sun Basket very conveniently packages everything (except the meat) that you will need for each recipe in its own individual paper bags…this is extremely convenient.
We’ve made two of the three meals. The recipes are fine and taste fine…but as compared to Blue Apron, I was really disappointed. We’ve done two of the three recipes. And they both tasted….fine. The recipes were not incredibly hard to follow, but they weren’t extremely clear (for an inexperienced cook) and the portions on the recipe card didn’t seem to match what was delivered and what maybe should have been in the meal. The price was a tad more (about $2 per meal) than Blue Apron, but the portion sizes were significantly smaller. Also, the first meal we made there seemed to be 4 servings of veggies to the 2 smallish servings of meat. The second meal seemed to have one serving of veggies to the 2 larger servings of meat. Each of the meals was not sufficient on its own to be an entire dinner (unless you are on a strict 500 calorie or les diet) and we needed to supplement. For the second meal that we prepared, one of the ingredients was missing and another of the ingredients was spilt out all over the inside of the paper bag. The third meal is a salad and we are looking forward to it, but have started to wonder if we should have used it as the starter for the other two.
The top three pros/cons of Sun Basket:
Pros: Organic produce & identifiable sources of all the food; Ability to pick your menu items; Recycling program for the packaging
Cons: Portions are very small and not well distributed between meat and sides; Directions are not super clear and require some guessing; Recipes are not overly flavorful
From a value standpoint, Blue Apron was tastier, easier to follow the recipes, and cheaper. Of course, Blue Apron was mystery as to the source of the food, which was a huge negative. I love that Sun Basket offers the option to recycle all the packaging every other delivery as I do feel these delivery services create a huge amount of waste. But Sun Basket, while fine, left me wanting more. Check back in a few weeks when I try the next meal delivery service.
Edited to add…I contacted Sun Basket to make sure that I did not receive any further deliveries/charges. They responded immediately by both phone and following up with an email. They weren’t trying to convince me not to cancel…rather they were apologetic, explaining that they had recently expanded to the East Coast market and had obviously hit some glitches and they wanted to make it right for me. I VERY much appreciate this type of customer service. I’m going to give them a couple months to work through the kinks and then will try again.