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Blue Apron Finally Offers Subscription-Free Meal Kits

Home cooks with a fear of commitment can now test out a single box.

I've said it before and I'll say it again—there's no shame in relying on meal kits to help you cook. Without the aid of the fine folks behind subscription services like Dinnerly, Everyplate, and Home Chef, I'd be lost in the kitchen, still fumbling with basics like how long to keep the pasta in boiling water.

The step-by-step instructions, pre-portioned ingredients, and simple tips and tricks can make anyone feel like they know what they're doing. But signing up for a subscription, one that requires you to cook multiple meals every single week, is a level of commitment that many of us fear. Now a new offering from Blue Apron will allow you to dip your toes into cooking without having to park yourself in the kitchen every weeknight.

What is Blue Apron?

In 2012, Blue Apron was one of the first major meal kit subscriptions to burst onto the US scene, Forbes reported, along with similar services Plated and HelloFresh. All three drew inspiration from the Swedish-based Linas Matkasse, which invented this specific type of subscription meal kit when it launched in 2008.

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The concept was simple: fill a box with fresh ingredients portioned for specific recipes and ship it directly to the customer, saving the home cook a trip to the store and sparing them the stress of finding a recipe. It's a model that has since been replicated in endless variations, but Blue Apron stands out as the leading American company.

Over the past decade Blue Apron has expanded its menu, offering meals that suit specific skill levels, time constraints, and dietary restrictions (vegetarian, family friendly, diabetes friendly, Weight Watchers–approved). Their heat-and-eat meals can be prepared in just five minutes without any chopping or mixing necessary. You can also now sign up for a monthly wine club, select themed meal boxes (like Thanksgiving Dinner or Holiday Ham), and purchase pantry items and kitchen tools directly on the Blue Apron website.

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Blue Apron meals on Amazon

In an attempt to reach even more potential customers, Blue Apron is now offering limited one-time meal kits through Amazon. There is no subscription needed, and you can avoid a trip to Blue Apron's site, where you'll inevitably be bombarded with offers to hook you into a recurring payment plan. Instead you can choose from a selection of meals serving two to four people, and you can just order one of them, if you like. It's an a la carte option for the commitment-averse.

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Menu options available on Amazon include:

  • Pimento Burgers (Meal Kit)
  • Cheesy Pork Chorizo Enchiladas (Meal Kit)
  • Garlic-Caper Chicken (Meal Kit)
  • Italian Pork Sausage and Broccoli Pasta (Meal Kit)
  • Chicken Alfredo Pasta (Heat and Eat)
  • Cheesy Truffle Cavatappi (Heat and Eat)
  • Shrimp with Rice (Quick Prep)
  • Chickpea Curry (Quick Prep)
  • Creamy Mushroom & Spinach Flatbread (Family Meal Kit)
  • Soy & Butter-Glazed Chicken (Family Meal Kit)
  • An added feature through the Amazon connection is the ability to ask Alexa for instructions as you're cooking instead of relying on written recipes.

    Other meal kit subscription companies can learn from this move. Selling meal kit boxes a la carte, and working with a platform like Amazon where most people already have an account set up, is a smart way to cash in on potential customers who might otherwise stay away from the idea of meal kit delivery. When it's just a one-time thing, the investment doesn't feel so intimidating.

     

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