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Why Blue Apron is a "Flash in the Pan"


Starting years ago at Well Done Cooking Classes, we began the practice of having all of the ingredients measured, chopped, and prepped for our guests while we conduct the classes.  How much would you love to have a “sous chef” already have the ingredients like that ready for you to use?  The answer was always “yes, please!” after we jokingly asked.  Our guests would then suggest they would willingly buy the items from us if I would just sell the pre-made chopped ingredients to them (this was back in 2009).   But, there was no good way to scale this idea.  At least not without massive equipment to chop and prepare things.  And the biggest question of all was “How was I going to deliver it?”


So, this is why it absolutely baffles me that subscription meal kit services are the new so-called “Food Category”.  YOU STILL HAVE TO CHOP AND PREP STUFF!  Blue Apron even sells the prep dishes for your Mise En Place! (The culinary term for all of your ingredients that are cleaned, chopped, measured and ready for cooking.)  So if you buy those cute little dishes and bowls, they will make you look so cool and pro-like, right?  Maybe but now you have to chop everything AND wash all of those extra prep dishes. How does that save time?   


Basically, with the meal kit you get all of the ingredients you need and a recipe sent to you in one box, so the convenience is you don’t have to come up with a recipe and then shop for the ingredients.  Thus, you have no waste.  Genius!  The future of food!  Uh, not really Einstein.  Blue Apron, have you met my friend Amazon? More on that later...


So let’s break these convenience factors down. First is recipes: isn’t this the day and age of the internet where you can look up a recipe for anything?   I mean really anything!  Why should I pay someone $9 to 12 per meal for a recipe?  And besides, if you take the Fundamentals/Techniques classes at Well Done, you will be able to come up with your own recipes thank you very much bitches!  ;-)


To make prep easier, Blue Apron and these other meal kit guys have great pictures and step by step instructions to help you.  They’ve added some quick instructional videos on their web site too.  But, again, I can find this YouTube video and have Gordon Ramsay teach me how to make oh so delicious scrambled eggs his way.  So why do I need you again?


Also, finally with regard to recipes, the biggest complaint for the meal-kit companies is recipe choice.  These isn’t much!  Your choices are extremely limited to what they are offering for the week/month.  Initially the kit companies thought this would be helpful to customers so they wouldn’t be overwhelmed with Analysis Paralysis.  But, customers commented overwhelmingly that they want more choice.  Again, you can get this by already knowing how to come up with your own recipes of your choosing or just looking it up.  If I don’t want Tofu this week, you can’t make me eat it dang it!


So now let’s talk about the other convenience factor that’s hard to compete with: having the exact ingredients you need delivered to you.  This is most definitely the best attribute of the meal kit guys and the hardest to beat.  It is especially true for unusual ingredients like Celeriac, Ramp, Fennel, etc.  Also, if you only need one leek, then you don’t need three as they are usually bundled together.  I have no doubt that this saves money in the long run for their customers.  But ladies and gents, to badly distort the meaning of an iconic song, “A Change is Gonna Come”.  


It was big news when Amazon bought Whole Foods in June of 2017.  Many experts were not really sure how these synergies were going to work.  But basically, I believe this is going to end the meal kit companies before the IPOs even get a chance to be “heated up”.  Amazon is a powerhouse in shipping.  Whole Foods is a powerhouse in selling upscale groceries and hard to find ingredients.  If the customer wants one leek, well damn it Jeff Bezos and company will figure out how to deliver it to you on drones if they have to.  And, Amazon can do it for a lot less that what the meal kit companies are charging.


Can you imagine being in the middle of nowhere USA and have one damn leek delivered to you for your gourmet meal in a so-called flyover state?  No more food deserts where poor families don’t have access to grocery stores with fruits and vegetables.  This will be the revolution in food.  Not a meal kit.

So folks, these meal kit companies are just a flash in the pan stealing your time, attention, and money.  They already suffer from huge amounts of churn in their customer base because of all the reasons I’ve listed above.  If you just learn 5 basic dishes that become staples, you will save money, frustration, and time.  You could have the basic ingredients delivered to you and have something to cook that you really want when you want it.  You can even have the onions already chopped by ordering frozen chopped vegetables!  Booyah! All you have to do is invest in yourself and learn how to cook anything.  We can definitely help you with that.