How Blue Apron Became a Massive $2 Billion Disaster -

Gar For Archer
I used Blue Apron for a bit when I was living with a female software engineer and we had more money and less time than we knew what to do with, and the nearest grocery store was 7 miles away. The recipes were actually pretty cool and I learned how to cook a bunch of things I wouldn't ordinarily have attempted (I can make ramen now) and it turned out pretty well. I can't imagine it working in a household with more or fewer than two people, and you can get most of the effect with buying a cookbook.
So you’re saying it’s a service that might have worked well in Silicon Valley but because they have zero concept of how normal people actually live, they thought that a service very specifically catered to their lifestyle (people with more money than time who still want to say they “cook”) would work for the rest of America?


Beating my meat like everyone's watching.
True & Honest Fan
I will say this in defense of Blue Apron even though I wasn't impressed with the product myself; it came with fairly easy to follow instructions. Someone that isn't comfortable cooking or doesn't want to take classes could essentially practice on these and get a feel for making their own meals.

Personally I make pre-packed meals for camping. I get the ingredients together, separate them with baggies and then when it's time to cook you can basically dump it all in a skillet/pot step by step. I even measure out spices. That way I don't have to bring a bunch of cookware camping; just keep 'em in a cooler.


drink me
I tried a couple of those meal kits from various companies like hello fresh weight watchers and a few others because the grocery store had them on mega sale at best they were muh to just inedible
And fucking expensive 10—20 bucks for dat money I could buy 3 meals

I can see there might be a market for this, but I'd think it would be small; someone interested in learning how to cook, but reluctant to experiment. I'm not too surprised it failed; how many people like that wouldn't just download a recipe?


Useful mask for exploring the Internet
Every time analysts talk about some "reinvention of the grocery store", it usually isn't. (About a decade ago, it was the "small stores" trend). There's a time and place for the meal kits, but they only really work in large urban areas where people have more money than time (like, say, New York or Silicon Valley). You can't take that nationally without diversifying the business, and certainly not with at least 3 or 4 others trying to do the same thing.

The funny thing is that a few years ago when Albertsons bought Plated (which has since been dismantled as a sole meal delivery service and now integrated into Albertsons' own markets and localized delivery systems), the Plated CEO said something along the lines of "the traditional meal delivery kit businesses would cease to exist as independent companies", he's turning out to be right.

Glad I couldn't help

Not surprising, I remember seeing this video from years before.

Blue Apron podcast live reads were a big factor in me giving up on 95% of podcasts in general a few years back, it was the OG Raid Shadow Legends. In some way this feels a bit cathartic.
They also had sponsored a few YouTubers, including a future lolcow:

Having said that, even if the food was shit, it still better than a gacha game designed solely to get whales to drop, say for example's sake, $41 000 in micro-transactions in order to feel like a champion.


Avatar of Change
The grocery stores near me now have 'dinner in a bag'. For less than $20 all i have to do is follow a basic recipe and bammo, meal for 3 or 4.

Sometimes the meals are good, sometimes they are bad. On a sunday when I'm mad busy doing errands they are a life saver. pickup the bag and make the meal. Simple.
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Gar For Archer
The grocery stores near me now have 'dinner in a bag'. For less than $20 all i have to do is follow a basic recipe and bammo, meal for 3 or 4.

Sometimes the meals are good, sometimes they are bad. On a sunday when I'm mad busy doing errands they are a life saver. pickup the bag and make the meal. Simple.
My local “fancy” supermarket has a thing where they’ll put together a recipe and place all the ingredients together in one cooler with some different sauce/protein options. It’s something like $20-25 for 4 portions. If a larger grocer were to offer a “recipe of the week” and deliver it through their service I could see that being a good idea for getting people to learn to cook.

Millhouse Nancy Metz

*tips fedora euphorically*
Blue Apron podcast live reads were a big factor in me giving up on 95% of podcasts in general a few years back, it was the OG Raid Shadow Legends. In some way this feels a bit cathartic.

In general with these cook prep companies, the finished food just doesn't look good. I watched a Drew Gooden video the other week and he did an ad for Hello Fresh where he actually cooked the meal, and on top of poor Zoomer cooking skills, the end product was this crappy looking red bean quesadilla you could make with just simple understanding of heat and stove, and on top of that for brownies they just sent a package of pillsbury ready to bake you find in the store. Even for hardcore agoraphobics just go to the store for an hour each week or two and stock up and save money.
hey have you heard of dollar shave club, i will have you know that i personally shave with their three blade razors and use their branded baby whipes. I love when my video is interrupted by their ads where the creater reads of a given script

I love hearing this. It's so gross and fake, like everything else these days aping 'the good ol' days' that never really were. It's a chunky hipster growing out a beard, squeezing into skinny jeans, and donning a $1400 boutique leather jacket to jump on his rattle canned craigslist Honda CB he got because he wants to pretend he lives in the 60's. It's a lack of interest in the actual thing, the art, the skill, the inherent quality. It's only the thinnest, most prepackaged guarantee that you have the veneer of authenticity. Selling tiny portions of ingredients is wasteful, expensive, and all around dumb. Perhaps for the most eclectic ingredients it's handy not having to buy in quantity if it will just rot, but this crap gives absolute novices only one go around to cook it right. Fuck it up and wait 'til the next box chump. Cooking isn't fantastically difficult, it takes learning just like anything else worth doing. I think there's a lot of aggrandizing, self-important media creators that try to overcomplicate simple things for profit. Making shitty tex-mex ain't tough, but if you're a graphic designer living the dream in a shithole condo with six roommates you wanna play grown up and make an upscale meal. Why not have your lovely podcaster recommended, prepped, gourmet foot arrive for all to see? They'll think you're worldly and sophisticated, even if the end result looks no different than patricia's santa fe lean cuisine at lunch.


True & Honest Fan
That's the problem with prematurely praising disrupters.. nasty stuff behind the scenes. Frequently it's high customer acquisition costs combined with no reason at all to be brand loyal. I read somewhere that the number of boxes a new customer needed to order to be a profitable customer was one or two boxes more than most customers ordered. It's a similar thing going on with all the online mattress things. And probably other businesses I haven't dug into. Basically this,
I'm starting to get the weird feeling the bugman lifestyle is unsustainable.
We happen to live in a nice time where there's a lot of cheap/free shit to be had from millionaires trying out crazy stuff to make more millions.
But I take a more optimistic viewpoint that something different and better than Blue Apron will come along that will actually work. I personally really like instacart. I hope they're going to stick around. I'm too afraid to look and see if they won't.
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Kiwi Lime Pie

The tasteful summer treat. 🥝🥧🐈
Picking people like John as spokesthings might have had something to do with it.
Was Wu an official spokes being, or did they shamelessly shill their awful-looking Blue Apron concoctions entirely on their own? I can't picture Blue Apron being pleased at Wu's pictures showing their products looking worse than garbage.

John is the exact market for their service though - A complete amateur who likes to think of themselves as an expert cook but doesn't want to put any of the effort in to learn to shop, adjust recipes and portion properly. Just follow the instructions and you can be a michellin star chef and the envy of your peers.
With fewer people learning adult skills such as basic meal prep, portion cost/control, and how to meal plan and shop accordingly, it's no surprise that services such as Blue Apron would appeal to those lacking those skills or the time to shop/cook. As a result, they either don't realize these kits tend to be overpriced given the ingredient quality or they simply accept the fact that they're paying a premium for the convenience that comes with a DIY meal kit.

On a larger scale, though, I'm not surprised Blue Apron has been losing as bad as it has. Apart from younger people who lack the time or knowledge to cook for themselves, there's not much of a market to sustain operations on a national level. Further, Blue Apron now has plenty of competition from both meal kit companies and grocery stores that offer delivery or their own "make your own meal" offerings.

I think the article really hits the nail on the head with how little Silicon Valley Simps understood the market.
I had thought that with the dot com bust and recession, venture capitalists were more selective with what they funded, but maybe not given how much they've lost with Blue Apron. However, these capitalists probably don't mind taking an occasional loss to offset their profitable investments. Still, I'm surprised that they accepted Blue Apron's bold promises and forecasts at face value and didn't give them much scrutiny to see if their business model was both sustainable and profitable in the long-term.

As a complete aside/opinion I think cooking is a vital life skill, and its basics should be taught at school.
Home economics used to be taught in high schools all over the USA.
At one point, my high school had a mini-restaurant that gave students the chance to learn everything involved in running a restaurant: food prep, service, hospitality, etc. That class/program was phased out presumably due to a combination of declining enrollment, lack of interest, and budget cuts. Still, the school offered Home Ec courses (one titled Personal Foods comes to mind) where students could learn basic meal prep, portion sizes, unit pricing, etc. With the current push to teach as much STEM as possible, it appears Home Ec has all but disappeared from the district's present curriculum -- and many other districts, I'd imagine. Ditto for other classes that taught life/adult skills.

No practical person would buy it, their only hope was brand recognition from people who saw it fashionable.
NGL, I only knew about Blue Apron from Wu's tweets posted here and what I think was a friend trying it out once. For whatever reason, Blue Apron didn't appear to promote itself that much in this area. Conversely, the TV stations around here had numerous prime time ads for HelloFresh. This particular one played quite frequently:

(Edits: typos & clarity)
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Skin and Bones
If you want to cook you'll just go out and buy the ingredients so you can make what you want and adjust for portions and personal taste. If you want something quick and easy you'll either get take out or buy something simple at the store. If you're going to pay someone to buy ingredients for a certain type of meal for you, you might as well just make it yourself or get it pre-made.
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Borax Bozo

Here until I can finally rest.
Blue Apron podcast live reads were a big factor in me giving up on 95% of podcasts in general a few years back, it was the OG Raid Shadow Legends. In some way this feels a bit cathartic.
I wonder who the next one will be once Casper and Away die in debt.


Homecoming King
I love everyone in this thread using 2020 logic for this company? If you didnt live in a major city and didnt feel like going to a grocery store in 2015 your options were either blue apron or fucking yourself. Grocery stores didnt get their shit together until 2017. Also obviously this company was for people with more money than time. Thats how it was advertised originally, that and as alternative to eating out, which is why it had small portions too. Im ashamed at all the snark in this thread for this company! Without them who would keep our favorite podcasters and youtubers from getting a real job? Raid:Shadow Legends wasnt invented back then.