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A Millennial’s Best Friend? Exploring the Why Behind Services like
Blue Apron & HelloFresh

by Jakob Esaw

Everybody loves going out to eat, especially when it comes to romantic dates. There’s just nothing better and bourgeoisie, and perhaps even a little aristocratic, than sitting at a fine dining establishment and having your meal brought to you by courteous people dressed in what is essentially their Sunday best. Of course, as we all know, getting in the habit of going to a restaurant once or twice a week can get quite expensive. That’s why there are thankfully a lot of alternative options for the connoisseur of great food. These alternatives are do-it-yourself, and so even though they may be casual and easy to make, they can still be very romantic. I mean, come on—who among you doesn’t love to have your partner cook and do the dishes afterwards? Well, Dish checks out the options below and editorializes on the possibilities of why companies such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh are becoming so popular, especially for Millennials, who are known for their devotion to sustainability, love of having new experiences, and ultimate ignorance in the practical ways of the world.
Blue Apron and HelloFresh
Blue Apron is one of the best known meal delivery services out there. Their website does a good job of summing up why the company has become so popular by describing what each comes inside each mailed container. “What’s Inside Your Delivery,” asks the website. The answer: “Farm-fresh, seasonal produce, meat and poultry with no added hormones, sustainably-sourced seafood, and everything else you need! Plus, recipe cards, how-to videos, and the story behind our ingredients.”

Blue Apron
Even though this is a national company that ships the food directly to your door, it prides itself on harvesting sustainable foodstuffs, even though such a big company can’t exactly be a realistic experiment in community-supported agriculture (CSA). Specifically, the website says, “When you cook with Blue Apron, you’re building a better food system supporting regenerative farming, empowering sustainable fisheries, reducing food waste, (and) enabling farm-direct pricing.” If you want to find out more about the company’s mission, you can do so here.
This is all to say that Blue Apron seems like it’s jumping on a couple of different bandwagons, both possibly connected closely with the so-called Millennial generation. Millennials, it has been said, enjoy having experiences above owning things. In other words, they are just as good at being consumers as any other generation. Blue Apron—and all meal delivery services—provide people with the opportunity to stay at home, have an experience instead of owning something, and still be good little capitalists, for better or worse.
Then there’s the other bandwagon, which may be a really great thing: some companies are not only becoming more responsive to their customers’ wants, but also beginning to realize how important it is to live with sustainability in mind. Everyone wants to be a good-hearted humanitarian; it becomes much easier to do so when the companies we patronize actually help us achieve that goal.

Blue Apron

HelloFresh is a service that I have personally tried, and I can say their recipes are mostly easy to follow and the ingredients are healthy and make for delicious meals. I very much appreciate the ease of the recipes because I am not myself a born cook. I can’t just go to the store and figure out what ingredients I need off the top of my head. I need direction. Only after I’ve gotten comfortable with the recipe can I improvise. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I just spent about twenty-five years of my life in school, learning about obscure topics while learning very little about how to keep myself alive on a day-to-day basis. Ha-ha—but not really. Sad face.

I’ve been realizing recently that both Blue Apron and HelloFresh are great alternatives to going out to eat every night. They provide a chance for low-key date nights without the hub-bub and expense that comes along with an out-on-the-town dining experience.
HelloFreshStarting at about $8 to $10 a meal, they’re comparable with one another when it comes to price, and my friends who have tried both tell me their ingredients and levels of difficulty are also similar. So what makes these services so popular nowadays?
As I’ve said above, their popularity could have something to do with my generation’s idiosyncrasies when it comes to charitable giving and sustainable living, as well as our love of doing as opposed to having. Plus, let’s not forget that my generation is one of the most educated in the history of this country. Back during the Great Recession, I knew well-educated folks who would have loved just about any job out there, just so long as it wasn’t at McDonald’s, and so they decided to pursue their Master’s and PhDs after the job market didn’t start to pick up. This ironically means that while we know a lot about academic minutia, my generation seems to know an increasingly small amount about a lot of really important things, like cooking. This may be directly linked to the fact that we were in school for so long and going out to McDonald’s and picking up dinner at Papa Murphy’s. This last company, if you think about it, is kind of like its own meal delivery service. They charge us for the convenience of getting to take their ingredients home and then we cook our own food. The difference is, we have to drive there to get it. I mean, how genius is that?
For more information, check out the websites of these two companies: HelloFresh and Blue Apron. / Issue 195 - July 2018
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