As a college student living in an apartment style suite, I’ve finally had the option to start cooking for myself this year. I have almost no experience cooking–friends would joke that I’ll burn water. This summer I even had to make a trip to the emergency room due to an incident making grilled cheese. As I’ve started to look at options for cooking, I’ve begun to realize that there are four qualities that I seek: efficiency, health impact, cost, and quality. These qualities are exactly what human factors tries to optimize. I want to spend this blog taking about different delivery food companies and which company I believe would be the best choice for my needs.
Blue Apron is a delivery service that gives its customers all necessary ingredients and easy to follow recipes. The pricing follows a subscription method. For a two-person plan with three meals per week, it costs $59.64. For a four-person plan, it costs $69.92 for two meals per week and $139.84 for four meals per week. If I were to use the service, it would cost approximately $10 per meal, which seems very high to me as I can get restaurant food for around the same price. According to Consumer Reports, the nutritional value of these meals is quite healthy and can be made healthier as the customer prepares the food (f.e. not adding cheese to a salad). As there are so many different recipes, the recipes should be judged on an individual basis. For the most part, however, the recipes are rated as tasting very good. My biggest con with Blue Apron is that I still have to make a recipe from almost start to finish; however, it is still much more efficient than having to cook recipes the traditional way by seeking out recipes and ingredients.
We’ve all heard of the Jenny Craig diet. The goal of Jenny Craig is to help people eat healthier through smaller portions and in moderation. Jenny Craig provides all meals and will cost consumers $560 a month—which is around $6 a meal. According to Consumer Compare, “the food [is] awful.” This is a common complaint that I have heard about Jenny Craig. Also, they are marketed as being a healthy choice, but there’s much contention over whether or not Jenny Craig is actually that good for you. Despite these negatives about Jenny Craig, I do like that Jenny Craig is highly efficient—it’s delivered to your door and all you need is a microwave.
Freshly is a relatively new company that delivers “freshly” cooked meals. All that is required is that you must heat up the food in the microwave. Depending on how many meals are ordered, Freshly costs between $9 per meal (12 meals per week) and $12.50 per meal (4 meals per week). According to Alex Tran, the meals from Freshly are mouthwatering. This high rating of Freshly is only echoed on Consumers Advocate’s 9.6/10 star rating of Freshly. It’s pretty clear that Freshly’s meals are of high quality. In addition, users get to choose which meals they would like. This service is highly efficient as the customer has to do almost no work. If the customer desires, the user can choose as healthy meals as he or she wishes.
As the summaries of the companies above show, it’s a balancing act between efficiency, nutritional value, cost, and quality. Personally, I believe the best option for me would be Freshly because of its optimal efficiency ( I just have to order online and it will delivered, already made to my doorstep), high quality (it would probably be better than Blue Apron because I wouldn’t have the opportunity to mess up the recipe), healthy options, and affordability (although it is still almost $9 per meal). Besides the con of the price of Freshly, something that is a benefit yet a trouble is the fact that I would not need to learn how to cook at all. I really want to learn how to cook better, but I still have limited trust in my abilities.
In conclusion, I’m excited to try Freshly and will definitely keep you all updated on its branded packaging experience (see my last week’s blog on branded packaging experience here).