Meal Kit Company Blue Apron Celebrates 10 Years In Business

Meal Kit Company Blue Apron Celebrates 10 Years In Business

These days, it seems like there’s a meal kit for every type of diet and lifestyle. From healthy smoothies to microwave- and oven-ready meals to the classic boxes filled with premeasured ingredients, the meal kit market is flooded with optionsโ€”but this wasn’t always the way. Last month Blue Apron, one of the pioneers of the meal kit space, celebrated its 10-year anniversary. It’s a massive feat considering how often food trends come and go, and the number of meal kit companies that have launched since Blue Apron got their start in August 2012.

To date, Blue Apron has served more than 483 million meals, and they’re not slowing down anytime soon. The company’s head chef and vice president of culinary, John Adler, has been at Blue Apron since 2016, overseeing their entire culinary team. His day-to-day responsibilities include ingredient strategy, menu development, recipe testing, food cost strategy, partnerships, new product development, recipe editorial and so much more.

I had the opportunity to connect with Adler and chat about all things Blue Apron, from recipe and development to how the company has changed over the past decade. I’ll let him take it away from here.

Abigail Abesamis Demarest: What has changed since you started working at Blue Apron, and what’s stayed the same? What can customers expect to see in the future from Blue Apron?

John Adler: The biggest and likely most noticeable change is the breadth and flexibility of our offerings. In 2016, we had rigid menu configurations that created limited choice and potential frustration for our customers. We have spent a lot of time over the last 5-6 years on increasingly meeting people where they are and expanding our product offerings. We now have more than 60 options, and we’re removing as many barriers to purchase as possible.

Additionally, we’ve become incredibly focused on diversifying the types of culinary experiences we offer, without sacrificing the delicious and innovative flavors on which we’ve built our brand. The range of offerings we have now appeal to people who have less than five minutes to prepare a meal all the way to people who might be looking for a more intensive culinary experience. As we look to the future, we will continue to focus on designing products that meet our customers’ ever-changing and diverse needs and leaning more and more into flexibility and personalization.

Start: What makes Blue Apron different from the many meal kit services that are on the market?

Adler: While I can’t speak to the inner workings of other meal kit companies, I can say that we apply the same level of rigor and deliberateness that you associate with fine dining kitchens to everything we do in our test kitchen. Every day we ask ourselves, โ€œHow can we do better than yesterday?โ€ Whether that applies to menu design, ingredient selection or recipe editorial, the mentality of continuous improvement and careful, customer-centric decision-making is at the forefront of what we do.

Start: Can you talk about how a recipe is developed and perfected? How long does the process typically take?

Adler: At minimum, it takes 12 weeks for a recipe to go from ideation to making it into the box, because a perfect recipe isn’t solely about what we create in the test kitchen. That timeline allows for our creative team to photograph the recipe, our supply and operations team to model out how one week’s menu will be fulfilled, our sourcing team time to verify ingredient availability, and our marketing team to develop any specific messaging and collateral that they want to create. As far as recipe testing goes, depending on the product a recipe will undergo anywhere from one to f0ur tests.

Start: What are some of your favorite recipes? What are the customer favourites?

Adler: I love our chorizo โ€‹โ€‹meatballs with rice and pepitas, our three cheese and caramelized onion pizzas, Calabrian chile glazed meatloaf, smoked Gouda and egg sandwiches, and Korean rice cakes with spicy pork, though there are really too many to name!

Our customer favorites truly vary by the customer, but some very broadly appealing and beloved recipes are our Craft Truffle and Fontina Burgers, Calabrian Shrimp and Orzo with Zucchini, Chorizo โ€‹โ€‹Enchiladas, Hot Honey Glazed Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans, and Pasta with Pork Sausage and Broccoli.

There isn’t one particular dish type that customers love the most but there is one characteristic that all the customer favorites share in a very noticeable way which is that they are all familiar formats and flavors with a slight twist which creates a moment of culinary discovery and newness for people. That might be the fried sage garnish on the pork sausage pasta or the discovery of Calabrian chilies and their incredible flavor, but they both amount to what we refer to as the Blue Apron โ€œplus one.โ€ The Blue Apron โ€œplus oneโ€ is what we call our pursuit of making each recipe special and unique, from exceptional flavor combinations to new cooking techniques.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *