A Zappos for Meals

Pete Celano, Kevin Maloy, & Brittany Singhas, 23 June 2015

Many Americans live in food deserts and/or have such frenetic schedules that they cannot find the time/energy/forethought to eat right.  But you can count on at least one thing nowadays – packages delivered to your front door.  Everybody has a doorstep, whether they live in an apartment, townhouse, condo or single-family home.

Thus, after reading this article from Fast Money, we thought we’d share our personal experiences with startup company, Blue Apron.

blue apron logo

We found that not only does it offer healthy food choices, there are some unexpected benefits and negatives:

Unexpected benefits

  1.  Always something new to learn – Whether it is cooking with a new ingredient or cooking with a new technique (I personally never boiled chicken cutlets before), it takes the seemingly familiar and twists it into something new.  In this age of “use it or lose it” theories of memory and dementia, we wonder.
  2.  Healthier – most of the food is raw, whole and fresh.  You control how much salt you put in.
  3.  Social – We actually spend time talking to other Blue Apron users about how they made the meal and if they enjoyed it. In fact, when we create the same meal, we share our experiences and tips on preparing it.
  4.  Shared – Reciprocity (Influence Principle from Dr. Robert Cialdini). Blue Apron lets you share free meals with others. In return, those recipients who sign up are likely to share their experience and tips with the person who gave them the free meal and to pay the favor forward by sharing their free meal offerings with others.
  5. Less food waste – Before using Blue Apron, we’d have to throw away rotting food, such as fruit and veggies, because it is hard to estimate exactly how much of a certain ingredient you will need for that week. Blue Apron helps us eat the food we have and rarely, if ever, let any food go to waste.

Unexpected negatives

  1.  @Kevin Maloy – I thought this was great for my parents, but my parents don’t like putting credit card info anywhere on the web.
  2.  Lots of packaging material – Blue Apron ensures that the ingredients will be kept fresh by packaging the food in wrappers, ice packs, and boxes. Though we appreciate the fresh delivery, we also can’t help but feel bad for all of the packaging material that comes along with the food. On the plus side, all of the packaging is biodegradable and recyclable.

What does this mean for healthcare? Well, with the help of these innovative startups, we are all empowered to make healthier nutritional decisions with less effort on a recurring basis.  (And we don’t need alerts on a smart watch to make it happen.)

By Pete CelanoDr. Kevin Maloy, and Brittany Singhas, June 2015

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