Munchery, the on-demand food startup that delivers pre-made meals, has expanded its offering to include ingredients and recipes for cooking your own meal. The “ready-to-cook” meals, which are designed to serve two people, don’t require a subscription, unlike multibillion-dollar startup Blue Apron, and take just 15 minutes to cook.
Blue Apron, on the other hand, says its meals take 35 minutes to cook, but that has never been my experience. A couple of weeks ago, it took my friend and I over an hour to prepare one of the dishes. So, when I heard about Munchery’s offering, I knew I had to give it a shot.
Ahead of the launch today, Munchery sent me the recipe and directions for making Shaking Beef, a meal from The Slanted Door, and a chocolate cake from La Boulangerie. All of Munchery’s ready-to-cook entrees and desserts come from partner chefs, with initial partners including Charles Phan, the chef-owner of vietnamese restaurant The Slanted Door and La Boulangerie. Every week, five new entrées and two desserts will be offered. The ready-to-cook dishes vary in price from about $18 to $24 for two people. Customers will also be able to order items from Munchery’s prepared dish selection.
The meal took me 16 minutes — just a minute longer than advertised — to make and serve. What helps expedite the process is that Munchery takes care of all the monotonous tasks like washing, chopping and peeling. All I really had to do was season the beef and cook it, along with the vegetables. The meal was great and way better than anything I could have made on my own. It was also better than the Blue Apron dish my friend and I labored over for hours.
Even though Blue Apron, Plated and HelloFresh have similar offerings, “the real competition we have today has always been so-called the grocery market,” Munchery CEO and co-founder Tri Tran told TechCrunch. “People are very used to cooking,” and want to feel productive and make something, but say they don’t have the time. “They always say they wish they could cook more but feel like they don’t have the time for it.”
The ready-to-cook meals are initially available in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will eventually expand to Munchery’s other markets in Seattle, New York City and Los Angeles. Munchery has raised over $117 million in funding.