Can HelloFresh, Green Chef and Others Really Save You Money?

·4 min read

Meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh, Green Chef, Blue Apron and others have found an avid fanbase among those who want to reduce the time they spend preparing and making meals. In addition, these companies have recently invested heavily in their marketing efforts; HelloFresh spent around 1.28 billion euros (about $1.37 million now) on marketing in 2022 alone. Because of this, you may have heard sponsored messages promoting meal kit delivery services on much of the online content you consume, from podcasts to YouTube videos.

Costco’s Best Deals? Employee Reveals 10 Standout Buys for Your Money
See: 3 Signs You’re Serious About Raising Your Credit Score

Many of these advertisements say these services not only make it easier to cook at home, but also save you money on groceries. Is this actually the case, or is it just marketing?

What Are Meal Kit Delivery Services?

Meal delivery kits can simplify home cooking and make it more convenient. Pre-measured ingredients are sent in a box to your address, along with a detailed recipe. You can then follow the recipe to cook the meal at home.

Customers can usually choose from a selection of recipes through the service’s website, which often includes different diet and meal options such as plant-based, quick and easy recipes and kid-friendly options. HelloFresh, for example, advertises over 100 recipes to choose from each week.

Because everything you need comes packaged and pre-portioned, you have everything you need to cook the recipe you want. You don’t need to go shopping, and you don’t need to buy larger containers of things like spices which you may not end up using again in the future. However, because every ingredient comes separately packaged, meal delivery kits have drawn criticism from environmental groups for contributing to plastic waste.

Take Our Poll: How Much Salary Would Buy You Happiness?

How Much Are Meal Kit Delivery Services?

Most of the largest meal kit delivery services cost between $9 and $14 per serving. Usually, the more meals per week you choose to order, the cheaper each serving becomes. The minimum amount of servings for many meal kit delivery services is two servings per meal, and two meals per week.

HelloFresh charges $9.99 per serving when you order two servings per meal and three meals per week. For the same plan, Green Chef charges $13.49 per serving, while Blue Apron charges the same as HelloFresh. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, lesser-known Dinnerly offers two servings three times a week for $7.04.

Many meal kit delivery services offer new customer discounts. This can be a great way to save some money while you see if meal kits are a good fit for you.

Are Meal Kit Delivery Services Actually Cheaper Than Buying Groceries?

How much you spend on food really depends on your personal schedule and circumstances. You can definitely eat cheaper by buying bulk quantities of groceries and cooking home meals. The USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan 2022 estimates that an average family of four spends $224.10 per week on groceries. If everyone eats three meals a day, this comes out to an average of $2.67 per day, which is less than half of the cost of a HelloFresh serving.

However, grocery costs may not be the only factor. For example, if you live far from a store or supermarket you may spend more than average on gas when you go to get groceries, which can increase your per-serving average.

If you’d like to try a new recipe or diet, a meal kit delivery service could be cheaper in some instances than having to buy larger packages of every ingredient, especially if you are unlikely to use the rest of them again in the future. However, if you decide you do like a recipe after trying it through a meal kit delivery service, buying your own ingredients in larger quantities for next time may be the most frugal choice.

Final Take

Are meal kit delivery services worth it? While they are not necessarily cheaper than buying groceries, they do allow you to try meals you wouldn’t usually cook without buying lots of expensive ingredients. What’s more, if you often find yourself ordering takeout because you are short on time, a meal kit service can be a way to have nutritious, home-cooked meals, without sacrificing time on shopping for groceries and preparing ingredients.

More From GOBankingRates

This article originally appeared on Can HelloFresh, Green Chef and Others Really Save You Money?