Can You Save Money with Meal Kits? Here’s My Experience

by John-Paul Cody

Updated

If you haven’t tried a meal kit service, you are missing out. 

Before trying a meal kit service myself, I was skeptical too.

Can you really save money with meal kits? Is it worth it? 

After preparing over 100 meals from a meal kit service (in my case HelloFresh), I’ll share if I saved money, and other things you should know before getting started.

Do you save money with meal kits? 

All things considered, I definitely save money with meal kits, if you factor in time saved from not grocery shopping, transportation cost savings, and money saved from eliminating food waste. 

Most meal delivery kits range from $7.99-$11.99 per serving. The more servings ordered per week, the lower your rate per serving. 

Here’s pricing for 4 servings per week (smallest plan):

hellofresh-meal-plan-small

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We started out with a smaller plan, but quickly realized we could reduce our price per serving significantly and freeze the extra meals or have them for leftovers. 

Here’s pricing for 24 servings per week (largest plan):

hellofresh-meal-plan-large

Tactic for Success: 

Most meal kit delivery services have frequent promotions and sign on bonuses. Search for coupons before signing up, so you get a few free meals when starting out. 

The question is, could you pay less to prepare quality meals the traditional way?

Technically yes, I could pay a few dollars less per serving, but it would require more time shopping and preparing to do so. 

If you’re an extreme meal prepper, who is interested in making 20-100 meals in a weekend, a meal kit probably won’t save you money

But if you are a busy person who would otherwise order food or eat out for most meals, you’ll probably save a good deal of money and enjoy other benefits in the process. 

Saving money isn’t the only benefit of meal kits. In fact there are a whole host of things to consider before deciding are meal kits worth it? 

Benefits of Using Meal Delivery Service (Top 5 Reasons)

If you have not tried a meal delivery service, they have many benefits that make them a popular choice. 

1. Time Savings 

Preparing a home cooked meal the traditional way looks something like this: 

  1. Think about the meal you want to make 
  2. Hunt online for a trustworthy recipe
  3. Get to the grocery store
  4. Shop around for ingredients (and likely buy other things we don’t need)
  5. Pay for ingredients at checkout
  6. Get back home and unpack groceries 
  7. Make the meal
  8. Hope it turns out okay, based on our online recipe

For the person who doesn’t have a passion for cooking, this process is exhausting and time consuming.

Once I started using a meal kit service, the cooking process became: 

  1. Select 2-4 meals from a short list of chef tested and approved recipes
  2. Receive the meal kit at my door, and unpack the handful of ingredients required 
  3. Make meal 
  4. Know it’ll turn out great every time 

As you can see, not only do we save time, but also skip tedious tasks like vetting online recipes and extra grocery shopping (which I’ve cut out completely since starting to buy groceries online to save time and money) 

Demand for food delivery service jobs are on the rise too, as more people look for ways to save time in their busy schedules. 

2. Money Savings 

In my experience, you save money using meal kits, because you eliminate costs associated with extra prep time, fuel costs to the store, and excess ingredients (ex: a recipe might call for 3 sprigs of basil, but the store only sells a pack of 20 sprigs for $5). 

Prices for meal kits typically range from $7.99-$11.99 per serving (dishes include meat and vegetables). 

Pricing varies depending on the number of servings ordered per week. 

In my case, I thought paying $7.99-$11.99 for a healthy, home cooked meal was reasonable. There’s no doubt you could make meals at home for less though. 

However, for it to be a fair comparison, the meal still needs to be healthy, include high quality ingredients, and taste great. 

I think even the most coupon savvy shopper would have a difficult time creating a meal like this for $7.99 (see below), without using a meal delivery service. 

hellofresh-meal-example

3. Better Food Quality 

Better ingredient quality was the first thing I noticed with HelloFresh. 

I’ve spoken to a number of people who don’t buy certain ingredients from grocery stores anymore, such as meat and some fruits, because of the poor quality, and instead go to local farmers markets. 

If you use a meal kit such as HelloFresh, you won’t have to do a second trip for those ingredients, because meal delivery services can deliver farmer’s market quality.

HelloFresh partners with food vendors who take quality to a higher level. 

hellofresh-food-quality

After eating 100+ meals from a meal kit service (HelloFresh), without question the ingredient quality is superior to what I’ve found at the average grocery store. 

Of those 100+ meals, my all time favorite recipe was Bruschetta Chicken. 

hellofresh-meal-recipe-example

Here’s how it turned out once it was finished, and I must say that the recipe developers who created this one outdid themselves. 

hellofresh-meal-real-example

4. Reduce Food Waste

According to Medical News Today, ‘The average U.S. household wastes 31.9% of the food that its members obtain.”

If we also consider the average U.S. household’s grocery bill is $411 per month, this means the average U.S. household wastes $131 per month on unused food.

This doesn’t take into account the impact food waste has on the environment, either. 

Meal delivery services are designed to provide the exact amount of ingredients needed for the meal. This reduces landfill waste and monetary waste, a win win. 

5. Sharpen Your Cooking Skills

Cooking is a fun skill to have, but not always easy to develop. 

Meal kits have the added benefit of growing your cooking skills, while you make delicious meals. 

Here are a few skills I learned from the experience:

  • How to develop flavor in differences sauces, such as a bolognese sauce
  • How to sear different meats while avoiding dryness 
  • Unique ways to prepare vegetables and herbs 

Who knows, maybe you realize cooking is your calling, and turn it into your career or a side gig in college

Wrapping Up

After using HelloFresh for a while, I wondered, do you really save money with meal kits? 

It turns out that I do save a good deal of money using this delivery service, plus it helps reduce food waste in the process. 

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About the Author

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John-Paul Cody has been an avid online seller for years, across platforms including eBay, Mercari, Craigslist, and more. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from UNC Chapel Hill, and works in data analytics and marketing.