The Truth About Whether Blue Apron and Other Meal Delivery Services Really Save You Money

At the end of a long day, you have a choice: order takeout that’s expensive and probably not good for you, or expend the energy required to make your own food? When your best option is to cook at home, the first things you might consider are convenience and cost. That’s the appeal of meal delivery services. They promise to bring you healthy food that’s easy to prepare. And they try to convince you it won’t totally drain your bank account.

On average, most Americans spend anywhere from $150 to $180 per week on groceries. Will relying on meals from Blue Apron or Freshly help you save some of your paycheck while keeping you healthy? Looking at the weekly costs of the most popular meal delivery services you can subscribe to, the truth might surprise you.

Sun Basket

Grilled Chicken

With Sun Basket, you’ll spend $132 on just a few meals. | Bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal (family plan): $10.99

If you’re a family of four who receives three deliveries per week from Sun Basket, you’d purchase 12 total servings, spending about $132 on just a few dinners for all of you to share. You still have to come up with the rest of the household’s meals for the week, and you’ve already spent over $130 of your budget.

Next: This service is slightly cheaper, but you’ll still have to supplement with more groceries.

Home Chef

Grilled chicken breast and vegetables in the pan

Ordering three Home Chef meals a week could add $120 to your grocery bill. | Pilipphoto/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $9.95

Trying to feed four people three times a week through Home Chef could add around $120 to your weekly grocery bill, which might not be entirely cost-effective if your household tends to eat at home together more than a few nights every week.

Next: You’ll spend about half your grocery bill to feed just two people a few dinners.

Purple Carrot

Ramen Noodles

Purple Carrot subscribers have the option of paying more for higher-protein meals. | Ahirao_photo/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $12

The plant-based Purple Carrot experience will cost you about $72 per week for six basic meals total. You can pay $78 per week instead for the same amount of meals, but higher in protein. This provides only three meals weekly for two people, so you’ll still need to spend some of your paycheck on groceries.

Next: The food probably tastes amazing, but is it worth the price?

Plated

Cooking Dinner

Twelve weekly servings from Plated will cost you $120. | RazoomGames/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $9.95

You can enjoy 12 servings’ worth of Plated deliveries for about $120. This would ideally feed four people three times. If your average weekly grocery bill even comes close to $200, you’re still spending over half your weekly meal budget on a relatively small amount of food.

Next: This service has a much broader menu, but it might still not offset your usual grocery budget.

HelloFresh

Stirfried vegetables

The average HelloFresh meal costs just under $10. | Mizina/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $9.99

HelloFresh offers a variety of plans you can choose from, but if you stick with the classic order and choose three separate meals to feed four people, you’ll spend about $120 every week. That’s more than half of the average weekly grocery budget — and you’ll still need to go shopping.

Next: Like its competitors, this service makes a lot of promises — but will you save any cash?

Blue Apron

Chicken fajita pizza with peppers and garlic dip

Blue Apron is the best-known meak kit delivery service. | Bartosz Luczak/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $9.99

When you subscribe to a weekly Blue Apron family plan, you’re committing to at least $120 per week on just a few meals to feed your household. Like its competing services, it promises no waste, but also forces you to spend over $100 on a few meals, plus whatever you’ll end up spending at the supermarket anyway.

Next: In this case, organic food definitely doesn’t come cheap.

Green Chef

Roasted Vegetables

Two dinners for a family of four will cost you $96. | Magone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $11.99

A family Green Chef plan costs $11.99 per meal. At 8 servings per box, you’ll spend an average of $96 per week on just two dinners for the whole family. You’ll have to purchase the rest of your household’s meals on your own, probably for much cheaper depending on the kind of food you buy.

Next: You can order more meals than usual with this service, but you’ll still spend over $100.

Freshly

Grilled Salmon

Freshly is a bit cheaper than some other meal kit delivery services. | Gbh007/iStock/Getty Images

  • Average cost per meal: $8.99 for 12 meals

Freshly offers a variety of plans, but the most expensive — ordering 12 meals every week — will cost you $107.99. Regardless of the specific meal plan you choose, you’ll still have to supplement with additional groceries to keep from going hungry.

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