Prepare dinner with ais generally a bit easier than doing it from scratch. Meal kit services send all the ingredients for a specific recipe, usually pre-measured and sometimes even prepared: as chopped, minced, or with specific dry ingredients already mixed together and ready to use. As handy as they are, most people find meal kits to be a much more expensive alternative to buying groceries in a store. That’s true for certain services, but a number of cheaper meal kit delivery services have significantly closed the gap. This is especially true given the current inflationary issues and rising food prices.
So how much more expensive are meal kits compared to buying the necessary groceries? I asked myself exactly that and with thatAt only $5 a serving, I had a hunch it was going to be pretty close. When calculating the food cost for two recipes from my favourite budget friendly meal set service, it turns out that just a paltry dollar or two separates the two approaches to mealtime, and the perception of meal packages as an expensive date splurge could be more myth than reality in 2022.
Meal box vs. grocery store
EveryPlate (Meals for 2)
EveryPlate (Meals for 4)
Bought groceries at the store
cost per serving
So how do I get these numbers?
To calculate the cost of packet meals versus buying the groceries, I took two EveryPlate recipes and calculated the ingredients. To keep things consistent, I’ve used the cheapest results that have been paddeda popular online grocery delivery service here in the Northeast.
Since condiments are generally sold in 1 or 2 ounce bottles, I divided the cost by 20 since each condiment bottle contains approximately 20 servings. The same goes for ingredients like sour cream and soy sauce, which are also sold in larger quantities. I roughly divided the total cost by the amount you would need to run each recipe.
How much does a meal kit service like EveryPlate cost?
EveryPlate is one of the cheapest meal set services, withClocking in at $5 per serving. For a meal plan for two and three meals a week, it’s a little more at $5.89 per serving. I used those compared to the cost of buying your own groceries. There’s also a $9 flat shipping fee, which I divided between the three meals. When all is said and done, EveryPlate will cost you $7.39 per serving.
How much food packages would cost if you bought the groceries
Below is a breakdown of the twowould cost if you bought the groceries yourself. These prices were calculated from Early April 2022. I have not factored in the delivery charges for a grocery service or the cost of the gas required to get yourself to and from the store. It’s also worth noting that the food prices listed below are significantly lower than what I find at my local Brooklyn markets.
Braised pork chops with homemade fries and carrots (2 servings)
- Carrots (12 ounces): $1.50
- Five Yukon Gold Potatoes: $1.50
- One yellow onion: $0.90
- Two spring onions: $0.50
- Two 5-ounce pork chops: $4.93
- A packet of Chicken Broth Concentrate: $0.60
- Cayenne Pepper: $0.20
- Sour Cream (2 ounces): $1.50
Cost per serving: $5.56
Cherry Meatballs with Zucchini Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Serves 2)
- Five Yukon Gold Potatoes: $1.60
- White bread (one slice): $0.50
- One zucchini: $1.50
- Ground beef (8 ounces): $3.50
- Cherry Jam (1 ounce): $0.85
- Garlic Powder: $0.10
- Sour Cream (2 ounces): $1.50
- Soy Sauce (1 ounce): $0.50
Cost per serving: $5.02
How much more is a meal kit than buying groceries?
Compared to the cost of buying all the necessary groceries at the store, EveryPlate is about $2 more per serving. If you were to pick one of the plans with portions for four, it would be more likely $1 more. So, it’s pretty much a wash.
At the end of the day, it’s the convenience that you pay a little more for. But when you opt for a budget-friendly service like EveryPlate or Dinnerly, it turns out that the little extra is hardly anything.
What about the environmental costs, packaging and waste?
There’s no doubt that grocery bags use more plastic than buying your own groceries. However, the cheaper services have found ways to cut costs. In many cases, this means using less packaging.
EveryPlate, for example, is one of the greenest services I’ve tried. The company packs all of its products and other ingredients in a single box, while others pack each ingredient individually, creating more waste. Most packaging, including the cooler and ice packs, is curbside recyclable.
On the other hand, since meal kits generally give you exactly what you need for each meal and no more, you’re less likely to have it Food Waste. Who hasn’t thrown away the last few ounces from a tub of sour cream or a few green onions that you couldn’t find a use for before they withered?
What about other meal set services?
EveryPlate is along with the most affordable meal set serviceMost Expensive Outfits – , , and – cost closer to $10 or $13 per serving. The extra cost is generally due to quality ingredients like grass-fed beef and organic produce. With these, you will find a larger delta between the cost of the meal kit and the cost it would cost to prepare the meal at home. services like and are somewhere in the middle with meal packages ranging from $8 to $10 per serving.
No desire to cook at all? I tested all the top players to find this.
Even more so when it comes to food delivery
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.