Here’s the cost of a meal kit versus buying groceries yourself

May be inflation cooling, but stubborn grocery prices are still much higher than they were before the pandemic. While the average grocery price costs by 12% in 2022Most meal kit services bounce back between 5% to 8%, making it a better deal than ever. Not to mention the convenience of sending all the ingredients ready and preparing a healthy meal.

All of this made me wonder whether or not a budget-friendly meal kit was more expensive than buying the groceries needed to make the same meal. And if so, what is the cost of such a cheap service each plate or dinner Than cooking from scratch?

Don’t worry, I’ve done the math.

The big draw for Meal groups They’re convenient, because they measure and sometimes prep all the ingredients and send them to your door, ready to cook into a satisfying dinner. Meal kits were once seen as an expensive extravagance, but most have since dropped in price and many budget-friendly services have entered the field.

To find the cost difference, I priced a two-meal account each plateMy favorite cheap meal kit service, vs Grocery cost It is needed to make the recipes themselves. The difference was about a packet, and maybe closer to that, if you factor in the gas needed to get to the store.

Here’s how I got those numbers and what I learned about them meal kit Cost and value in 2023.

Meal kit in front of a grocery store

EveryPlate (Meals for Two)

EveryPlate (Meals for 4)

Grocery purchases from the store

cost per meal




Are meal kits more expensive than buying groceries?

If you’ve ever wondered which meal kits are more affordable than shopping for all the groceries yourself, you’ve done the math. While some meal kit services are still comfortable in the splurge category – sun basket And green chef to name two – The cheapest meal kits Around the clock about $5 or $6 a service.

After calculating the difference in cost between shopping for groceries and ordering meal kits for two recipes provided through the budget-friendly meal kit service, each plate, only a measly dollar separates the two ways to dine. The perception of meal kits as a splurge on an extravagant date may be more myth than reality.

How did you do the math

To calculate the cost of meal kits versus grocery shopping, I took two EveryPlate recipes and priced the ingredients. To keep things consistent, I used the cheapest results that populated FreshDirectthe popular online grocery delivery service here in the Northeast.

Since spices are generally sold in 1- or 2-ounce bottles, I divided the cost by 20 since each bottle of seasoning contains approximately 20 servings. The same goes for ingredients like sour cream and soy sauce, which are also sold in larger quantities. You’ve roughly divided the total cost by how much you need to make for each recipe.

How much does a meal kit service like EveryPlate cost?

EveryPlate is one of the cheapest meal kit services out there, with most plans About $5 a service. or a meal plan for two people and three meals per week, $5.99 per meal is a little more. I used a file More expensive two-person plan To compare with the cost of buying your groceries. There’s also a flat $9 shipping cost which I split across the three meals. When all is said and done, EveryPlate will cost you $7.48 for a two-person plan. Choose meals for four and it only costs $6.50 per meal.

Web page to select a plan between people and meals per week

EveryPlate is my favorite budget meal kit service and will set you back about $7 a service when you factor in shipping.

each plate

How much will meal kits cost if I buy individual groceries?

Below is a breakdown of what the two are EveryPlate recipes It will cost you if you buy the groceries yourself. These prices are calculated from FreshDirect In April 2022. I did not include the delivery fee for the grocery service or the gas cost required to get you to and from the store. It is also worth noting that the prices of the groceries listed below are much lower than what i find at local markets in brooklyn.

Scrambled Pork Chops withrenchries and Carrots (2 servings)

  • Carrots (12 ounces): $1.50
  • Five Yukon gold potatoes: $1.50
  • One yellow onion: $0.90
  • Two green onions: $0.50
  • Two 5-ounce pork chops: $4.93
  • One bottle of concentrated chicken stock: $0.60
  • Cayenne pepper: $0.20
  • Sour cream (4 ounces): $1.50

Total: $11.13

Meal cost: $5.56

The flexible weekend menu features three dishes on each plate

EveryPlate offers approximately 15 weeknight meal recipes ranging from comfort classics to lean and healthy.

each plate

Cherry Meatballs with Zucchini and Garlic Mashed Potato (2 servings)

  • Five Yukon gold potatoes: $1.60
  • White bread (2 slices): $0.50
  • One zucchini: $1.50
  • Ground beef (8 ounces): $4.30
  • Cherry jam (1 ounce): $0.85
  • Garlic powder: $0.10
  • Sour cream (4 ounces): $1.50
  • Soy sauce (1 ounce): $0.50

Total: $10.85

Meal cost: $5.42

Meatloaf with potatoes and zucchini

I loved all of the meals I tried when I tested the EveryPlate, but the hoisin meatloaf was my favorite of the group.

David Watsky/CNET

How much does a meal kit cost more than buying groceries?

When compared to the cost of buying all the necessary groceries at the store, EveryPlate works around the clock $2 more per meal. If you were to choose one of the plans with rations for four, it would be more like Another $1. So, it’s pretty much a wash.

At the end of the day, it’s the convenience you pay a little extra for. But if you choose a budget-friendly service like EveryPlate or Dinnerly, those little extras hardly become anything at all.

What about environmental cost, packaging and waste?

There is no doubt that meal kit services use more plastic than if you were to buy your own groceries. However, cheaper services have found ways to cut costs. In many cases, that means using fewer packaging.

Welcome to fresh boxed meals

The inside of HelloFresh ships with its mostly recyclable packaging.

Shelby Brown/CNET

EveryPlate, for example, is one of the more environmentally friendly services I’ve tried. The company puts all of its products and other components into one cardboard box, while others pack each component separately, which leads to more waste. Most of the packaging, including the cooler box and ice packs, is recyclable.

On the flip side, because meal kits generally give you exactly what you need per meal and no more, you are less likely to get food lose. Who hasn’t gotten rid of those last few ounces of a bowl of sour cream or a few useless onions before they fade away?

What about other meal package services?

EveryPlate is the cheapest meal kit service, besides dinner. The most expensive fashion – sun basketAnd green chef And Martha Stewart and Marley Spoon – cost approximately $10 or $13 for a meal. The added cost is generally due to premium ingredients such as grass-fed beef and organic produce. With these, you will find a greater delta between the cost of the meal kit and the cost of preparing the meal at home. Services like HelloFreshAnd blue apron And Head chef They fall somewhere in the middle with meal kits ranging around $9 and $10 a serving.

Not interested in cooking at all? I’ve tested all the big guys to find Best takeaway services in 2023.

More money saving information

The information 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 you may have about a medical condition or health goals.