A few weeks ago, I received a coupon in the mail for Blue Apron, the meal delivery service.

Being the pennywise person that I am and the type of person to be totally skeptical of these things — and the type of person to have a $60/week food budget, I threw the colorful flier right into the trash.

Nope. Not for me.

Then, weeks later, I got to thinking. What if it really was a good deal and I — gasp threw away a perfectly good coupon? I couldn’t resist looking into it and jumped onto my computer to do some research.

What I discovered is that there are more than one of these miracle delivery services. Whoa. (Honestly, it’s like I live in the Stone Age.) After some quick research, here’s a comparison between four:

Blue Apron

  • Recipes per week: 3 (each serves two)
  • Price per serving: $9.99
  • Weekly total: $59.94

or

  • Recipes per week: 2 (each serves four)
  • Price per serving: $8.74
  • Weekly total: $69.92

Hello Fresh

  • Recipes per week: 3 (each serves two)
  • Price per serving: $9.99
  • Weekly total: $59.94 (currently, they’re running a 50% off special for $29.94)

or

  • Recipes per week: 2 (each serves four)
  • Price per serving: $8.74
  • Weekly total: $69.92 (currently, they’re running a 50% off special for $39.92)

Green Chef

  • Recipes per week: 2
  • Price per serving: $12.99 (I selected Carnivore)
  • Weekly total: $89.94

Purple Carrot (vegan only meal kit service)

  • Recipes per week: 2
  • Weekly total: $68

or

  • Recipes per week: 4
  • Weekly total: $74

Okay, at first glance, I’m thinking, “No way, Jose.” I can whip up a 20-minute recipe like this one for pennies on the dollar. Five ingredients. Twenty minutes. No sweat.

Wait…

On my way to closing out of Blue Apron’s website, I paused. Time is money. What about putting a price on the amount of time I spend at the grocery store? Or waiting in line? What about the horribleness of huffing and puffing from the van to the kitchen, dragging 40-pound grocery bags on both arms?

But—wait again!

And yet, I went back to my original thinking. If it boils down to dollars and cents only, the grocery store wins, hands-down. Ultimately, it does not cost $12.99 (Green Chef’s cost per serving) if you purchase the ingredients to make your own meals from scratch. It’s more like $2.99 per serving, plus you have leftovers for days.

Other issues

I also have two more little problems with this idea: two tiny kiddos who demand mac ‘n cheese at every meal.

They would absolutely hate Blue Apron’s menu this week: Cajun chicken sandwiches, paprika-spiced salmon, shiitake and red cabbage fried rice. I’ll give Blue Apron a break—spaghetti and meatballs is also on the menu, which my kids would love, but the other meals would just be a waste of money. I only have two kids, but what if I had six? It’d never be worth it.

On the whole, if you’re interested in healthy meals and don’t really mind the cost, or if you’re interested in trying out a new way to cook, then meal kits could be for you. Otherwise, don’t bother and go back to waiting in line at the grocery store. Your wallet will thank you.

Melissa

Melissa

Contributor at The Frugal Seed
Melissa is a Midwesterner with a penchant for travel. (The further away, the better!) Previously, she worked as a writer/editor for a gardening magazine and has done lots of writing and editing for publications. Now, she works in the admission office of her alma mater, Central College in Iowa. She has special interests in reading, personal finance, and, together with her husband, chasing after their two kiddos.
Melissa

Latest posts by Melissa (see all)