Are recipe delivery services more expensive than the grocery store?

A friend was recently telling me how her brother is really into Blue Apron and has been trying to get her family to try it, but she hasn’t wanted to spend the money. So it got me wondering – are recipe delivery services really any more expensive than going to the store and buying everything yourself?

One of the things I like about services like Blue Apron is that they only send you the exact quantity of the ingredients you’ll need (i.e., no waste), which, as you know, is not always possible when you’re doing the shopping. Unless you’re a master at using up random ingredients in the kitchen, the rest of that bunch of green onions or that bag of kale sometimes ends up going in the trash.

Is Blue Apron More Expensive Than The Grocery Store on 100 Days of #RealFood

So for today’s sponsored post, I set out to do a little cost comparison with a meal Blue Apron recently sent us, and below are the results.

Cost Comparison

>> Steak Fajitas with Guacamole & Roasted Zucchini Rounds

Blue Apron Price for 4 people Grocery Store Price for 4 people
$34.96 TOTAL (shipping is free) $51.65 TOTAL ($33.36 with spices excluded)

Are recipe delivery services more expensive than the grocery store? on 100 Days of #RealFood

I priced out the grocery store portion for this meal at the health food store where I usually do my shopping each week. I realize these prices might not be exactly the same as your store (some will find cheaper prices at mainstream stores and some will find higher prices where the cost of living is higher than in Charlotte), but just for comparison sake, the following is a breakdown of the prices I collected:

>>Steak Fajitas with Guacamole & Roasted Zucchini Rounds – Grocery Store Price Breakdown

Food Item Price
1 Pound Stir-Fry Cut Beef $8.99
Corn Tortillas (pack of 12) $3.69
2 Green Bell Peppers $4.00
2 Zucchinis $3.00
1 Avocado $1.25
1 Lime $0.60
1 Onion $2.00
1 Large Bunch Cilantro $2.00
Queso Fresco $5.99
Tomato Paste $1.19
Chili Powder* $5.99
Cumin* $3.98
Oregano* $3.98
Garlic Powder* $3.98
GRAND TOTAL (includes 2% food tax) $51.65*

*Since some people already have a variety of spices on hand, I also wanted so show an alternate total without purchasing the four spices listed: $33.36 (includes 2% food tax).

Is Blue Apron More Expensive Than The Grocery Store on 100 Days of #RealFood

Conclusion & Special Deal!

So as you can see, even if you just bought the fresh ingredients and already had the spices on hand, the Blue Apron meal cost is still pretty competitive when compared to my grocery store. And the nice thing about their spices is that they’re already measured out and mixed together in a little bag for you. Not that measuring and mixing spices is a hard job, but some days every minute counts. :)

Of course, there are many other aspects of meal delivery service aside from price that we could compare, but the moral of the story here is that if price is the only thing in your way, then it’s time to reconsider. While these types of services are not for everyone, I think if it gets more people in the kitchen cooking from scratch and sharing wholesome meals around the dinner table with their family, then it’s a win-win in my book.

If you want to give Blue Apron a go you might like to know…

  • Their recipes and ingredients are delivered in a refrigerated box so ingredients will stay fresh even if you’re not home to receive the package.
  • You can skip weeks or cancel the service at any time.
  • All meals can be prepared in 40 minutes or less.
  • The first 100 readers that sign up will get three meals off their first Blue Apron order free!

Enjoy! :)

Is Blue Apron More Expensive Than The Grocery Store on 100 Days of #RealFood

Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but 100 Days of Real Food will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!

92 thoughts on “Are recipe delivery services more expensive than the grocery store?”

  1. In total, the cost per meal is fine. It’s not amazing, but it’s not a ripoff either. You’re paying for food, delivery, and for freedom from the mental effort of planning meals and using up leftovers.

  2. I live north of Minneapolis, and those grocery prices seem sky high. I get a little irked by all the ads saying its cheaper than the grocery store, when I can buy the stuff for less than half the cost of their meals.
    Not really sure what the Tortillas/Zuccininis/cheese cost, but the rest of the stuff would cost me no more than about $14
    1 Pound Stir-Fry Cut Beef $5.00 (I just got a 2lb roast for $3.50/lb – depends on the cut)
    Corn Tortillas (pack of 12) ?
    2 Green Bell Peppers $2.00 (0.75 to $1.25 each)
    2 Zucchinis ?
    1 Avocado $1.00 ($.75 to $1.50 each)
    1 Lime $0.33 (lot of times 2 or 3 for a buck)
    1 Onion $0.30 (gas station sells them for $.38/lb)
    1 Large Bunch Cilantro $0.90 ($.75 to $1.50)
    Queso Fresco ?
    Tomato Paste $0.75 (Depends on brand/size. No more than $1.25 for the small can)
    Chili Powder* $1.00 (Durkee/McCormick is expensive, Spice Supreme will run you a $1/each for a standard size bottle)
    Cumin* $1.00
    Oregano* $1.00
    Garlic Powder* $1.00

  3. I like Blue Apron because I’ve been able to prepare great recipes that I never would have otherwise. However, I agree that it is a lot of food for a single person. The flexibility of skipping and coming back when you want to is a good thing. To be sure, I’ve learned to cook and acquire new tastes that I can use for future dishes, thanks to Blue Apron.

  4. i was actually pleasantly surprised when my order came (on time :) as the amount of much more than i expected. quality was excellent. i’ve only ordered twice but i am delighted with BlueApron. i would like to give a kudos to WeHomeDeliver site as this is how i found out about BA.

  5. 56.00 or 34.00 for 1 meal to me seems hi,,,i can make something lot cheaper then that… when you on a budget 34.00 x30 days is a lot of money for just 1 meal.. where does your breakfast and lunch come in….. this might be good but too me its too high for my budget..

  6. I have always wanted to try this since I love to cook. I coupon and I rarely spend over $60 a week for groceries. So for me this service is very expensive for what you get. I know it is great because it saves time but for me couponing and cooking is just a better deal!

  7. I like the idea of Blue Apron, as a fill in on those days where you don’t have time to plan a meal However, due to all my food allergies, I can’t eat their meals.

  8. Jennifer La Pietra

    The prices, especially for produce are MUCH higher than at my grocery store (Michigan) at any time of year. 2 green peppers go for anywhere from $1-2 and a whole bag of yellow onions is under $1.50, just as an example. While I don’t doubt that your store may be higher where you live, Whether these delivery services are a good value will depend upon where you live and shop.

  9. I loved the Blue Apron service and food quality. It was just too much food for a single person and I was having to cook more than I wanted. I recommend it to anyone.

  10. I haven’t tried Blue Apron but am a member of Hello Fresh which is a competitor of this company. I find that the cost for these meals for gourmet cooking is competitive with grocery store prices, and the convenience of having it delivered fresh is such a bonus. I can cook cheaper from the grocery store preparing regular meals, but It’s neither gourmet or organic or delivered to my door.

  11. Seriously, you must be paid by Blue Apron. This is strictly a luxury service to make someone feel better about not eating out. My well to do empty nester SIL uses this so her and hubby can just cook and not bother with the mundane drudge work of shopping and prepping. It is not in any way shape or form cost effective. Silly of you to imply otherwise. At least she doesn’t.

    Its rather sad a grown up can’t figure out what to do with excess produce and meat and doesn’t keep spices on hand. And I recognize not everyone can afford that, but then they wouldn’t be able to afford Blue Apron either. My excess produce ends up in soups, salads, quiches, omlettes, lunches and so on. That 12 pack of tortillas would be used for mulitple fajita meals, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, pizzas.

    Really if you were making a case on cost, you failed.

    1. You order the meals that don’t have that. Or you leave it out when you prepare it. Certainly you realize that can’t send out meals that 100% accommodate everyone. You have a choice of 3 meals out of 6. Don’t choose the ones with those items.

  12. My sister is widowed, lives a distance from the commissary where she shops; lives alone, loves to cook, has found that she gets 2.5 meals from 1 meal of Blue Apron. She adds a salad, perhaps a vegie .. doesnt throw out nearly as much food as she did when tried to shop for a couple of weeks, doing fresh produce. Now, I’m not sure it would be cost effective for a family to partake in this program. I do think the learning experience for kids in cooking, measuring, et al … would be priceless! One size does not fot all. I personally like it.

  13. Hi lisa! I just wanted to let you know, I just saw this post, and the link will still give you 1 meal free! I have been wanting to try this site. I am disabled, and it is very hard for me to shop and cook. I’m excited to try it, and I will let you know what we think!!

  14. I really don’t understand this concept of delivered groceries in a kit. When I think about it I guess it makes sense because the vast majority of Americans are lazy and go out to eat more than they ever cook at home. I’m quite the opposite, I cook at home 90% of the time and go out rarely. I don’t ever order stuff that I can make it home, why bother? If you’re going out to eat or something that you don’t make it home or that is special. There’s no way the services are more economical over the long term. When you buy groceries you buy a lot of staple items like spices, onions, garlic etc. which can be used over multiple meals I’m curious to see how long the services last, if it’s just a passing fad or if they will stand the test of time.

  15. I have been using blue apron for 6 months and I love it. I get one box a month for the two of us. It may be more expensive but I learn new techniques and get to try new dishes and foods I wouldn’t have normally. I can’t believe I am making my own salad dressings, oriental foods, and indian dishes. It saves me money because I don’t have to buy a whole jar of a specialty ingredient I may never use again. The meats are excellent and the vegetables are fresh upon arrival.

  16. I believe you could put together cheaper meals yourself sometimes. When you can’t, all of the aforementioned comments and the article’s contents are right on. However, everyone’s losing sight of why this is really a home run. If it prevents you from going out to eat just one night a week you’ve made your money back. Just one. It has for me! This doesn’t need to be a seven day a week substitute for you. You might find that it’s not financially worth it to view it as that, but as a supplement for other meals you put together and a substitute for one night on the town….golden!

    1. If you plan for 7 meals a week, this is pointless. If you are allocating 40 min to cook this meal and rely on the “convenience” of not having to shop for this one meal out of 7…there is no convenience because you are already at the store for the other 6 dinners, 7 lunches and 7 breakfasts.

  17. I agree with many of the above comments. I think the price comparison that was done is not accurate, and also picks beef (which is probably the most expensive thing to buy). My pescatarian family spends about $125-175 a week on groceries (family of 4) and that covers eating dinner in 6 nights a week and all lunches, breakfasts, and snacks, and eating primarily organic. Also does not take into account that most people shop their pantry/fridge, and as others have said I can get zucchini, peppers, etc… right now for much cheaper at the local farmers’ market.

    I really enjoy this website, especially re lunches for kids and how to eat unprocessed foods, but I think generally it talks about how this is an affordable way to eat, but this comparison makes it seem unaffordable. If families spent this much on dinner each night it would lead to a grocery bill of $250 before breakfast and lunch. I don’t think many people expect to spend $300+ a week on groceries.

  18. I think you’ve gone a long way in this post to convince many people that eating real food is not affordable.

  19. We subscribed to Blue Apron because I WORK and my daughter wants to learn to cook…The price is well worth the convenience.

  20. Yeah. This comparison seems a little crazy to me. This is straight up taco night…. the laziest meal on the planet. The thing you make when you are too lazy to make real dinner. You shouldn’t need someone to plan this for you. This meal would cost me $9 to make….and that is including cheese i wouldn’t normally buy. I could use other cheeses that are cheaper and I’d already have on hand. Any woman that cooks anything ever is going to have all those spices in her home. And no one should ever pay money for zucchini in the summer. That’s a crime. It’s growing like crazy now. Everyone wants to get rid of it. I have onions in my garden: free. I’d be using free ranging organic venison, way healthier than whatever meat is traveling through the mail system to get to your house. This seems like a sellout to me. Clearly, having sponsors helps you to support what you’re doing here, but put an ad on your page or something and leave it at that!

  21. Thank you for taking the time to do the comparison! These prices are very similar to the health foods store nearest to me. And in fact, I just moved to a completely different part of the country and went grocery shopping there today for the first time and these are still the same prices.

    1. Yeah, but you are comparing organic foods to the non-organic Blue Apron. And while health food stores are nice, the chain stores (like Kroger and Walmart) are jumping on the bandwagon as well. You can easily buy all of these organic ingredients at Kroger
      beef-6.99 pound (I will price this for a double serving because 4 people shouldn’t eat 16 oz of meat…3 oz per person is only 12 so I will use the full pound for a regular dinner for us and then left overs for the two adults)
      bell peppers-50 cents each right now (1.50 for 3 of them)
      zucchini-$1 per piece ($3 for three of them)
      avocado-1
      lemon-20 cents
      lime-33 cents
      tortillas-$2
      onion-50 cents ($1 for 2 of them)
      cilantro-$1
      the spices are less than $5 for all of them
      I’ve never bought queso fresco so we will agree with the 5.99 price
      tomato paste $1
      total: $24 without spices and $29 for spices included IF, I’m making this recipe for 5-6 servings WITH extra stuff left over. Truth be told, we could add some rice and drag this meal out for 10+ servings.

      This is NOT a good comparison.

  22. I think it is ok to have sponsors who fit with the message of your blog. I think it is ok to promote those sponsors in ethical ways. Blue Apron *may* (it’s a stretch) be a good idea for some of your readers for many reasons, but cost is never going to be one of them. I think you are risking your blog’s ethos with posts like this one. I think a message like “even though they are not organic, what a great idea for a busy someone stuck in a rut who wants to try something new with guidance…” would be fine. We realize you need sponsors and I’ll go with good reasons to try them (not Blue Apron though, it really makes no sense for most readers here).

    Let’s not tell newer readers that taco night is going to set them back $34.00 either way or other unethical statements that might turn away someone that wants to cut processed foods out but is worried about cost.

  23. Is Blue Apron organic especially the beef? Then how is this even on a real food blog where you supposedly only eat hormone free beef.

  24. I had heard about blue apron previously and after reading your post, I decided to give it a try. I got my first box today and my 10 year old and I made dinner together. I have 7 of us here – 4 kids and 3 adults. Our meal had pasta, so I added extra to increase portions to feed 7 off of the 4 person meal plan. It was so delicious. I made an arugula and summer squash salad that was so simple ,but I would not have thought of making on my own. Tomorrow we are having salmon. The prices are a little high, but cheaper than a restaurant, and even cheaper than pizza! Looking forward to trying more meals. If nothing else, will enjoy the variety of foods that I would not otherwise make.

  25. Lisa, you need to change this blog post or risk losing huge credibility with your subscribers – if you haven’t already.

    Let’s go through the math. Blue apron costs $8.75 per person per meal. You’re claiming that it costs just about the same amount to buy your own groceries. If this is indeed true, then a family of 4 will spend 8.75x4x7x4 = $980 on just dinners for a month.

    Blue Apron says their meals average about 600 calories per person. The average child needs about 1500 calories per day and the typical adult will need at least 2000 calories. So, to feed your family, you’re going to need 3 times the amount of food you’ve spent on dinner.

    This brings your monthly grocery bill to 980 x 3 = $2940.

    Perhaps you spend close to $3000 a month on groceries for your family so that you can have nothing but the finest ingredients. For many families, $3000 is their entire paycheck.

    It is absolutely absurd to claim that purchasing your own groceries costs the same as this delivery service. How in the world is the delivery service going to make money if they don’t charge a significant amount more than they are paying? This post comes pretty close to a flat-out lie. Even for people who spend a lot on groceries, the average dinner is NOT going to come out to $35 per meal.

    So, yes, of course the cost is a consideration, and people need to decide if the extra cost is worth it to them. Please don’t try to tell people that there is no extra cost.

    I have a question for you, Lisa. Why are you committed to eating real food? Your explanation in the blog seems to indicate that you started this journey for environmental reasons, and the health benefits were a nice bonus. If you’re committed to this because of environmental reasons, then I can’t see how you can, in good conscience, support Blue Apron. The amount of packaging they use is out of this world, and the fuel used for delivery has an impact, too. And please don’t justify this by saying the packaging can be recycled. Recycling is an energy expensive process, and should be used as a last resort.

  26. I’m a new reader to the blog, and I have to say, I’m seriously thinking about moving on. There have been a few things in my reading that have made me stop and pause (puffed corn cereal as real food? no.), but I figured I could just overlook them for the majority of the other information. And the blog does seem fairly helpful….

    Then I saw your advertisement in my email this morning. Of course you’re going to sing the praises of a company that sponsors you. Blue Apron is expensive and wasteful, both in packaging and the fuel and effort it takes to get to a mailbox. It’s not the thing I think of when trying to eat real and/or clean. This post is incredibly misleading and has really chipped at your credibility. It saddens me when people who seem genuine sell out, especially so cheap.

  27. I tried Blue Apron for 2 weeks and it is SO wasteful! The packaging it came in was unbelievable. One may not be throwing away food, but I couldn’t, in good conscious, continue the service due to all the garbage it generated.

  28. Way, way too expensive prices for fresh vegetables! Using the price of a whole jar of premium spices for 1 tsp in a recipe is not “kosher” either. Do not agree with this comparison at all.

  29. Lisa, could you do a full Blue Apron order? I thought I got my money’s worth for the beef meals, sometimes for the chicken, but never for the vegetarian ones. I think it skews expensive when you average all of them. It also depends on how you price the extra tomato paste and cheese since you could use that for another meal.

    My biggest issue though is that I still had to go to the store for milk and other breakfast and lunch items so I might as well just add dinner ingredients to my online pick up order.

  30. As a long time 100Days reader I do have to admit that I’m a bit disappointed that Blue Apron is a sponsor and that Lisa is promoting them so heavily. I totally get that services like Blue Apron or Plated are great every once in a while when you are super busy, but still want to eat a fresh homemade meal. It’s just that Lisa has always been such a proponent of organic eating for less and these are definitely an extravagance. Also, I agree with the others that the ingredients aren’t necessarily organic – these prices are exactly apple to apple. Would love to see Lisa shift her focus back on homemade organic cooking.

  31. Hmm…this is not affordable, and a discouraging comparison to someone who might be new to eating real food(on a budget). Otherwise, I love your blog :)

  32. While I do use a home meal delivery service similar to Blue Apron, I do so knowing that it is NOT cheaper than buying and preparing the meals on my own. I do it for the convenience factor alone, not for price. I don’t think your comparison pricing is fair or accurate. I believe you are pricing organic ingredients and I know that Blue Apron is NOT organic. You would need to go to a regular store, not Earth Fare, to get an accurate price comparison. Very sad that you are trying so hard to sell this as frugal.

  33. The price per meal with Blue Apron is approximately $8.74. That means for my family (just me an my husband) 5 dinners would cost $87.40 ($8.74 x 2 people x 5 dinners a week). To me personally, that is very expensive as my husband and I spend $75/week for groceries (paper products included) which covers not only dinners, but also breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Blue Apron is a great option for single people with extremely busy schedules-I don’t believe it to be affordable for the average family to eat on a weekly basis.

  34. I know I could feed my family of 6 this meal for way less than $35. even using mostly organic ingredients. And my children are big eaters. We could go out to eat at a sit down restaurant for that price. Our grocery budget is around $550 a month and we eat almost all organic. I was somewhat disappointed in this post because It makes it sound nearly impossible for most people to eat a whole foods diet, and would be very discouraging to someone who is just beginning this journey.

  35. Your grocery costs are outrageous! I’d be paying a lot less for everything but the meat. While I agree that getting people into the kitchen to make fresh food is a good thing, I’m afraid examples like these might make everyone think it has to be expensive.

    1. It’s this thought process that makes me so mad. I used this website to learn how to eat healthy clean meals. But I knew the author/blog owner was on a budget we could never achieve. We are able to eat mostly organic meat and produce (some produce is not provided where we live unless you purchase conventional). We buy the really nice, expensive cheese that is chemical/preservative/dye free. In the end, our family of three eat on about 50-70 dollars a week!!! We live in Arkansas. Food Stamps pays out a family of three 511 a month!!! That’s a little more than 125 a week!!! We eat on half what the govt says we should spend on groceries AND we eat healthy, organic, fresh food!!!

      If I spent $35 on one meal at home my husband would have a heart attack!!!

  36. Critical Reader

    In a previous post, you wanted to debunk the myth that fast food is cheaper than home-cooking. You estimated $ 18.66 for a McDonald’s meal and presented several home-cooked dinners with a lower price. Now you are telling us that $ 35 is reasonable and that home-cooking might be even more expensive. That is really getting ridiculous here. It is time that in addition to “clean eating” rules also “clean financing” rules should be discussed.

  37. Wow, those are some pretty obscene prices for produce. I mean, 2 bucks for an onion? Must be shopping at Whole Paycheck. Come on….

    Sure, if you never learned to cook but can follow instructions or are bad at planing your grocery shopping, this service might be helpful. But don’t pretend it costs the same as regular grocery shopping.

  38. Glad I don’t live where you do, the prices you’ve listed are pretty high. $2 each for a green bell pepper and a bunch of cilantro? $6 for queso fresco? Never moving away from the PNW if those are the prices elsewhere. Also, the only comparison that’s fair is the one without the spices included. Adding the entire cost of 100 servings of cumin to one recipe isn’t reasonable. I get that you’re trying to sell this service, but this is one I just ain’t buyin’. Sell the convenience aspect all you want, but trying to claim it’s frugal? Nope. Sorry.

    1. I think the point is that you may have to buy an entire bottle of a spice that will end up just collecting dust in the spice rack if you never use the other 99 servings in the bottle

      1. The spices used in this recipe are not exotic, rare spices that would collect dust and never get used again. I use all four of them at least a couple of times a week.

  39. We love Blue Apron- could I make simpler meals for less? Yes, probably… However, food prices in the San Francisco Bay Area are ridiculously high- there’s no way I could make a meal of the same quality. The part that’s actually saving us money tho’ is that we don’t eat out nearly as often since I know that I have a tasty menu ready to cook at home with all the ingredients in my fridge :)

  40. I have absolutely nothing against these services, but this post is SO misleading. Of course, the amount is more if you are starting with an empty pantry and purchasing every single ingredient used in the BA meal, but the per unit cost is obviously not, so shopping for and buying your own ingredients wins out in the long run. You will certainly have leftover cilantro cheese and spices, and those things are not at all hard to use up in subsequent meals, bringing your grocery store price way down. An average taco/fajita night in my home of hearty eaters costs no more than $10, using mostly organic produce and there are almost always leftovers.

    I know this is sponsored, and sponsored content is a necessity, but this particular post is shamefully misleading and unfair to people visiting this site because they are trying to get started cooking more and may not know any better. That $51 bill for a single meal would scare anyone off of cooking from scratch.

    1. Spot on, Shayne. This is very disappointing. I love the blog and find it very useful, but lately, it seems like it’s completely biased by her sponsors. I realize Lisa needs to make money, but it seems like she’s compromising the goals of her website for it. I am becoming less and less likely to read the content here. Same with her facebook posts, which just seem like ads to me now. Very disappointed.

    2. Couldn’t agree more. I love(d) this blog. I started eating way more organic and way less processed food because of it. I purchased no less than 10 of her books as gifts. I don’t mind the sponsors and have bought recommended kitchen tools and even currently use the Plan to Eat meal planning service (which I love). I want and will pay for unbiased information. However, this post is so misleading I am losing respect. She could have done a real comparison and then discuss the benefits of saving time on meal planning/grocery shopping, not wasting as much food (especially with specialty spices you don’t want to buy a full jar of, trying new things, etc. The truth is you can do it A LOT cheaper on your own, you have way more flexibility on the amounts that can then be used for leftovers and ensure you’re buying local, organic, non-GMO food BUT its incredibly convenient, may keep people from eating out as often, allow people to try things they never would have, etc. But the cost is NOT the same.

  41. I must say I was a little disappointed in this post, I was hoping for a few more recipe comparisons (as opposed to just one) to prove efficacy. I’ve had my eye on their service for quite some time now. I know their ingredients are all fresh, but is it the same quality that you are buying in store (organic, etc.)? Because if not, then I’m not sure the comparison presented is even valid.

    1. I haven’t tried Blue Apron yet, but I’ve tried Plated and it looks similar. The thing I like is getting spices that I would not normally try or be able to find (or want to buy a large amount of) in order to try something new. I think these companies try to use free-range, etc, but not necessarily all organic (https://support.blueapron.com/hc/en-us/articles/202092823-Are-your-ingredients-organic-). I’m spending less, and not wasting, and that’s what I like.

  42. 1 Pound Stir-Fry Cut Beef $4.99
    Corn Tortillas (pack of 12) .33
    2 Green Bell Peppers $1.00
    2 Zucchinis .68
    1 large Avocado $1.25
    1 Lime $0.07
    1 Onion $0.45
    1 Large Bunch Cilantro $.33
    Queso Fresco $2.00
    Tomato Paste $.33
    Chili Powder* $1.00
    Cumin* $1.00
    Oregano* $.40
    Garlic Powder* $.99
    Total 14.82 given that I already have the last 4 items in my pantry my total would be 11.43. Substitute pork ($1.99 lb) or chicken ($2.49 lb) and the cost goes even lower. This also does not take into consideration sales prices. Services like this do not allow for substitutions or fair market prices.

    1. I agree that you are paying a premium for the convenience, but also keep in mind you are paying for the quality. Based on the prices you listed, I would assume you are not purchasing organic or local.

      1. Both, you just have to know your area. I do most of my shopping at Pete’s which has a large selection of organics at a fraction of what you would pay at other stores.

    2. I was thinking the same thing! The prices you list are similar to where I live, expect I can get avocados regularly under $1.00, sometimes as low as $0.33/each when on sale. The cilantro on the other hand is more expensive here $1.00. Goodness my husband would upset if I spent $30+ on a meal to feed my family of 5 (and a baby). We can go to Chipotle for less than that!

    3. Martha –
      You are on the money…….. A small garden would also provide the green pepper, onion, zucchini & cilantro bringing the price down even more.

      I think Blue Apron is pricey.

  43. I have tried Blue Apron once and the order came with not all the ingredients. The customer service was great about it.

    I am getting an order tomorrow from Home Chef to try.

    Many of these places don’t deliver into the center of the country. They are either East Coast or West Coast.

  44. Meal delivery services have their pro’s and con’s for instance when taking the price into consideration. Sometimes the service may break down to being a tad more expensive than shopping somewhere else but in reality you are paying a little extra for the convenience of not having to plan or shop for those meals. To some people they wont mind paying the extra for the piece of mind.

    However I just want to know what people do for the other meals in the week? They only provide three or four day options. They also state the meals are portioned out for every meal, which leaves nothing for leftovers. I think this goes against a lot of Lisa’s ideas of being able to prepare meals and freezing the extra’s for left overs, which is helpful for budgets.

    1. We have been using Blue Apron for about 8 months now and love it. We get the 2 person/3 meals a week option. We typically eat all the protein but have leftovers of the grains/veggies that I can snack on for lunch or have a veggie meal on Thursday after having leftovers from M-W. We typically get take out or eat out once a week anyway because A. life gets in the way or B. we have a life and friends ask us out!

      For lunches – we typically do salads or quinoa bowls or lettuce wraps with sides of fruit, carrots/hummus or yogurts. Pretty easy to grab at the grocery store without a list or major hassle.

      Breakfast is hard for us. My husband loves granola/oatmeal, but I don’t. Plus we like to have a little protein. Egg muffins and green smoothies are common. For me, I can get all of our breakfast/lunch needs at the store in under 30 minutes with no list.

      My goal at the store: stay on the perimeter (meats, produce, juice, dairy). The inside aisles are where you get in trouble with packaged products.

      1. Karen your post is very helpful. I just signed up for my first delivery next week. I live alone and think this will save me from throwing things away that have spoiled by the end of the week. Also I get tired of eating the same thing days on end because I am not good at reducing recipes. Thanks so much for your idea to compensate!!

  45. I love using Blue Apron and Hello Fresh (some weeks one has a better menu than the other) I am not a “cook” and I HATE grocery shopping. Before I started using Blue Apron I ate out pretty much every meal. It is a bit expensive all things considered but it is worth the cost to me and I never throw out food anymore and I often have leftovers for my lunch the next day.

  46. I love Blue Apron! Time is an issue for me and I found we were eating out way too much because I didn’t have time to go to the store AND cook. Since my family eats a variety of foods (i.e. not picky) Blue Apron is perfect for us. The food is fresh, the recipes are easy to follow ~ my 12 year old who just started cooking often makes Blue Apron meals w/out help. I knew I was saving money (and health) from less eating out, but it’s nice to know that the cost is pretty fair. The time savings for me is huge!

  47. Your cost breakdown is ridiculously high in my opinion. I’m Canada (where food prices tend to be significantly higher) and this meal would cost me maximum 15-18$ (excluding the spices) if that…

    Simply put, spending 30$+ on ONE family meal is extremely is ludicrous to me. This meal is in no way fancy or a large meal. 30$ x 7 = 210$ + (7 x 25$ lunches) + (7 x 20$ breakfasts) = 525$ per week, 2100$ per month or 25200$ per year just in food costs. Most families simply do not have this type of money to put into a food budget … not to mention that some families do not even bring home this amount in income yearly.

    While I understand this is a SPONSORED post, it is quite disillusioned.

    1. I agree. But, if I buy grass fed beef free of hormones and antibiotics, the beef price is about the same. If I bought all organic, then this cost is about what I’d pay. If I skipped organic and bought regular meat and vegetables, then it would be about $15. So $15 for pesticides and other chemicals in the food or organic and hormone free at $35.

      1. You just emphasized the problem with such a rigid definition of ‘real’ food…it’s cost prohibitive to the vast majority of people. My family’s grocery budget is $150 * month*. Maybe we’re eating ‘pesticides and other chemicals ,’ but we’re eating.

      2. I can buy plenty of organic veggies at our farmer’s market for a fraction of the cost. I could still make it for around $15 – the meat is about half of the cost.

    2. I completely disagree. I am also in Canada, and I think these prices are about right. Maybe the produce is rounded up a little higher… but not totally out to lunch. I’m often surprised when I run to the store to just buy a dinner for one day, at how much it can actually cost.
      Of course, I try and plan my meals in a way that I’m using some of the same ingredients, so I can buy in slightly larger quantities without waste…

      1. Not to mention the price of poultry and eggs north of the border right now.

        I was in Western Ontario just last week with my husband and his family. Due to the outbreak of avian flu here in the States, the resort told us to not bring poultry and eggs across the border because border patrol would simply take them, so it would be a waste of money. We were shocked at the price of frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Ouch. Sure, it was really good chicken, but it was definitely sticker shock.

      2. Perhaps during the winter months, I would agree with you that these prices are reasonable, but at the moment one can easily find all of the suggested produce for under 5 dollars at a farmers market.

        This is just my opinion and my experience. I recently made a similar meal (with chicken, since we do not eat beef) with a total cost of 9.50 (for 6 servings).

        My main point is that the cost breakdown of this meal is simply unrealistic for most families.

  48. As a single person living alone often cooking for one and working a very busy full-time job..it has been a cost saving dream. It is so fun to get the package and get into the kitchen again. I highly recommend BlueApron. Additionally, there customer service is superb!

    1. This is great to read. I live a similar lifestyle and placed my first order for delivery next week!! Thank you!!

      1. Great!! You’ll love it! You can switch your menu around to your liking as well. Make sure you get 2-meals free with your first delivery! Happy Cooking!

  49. This is my second week using Blue Apron. I love that it keeps me from having to go to the grocery, where I inevitably end up buying stuff that’s not on my list. Plus I hate grocery shopping.

  50. The fajitas look delicious, but I can also make them for less than half the grocery store price and Blue Apron. If I would have to spend that much to make dinner at home every night, we would starve!

  51. Deer meat + bell peppers and cilantro from garden + locally grown onions + homemade tortillas + already purchased spices = almost free!

    Convenience of not having to even THINK about what to cook for dinner and not having to drive to store and unload groceries, etc? May be priceless!!

    Might have to give this a try!

  52. Hi Lisa! Thanks for doing this review! I was wondering if we purchased the meals for 2, if I would have enough left overs for lunch the next day (for my husband and i). Right now that’s what we do. If I order Blue Apron, would I also have to be preparing lunch the next day as well? which would cut into my grocery budget too. This has been my dilemma of Blue Apron! I would love to try it!

    1. We get the meals for 2, and rarely have leftovers. BUT, my husband has an enormous appetite (training for an Ironman) and my 5 year old eats part of my portion. I think if it weren’t for those 2 factors, we would probably have leftovers for at least one person the next day.

  53. I think you raise a valid point and it certainly depends on many things. I often have to go to the grocery store again mid-week because i ran out of something or forgot to in my main grocery run – or worse, the thing planned is too time consuming to make that day and i must resolve to buy something quicker and make the time consuming meal at another date. When that happens, i need to spend time at the grocery store, THINK about what i wanna make, end up sometimes making poor choices (deli meats and cold pizza summer time suppers happen!) run home and make it. Or worse, call in take out. So while planning ahead, shopping for sales and knowing what you make is ideal, i think this blue apron thing is a very healthy and quick alternative to take out on busy days. If i have nothing planned for supper and can save a trip to the grocery by calling in for a blue apron delivery, fix something without having to think about it AND eat relatively healthy its a win win! Take out is more expensive anyway, and time is money!

  54. Your post is perfect timing for me and my family. I received a free meal coupon from a family member and we received our first Blue Apron box today. I am not sure if we will continue to purchase meals from them, but I really wanted to give it a try. I am mostly excited that I don’t have to come up with a recipe and then make sure I have the ingredients on hand. I have never cooked an eggplant before and not sure I even like them, but I can’t wait to cook it up and try it as a family. This service has us thinking outside “the box” for meals and that is fun for my family.
    Thank you for this post.

  55. I don’t think any budget conscious shopper shops with just one meal in mind (unless it’s a special occasion!). Also, the prices you list seem high to me. I shop my pantry and sales and plan my meals around that for the most part. Blue Apron is definitely not a cost cutting service for my family.

  56. In your example above, my family would not eat the cheese, cilantro, green pepper or zucchini, which means our grocery bill (since these are routine spices) would be $18 using your example, significantly cheaper. [We might substitute other veggies, but we’d have to do the same with Blue Apron, making it neutral insofar as cost is concerned.] It’s the inability to customize that makes Blue Apron a no go for our family.

  57. Sounds great but even with buying grass fed beef I could make this meal for about $15 using my homemade tortillas and veggies from the farmer’s market. Maybe our cost of living here is lower. No way can I afford to spend $35 for one meal.

    1. I agree! Even using blue corn tortillas which are more expensive than regular yellow or white corn I still come in under 15. Where exactly are they shopping? A 12 pack of corn tortillas is .33 cents! I live in the heart of Chicago and have a higher cost of living, but $35 a meal? No way!

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