We did the math: 2 out of 3 Blue Apron meal kits were cheaper than buying groceries

Going out to eat and ordering takeaway is an expensive way to eat, but so is grocery shopping these days – especially if you’re buying delicious steaks and fish fillets. Grocery price inflation has impacted food budgets, but meal kit and meal delivery prices have not risen as quickly. This made me wonder if meal kits will actually be cheaper than going to the grocery store in 2024.

Blue Apron, one of the original meal kit services, is now also one of the most budget-friendly. Although there are meal plans as cheap as $8 per meal, Blue apron He still includes signature recipes like steak and seafood on his weekly menus. This is one of the reasons why I… favorite Meal kit service for most people in 2024.

To see how good a deal it is, I compared the cost of three standard Blue Apron meal kit recipes — one steak, one seafood, and one chicken — to the cost of purchasing an individual grocery shop You will need to prepare the same meals.

We do badge math We do badge math

Results varied by recipe, but two of the three Blue Apron meals were cheaper if you purchased them through Blue Apron from the brand’s largest subscription plan (five meal kits per week that each provide four servings) than if you shopped for groceries in a store. Mid-range grocery store.

Here’s how I got the results and a closer look at the potential value of meal delivery in 2024.

But first…

How much do blue apron meal kits cost?

Blue apron meals on the table Blue apron meals on the table

If you choose steak and seafood recipes from your meal kit list, you may save money on a trip to the grocery store.

Blue apron

Blue Apron has a few different meal plan options, and the more meals and servings you order per week, the cheaper it gets. For families who need four meals and order four meals per week, the price per serving is $8. If you order two small meals just twice a week, the price jumps to $12 a meal. Blue Apron also charges a flat $10 per shipment per box.

Here’s a quick look at Blue Apron’s cost per meal for all of the company’s plans. I’ve included the flat $10 shipping cost and spread it out over the number of meals included in each plan.

Blue apron pricing

Recipes per week Meals for two people Meals for four
2 $14.50 $10.74
3 $11.60 $9.32
4 $10.74 $8.62
*Price per serving
*Includes shipping cost

How much does it cost to make Blue Apron recipes from scratch?

Mexican steak meal Mexican steak meal

I’ve priced what three Blue Apron meal kits would cost if you were to do your own grocery shopping.

Blue apron

Trout with feta, couscous and vegetables

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the components: price:
2 skin-on trout fillets on steelhead $11.50
Half a cup of pearl couscous $2
4 oz. Grape tomatoes $1.25
1 red onion $1.29
¼ teaspoon ground pepper flakes $0.10
1½ oz. Feta cheese $2
1 tablespoon mixed spices $0.25
6 oz. green beans $3
2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds $0.50
1 oz. Nicoise olives, pitted $0.64
the total $22.53
Cost per meal $11.26

Mexican style steak with green beans and sweet potatoes
the components: price:
2 sirloin steaks (5.5 ounces each) $7
⅓ cup guajillo chile sauce $1
1 lemon $0.50
2 tablespoons raw pepitas $0.59
2 tablespoons cotija cheese $0.60
1 pound of sweet potatoes $3
6 oz. green beans $3
1 tablespoon mixed spices $0.25
2 cloves of garlic $0.15
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce $0.46
Total cost $16.55
Price per serving $8.23

Chicken with cream sauce, mashed potatoes and vegetables

the components: price:
2 boneless chicken breasts $6.50
4 oz. Grape tomatoes $1.25
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard $0.35
3/4 kilo of potatoes $1.00
1 tablespoon Italian spices $0.15
1 zucchini $1.00
1/4 cup grated parmesan $2.00
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar $0.50
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese $0.50
2 cloves of garlic $0.15
the total $13.40
Price per serving $6.70

How much does a blue apron cost for groceries?

Blue apron components on the table Blue apron components on the table

Blue Apron is the original meal kit service.

Blue apron

The results were interesting and varied greatly depending on which recipe I was analyzing. Blue Apron’s steelhead trout recipe, for example, costs $11.25 per person to purchase ingredients that can be made at home. This is in fact more More expensive than most Blue Apron meal plans, except for the two most expensive.

A Blue Apron Mexican-style steak dinner costs only $8.23 per serving if you’re doing the grocery shopping yourself. This is right in line with Blue Apron’s cheapest meal plan (four out of four meals per week). If you choose one of the mid-priced plans and include the shipping cost, Blue Apron gets the edge and becomes more expensive than grocery shopping, but only by a dollar or two per meal. The chicken recipe was the cheapest recipe to make at home, costing less than $7 per serving when bought at the grocery store and made from scratch.

Blue apron steak meal Blue apron steak meal

Ordering steak and seafood recipes will give you the most money.

Blue apron

When I calculated the average cost per serving for the three recipes, the price per serving was $8.73 for Blue Apron meals when you purchase ingredients at the grocery store. That’s about 10 cents more expensive than the cheapest Blue Apron meal plan and only 7% more expensive than the average-priced Blue Apron plan. If you think about the convenience that a meal kit provides, it certainly starts to feel like real value. In addition, meal kits are known Reduce food wastewhich can help you save more.

How did you do the math?

To figure out how much Blue Apron meal prep costs, I priced the ingredients for three actual recipes — one fish, one steak, and one chicken — all of which are currently included in a standard subscription. When pricing groceries, I used the cheapest version of the ingredient I could find from one of the three grocery retailers, Target, Fresh Direct, or Instacart, which pulls prices from local grocery stores. Since Blue Apron recipes only include the amount of ingredients needed, I’ve broken down the cost by the amount you’ll actually use, not the full price of the bottle, jar, or bag.

Blue Apron does not specify organic ingredients, but the service does emphasize the use of organic meat and produce. I also selected non-organic grocery options to calculate the totals.

And if you’re wondering whether you need to spend more than stated here to prepare the recipes yourself, the answer is yes. You can’t really buy one ounce of sesame oil or two teaspoons of pepitas, so you’ll have to buy them in larger quantities and hope to find a use for them later.

In this exercise, you calculated the cost of two servings. In theory, the cost of preparing meals at home gets cheaper because you’ll be buying in “bulk,” but the jump from two to four servings doesn’t make much of a difference.

My take: Blue Apron is a pretty good deal

While most recipes aren’t necessarily cheaper to make at home, when you consider the convenience of having pre-portioned ingredients sent to your doorstep ready to cook, Blue Apron starts to seem like a much better deal. Not to mention, you’re missing out on potential Food waste Because you wouldn’t buy entire jars of sauces, seasoning blends, or wrap bags and hope to use them up before they spoil. In most cases, Blue Apron is just an extra dollar or two per meal then buying groceries yourself. In some cases and for some recipes, blue apron is actually cheaper.

Take advantage of Blue Apron’s steak and seafood recipes

Blue apron salmon Blue apron salmon

Blue Apron’s seafood recipes including trout, salmon, and shrimp are a very good deal.

Blue apron

While most Blue Apron recipes are at least a little more expensive than buying groceries yourself, some are actually cheaper than if you bought the groceries yourself. This is especially true for seafood recipes such as salmon, shrimp, and trout offerings. If you’re looking to add more fish to your weekly routine, Blue Apron may give your diet a health boost and save you money compared to inflated grocery store and fish market prices.