Meal delivery kits can save time, but do they save money?

Finding time to shop, prep and cook is challenging for even the most organized home cooks. Meal delivery kits can help make the most of those precious after-work evenings. But how do they compare in terms of cost?

Meal kits in Canada range in price depending on the number of servings and dietary restrictions. For this comparison, we will calculate the cost for a family of four eating four delivery kit meals a week. 

  • HelloFresh is Canada's top delivery meal kit and averages $10.31 price per serving and tacks on a $9.99 delivery charge. A box costs $174.99. 

  • Chef's Plate is considered a budget-friendly option. Servings average $8.99, with a $4.99 delivery fee, bringing the total to $148.83. 

What you're paying for: Convenience—the kits show up at your door with exactly what you'll need to make the meal, and sometimes the ingredients are already chopped, sliced or diced for you. 

  • They also provide variety—maybe you wouldn't have thought about making harissa spiced pork chops on your own, but now they're a family fave! 

  • And because you only get what you need, your food waste is minimal.

So how does it compare to shopping, chopping and cooking on your own? In Canada, a family of four will spend $16,288.41 a year or $313.23 a week on groceries. 

  • So on the surface, meal kits are less expensive but keep in mind they only cover four meals a week. You still need to figure out 17 more meals (if you're a three-squares-a-day kind of family.)

  • Canadian families spend around $15.00 per meal (not per serving) if they stick to a $313 budget. 

So, is it worth it? Many meal kit companies offer pretty decent promotions right now, so if you're in a cooking rut or have a busy week coming up, now would be the time to try one out. But considering you'd be using almost half your weekly budget on four meals, spending that extra time in-store might be better for your bank account. 

Pro tip: If you're single, buy the family-sized box and live off leftovers throughout the week.