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Meal Delivery vs. Grocery Shopping: What is More Affordable?

Meal delivery vs. grocery shopping. It’s a battle of the titans with the winner grabbing hold of a large part of your budget.

While you can certainly go with a combination of both options, it’s important to understand how meal delivery and grocery shopping compare, especially in terms of costs, so that you can come up with a food budget that meets your needs. Making an informed decision of where to spend your money is critical to your budget and overall financial health.

Below, we focus on the costs associated with an affordable meal delivery service as compared to traditional grocery shopping. This will open your eyes as to how you can most efficiently spend your food budget in the future.

In This Article:

  • Meal Delivery vs. Grocery Shopping: Weekly Costs
  • How Do The Top Meal Delivery Services Stack Up Against a Trip To The Grocery Store?
  • Best Premium Meal Delivery Service: Home Chef vs. Moderate Grocery Order
  • Best Vegetarian/Vegan Meal Delivery Service: Purple Carrot vs. Liberal Grocery Order
  • Best Keto Meal Delivery Service: Green Chef vs. Liberal Grocery Order
  • Best Premade Meal Delivery: Freshly vs. Moderate Grocery Order
  • Best Budget-Friendly Meal Delivery: Dinnerly vs. Low Cost Grocery Order
  • Meal Delivery vs Grocery Shopping: What Else to Consider
  • How We Compared Meal Delivery vs. Grocery Shopping
  • Conclusion

Meal Delivery vs. Grocery Shopping: Weekly Costs

Don’t make any assumptions in regards to which option is more affordable. Instead, your decision should be rooted in research and personal needs.

Keep in mind that your costs will vary based on factors such as the size of your household, your dietary restrictions, and how much you eat.

So, what’s most affordable for you may not be most affordable for the next individual or family.

How Do The Top Meal Delivery Services Stack Up Against a Trip To The Grocery Store?

The only way to make an informed decision about how to spend your weekly food budget is to compare the best meal delivery services to the cost of a trip to the grocery store.

We’ve created a table to help you compare the weekly cost of a meal delivery service against a grocery shopping order. Furthermore, we broke it down by household size and food plan. And of course, we declared a winner for each category.

The table illustrates the average weekly cost of feeding a single male, single female, families of 4 with children ages 2-5, and families of 4 with children ages 6-11. It is further divided into three categories of spending:

  • Low Cost – Cheapest brands of food
  • Moderate – Food with prices in the middle
  • Liberal – Premium foods with a higher price tag

With this information, there’s no question as to what is the best meal delivery service for you and your budget.

Household Size Food Plan Meal Delivery Weekly Cost Groceries Weekly Cost Winner Single Male Low Cost $67.67 $57.70 Grocery Moderate $56.94 $72.30 Delivery Liberal $115.87 $88.60 Grocery Single Female Low Cost $67.67 $50.00 Grocery Moderate $56.94 $61.40 Delivery Liberal $115.87 $78.60 Grocery Family of 2 (M&F) Low Cost $67.67 $118.50 Delivery Moderate $113.88 $147.10 Delivery Liberal $115.87 $183.90 Delivery Family of 4 (M&F) – children 2-3 and 4-5 years Low Cost $121.55 $172.80 Delivery Moderate $203.76 $213.40 Delivery Liberal $223.75 $263.70 Delivery Family of 4 (M&F) – children 6-8 and 9-11 years Low Cost $121.55 $203.90 Delivery Moderate $203.76 $255.00 Delivery Liberal $223.75 $308.70 Delivery

Note: The above prices are taken directly from the USDA database of the average monthly food expenditure for male and female individuals, as well as families of 4 in the United States of America.

Best Premium Meal Delivery Service: Home Chef vs. Moderate Grocery Order

Premium meal delivery services are known for many things, including high-quality ingredients and a variety of choices.

Single Person

  • Home Chef does not have an option for a single person, but you can choose to “cook for 2.”
  • Grocery shopping moderate cost: $72.30/week for a single male and $61.40/week for a single female.
  • Home Chef cost: $115.87/week for a single male or single female

Family of 4 (two children no older than five)

  • Home Chef allows you to order for a family of four, with shipping available throughout the majority of the United States.
  • Grocery shopping moderate cost: $213.40/week.
  • Home Chef cost: $223.75/week.

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Meal Delivery Service: Purple Carrot vs. Liberal Grocery Order

While most grocery stores offer more vegetarian and vegan options than ever before, it can be a challenge to find this with an online delivery service. Fortunately, companies such as Purple Carrot have picked up the slack.

Single Person

  • Purple Carrot only has a two serving plan (not a one serving), with four dinners per week. Flexible ordering options and free shipping have helped make Purple Carrot the best vegan meal delivery service.
  • Grocery shopping liberal cost: $88.60/week for a single male and $78.60/week for a single female.
  • Purple Carrot cost: $75.92/week for two servings, four dinners per week.

Family of 4 (two children no older than five)

  • Purple Carrot allows you to order for a family of four, up to three dinners per week, with free shipping available throughout the majority of the United States.
  • Grocery shopping liberal cost: $263.70/week.
  • Purple Carrot cost: $99.88/week.

Best Keto Meal Delivery Service: Green Chef vs. Liberal Grocery Order

Are you on the keto diet? If so, you know that regular trips to the grocery store are a way of life. However, with Green Chef as your meal delivery service, that no longer has to be the case. They are the best of the best when it comes to delivering affordable keto-friendly meals to your doorstep.

Single Person

  • Green Chef only has a two serving plan (not a one serving), with four dinners per week. Shipping is $8.99 with service in the majority of the United States. Even with some limitations, Green Chef is the best keto meal delivery service.
  • Grocery shopping liberal cost: $88.60/week for a single male and $78.60/week for a single female.
  • Green Chef cost: $100.91/week for two servings, four dinners per week.

Family of 4 (two children no older than five)

  • Green Chef allows you to order for a family of four, up to four dinners per week, with shipping for $17.98 available throughout the majority of the United States.
  • Grocery shopping liberal cost: $263.70/week.
  • Green Chef cost: $185.82/week.

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Best Premade Meal Delivery: Freshly vs. Moderate Grocery Order

Some people enjoy cooking, while others are more interested in convenience food. If you’re seeking high-quality food that doesn’t require much preparation, Freshly is the answer. This is the best premade meal delivery service, thanks to a variety of choices, reasonable pricing, and reliable service.

Single Person

  • Freshly has a single person option with six meals per week. With a lot of flexibility, Freshly is the best premade meal delivery service.
  • Grocery shopping moderate cost: $72.30/week for a single male and $61.40/week for a single female.
  • Freshly cost: $56.94/week for a single male or single female

Family of 4 (two children no older than five)

  • Freshly allows you to order for a family of four, with shipping available for $5.99 throughout the majority of the United States.
  • Grocery shopping moderate cost: $213.40/week.
  • Freshly cost: $203.76/week.

Best Budget-Friendly Meal Delivery: Dinnerly vs. Low Cost Grocery Order

Do you constantly find yourself blowing through your monthly food budget? If so, it’s time to look into the best budget-friendly meal delivery service. Dinnerly is the class leader, as its pricing structure suits everyone from single individuals to large families.

Single Person

  • Dinnerly does not have a single option, but you can order a two-person box for six meals per week. Shipping is available for $8.99 throughout the majority of the United States. For those looking to save money, Dinnerly is the best budget-friendly meal delivery service.
  • Grocery shopping low cost: $57.70/week for a single male and $50/week for a single female.
  • Dinnerly cost: $67.67/week for a single male or single female

Family of 4 (two children no older than five)

  • Dinnerly allows you to order for a family of four, six meals per week, with shipping available for $8.99 throughout the majority of the United States.
  • Grocery shopping low cost: $172.80/week.
  • Dinnerly cost: $121.55/week.

Meal Delivery vs Grocery Shopping: What Else to Consider

While money always comes into play when buying food, there are other details to consider. For example:

Saving Time

With a meal delivery service, you never have to leave home to fight large crowds at a local grocery store. This saves you time, while also adding some convenience to your life.

Depending on how fast you shop, a meal delivery service could save you several hours per week. What could you do with that much time in your schedule?

Food Waste

Strongly consider how much food you waste with meal delivery vs. grocery shopping. You want to minimize this.

Variety

Generally, you have access to a larger variety of foods at a grocery store. However, most affordable meal delivery services have a nice selection to choose from, as they want to appeal to a large customer base. Furthermore, a growing number of services are increasing their meal selections.

How We Compared Meal Delivery vs. Grocery Shopping

To compare meal delivery vs. grocery shopping, we conducted research in two places:

  • Individual meal delivery service websites (see above)
  • USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food Reports

Other details of importance include:

  • The USDA benchmark is measured in weekly and monthly grocery purchases
  • Overall grocery purchase is for three meals per day
  • Meal delivery options are measured by a one meal per day benchmark
  • Target age group: 25 – 44

All of these details go into calculating an accurate cost of meal delivery services vs. grocery shopping.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. With the information above—including the comparison table—you should have a clear idea of how to best spend your food budget in order to meet all of your needs.

Whether you opt for an affordable meal delivery service or shopping locally, with the right approach it’s possible to both eat well and save money.

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