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Author Zoran Trifunovic
Zoran Trifunovic
Updated on Apr 9th, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Is HelloFresh Cheaper Than Groceries in 2024?

Meal delivery services like HelloFresh can be cheaper than grocery shopping. But that depends on various factors, not just the cost of the meal and the price of its ingredients at the grocery store. In other words, there's no universal answer to the "Is HelloFresh cheaper than groceries?" question because it depends on your lifestyle, the availability of ingredients at nearby stores, and more. 

To answer this question, I took a few HelloFresh meal kits and compared their prices with the costs of their ingredients at Walmart, Kroger, and Target stores. But note that the prices of HelloFresh meals vary depending on the chosen plan. And that the ingredients cost differently from 1 retail chain or store to another. So, take this comparison with a grain of salt.

In brief, the price of ingredients at the grocery store alone should be lower than the HelloFresh meal including them. But the cost of the final product may be higher if you don't have a store nearby or if you have to get through congested roads to get the ingredients, for example. Not to mention the food waste that can come with the excess. With HelloFresh, you get pre-measured and pre-prepped ingredients for each meal.

And if you have a good-paying job, you might be better off spending the time you'd spend planning meals and shopping at work, getting HelloFresh meals delivered, and putting the difference in your pocket. 

Short on Time? Here Are the Best HelloFresh Meals and Their Costs

  1. Lemon-Dill Chicken Sausage Couscous – Best high-protein HelloFresh dish

  2. Baja Fish Tacos – Best pescatarian recipe

  3. Bavette Steak with Tangy Fig Sauce – Best special occasion meal

Considerations

Before deciding whether to order from HelloFresh or take a trip to the grocery store, consider the following: 

  1. Proceed with caution if you are intolerant to common allergens because HelloFresh processes all ingredients in the same facility.

  2. The cost of HelloFresh meal kits currently ranges from $9.99 to $11.49 per serving ($4.49 to $5.49 with the first-time order discount), depending on the plan you choose. 

  3. You may need to calculate gas expenses, products you'd buy without planning, and many other small expenses that may add up. Consider all of this to help you figure out whether the savings are worth all the effort you'll have to go through.

  4. While you should find most ingredients at a single store, you may need to visit others for the rest. While browsing Walmart, Target, and Kroger websites, I found that only Walmart had all the necessary ingredients for all 3 recipes. 

  5. HelloFresh delivers pre-prepped ingredients, such as sliced almonds and shredded cabbage. If you buy them from a store, you may need to prepare them by yourself.

  6. You'll often have to buy fixed-quantity packages to get the food you need. In other words, you pay more for excess food that you don't need right away. And its quality may deteriorate by the time you need it again.

How Much Will HelloFresh Meals Cost You: A Complete Breakdown

    1. Bavette Steak with Tangy Fig Sauce – Best Special Occasion Meal

    HelloFresh's Bavette Steak with Tangy Fig Sauce

    Key Features

    • The recipe has 900 calories

    • The meal contains 37 g of protein

    • The prep time is about 35 minutes

    Lemon-Dill Chicken Sausage Couscous is an ideal meal for active people who lift weights or enjoy some other physical activity. However, due to its high-calorie content, it's not ideal for people trying to lose weight. If you are allergic to dairy or grains, skip this meal. 

    You'll get 10 pre-measured ingredients in the box for this particular recipe. These are zucchini, garlic, onion, lemon, dill, Israeli couscous, Italian chicken sausage mix, chicken stock concentrate, cream sauce base, and cream cheese. As you can see, some of these ingredients may be challenging to come by in your local store. You'll also need salt, pepper, cooking oil, and butter from your pantry. 

    The quantities you’d need to serve 2 and 4 people are: 

    Item

    Serving amount for 2

    Serving amount for 4

    Zucchini

    1 unit

    2 units

    Garlic

    2 cloves

    4 cloves

    Onion

    1 unit

    2 units

    Dill

    ¼ ounce

    ½ ounce

    Lemon

    1 unit

    2 units

    Israeli couscous

    5 ounces

    7.5 ounces

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    9 ounces

    18 ounces

    Chicken stock concentrate

    2 units

    4 units

    Cream sauce base

    4 ounces

    8 ounces

    Cream cheese

    2 tablespoons

    4 tablespoons

    Now, let's see how much the ingredients (or their best substitutes) would cost you at Walmart, Kroger, and Target. 

    Walmart Prices

    At the time of writing the Is HelloFresh Cheaper Than Groceries article, the Walmart prices of the ingredients for Lemon-Dill Chicken Sausage Couscous were the following: 

    Item

    Price per lb

    Price per unit or package

    Zucchini

    $1.48

    $0.93

    Garlic

    $4.52

    $0.68

    Onion

    From $0.98 to $1.44

    From $0.78 to $1.24

    Dill

    From $44.37 to $239.54

    From $1.98 to $5.24

    Lemon

    From $1.96 to $2.98

    From $0.58

    Israeli couscous

    $3.25

    $4.97

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    From $6.64 to $7.40

    From $4.66 to $4.98

    Chicken stock concentrate

    From $1.46 

    From $2.92

    Cream sauce base

    From $3.03

    From $2.84

    Cream cheese

    From $3.12

    From $3.12

    As you can see, buying the most affordable Walmart products for this recipe would set you back about $23.50. And you’d have excess groceries to take care of until you use them again. Of course, the cost would be higher if you don't go for the cheapest ingredients. If we convert the above quantities to the Walmart cheapest prices, we get the following values:

    Item

    Approx. cost for a couple

    Approx. cost for 4 people

    Zucchini

    $0.93

    $1.86

    Garlic

    $1.36

    $2.72

    Onion

    $0.78

    $1.56

    Dill

    $0.69

    $1.38

    Lemon

    $0.58

    $1.16

    Israeli couscous

    $1.00

    $1.52

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    $3.74

    $7.47

    Chicken stock concentrate

    $0.25

    $0.50

    Cream sauce base

    $0.75

    $1.5

    Cream cheese

    $0.39

    $0.78

    Total cost

    $10.47

    $20.45

    This calculation shows that the necessary groceries at Walmart would cost you half the HelloFresh cost for Lemon-Dill Chicken Sausage Couscous. And if you're ordering from HelloFresh for the first time, you're clearly saving both time and money. 

    Kroger Prices

    Now, let's see whether shopping at Kroger would cost you less than at Walmart if you shop for the most affordable items for this recipe. 

    Item

    Price per lb

    Price per unit or package

    Zucchini

    From $1.49 to $2.19

    From $0.75 to $1.10

    Garlic

    /

    $0.50

    Onion

    From $1.19

    From $0.60 to $1.89

    Dill

    From $80

    From $2.49

    Lemon

    From $2.00

    From $2.49

    Israeli couscous

    $7.27

    $3.99

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    From $7.05

    From $5.29 to $6.29

    Chicken stock concentrate

    /

    $4.49

    Cream sauce base

    /

    /

    Cream cheese

    From $3.98

    From $1.99

    As you can see, you’d have to buy cream sauce base elsewhere if you were shopping at Kroger at the time of my Is HelloFresh Cheaper Than Groceries review. To calculate the cost, I'll use the cream sauce base from Walmart.

    Item

    Approx. cost for a couple

    Approx. cost for 4 people

    Zucchini

    $0.75

    $1.50

    Garlic

    $1

    $2

    Onion

    $0.60

    $1.20

    Dill

    $1.25

    $2.50

    Lemon

    $0.40

    $0.80

    Israeli couscous

    $0.45

    $0.68

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    $4.00

    $7.99

    Chicken stock concentrate

    $1.40

    $2.80

    Cream sauce base (Walmart’s)

    $0.75

    $1.50

    Cream cheese

    $0.50

    $1

    Total cost

    $11.10

    $21.97

    Assuming that the Kroger’s cream sauce base isn’t considerably different in price to the Walmart version, you can expect to pay a little more for the ingredients at Kroger than at Walmart. 

    Target Prices

    Now, let's see how much the recipe's ingredients would cost you at Target. 

    Item

    Price per lb

    Price per unit or package

    Zucchini (organic)

    /

    $1.95

    Garlic (package of 3 bulbs)

    /

    $1.99

    Onion

    /

    From $1.29

    Dill

    From $53.12

    From $2.49

    Lemon

    /

    $0.85

    Israeli couscous

    $8.16

    $4.49

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    $4.48

    $4.49

    Chicken stock concentrate

    $1.00

    $1.99

    Cream sauce base

    /

    /

    Cream cheese

    From $4

    From $1.99

    It seems you have to go to Walmart to get a cream sauce base, even if you are a Target customer. The cost calculation for 2 and 4 people shows the following values:

    Item

    Approx. cost for a couple

    Approx. cost for 4 people

    Zucchini (organic)

    $1.95

    $3.90

    Garlic

    $1.40

    $2.80

    Onion

    $1.29

    $2.58

    Dill

    $0.83

    $1.66

    Lemon

    $0.85

    $1.70

    Israeli couscous

    $2.55

    $3.85

    Italian chicken sausage mix

    $2.52

    $5.00

    Chicken stock concentrate

    $0.90

    $1.80

    Cream sauce base (Walmart’s)

    $0.75

    $1.50

    Cream cheese

    $0.50

    $1.00

    Total cost

    $13.54

    $25.79

    As it appears, Target is a pricier alternative to Walmart and Kroger for this particular entree. The organic zucchini makes the biggest difference.

    For this recipe, the per serving price is around $5 to $6.50, which is less than HelloFresh. If this is your first order, though, our HelloFresh new customer discount will likely reduce the price to be cheaper than at the grocery stores: 10 Free Meals Across 7 Boxes, First Box Ships Free + Free Dessert for Life.

      2. Baja Fish Tacos – Best Pescatarian Recipe

      HelloFresh's Baja Fish Tacos

      Key Features

      • You can prepare this dish in 30 minutes

      • The meal has 910 calories

      • The recipe's protein intake is 40 g

      Baja Fish Tacos is a meal for intermediate cooks who can serve it in about half an hour. But note that its caloric content isn't ideal for people with excess weight. On the other hand, if you are a regular gym-goer or jogger, the higher dose of protein will benefit you for sure.

      You'll get a dozen of pre-measured and pre-prepped ingredients for this recipe. These are tilapia, shredded red cabbage, smoky red pepper crema, cilantro, lime, jalapeño, mayonnaise, tempura mix, blackening spice, radishes, flour tortillas, and chipotle powder. You also have to prepare salt, pepper, cooking oil, and sugar from your pantry. 

      The quantities you'd need for a couple and a family of 4 are the following: 

      Item

      Serving amount for 2

      Serving amount for 4

      Tilapia

      11 ounces

      22 ounces

      Shredded red cabbage

      4 ounces

      8 ounces

      Smoky red pepper crema

      2 tablespoons

      4 tablespoons

      Cilantro

      ¼ ounce

      ½ ounce

      Lime

      1 unit

      2 units

      Jalapeño 

      1 unit

      1 unit

      Mayonnaise

      2 tablespoons

      4 tablespoons

      Tempura mix

      82 g

      164 g

      Blackening spice

      2 tablespoons

      4 tablespoons

      Radishes

      3 units

      6 units

      Flour tortillas

      6 units

      12 units

      Chipotle powder

      1 teaspoon

      1 teaspoon

      The price breakdown by retail chain is as follows: 

      Walmart Prices

      The last time I checked, Walmart's prices for Baja Fish Tacos ingredients were the following:

      Item

      Price per lb

      Price per unit or package

      Tilapia

      From $4.24

      $5.62 for a 1 lb package

      Red cabbage

      $1.12

      $2.80

      Smoky red pepper crema

      $4.90

      $4.74

      Cilantro

      $3.88

      $0.97

      Lime

      /

      $0.25

      Jalapeño 

      $1.82

      $0.46

      Mayonnaise

      $3.99 per qt

      $1.87

      Tempura mix

      $6.92

      $4.67

      Blackening spice

      $1.54 per oz

      $7.70

      Radishes

      /

      $1.37

      Flour tortillas

      $2.54

      $2.78 for 10 units

      Chipotle powder

      $18.26

      $2.42

      Now, let's convert these prices to see how much you'd pay per quantity needed. 

      Item

      Approx. cost for a couple

      Approx. cost for 4 people

      Tilapia

      $2.92

      $5.84

      Red cabbage

      $0.28

      $0.56

      Smoky red pepper crema

      $0.30

      $0.60

      Cilantro

      $0.06

      $0.12

      Lime

      $0.25

      $0.50

      Jalapeño 

      $0.46

      $0.46

      Mayonnaise

      $0.12

      $0.24

      Tempura mix

      $1.30

      $2.60

      Blackening spice

      $1.54

      $3.08

      Radishes

      $0.51

      $1.02

      Flour tortillas

      $1.67

      $3.34

      Chipotle powder

      $0.57

      $0.57

      Total

      $9.98

      $18.93

      The calculation shows that if you buy cheaper Walmart products, this recipe for 2 people would cost you $9.98. If you were making a meal for 4, you would spend $18.93 on the necessary groceries.

      Kroger Prices

      If you go to Kroger for the necessary ingredients, expect to pay the following amount if you're a budget hunter:

      Item

      Price per lb

      Price per unit or package

      Tilapia

      $10

      $5

      Red cabbage

      $0.99

      $2.48

      Walmart’s smoky red pepper crema

      $0.30

      $0.60

      Cilantro

      /

      $0.99

      Lime

      /

      $0.59

      Jalapeño 

      $1.59

      $0.24

      Mayonnaise

      $2.02

      $3.79

      Tempura mix

      $9.60

      $35.99

      Blackening spice

      $1.07 per oz

      $2.69

      Radishes

      /

      $1.49

      Flour tortillas

      /

      $1.99 for 8 units

      Chipotle powder

      $26.86

      $33.58

      Using precise quantities of groceries from Kroger to prepare the dish would amount to the following cost:

      Item

      Approx. cost for a couple

      Approx. cost for 4 people

      Tilapia

      $6.87

      $13.75

      Red cabbage

      $0.25

      $0.50

      Walmart’s smoky red pepper crema

      $0.30

      $0.60

      Cilantro

      $0.06

      $0.12

      Lime

      $0.59

      $1.18

      Jalapeño 

      $0.24

      $0.24

      Mayonnaise

      $0.12

      $0.24

      Tempura mix

      $1.74

      $3.48

      Blackening spice

      $1.07

      $2.14

      Radishes

      $0.60

      $1.20

      Flour tortillas

      $1.49

      $2.98

      Chipotle powder

      $0.28

      $0.28

      Total

      $13.61

      $26.71

      As the calculation shows, shopping for groceries for Baja Fish Tacos from Kruger would cost you more than from Walmart. 

      Target Prices

      At the time I was doing the Is HelloFresh Cheaper Than Groceries review, Target was lacking the bulk of necessary ingredients. Thus, I left this section empty.

      This meal comes out at $4.75 to $6.75 per serving, so again, this is less than the HelloFresh price per serving unless you are using our discount code for new customers: 10 Free Meals Across 7 Boxes, First Box Ships Free + Free Dessert for Life.

        3. Bavette Steak with Tangy Fig Sauce – Best Special Occasion Meal

        HelloFresh's Bavette Steak with Tangy Fig Sauce

        Key Features

        • The dish provides 700 calories

        • The protein content is 33 g

        • The nutritional facts may vary to some extent

        You can easily prepare Bavette Steak with Tangy Fig Sauce even if you aren't an experienced cook. Allocate 10 minutes or so for prep and about 35 minutes in total to serve the dish. The recipe provides fewer calories and proteins than the entrees I mentioned above.

        The ingredients you’ll receive from HelloFresh for this dish are potatoes, shallot, green beans, sliced almonds, bavette steak, balsamic vinegar, fig jam, and beef stock concentrate. It's up to you to provide small amounts of salt, pepper, olive oil, cooking oil, and butter.

        The quantities you'll need to serve this special occasion dish to 2 and 4 people are:

        Item

        Serving amount for 2

        Serving amount for 4

        Potatoes

        12 ounces

        24 ounces

        Shallot

        1 unit

        1 unit

        Green beans

        6 ounces

        12 ounces

        Sliced almonds

        ½ ounce

        1 ounce

        Bavette steak

        10 ounces

        20 ounces

        Balsamic vinegar

        5 teaspoons

        10 teaspoons

        Fig jam

        1 unit

        2 units

        Beef stock concentrate

        1 unit

        2 units

        Now let's compare the prices between the sellers of these products and calculate how much it would cost you to prepare this dish relative to the quantities you need.

        Walmart Prices

        When I visited the Walmart website, I found the following grocery prices:

        Item

        Price per lb

        Price per unit or package

        Potatoes

        $0.93

        $4.68

        Shallot

        $8.43

        $1.58

        Green beans

        $1.78

        $1.78

        Sliced almonds

        $4.26

        $7.98

        Bavette steak

        $12.98

        $11.81

        Balsamic vinegar

        $3.98

        $3.98

        Fig jam

        $7.35

        $5.97

        Beef stock concentrate

        $27.04

        $14.24

        The individual pricing of these items per quantity requirement is:

        Item

        Approx. cost for a couple

        Approx. cost for 4 people

        Potatoes

        $0.70

        $1.40

        Shallot (1.3 ounce)

        $0.68

        $0.68

        Green beans

        $0.67

        $1.34

        Sliced almonds

        $0.13

        $0.26

        Bavette steak

        $8.11

        $16.22

        Balsamic vinegar

        $0.12

        $0.24

        Fig jam

        $0.91

        $1.82

        Beef stock concentrate

        $1.69

        $3.38

        Total

        $13.01

        $25.34

        So, you can expect a net cost of $13.01 for 2 dieters and $25.34 for 4 people, give or take. 

        Kroger Prices

        During my visit to the Kroger website, I came across the following prices:

        Item

        Price per lb

        Price per unit or package

        Potatoes

        $0.99

        $0.74

        Shallot

        $4.29

        $0.43

        Green beans

        $1.99

        /

        Sliced almonds

        $10.65

        $7.99

        Bavette steak (from Walmart)

        $12.98

        $11.81

        Balsamic vinegar

        $5.66

        $4.49

        Fig jam

        $7.99

        $6.49

        Beef stock concentrate

        $8.50

        $4.49

        The net expense for the necessary items would be the following: 

        Item

        Approx. cost for a couple

        Approx. cost for 4 people

        Potatoes

        $2.16

        $4.32

        Shallot (1.3 ounce)

        $0.35

        $0.35

        Green beans

        $0.75

        $1.50

        Sliced almonds

        $0.33

        $0.66

        Bavette steak

        $8.11

        $16.22

        Balsamic vinegar

        $0.17

        $0.34

        Fig jam

        $0.99

        $1.98

        Beef stock concentrate

        $0.53

        $1.06

        Total

        $13.39

        $26.43

        At this point, the minimum net cost of the necessary ingredients would cost you more at Kroger than at Walmart. 

        Target Prices

        If you pay a visit to Target for the necessary ingredients, you’re likely to find the following prices:

        Item

        Price per lb

        Price per unit or package

        Potatoes

        $2.88

        $4.29

        Shallot (from Walmart, 1.3 ounce)

        $0.68

        $0.68

        Green beans

        $0.80

        $0.79

        Sliced almonds

        $11.84

        $7.79

        Bavette steak

        $9.99

        $19.98

        Balsamic vinegar

        $5.60

        $5.99

        Fig jam (from Walmart)

        $7.35

        $5.97

        Beef stock concentrate

        $15.04

        $7.49

        Preparing the same dish with Target groceries would cost you the following amount: 

        Item

        Approx. cost for a couple

        Approx. cost for 4 people

        Potatoes

        $2.16

        $4.32

        Shallot (1.3 ounce)

        $0.68

        $0.68

        Green beans

        $0.30

        $0.60

        Sliced almonds

        $0.37

        $0.74

        Bavette steak

        $6.24

        $12.48

        Balsamic vinegar

        $0.16

        $0.32

        Fig jam

        $0.91

        $1.82

        Beef stock concentrate

        $0.94

        $1.88

        Total

        $11.76

        $22.84

        So, you can expect to pay about $11.76 for 2 people and $22.84 for 4 dieters if you buy most of the groceries at Target and the rest at Walmart.

        With a per serving price ranging from $5.71 to $6.60, this also works out less expensive than ordering from the delivery service, but don’t forget to factor in the additional shopping time, prep time, and travel time needed if you buy the ingredients directly from the store.

        Final Thoughts

        As you can see, the cost of preparing the HelloFresh meals analyzed using ingredients from each retail chain can vary. But it's lower than the price you'd pay if you ordered the meal from a meal delivery service. Of course, this refers to the net price of the groceries, without the extra costs typically associated with grocery shopping.

        Another thing to keep in mind here is that I calculated the cost per meal based on the less expensive groceries. If you go for higher-quality or organic ingredients, the cost would be higher. And I cannot imagine a meal delivery giant like HelloFresh sending you low-quality groceries. The price you pay reflects in the quality of the ingredients. What's more, foods sent by the meal subscription service should be at their peak freshness once you receive them. 

        Let's answer the question "Is HelloFresh cheaper than grocery shopping?” In most cases, you can save money by buying ingredients and preparing meals yourself. Regarding cost-effectiveness, I think it can be worth it if you're on a tight budget, and if going to the store doesn't cost you much in terms of gas, parking, etc. Also, be sure to use up leftovers, as you can rarely buy the exact amount of food you need to prepare. If you don’t have much time on your hands, then ordering from HelloFresh is totally worth it. Most of the prep work is done, and you don’t need to set foot in the grocery store.

        FAQ

        Do meal kits save money?

        Meal kits can be cost-saving compared to dining at restaurants. Cooking meals from scratch can be more economical, depending on the cost of ingredients. Still, many people choose meal kit delivery services for their convenience, access to fresh ingredients, and the time saved.

        Can you save money on groceries with HelloFresh?

        Yes, you can save money on groceries with HelloFresh. This is because the meal kit subscription service delivers precisely portioned ingredients, reducing waste. Also, it saves time and effort, offsetting some costs with the value of time saved. Besides, I don't know anyone who goes grocery shopping without bringing home more products than they originally planned to buy.

        What is the cheapest alternative to HelloFresh?

        Dinnerly is among the most affordable alternatives to HelloFresh. It has a large menu and simple meals typically containing up to several ingredients. But you have to manually check entrees to see if they suit you since Dinnerly doesn't categorize its dishes into meal plans.

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