Is HelloFresh Cheaper than Grocery Shopping? (We Did The Math!)

People everywhere are trying to stretch their dollar farther, including when it comes to the cost of feeding their families. There are plenty of options out there, from fast food to grocery retailers to meal kit delivery programs like HelloFresh. Cooking at home is almost always cheaper than eating out, so how does HelloFresh compare to buying groceries? 

HelloFresh is cheaper than grocery shopping when comparing the recipe ingredient costs to grocery store prices. Meal kits deliver just enough ingredients to prepare the recipe without food waste, so it’s economical and environmentally friendly. Savings can add up to $20 or more per week depending on the recipe. 

How Much Does HelloFresh Cost? 

Before we can compare whether it’s cheaper to buy groceries or use HelloFresh, we need to look at how much this meal delivery service costs. 

The pricing for HelloFresh kits depends on how many people you’re cooking for and how many deliveries you receive each week. Buying more meals per week does reduce the price per serving. 

The cheapest plan costs $7.99 per serving. To get that deal, you’ll have to order four meals per week with four servings in each meal. That’s a lot of food, but if you’re feeding a family of 4, you can get the best pricing this way. 

Compare that to the price for selecting two meals per week for just two people and you can really see the savings. That plan would cost $11.99 per serving.

Most people fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. That’s probably why their most popular option is three meals per week for two people. That option costs $9.99 per serving. 

Here’s a summary of HelloFresh meal options and the prices: 

Number of PeopleRecipes Per WeekTotal PricePrice Per Serving

Those prices also don’t include the $9.99 delivery fee, so you’ll have to add that on to your total to get the full cost. 

Comparing HelloFresh to Grocery Store Prices

Comparing meal kits to grocery prices can be challenging because your meal kit only contains exactly what you need for the recipe. 

So, if your recipe calls for a teaspoon of chili powder, that’s what will be in the kit. However, if you had to go buy the ingredient from the store, you’d have to purchase a whole bottle of chili powder. That makes comparing the pricing a little more challenging. 

That being said, when you buy the bottle of chili powder, it will be in your pantry for future use. That means next time you wouldn’t have to account for that ingredient cost at all! 

So for the purposes of this comparison, we’ll figure the prices based on the ingredient prices. Even though it won’t be an apples-to-apples comparison on the per serving price, we think it makes the most sense. Besides, you can’t go to the grocery store and just buy a teaspoon of the spice you want, you have to shell out the full retail price for the container. 

For this comparison, we’ll use the most popular HelloFresh meal kit plan: three meals per week for two people. That comes out to $59.94 + $9.99 (shipping) for the week, or $11.66 per person, per meal. 

Grocery store prices were obtained from a local supermarket chain, so the actual cost may vary depending on where you live and shop. Still, this will provide a good baseline comparison for how HelloFresh stands up against grocery shopping. 

To get compare HelloFresh to grocery store prices, we’ll use three of the most popular HelloFresh recipes from various categories: 

  • When Steak Met Potatoes
  • Winner Winner Chicken Orzo Dinner
  • Slow-Roasted Citrus Trout 

Recipe #1: When Steak Met Potatoes 

HelloFresh Price$11.66 per serving
Grocery Store Price$17.10 per serving

This recipe is a good place to start for a comparison because it contains some higher priced ingredients. 

One of the perks of HelloFresh is that the meal kit prices are the same no matter if you have a pork, chicken, or steak dinner. So, you could definitely get more bang for your buck by going with “fancier” meals. 

Here are the ingredients in this HelloFresh recipe: 

ItemGrocery Store Price Est.Price Estimate (recipe qty)
12-oz. Sirloin steak $7.49/lb. $5.62
12-oz. Yukon Gold potatoes$6.99 (5 lb. bag)$1.05
4-oz. Kale$1.79/bunch$1.79
1 Shallot$3.49 (3 oz.)$1.16
4-Tbsp. Sour Cream $1.45 (8 oz.)$0.36
Beef Stock Concentrate$6.99 (12 oz.)$1.15
Black Peppercorns $5.99 (3.5 oz.)$0.86

On top of those items, the recipe also calls for these (from your pantry), so they’re not included in our price comparison. That’s because you’d technically have to purchase these ingredients separately either way. 

  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Butter 

In this example, HelloFresh was cheaper per serving when you consider the full price for each ingredient. For example, having to buy a 5-lb. bag of potatoes and a whole bottle of beef stock concentrate. However, when you do the math per serving, the grocery store price comes out cheaper. 

In that case, it costs $11.99 for the recipe. Divide that by 2 servings, and it comes out to just under $6 per person. 

However, since you can’t buy partial containers of ingredients at the grocery store, it makes more sense to do the calculations using the full price of each ingredient. 

So, if you already have some of those ingredients at home or you plan to make the same recipe again and again, you could certainly come out better by purchasing the items at your supermarket rather than using the meal kit. 

Recipe #2: Winner Winner Chicken Orzo Dinner 

HelloFresh Price$11.66 per serving
Grocery Store Price$14.25 per serving 

This is one of the most popular recipes HelloFresh offers. It has a good mix of chicken, veggies, and pasta for comparison. 

Let’s take a look at the ingredients for this meal kit and how much it would cost to buy them at the grocery store. 

ItemGrocery Store Price Est.Price Estimate (recipe qty)
1-Zucchini$2.49/lb. $1.40
1-Roma Tomato$1.63/lb.$0.50
1-Tbsp. Italian Seasoning$2.39$0.65
3-oz. Orzo Pasta$1.99 (16 oz. box)$0.37
12-oz. Chicken Breast$4.99/lb.$3.74
4-oz. Fresh Mozzarella$6.69 (16 oz.)$1.75
¼ oz. Parsley$1.49$0.10
¼ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs$1.75 (8 oz.)$0.44
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese $4.29 (6 oz.)$1.43

For this recipe, you should plan to spend between $25 and $30 at the grocery store to purchase all the ingredients. If you divide that by 2 servings, it comes out to around $14-$15 per serving. 

That means that HelloFresh has the per-serving price beat for this recipe. However, if you take into account the amounts used to prepare the recipe, the grocery store total is lower. But like we mentioned earlier, you can’t purchase just ¼ cup of breadcrumbs or 3-oz. of orzo pasta. 

Recipe #3: Slow-Roasted Citrus Trout 

HelloFresh Price$11.66 per serving
Grocery Store Price$21.82 per serving 

This recipe is one of the HelloFresh “gourmet” options. It would be perfect for a date night or special occasion. We already know this recipe is likely cheaper than going out to a restaurant, but let’s see how it compares to purchasing the items from the grocery store. 

ItemGrocery Store Price Est.Price Estimate (recipe qty)
1-Blood Orange$2.33/lb.$2.25
1-Yellow Onion$2.29/lb.$1.60
½ Cup Basmati Rice$5.49 (2-lb.)$3.43
¼-oz. Chives$2.29 (0.75 oz)$0.60
2 oz. Arugula$3.99 (5 oz.)$1.60
10 oz. Steelhead Trout$5.49/lb. $1.72
1-unit Chicken Stock Conc.$6.99 (12 oz.)$1.15
½-oz. Pistachios$4.99 (8 oz.)$0.32
2 Tbsp. Creme Fraiche$6.99 (8 oz.)$1.12
1 tsp. Garlic Powder$2.00 (2.6 oz.)$0.20

For this recipe, you should plan to spend between $40 and $45 at the grocery store to buy all the ingredients. That comes out to around $21.82 per serving, meaning it’s more expensive than the HelloFresh meal kit. 

Taking into consideration the price for the amount of ingredients you’ll actually use, the price comes down quite a bit to $14.78 for the recipe. 

This recipe has 11 different items, and it requires four additional items from your pantry. More items normally means more money at the grocery store. HelloFresh meal kits are typically a better buy when they have more ingredients. 

So, even when you add in the $9.99 shipping fee, shopping for all the items individually still makes for a higher total than the HelloFresh meal kit.

Other Considerations

To truly compare HelloFresh with a trip to the grocery store, there are other things to consider besides just the total price. 

Convenience and Time-Saving 

Convenience is a big factor with meal kit delivery services. If having your meal kits delivered to your front door saves you an hour at the grocery store, that’s something you’ll need to consider. It’s a matter of how valuable your time is, especially if you consider the time it takes to drive to the store, shop, unload groceries, and cook a meal. 

Over the course of a couple of weeks, that could translate into hours of time that you would have otherwise spent doing those tedious tasks. For some families, the time factor would be well worth any additional cost. 


Another consideration is waste. With HelloFresh, you only receive the amount of food that you need to prepare the recipe. It saves you from having to buy more than you need at the store. 

Less wasted food is good when you’re thinking about cost-saving. No one wants to buy additional ingredients only to have them wind up in the trash. 

On the other hand, packaging and related waste is a concern for many families. HelloFresh ingredients come individually wrapped and packaged in a lot of plastic. Not everyone will be happy about that. 

On the other hand, packaging is made with recyclable materials and the box can go with your household recyclables. 

The Bottom Line

HelloFresh can be a great option for busy households. The convenience of having your meal kits delivered right to your front door can’t be overstated. Plus, it also cuts out the time you’d normally spend trying to decide what to have for dinner. 

There was a time when meal kits had a reputation for being expensive and not worth the added cost. That’s no longer the case. As we’ve discovered, many of these recipes are actually less expensive to prepare than if you bought the ingredients at the grocery store. 

The only time it might not make sense is if you have family members who eat more than what HelloFresh considers to be a serving size. In that case, you’ll end up needing to make more food or buy extra ingredients, which may inflate the cost. 

This comparison also doesn’t take into account various deals you might find while shopping or loyalty programs that save you extra money. Often, the differences between HelloFresh and supermarket prices are very small, so the actual savings can vary depending on where you shop and the brands you buy.