Food Subscription Boxes: Wasteful or Awesome?

We’re sure you’ve heard of them — HelloFresh, Blue Apron, and Plated just to name a few.

Food subscription services are all the rage these days, and we’re ready to dive in and find out: are they wasteful or awesome?

There are some nice perks of opting for food subscription boxes over traditional grocery shopping.

Perk #1: No grocery store days

First of all, have you ever gone to the grocery store with a specific list and then walked out with tons of random snacks? Yeah, us too. A food box can save you from overspending at the grocery store.

Perk #2: Portion control

Food boxes can also help you eat the right portions. If you struggle with overeating, or you want to start eating more modestly, the pre-portioned meals from a subscription service can help.

Perk #3: All ingredients, and they’re measured out

Food boxes come with recipes and all their corresponding ingredients. This is particularly exciting to me, because there’s always that one sneaky ingredient in a recipe that’s impossible to find at the grocery store.

Plus, you only get the amounts you need. No more half bags of rice in your cupboard.

Perk #4: No master chef skills necessary

Many users of these food subscription boxes say that their “non-cooking” partner can finally cook. The recipe cards explain exactly what to do, so if you find that cooking isn’t your forte, it could be worth a shot.

However, the cooking part may not be your thing, which brings us to our first... perk or con?

Perk or Con?: You have to cook

A possible perk or downside, depending on how you feel, is that you do still have to cook the meals. If you like cooking, then a food box could be the perfect solution. None of the hassle with all of the fun! If you burn everything you touch, than these food boxes might not be for you.

Perk or Con?: Adventurous recipes

While most of this is going to be personal preference, the adventurous meal plan is definitely up in the air. Are you a picky eater, or are you up for anything?

Most of these food subscription boxes introduce new and creative recipes to your kitchen. If you’re a meat and potatoes kind of person, this may not be for you.

Now, some of the downsides.

Con #1: Price

The price can be a major con for a lot of people.

The easiest way to compare them is by how much it ends up costing per meal. The actual subscription set-up varies.

Blue Apron HelloFresh Plated
$9.99 per meal $11.50 per meal $12 per meal*

*Plated offers “premium” meals that can run you up to $30.

One major reason why the prices may seem high is because the ingredients are locally sourced and organic when possible.

Perhaps the prices are in line with what you pay anyways at the grocery store, but if you’re more of a ramen noodle type of gang, this might be a bit over the top.

Here are some snapshots of the price charts on each company’s website.

hellofresh price chartblue apron price chart plated price chart

Con #2: Small portions

While you might be psyched about the thought of portion control, smaller portions aren’t always the best.

A 90-pound woman eats differently than a 300-pound man, but they both receive the same portion sizes. If you or anyone in your house is notorious for being a big eater, this type of food plan may not go over well.

Con #3: Time to cook

While most subscription services boast meals that are ready in 30 minutes or less, food bloggers and reviewers beg to differ. Many say that the time it takes to prep and cook a meal is more like an hour.

If you prefer quick and easy meals, these food subscriptions might not be the best choice.

Con #4: Plans are for couples

Most food subscription plans are built for a party of 2 (some also have family plans). But, if you live alone and are cooking for yourself, you’re at a disadvantage. Some subscribers say that it all works out — they just eat the extra meal the next day as leftovers.

However, some say that they end up eating the 2 meals for dinner, which totally ruins that whole “portion control” perk. Not to mention it makes the meal twice as expensive.

Con #5: Plans only include dinner

While leftovers might make for a decent lunch, these plans are made for dinner only. If you want to skip the grocery store altogether, you’re going to be disappointed.

As of yet, we don’t know of a food box subscription service that includes all 3 meals of the day.


Did you enjoy this article? Check out 12 Great Smartphone Apps for Seniors 65+.

Posted on August 24, 2017

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