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The Pros and Cons of Meal Kit Delivery

It seems impossible to watch TV or go through the mail these days without seeing an ad for an all-inclusive meal kit delivery service. You know the ones with names like Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and Plated (with new ones being added all the time). You’ve probably wondered if these services are a good deal or just a wasteful extravagance. The truth is, whether a meal delivery service is a smart way to spend your food budget really depends on your own lifestyle, eating habits and savings goals. Here are some pros and cons of meal delivery services to help you decide if it’s the right choice for you:

PROS

You’ll Eat at Home More — One of the biggest selling points of meal delivery services is that they allow you to prepare restaurant-level meals in your own kitchen. If you routinely dine out (or get take-out) several times a week, using a meal delivery service will probably save you money in the long run.

You’ll Learn New Recipes and Techniques — If you’re new to cooking or tend to make the same meals again and again, a meal delivery service will expand your horizons and help you learn new skills. All meal planning kits contain detailed recipe cards. Once you discover some new favorites, you’ll be able to recreate them on your own by simply purchasing the ingredients.   Mom and daughter preparing a meal

You’ll Minimize Food Waste — If you routinely buy more groceries than you need and find yourself throwing away food because it’s gone bad before you can use it, a meal kit delivery service will help with that. Everything is perfectly portion controlled and if you prepare the meals as directed, you should end up with zero food waste — and zero wasted dollars, too.

CONS

The Expense — While the cost of meal delivery services varies, they average out to around $10 a meal, per person. And while that’s more than what you’d pay buying groceries on your own, it’s much less than you’d pay for dining out. Also, many of these services offer significant discounts on your first delivery. Provided you remember to cancel after your first box, you could try out several boxes at a discount before deciding whether to continue with a service long-term.

Excess Packaging — In addition to the box everything comes in, every ingredient inside is packaged individually, and there are cold packs, too. To avoid a sky-rocketing carbon footprint from disposing of all that packaging, you must be committed to recycling everything.

You Might Not Like Every Meal — Although most services allow you to specify certain ingredients or flavors you’d rather not receive, there’s still a chance you’ll run into a meal that doesn’t match your personal tastes. You’ll get the most value — and enjoyment — from a meal kit delivery service if you have an adventurous palate and few dietary restrictions.