HelloFresh have made bold claims that they’re 20% cheaper than supermarkets. Honestly, I’m highly sceptical of this claim considering the additional costs of managing/preparing the meal kits and the lower economies of scale. So to really test this theory out, I compared 5 different HelloFresh recipes versus what it would cost to make the same meal from supermarket ingredients. If you’ve never used or heard of HelloFresh before, it’s worth checking out my review of their meal kit service first.
I identified that HelloFresh is 30% more expensive than purchasing ingredients from a grocery store. However, this is likely a premium worth paying for the added convenience, excitement and reduced food waste.
Here’s all the details explaining how I concluded that HelloFresh isn’t cheaper than grocery shopping in Australia. Also, why I think this still represents good value!
- 1 How I compared HelloFresh to Grocery Shopping
- 2 Meal Comparisons
- 3 Is HelloFresh good value?
How I compared HelloFresh to Grocery Shopping
Accurately comparing HelloFresh to a normal grocery shop isn’t as simple as it first looks, for a couple of key reasons:
- Ingredient Amounts – With HelloFresh you get provided with a small amount of an ingredient that would usually come in a much larger packet at the supermarket. This normally applies to any spices/sauces that you receive.
- Pre-Mixed Ingredients – Particularly on their ‘Fresh & Fast’ plan, some ingredients have elements of preparation made to them (e.g a mixed spice blend or a marinated piece of meat) that you can’t buy in the grocery store.
- Food Quality – To compare the two accurately, I need to find substitute ingredients that are the same quality as the HelloFresh ingredients. This can be a little subjective at times so there’s no guarantee that I have the exact same quality to compare on both sides.
These mean that any conclusions I make aren’t going to be 100% scientific but will hopefully provide a useful guide to see how expensive grocery shopping is compared to your HelloFresh box. In order to make this as accurate as possible, I’m going to approach this with the following points in mind:
- 2-Person Box – All meals I compare will be based on the costs associated with a 2-person box including 5 meals. That comes to a total box cost of $99.96 or $9.99 per portion.
- Ingredient Amounts – When we should only use a small measure of a product that’s sold in larger packets, I’ll take a percentage of the original cost and assume the rest of the product will be used in future meals.
- No Promotions – I have assumed that we haven’t applied any discounts to our HelloFresh box. If you haven’t used HelloFresh before, you can get 40% off your first box through our exclusive discount link by clicking the button below.
Let’s get started on the analysis!
I’ve tested 5 different meals from the 18th July box from a total of 18 different meals I could have chosen from. I tried to pick a variety of different dishes including vegetarian meals, whilst avoiding any meals that cost extra (e.g Fresh & Fast, Dinner to Lunch).
Caramelised Onion & Feta Chicken
Quite a rich dish, this is a chicken breast topped with caramelised onion and feta. To the side, there’s roasted potatoes and a light salad of walnut, green beans and zucchini. It looks absolutely delicious, but is it good value?
|Potato||2 Units||$ 1.44|
|Brown Onion||1 Unit||$ 0.54|
|Zucchini||1 Unit||$ 0.73|
|Walnuts||1 Pack||$ 1.13|
|Chilli Flakes||1 Pinch||$ 0.05|
|Rosemary||1 Bunch||$ 3.00|
|Green Beans||1 Bag||$ 1.70|
|Garlic||1 Clove||$ 0.15|
|Chicken Breast||1 Packet||$ 6.30|
|Feta Cheese||1 Block||$ 2.50|
Total Cost: $17.54
This is the most expensive in terms of ingredients from the 5 meals I tested. A majority of this expense comes from the chicken breast, rosemary and feta cheese.
You could save yourself nearly 20% of the cost of this meal just by omitting the Rosemary. It won’t taste quite as good, however if you’re on a tight budget this is one of the ways you can look to save money.
Beef & Caramelised Bacon Burger
HelloFresh add soy sauce to their burger patty in this recipe, giving it an extra level of flavour. Pair that with bacon cooked in brown sugar and you’ve got yourself a delicious burger with homemade fries.
|Potatoes||2 Units||$ 1.44|
|Beef Mince||1 Packet||$ 6.38|
|Fine Breadcrumbs||1 Packet||$ 0.31|
|Bacon||1 Packet||$ 3.40|
|Burger Buns||2 Units||$ 1.35|
|Tomato||1 Unit||$ 0.39|
|Mayonnaise||1 Packet||$ 0.10|
|Mixed Salad Leaves||1 Bag||$ 1.50|
Total Cost: $14.87
Unsurprisingly, it’s the beef mince that’s the most expensive in this recipe. Depending on how you like your portion sizes, this amount of beef could last you a more than 2 servings and therefore bring the cost down even further.
The alternative option is to buy your own burgers. Depending on the quality you need from your meat, this could get your cost for 2 servings (1 patty each) down to just $3.50. Personally, I prefer to go for higher quality beef and really enjoy the flavour of making my own from mince.
Smokey Black Bean Chilli
For some meals, HelloFresh provide a custom spice blend that has a major impact on the final dish. In this meal, there’s a sachet of ‘All-American’ spice blend. It’s quite difficult to recreate these spice blends at home, especially as HelloFresh don’t share the individual spices on their recipes. Once you’ve tried the spice blend, you may be able to guess the right quantities from the sachet ingredients.
|Garlic||4 Cloves||$ 0.60|
|Basmati Rice||1 Packet||$ 0.66|
|Brown Onions||1 Unit||$ 0.54|
|Red Capsicum||1 Unit||$ 1.80|
|Carrot||1 Unit||$ 0.74|
|Zucchini||1 Unit||$ 0.73|
|Sweetcorn||1 Tin||$ 1.00|
|Black Beans||1 Tin||$ 1.00|
|All-American Spice||1 Sachet||$ 0.25|
|Smoked Paprika||1 Sachet||$ 0.33|
|Diced Tomatoes||1 Box||$ 0.80|
|Vegetable Stock||1 Cube||$ 0.29|
|Spring Onions||1 Bunch||$ 2.50|
|Feta Cheese||1 Block||$ 2.50|
Total Cost: $13.74
This recipe is packed full of low-cost ingredients which make it the cheapest of our 5 meals to recreate. With so many ingredients however, there would be the extra hassle of finding/picking them all up from the supermarket (a personal trade-off).
Seared Salmon and Garlic-Almond Crumb
I see that as a very ‘chefy’ dish (I’m sure that’s the technical term). There are some rather unusual flavour combinations here with the garlic/almond salmon, pear/rocket salad and roasted veggies. This is definitely one dish you wouldn’t usually cook at home!
|Potatoes||1 Unit||$ 0.72|
|Beetroot||1 Unit||$ 0.85|
|Garlic||0.5 Cloves||$ 0.08|
|Almonds||1 Packet||$ 1.15|
|Breadcrumbs||0.25 Packet||$ 0.10|
|Salmon||1 Packet||$ 10.00|
|Pear||1 Unit||$ 0.72|
|Rocket Leaves||1 Bag||$ 1.50|
|Dill & Parsley Mayo||1 Packet||$ 0.20|
Total Cost: $15.32
Salmon makes up over 65% of the costs of this dish. Comparatively, fish can be quite expensive compared to other protein sources so it’s no surprise that HelloFresh need to match that with other lower cost ingredients to build out this dish. Fortunately, the roasted beetroot and potato will still make this quite a filling dish.
Creamy Mushroom & Tomato Spaghetti
A simple and quick pasta dish with a light, creamy mushroom sauce. The fresh cherry tomatoes and basil leaves will give this dish a really fresh flavour that will balance out the cream. HelloFresh themselves promised a ‘beautiful sauciness’
|Cherry Tomatoes||1 Punnet||$ 3.90|
|Spaghetti||1 Packet||$ 0.64|
|Garlic||3 Cloves||$ 0.45|
|Breadcrumbs||0.5 Packet||$ 0.20|
|Mushrooms||1 Packet||$ 3.00|
|Garlic & Herb Seasoning||1 Sachet||$ 0.25|
|Light Cream||1 Packet||$ 0.93|
|Vegetable Stock||1 Cube||$ 0.29|
|Parmesan Cheese||1 Packet||$ 1.60|
|Basil||1 Punnet||$ 3.00|
|Spinach Leaves||1 Bag||$ 1.25|
Total Cost: $15.51
The pattern is really appearing with ingredients totalling a cost that averages around $15. This dish contains a few lower cost ingredients that add up when put together, including the basil, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Spaghetti is always interesting to discuss portion sizes about because it’s so difficult to get right! The advantage of HelloFresh is that you’ll receive exactly the right amount for 2 or 4 portions.
Is HelloFresh good value?
The core question we’re trying to answer here is whether HelloFresh represents good value versus shopping at the supermarket. A very simplistic view of this suggests we can just compare the cost of ingredients we calculated above against the cost of the HelloFresh box.
Cost of Ingredients: $76.98
Cost of HelloFresh Box: $99.96
This makes HelloFresh 30% more expensive than grocery shopping.
There are, however, a few key factors that swing the balance back in favour of HelloFresh.
Convenience of meal kits
It’s hard to underestimate the convenience of your weekly food shopping being delivered to your door. This means that all your effort is just placing your ingredients in the cupboard/fridge. If this would save you significantly on time or energy then it’s definitely going to be a really valuable service.
Most of us are guilty of buying a large pack of something and only using part of it before its ‘Use By’ date. This behaviour ultimately contributes heavily to the world’s massive food waste problems. With a meal kit service like HelloFresh, all the ingredients are pre-packaged in the right quantities so that everything sent to you is used up in one of their dishes. No more throwing out old/leftover ingredients.
If you want to know how to extend the shelf live of your meal kit ingredients, I have a blog that discusses some meal kit storage tips.
Experimenting with new foods
If you’re stuck with having the same dinners every week, meal kits can help provide some incredible variety without any extra thought. Instead of getting bored with your dinners, it’s quite exciting to keep trying new recipes, cooking skills and ingredients.
Personally, I believe these benefits are more than worth the additional cost you pay with meal kits. I would expect to pay for the added convenience and excitement that meal kits bring, so 30% doesn’t seem like bad value in the context.
You can even get your first HelloFresh box with 40% off using our discount link. This brings the cost down to less than you’d be able to get in the supermarket. That’s a bargain!
If you’ve already used HelloFresh or want to see what other alternatives there are, it’s worth checking out our comparisons against Marley Spoon and Dinnerly.