Do you want to enjoy the convenience of a meal kit but don’t want to spend too much money? Take a look at our list of the eight cheapest meal delivery service options to find the best one for your busy lifestyle.
Cheapest Meal Delivery Services To Prevent Hungry Pockets
Meal delivery services aren’t in the business of saving you money. All meal kits are going to cost more than buying the ingredients at the supermarket.
That said, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg if you want the convenience of a meal kit. Ahead, we’ll review eight of the cheapest meal delivery services on the market so you can find the one that best fits your diet, lifestyle, and wallet.
How We Chose Our Rankings
Before we get into our list of the cheapest meal delivery services, let’s talk a bit about what we value in a meal kit.
The price per serving was one of our chief concerns when developing this list, but it’s not the only thing we thought about. Here are some of the criteria we used to create our list of the meal kits that offer the best value.
The first element we looked at for this list was affordability. We wanted to make sure we included the cheapest meal delivery service options out there before considering anything else.
We looked at more than just how cheap the service is, of course. It doesn’t matter how cheap the food will be if they’re sending low-quality ingredients or poorly portioned meals.
Still, this is a list of the cheapest meal delivery services, so the price was obviously a factor. We reviewed the cost per serving of each meal delivery service and gave our recommendations.
Variety is the spice of life, and that’s especially true when it comes to food. Part of the reason you’re likely interested in a cheap meal delivery service is that you’re sick of eating the same dishes every week.
Meal delivery services should offer options; and plenty of them. There should be a lengthy catalog of different dishes you can prepare or order.
These services can achieve this variety in one of two ways: either they offer a huge menu or regularly change their options.
We prioritized companies that offer a wide range of different meal options to their customers. We didn’t like seeing a different version of the same dish repeated over and over again and largely excluded such services from our list.
Saving money was our priority, but the variety was a close second. Why order food from a delivery service if it gets boring after a while? You should be getting more variety than you could get from your regular shopping habits.
Customization is another important element of meal delivery services. Most services allow you some degree of customization, whether it’s picking your meals or telling the company what ingredients or dishes you don’t like.
Other brands don’t offer such customization, though. They send you what they send you, and you have to be okay with it. While some of these services are a bit cheaper than the ones that allow for some customization, they usually aren’t the best choices.
We reviewed a few meal delivery services that don’t offer customization, but most of them do. Customization is an essential part of meal delivery, and it’s hard to rank a service too highly that doesn’t offer some degree of selection.
A lot of people will eat a balanced diet without too many specifications. This isn’t everyone, though, and people with dietary restrictions need to be able to use a meal delivery service as well.
Most of these services account for food allergies in one way or another, but not all of them do. Even fewer services include options for vegans and people on low carb diets.
We prioritized finding meal delivery services that worked for everyone. Pricing is important, but it’s equally important to have enough of a variety so that everyone can order something off of the menu.
Packaging is an underrated element of meal delivery services. We didn’t exclude any companies for bad packaging, but it’s certainly something we evaluated while developing our reviews.
Most meal delivery services send you ingredients for you to cook yourself. The best services will label these ingredients or separate them into their respective recipes. Some services, like Blue Apron, just throw everything into a single box and make you work it out for yourself.
This isn’t the end of the world, but it can be a chore. It’s especially annoying when you’re not sure which ingredient matches which recipe. For that reason, we ranked a couple of meal kit services lower on our list because the packaging was a bit lackluster.
Our Top 8 Cheapest Meal Delivery Services
Home Chef falls near the lower-middle of the pack regarding price per serving. Most of the meals will cost around $7.99 per serving, and you’ll be receiving your meals and recipes from one of the top-name brands in the industry.
One of the best features that Home Chef offers is the ability to pick what recipes you want. Some other services allow you to customize your purchases to some degree, but Hello Chef allows you to choose what you want to try.
You’ll be able to look at all of the information you need to make your decision from the menu. It gives you the nutritional information, preparation time, and cook time so you’ll never have to come home and wonder when your meal will be finished.
Home Chef boasts a large menu, but it doesn’t rotate like some of the others we’ve seen. They periodically add some new items while removing others, but the menu remains relatively stagnant for long periods.
This is a subscription service, so you can’t pick some individual meals to try it. You will be able to pick your plan and get your portions so you won’t waste any food. You input how many recipes you want each week and receive your box in the mail.
Like most of the other meal delivery services we’ve reviewed, it’s easy to suspend or cancel your subscription as long as you give Home Chef proper notice. You won’t be wasting money on Home Chef if you take a vacation.
Home Chef is offering a promotion for their subscription as of this writing, which lowers their initial price even further.
The recipes Home Chef offers are equally delicious and healthy. Not all of them are bursting with nutritional value, though, so you might want to opt for the calorie-smart plan if you’re trying to find a healthy meal delivery service.
Home Chef has options for everyone for a low price. We think it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for the cheapest meal delivery service subscription that still includes quality ingredients.
Veestro is another option for those who are looking for cheaper meal delivery services, but the appeal is a bit more niche. Veestro’s menu is full of plant-based meals that they deliver to your door, ready to heat and cook.
There are a variety of different options that will be great for vegetarians and vegans who don’t like to cook. The meals are especially beneficial to people who are new to the no-meat lifestyle.
It can be difficult to find a healthy variety of different meals when you first become a vegetarian or vegan. Veestro provides that variety, and you don’t even have to cook anything.
As we’ve alluded to, Veestro is an a la carte meal delivery service. All of their meals are already cooked and ready to eat once you heat it up in the oven or microwave.
Some people prefer to cook their own food from a meal delivery service, but Veestro appeals to those who just want something healthy to eat without all of the hassles.
In many ways, Veestro fills the void that some of the other meal delivery services leave. They have meals for those who are looking for gluten-free, soy-free, kosher, low-calorie, nut-free, and high-protein.
We especially like the high protein option, which is fantastic for new vegetarians. Finding protein on a plant-based diet can be difficult at first, but the Veestro meal plans allow you to get all that you need and more.
You can select 10, 20, or 30 meals when you subscribe to the service. Ten meals will cost just under $12 per serving, while 30 meals costs you under $10. This might seem like a lot of money for a cheap delivery service, but it isn’t when you consider that the meals are already pre-prepared.
When you combine this with the quality ingredients that Veestro uses, under $10 per serving is an excellent price.
After you select how many meals you want, you can look at the full menu, the chef’s choice, or the weight loss options. The chef’s choice menu is better for those who are new to the service and will get you started with some of Veestro’s best dishes.
The packaging is another area where Veestro stood out to us. All of their meals were vacuum sealed and separated to make sure nothing leaked or jumbled together in transit.
Veestro is probably your best bet if you’re looking for a plant-based meal delivery service that won’t break the bank. It’s a great way to get started on the vegan or vegetarian diet as well, and with so many meal options there’s something for everyone.
Dinnerly is the cheapest meal delivery service out there, so we had to include it on our list. Unfortunately, they fall short in a few key areas and might not be able to justify the $5 per meal price tag.
Sure, only $5 per meal seems like a steal, but you’ll also have to pay for shipping. The box you buy comes with three recipes for the week, and the total is closer to $40 when it’s all said and done.
Dinnerly is still going to be cheaper than most of the other meal delivery services you’ll see, but the recipe options and ingredients leave something to be desired.
We’ll start with the positives: there is some good variety with Dinnerly. They have a rotating list of meals that change every week and make enough easy-to-eat dinners that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
The subscription to Dinnerly is one of the simplest and easiest to maneuver on this list. Instead of locking yourself into regular meal boxes, you’ll pick when you receive the food and what recipes you want to be included. Of course, you can pause or cancel your subscription at any time.
Dinnerly states that they’re able to keep their prices so low because they use digital recipes, minimal packaging, and fewer ingredients. They have two different subscription boxes. One feeds two people, and the other feeds four. If you’re solo, you can get some leftovers out of the two-person box.
Now, onto the downside of Dinnerly. Although Dinnerly is the cheapest meal delivery service we’ve seen, it’s far from the best. The ingredients they include are of decent quality, but they don’t always have everything you need in the box.
What’s more is that the rotating recipe schedule works against the consumer in some ways. You might receive a recipe that isn’t on the site anymore, meaning you won’t have the instructions you need to cook the meal.
Multiple users have reported that they don’t have all of the ingredients in the box, meaning they have to take a trip to the store anyway. Some of the recipes also call for obscure cooking devices you might not have in your home, prompting another trip to the store for something that’s supposed to be convenient.
While there are some options for those with allergies or specific diets, Dinnerly doesn’t prioritize meals that are vegan, gluten-free, or keto-friendly. They have what they have, and it won’t fit the needs of all diners.
Dinnerly is a bare-bones meal delivery service. Their meals aren’t overly healthy, and they have some holes in the delivery process. It’s the cheapest option out there, but that doesn’t mean it presents the best value.
Still, the low price meant we had to include it on our list. It’s not our top recommendation, but it is the cheapest.
HelloFresh is right next to Blue Apron as one of the most recognizable names in the meal delivery service industry. They advertise through a lot of outlets, and you’ve probably seen them before. So, is HelloFresh worthy of your money?
We’ll start with the plans and pricing since this is the primary focus of our list. You can choose from the Classic Plan, Calorie Smart Plan, or the Family Plan. You will then pick how many recipes you want per week. All of the plans allow you to choose between two or three meals, but the classic plan allows for four.
The plans cost between $7 and $9 per serving depending on the one you pick and the number of meals you decide to receive. There is a promotion for your first order as well, which will drop the price-per-service down to around $5 depending on the plan.
HelloFresh does charge a shipping fee, which will lower as your meal quantity increases. With the promotion we mentioned above, though, you won’t have to pay any shipping charges.
Even at the standard price, HelloFresh offers some of the best value on this list. They have a ton of different options to choose from and a menu that cycles every week.
HelloFresh is a subscription service which means you’ll have to pay on a regular basis. It’s easy to cancel or suspend your subscription if you want, though, which is necessary for meal delivery services.
There is even a vegetarian option for many of the plans, though you can only choose a limited number of meals per week. Still, the option alone is more than some of the other services we’ve seen.
One element of HelloFresh that we really liked was the packaging. You can recycle all of the packagings from HelloFresh products, so nothing has to go to waste. Not only will this save you some money on trash (if you pay for trash bags), but you’ll know that you’re not hurting the environment in the name of saving some time.
A lot of the other delivery services contain non-recyclable materials. Ordering three or four meals per week from such a company can lead to a lot of unneeded waste.
HelloFresh isn’t at the bottom of the barrel regarding meal delivery prices, but they’re affordable and offer quality ingredients. They’re one of the top services for a reason, and we recommend them as one of our value picks.
BistroMD is a bit different than most of the other meal delivery services we’ve covered. This service works more like a weight loss program than it does a delivery service. You will purchase a plan that gives you five or seven day’s worth of meals, so you’ll be set for the whole week.
One of the perks of BistroMD is that their meals are already prepared for you. All you have to do is stick them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes before enjoying.
The customization options from BistroMD are excellent. They cater to all kinds of dietary needs and allergies, so you won’t have trouble finding something that works for you. You can also input your desired tastes so you’ll be sure to enjoy every meal.
You will also receive dietary guidance and individual advice from the team at BistroMD. They’ll develop a unique meal plan for you to ensure that you hit your wellness and weight loss goals.
BistroMD has standard, gluten-free, diabetic, and menopause plans. You can choose between dinners and lunches for seven days or five days, as well as a “full program” that gives you three meals and snacks for seven or five days.
The price per serving depends on the option you select. Choosing a seven-day full program, for example, works out to around $8.50 per serving - plus you get some snacks. A five-day lunch and dinner program, though, is going to cost around $12 per serving, which means it’s far from the cheapest option.
Still, when you consider the full program and the fact that you receive snacks and don’t have to cook, BistroMD is a good value.
These who are looking to lose some weight without the hassle of shopping and cooking should take a look at BistroMD. There is usually a promotion going on that will give you a percentage off of your first order, so you’ll save even more money that way.
Blue Apron is probably the most recognizable meal delivery service on the market. They advertise a lot more than the competition and have become the leader in the space.
The area in which Blue Apron shines the most is probably in their recipe selection. You can choose the recipes you want and have them sent to your door. Eight recipes rotate over time, so you’ll never get tired of the same old meals.
What’s more is the number of dishes Blue Apron offers that you’ve probably never tried before. This will open the door to new flavors and cooking styles that you can add to your routine.
There aren’t a ton of diet-specific selections in the Blue Apron catalog. We looked at some low carb meal delivery services in a separate article, and Blue Apron couldn’t make the cut for that one.
Those who have food allergies can likely work around the Blue Apron menu. Specific diets like the Mediterranean diet and keto diet might have a bit more trouble, though.
Although the ingredients are fresh and the recipes are some of the most unique of all meal delivery services, the delivery system seems like it could use a bit of a tweak. Most of the meal delivery services we’ve tried label the ingredients or separate them into different recipes.
Blue Apron, on the other hand, just throws everything into a single box. Three recipes in a box can get confusing if you’re not experienced in the kitchen. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s a place where Blue Apron falls a bit short compared to some other meal delivery services.
Another place where Blue Apron could improve is the suspension and cancellation of your subscription. A lot of the other meal delivery services we’ve reviewed make it easy to skip a week our outright cancel your subscription, but Blue Apron makes you jump through a couple of hoops.
You will have to contact customer support and tell them your situation. They’ll then send you a form to fill out before you can cancel or suspend your subscription. This is far from ideal for most people who use these services.
Now, let’s talk about price. Blue Apron isn’t overly expensive, but they’re not the cheapest meal delivery service either. Still, they present good value for their price, which is why we included them on our list.
You can choose the Signature, Freestyle (Weight Watchers approved) Vegetarian, or Signature for Four boxes. The first three all cost $9.99 per serving for two people, while the four-person meal costs only $8.99 per serving.
You will also be able to save some money through their first-week promotion when you sign up.
Blue Apron is one of the most recognizable names in meal delivery. They have a few drawbacks in the suspension and delivery areas, but are otherwise one of the top picks for “bang for your buck.”
Takeout Kit is a very interesting meal delivery service, especially if you find yourself wasting some of the food you’ve received from other companies.
Unlike most of the other meal kits on this list, the ingredients in the box don’t spoil after five days. Instead, you can wait up to two months before deciding to cook one of the meals you receive.
This feature is awesome, and one that you can’t truly put a price on. The subscription and a la carte prices are very similar to many of the others we’ve reviewed (in the $7-$9 per serving range), and none offer so much versatility.
While Takeout Kit isn’t the cheapest meal delivery service on the market, the ability to keep your ingredients without needing to cook the meals right away adds value to the service.
Takeout Kit also has a unique approach to how it handles its menus. Instead of offering American staples we’re all used to, they span the globe with their food inclusions. Takeout Kit chooses a different country or region every month and offers you food that the locals are eating.
This menu selection is a nice idea for a lot of people, especially those who want to get out of their comfort zone. Picky eaters might find it a bit tricky, though.
Takeout Kit offers supreme customization as well. You can use the a la carte menu to pick a dish that you know you’ll like, or add recipes to your subscription and cook them when you have some free time
You can choose to subscribe to Takeout Kit for one, three, six, or twelve months at a time. The longer you subscribe, the cheaper your meals will be.
There are some vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes with Takeout Kit, but not a ton of low-carb or low-fat options. This isn’t a huge shock, though, since Takeout Kit is more focused on global meals and preserved ingredients.
Takeout Kit is probably best for those who want to try new things and might not have time to cook regularly. You can keep the ingredients for a while so that you won’t feel the pressure of an aging meal kit sitting in your fridge.
Green Blender is probably the cheapest meal delivery service on our list at $4.99 per serving, but they don’t offer traditional meals. Instead, this is a juicing website that will send you the ingredients you can include in a smoothie.
The service is fantastic for the juicing fanatics out there. It will introduce you to a ton of new juicer recipes and supply you with all you need to create delicious and nutritious smoothies.
Smoothies are incredibly healthy for you. You actually get more nutritional value from consuming fruits and veggies this way. The blender or juicer breaks down the food, so your body doesn’t have to, which means you will absorb more of the vitamins and minerals.
We liked the variety from Green Blender. Their recipes routinely include superfoods like chia, matcha, camu, lucuma, rosehips, and other ingredients you might not be able to find at the local supermarket.
Of course, not every smoothie is going to be a hit. Some of them are downright disgusting, and it can be tough to tell whether or not one of the recipes is going to make you gag. There are more delicious recipes than there are disgusting ones.
Still, those who are new to the smoothie world might end up wasting an order or two on a smoothie they don’t like.
The Green Blender subscription works a lot like some of the others we’ve seen. Your order comes with five smoothies per week - a lot more than the full meal boxes we’ve reviewed, and you can cancel or suspend your subscription with proper notice.
We wanted to include Green Blender on our list of the cheapest meal delivery services because it fits the mold. It doesn’t give you full meals, but it offers nutrition in a box for a relatively low price. Those who want to inject some extremely healthy foods into their diet would do well to try Green Blender.
Before You Buy
Now that we’ve covered our picks for the cheapest meal delivery services, it’s time to find the best option for you. Budget is a large concern, but you’ll also have to think about some other personal choices when selecting your meal kit.
Here are a few things to think about before subscribing to one of the services we listed above.
Individual Meals Or Subscriptions?
One of the things you’ll have to think about is whether or not you want to subscribe to one of these services. Most of the options we included are subscription-based, but a few of them allow you to buy individual meal boxes from them as well.
Buying meals without subscribing will almost always cost you more money, but there’s no commitment. You’ll probably have to buy a minimum amount of food to cover the cost, and could get hit with a larger shipping charge.
Still, this is the way that some people prefer to use meal delivery kits. You can order some food when you want it without keeping track of a subscription. Like delivery services as a whole, you’ll be trading a bit of extra money for convenience.
Pre-Prepared or Cook Yourself
Another major consideration you need to make is whether you want pre-prepared meals or meals you have to cook yourself.
Buying pre-prepared meals is almost always more expensive than making it yourself, which makes sense. Like meal delivery services as a whole, you’ll be trading money for convenience.
Pre-prepared meals are undoubtedly the easiest way to go. All you have to do is pop them in the oven or microwave for a few minutes to heat it up, and you’ll be ready to enjoy.
There are several benefits to cooking food yourself outside of saving some money. Services that send you raw ingredients will teach you how to cook and follow a recipe. You can even add some of your own flare to the recipes you cook, and branch out over time.
Saving time is a huge component of meal delivery services. The other major part is increasing your meal variety and eating a more balanced diet.
Services that make you cook the food yourself will give you the tools you need to branch out on your own. You won’t rely on these services too heavily as you will with pre-prepared meals.
The decision is yours in this area. You’ll have to pick the type of meal delivery service that fits your needs, goals, and lifestyle.
We covered our list of some of the best and cheapest meal delivery services on the market, but that doesn’t mean they’re cheaper than making the food yourself.
You’ll be saving some money by picking one of the companies we’ve listed, but would save even more by buying the ingredients at the grocery store.
You should be aware that you’re trading money for convenience, here. Some dishes might work out to a similar price, but almost all of them will be more expensive.
Meal delivery services are best for busy individuals who don’t have time to shop, cook, and eat healthy meals. They’re not a reasonable way to save money if the alternative is cooking your own food.
The place where meal delivery services will save you money, though, is if you’re ordering takeout on a regular basis. Takeout is expensive and usually unhealthy. In this case, you will actually save a considerable amount of money by picking one of our cheap meal delivery services.