The spike in grocery prices is prompting many Canadians to look at their grocery bills, and some are reconsidering whether the sticker price of meal kits is worth the amount of time saved in the kitchen. One of the ways meal kits reduce costs is by cutting down on food waste, which is a common source of distress in household grocery bills. However, it is worth noting that waste from packaging foods can become an issue even for families who do not use meal kits.
If you are susceptible to impulse buying at the grocery store or find yourself with lots of ingredients left over that you never use, a meal kit can help you better plan meals and cut down on food waste. If you are finding that you are short on time but are also looking to save money while cooking at home, a meal delivery kit might be an excellent option to consider. If you are trying to reduce the amount of money you spend going out to eat, a meal delivery kit allows you to have a healthier, variety-filled meal with a minimum of fuss. The savings may come down to how much you plan on eating at home, if the meal delivery kit would reduce trips to the grocery store, and how many people are in your household.
Meal Kits in Canada, Are They Good?
Ordering your meals usually will not be cheaper than strategically buying groceries, but for $10 per meal, it can be easier to save money than eating out. In one case, a dinner with two servings was cheaper than its equivalent in a grocery store. For one person ordering three meals, served two per person, weekly costs could range between $60 and $70. Saving money on groceries takes time.
Ordering three two-person meal kits from a meal delivery service such as Home Chef costs about $40 a week or $7 a serving. At $40 per week, the cost of the meal kits is cheaper than eating out at any place other than a fast-food restaurant, but it is higher than the per-plate costs of fully cooked meals from a home kitchen. German-based meal-kit company HelloFresh touts its subscription-based meal kits at around $9 to $12 each, depending on the number of recipes and number of servings ordered, while meals from Chefs Plate run from $9 to $10.
I understand that some folks will judge ChefsPlate lower than HelloFresh for the aforementioned stated reasons; however, exotic and exciting meals are a priority in my household, and a somewhat cheaper price tag helps, too. The convenience of a meal delivery service is pretty appealing, and we are willing to pay a premium to get that — though, in our case, the premium may not be as high as it could be. For those who want convenience or looking to sample new meals, either HelloFresh or GoodFood are good options. As you will find out below, getting your meal kits delivered at home like HelloFresh and Goodfood might or might not work for you.
With the ability to miss one week or more (make sure you check the cutoff times of each service), it is difficult to come up with any drawbacks to having a meal kit delivery option available when you need it the most. Plus, you still have four more days to eat during the week, so you are either ordering multiple meal kits or going shopping. Not a week goes by where I do not come across some Meal Kit promotion, a free food voucher offering it for a subscription of service.
Are Meal Kits Worth it in Canada?
If you are not one to enjoy cooking at home (and would far prefer reaching for the grab-and-go menu at the end of a long day), having a Meal Kit delivered – and made ready in minutes – might seem appealing. Meal kits can take some pressure from planning/shopping for meals and get people excited about cooking healthier, more satisfying meals in the kitchen. While we like talking about grocery budgeting, growing your vegetables, earning money back on purchases, and cutting down on family expenses, the fact is that a shift toward meal kits seems destined to happen in Canada.
Estimates by the Agriculture-Food Analytics Lab suggest that Canada’s meal kit market could hit its high point in 2020, when 12.8% of households signed up for a service, falling today to about 8.4%. Try refreshing the browser, or estimates from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab show that today, the Canadian meal-kit market is probably worth around $1.1 billion, up from just $5 million just a decade ago. Moreover, according to Agri-Food Analytics Lab, of more than one-in-five Canadians who tried Meal Kits and then cancelled, a staggering 78.1% mentioned the high costs of dropping the service. In September, the Toronto-based marketing company worked with the consumer insights firm Vividata to survey 294 Canadians who are either currently subscribers, have used them on occasion, or had tried and dropped a meal-kit service within the last 12 months.
The report’s lead author, Sylvain Charlebois, suggests that some will trade off the convenience of meal kits and grocery delivery for entirely self-contained solutions, which are cheaper. More worryingly, food costs will also present a challenge to meal kit providers struggling to control costs in these uncertain times. Food delivered in bulk buy grocery stores or an online meal kit is expected to increase a little more by as much as eight percent. However, the cost of a week might still be lower than what an individual city dweller with an income will spend on fast food/takeout–and the food might be healthier.
Prices are usually in the $8-13 range per meal, per person, and you will still need to prep your meal before enjoying it and clean up afterward.
A recent report by Grand View Research, which analyzes trends in meal delivery services, says that meal kits are popular because of the growing preference for cooking at home versus going out to eat and the reduced waste and health benefits home-cooked meals provide.
Also, check out Money Saving Apps in Canada.