Meal prep subscriptions are one of the hottest start up ideas in the market right now. Off the top of my head I can think of at least three; Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Home Chef. It makes so much sense; people gotta eat. All the steps that come before sitting down at the dinner table (food shopping, cooking, cleaning up) take up time, money and effort. Simplifying the process is a great way to change the industry and make some money.
But are meal prep subscriptions the right choice for you?
Why You Might Want One
They save time.
If you need to save time, cutting out grocery shopping is a great tactic. These services send the food right to your door, they pre-portion out what you’ll use, and they send your recipes (which you could then reuse if you want). No more wasting time at the grocery store or being frustrated when the store is out of something that you need.
They come straight to your door! With these services, you really can eliminate the question ‘what’s for dinner’ from your brain. You know what’s for dinner; someone else has chosen for you and gotten you started with prep. If you deal with decision fatigue, these services are super convenient.
They provide variety.
I don’t know about you, but left to my own devices, I eat the same three meals over and over again. If you’re someone who has basic kitchen skills and doesn’t spend time browsing Pinterest or cookbooks for recipes, you might have a routine diet. Meal prep subscriptions will shake up your eating habits and introduce you to new meals.
Why You Might Not Want One
They’re a bit costly.
If you’re looking to save money on food you almost certainly do not want a meal subscription. Buying seasonally, in bulk, and eliminating meat from your shopping will save you money at the grocery store. THe meal prep kits vary in their prices, but they can’t compete with a frugal food shopper. Home Chef is $9.95 per serving, while Plated runs $11.95 per serving. You can definitely eat cheaper per serving by doing yur own shopping and cooking.
They can create waste.
To be fair, all food shopping can create waste if you don’t eat the food before it goes bad. But if you have a hectic schedule, you’ll be wasting more expensive food if you let these services spoil. They also come with a ton of packaging, which is a lot of plastic and paper waste. Not great for the environment.
You don’t care about cooking.
If you’re not that interested in expanding your kitchen skills, a meal prep kit might not be for you. They do require time and attention to follow the recipe and make the food. They can send you the food, but if you’re not interested in making it, why bother?
I tried out Blue Apron last year and I decided that a meal prep subscription service isn’t for me. I fall under ‘doesn’t care about cooking.’ Cooking just isn’t a passion or interest of mine, so it doesn’t matter that these services send me interesting recipes or that they expand my palette.
However, if you’re interested in trying one, almost all of them offer a discount or free trial for new users. Try one out and see if it works for you!
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Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.