Blue Apron vs. Grocery Store Price Comparison Review

(Note: This post was sponsored by Blue Apron. Read our disclosure policy here.)

After my latest Blue Apron unboxing, many of you asked me how I think the prices compare to just shopping for the ingredients yourself. Truthfully, I have been really curious about this myself!

Because let’s be honest…most of us probably sign up for a meal delivery service like Blue Apron to save us time, not money. It’s convenient, and it can save a busy mama’s sanity during those weeks when you struggle to get a meal on the table.

Is Blue Apron grocery budget-friendly, though? That’s what I wanted to set out and discover for myself — and ultimately for all of you, my frugal-minded readers!

Blue Apron has many great things going for it:

  • The ingredients are very, very fresh. The ingredients were delivered in a refrigerated box and I was impressed with how fresh they were for being sent by UPS!
  • You get a choice in the kinds of recipes you want to receive (meat, fish, vegetarian, etc.)
  • There’s a fun variety of recipes and an opportunity to try new foods. Some of the ingredients that we’ve received in our boxes have been outside our usual fare. If you like to try new things, this is a great way to keep your meals fresh and varied!
  • There is no wasted food. They send you the exact amount of everything you need to make the recipe — so you don’t end up throwing out the extra food because you don’t have another recipe that calls for that ingredient before it goes bad!
  • They offer a large selection of different recipes — all that are between 500 and 800 calories each. They are always adding new recipes to their line-up and do not repeat any of the same recipes for at least a year.
  • All of the recipes can be made in 40 minutes or less. This seems like it’s pretty much right on.
  • They offer two types of plans — the 2-Person Plan and the Family Plan.
  • You can choose which day of the week your food is delivered to you.
  • There’s no long-term commitment once you sign up for Blue Apron. You can cancel your subscription or skip weeks at any time.
  • They are working to develop a sustainable food system and use high quality ingredients. Check out their vision page here.

In my opinion, though, one of the biggest drawbacks of Blue Apron — especially coming from a frugal background — is that the prices seem really, really expensive.

If your family loves to buy expensive and unique ingredients or you typically go out to dinner multiple times per week, Blue Apron will probably be guaranteed to save you money and help your family eat more healthfully. {And I’m cheering you on, because I’m all about doing what’s best for your family in your unique season of life!}

But I had a gut feeling that since we usually cook from scratch and make simple meals in our home, I could probably save more money buying all of the ingredients myself. So I did a price comparison…

I made the Chicken Schnitzel with Fingerling Potato Salad and Marinated Napa Cabbage. (I accidentally showed the pork for the other meal in the photo above, instead of the chicken needed for this recipe!)

Here are the price of the meal ingredients if I were to purchase them at Kroger (these are regular prices, not sale prices):

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts — $15.58 for 2 packages of Free-Range Organic Natural Chicken Breasts or $6.99 for a 3-pound bag of Kroger frozen chicken breasts (not at all as high of quality meat, but it would work) — in both cases, these would be a little bit more chicken than what they gave in the box
  • 1 cage-free farm egg — $0.23 (1 dozen Simple Truth Cage Free Eggs are $2.79)
  • 1 gala apple — $0.84
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs — $1.49 for a box of Private Selection Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 1 lb. fingerling potatoes — $2.99 (Kroger only had a 1.5 pound bag of Fingerling Potatoes for $3.99)
  • 1/2 pound red Napa cabbage — $2.99 (Kroger only had green Napa cabbage and it was $1.99 per pound, but you had to buy a head for $2.99)
  • 1 bunch chives — $2.29
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar — $1.69 per bottle
  • 1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds — $3.99 per jar (You may already have this in your cupboard.)
  • 1/4 cup mayo — $1.99 per container (You probably already have this in your fridge.)
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard — $1.19 per bottle (You probably already have this in your fridge.)

Total cost: Possibly as high as $32.98 + tax

Blue Apron Price for the same meal with ingredients shipped to your door: $35.96

Note: I’m not including the flour or olive oil in the price since you would more than likely have these in your pantry. Since you would more than likely use the eggs for something else, I only included the cost of the actual egg. And you likely already have the mayo and mustard and possibly the caraway seeds on hand, so you could remove that from the total.

You could also buy the less expensive chicken or find some of the items on sale, though I tried to go with store brands or the least expensive options in the prices shown above.

In addition, as you well know, I’m a big fan of planning meals based upon what is on sale at the store, what you have on hand, and what ingredients are regularly inexpensive. So I probably wouldn’t normally cook some of the Blue Apron meals because they require specialty ingredients that are expensive.

However, for some people, that also is what makes Blue Apron so fun — because you get to try new recipes, you get to cook with specialty ingredients that you might otherwise not ever buy, and you don’t have to mess with shopping for them or buying a big container of something only to use 2 Tablespoons!

In all honesty, I was surprised that the difference in price between buying the ingredients at the store and getting them shipped to your door from Blue Apron could be as little as only a few dollars difference. I would have expected the savings to be a lot more since you would are doing the work of planning and shopping yourself!

So if you are looking for convenience (having ingredients shipped to your door!), don’t want to mess with planning meals, you love trying new recipes and dishes, would rather eat at home than go out, and you have some wiggle room in your food budget, Blue Apron could be a great option to try out. And don’t forget to use the promo code below to save even more on your first order!

Would you like to try out Blue Apron?

The first 50 readers to sign up through this link will get three free meals with their first Blue Apron order. Just click here to sign up!

After your first Blue Apron order, there’s no long-term commitment. You can cancel your subscription or skip weeks at any time!

Have you tried Blue Apron before? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it!

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