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Grocery Delivery vs. Meal Delivery

Instacart & Peapod Go Head-to-Head with HelloFresh & Blue Apron

Updated April 10, 2020

Instacart vs. Peapod vs. Prime Now

Everybody eats, which means going to the grocery store is one errand we all have to do. Or do we? With Instacart and Amazon Fresh bringing groceries straight to our doors and meal delivery companies like HelloFresh and Blue Apron, avoiding the grocery store is now a real option for many of us. But are these services worth it? And which one is best? 

The Groupon Coupons team breaks down the pros and cons of grocery delivery vs. meal delivery. We’ll answer the big questions, like: which grocery delivery service is the cheapest? Which one is the most convenient? And which one is the best choice for your family?

Grocery Delivery: Instacart, Peapod, Amazon Fresh & Many Grocery Stores

   Instacart Grocery Delivery    Peapod Grocery delivery    Amazon Fresh & Prime Now grocery delivery     Target Grocery Delivery     Walmart Grocery Delivery     Aldi Grocery Delivery

Pros

Having groceries delivered gives you the most control over what you eat because you pick out all the items.

It's so convenient! Save time and money, especially when compared to meal delivery services, but there are still fees. 

 

Most delivery services let you choose a time (within a window) of when the groceries will be delivered.

Cons

You still have to do all the meal planning, prepping, and cooking yourself, and you have to add items to your cart.

Almost every store has a fee for grocery delivery, so it is likely more expensive than shopping on your own. If you want to skip the aisles and the delivery fee, consider curbside pickup. It is usually free.

You likely need to be home when the groceries are delivered because they typically aren't packed to sit outside for any amount of time.

Instacart Delivery Fees

Amazon Fresh & Prime Now

 

Peapod Delivery fees

  • Delivery fees: $6.95–$9.95, depending on the size of your grocery bill (minimum order of $30)
  • Availability: Select states, including MD, VA, Washington, D.C., MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, and PA; see if your home is covered

Compare Instacart, Peapod, Amazon Fresh and other grocery delivery fees. 

 

Meal Delivery: HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef & others

   HelloFresh Meal Delivery    Blue Apron Meal Delivery    Home Chef meal delivery     Target Grocery Delivery     Walmart Grocery Delivery     Aldi Grocery Delivery

Pros

You don't have to spend much time meal planning—you just choose which meals sound best from the options given.


No food ruts: the menus are planned to offer a wide variety of cusines and flavors.

Less food waste! Meal delivery kits send you the exact amount of produce and other items you'll need so you aren't stuck buying a spice or produce that you won't use.

Cons

There are limited options. Plus all meal delivery service rely on you having pantry staples like olive oil, salt, and pepper, so you'll still need to go to the grocery store every once in a while.

It can be hard to find meals that work for everyone, especially if you have picky eaters or dietary restrictions in the family.

Meal kits come with the items you need to make that meal, so no snacks or desserts and likely few leftovers, so you'll still need to hit the grocery store.

Home Chef Costs

  • MENU & DELIVERY RESTRICTIONS ARE IN PLACE, BUT STILL TAKING ORDERS
  • Servings per Meal: 2, 4, or 6
  • Number of Meals (per week): 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6
  • Price: $9.95 per serving + $10 delivery fee  on $45 or less; free shipping on $45+
  • Special Menus: Vegetarian, low-calorie, gluten-free, nut-free, and low-carb recipes

ButcherBox Costs

  • NEW CUSTOMERS JOIN A WAITLIST TO ENSURE DEMAND IS MET 
  • What you get: 100% grass-fed beef, free range organic chicken and heritage breed pork
  • How it Works: You get to choose the type of meat and how much
  • Price: less than $6 per meal 

Dinnerly Costs

  • STILL TAKING NEW ORDERS
  • Servings per Meal: 2 or 4
  • Number of Meals (per week): 3
  • Price: $4.49 per serving + $8.99 delivery fee 
  • Special Menus: Vegetarian (sometimes), low calorie, and kid friendly
  • Need to Know: the menu options are more limited than other meal delivery services

 

Blue Apron Costs

  • REACHED CAPACITY IN RECENT WEEKS BUT EXPANDING DELIVERY OPTIONS
  • Servings per Meal: 2 or 4
  • Number of Meals (per week): 2, 3, or 4 (4 servings only)
  • Price: $7.49–$9.99 per serving + $7.99 delivery fee for some orders
  • Special Menus: Vegetarian & WW recipes

HelloFresh Costs

  • NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING NEW CUSTOMERS
  • Servings per Meal: 2 or 4
  • Number of Meals (per week): 2 or 3 (4 servings); 3 or 4 (2 servings)
  • Price: $7.49–$8.99 per serving + $7.99 delivery fee 
  • Special Menus: Vegetarian & low-calorie recipes

EveryPlate Costs

  • ACCEPTING NEW ORDERS
  • Servings per Meal: 2 or 4
  • Number of Meals (per week): 3, 4, or 5
  • Price: $4.99 per serving + $8.99 delivery fee
  • Special Menus: None, but the service offers 11 diverse options every week for you to choose from

 

 

The Verdict

So final answer time: is grocery delivery or meal delivery better? Honestly, it depends. The answer varies based on your dietary needs, your budget, and your time constraints. Some families will find the convenience of meal delivery most worthwhile, while others need to have more control over their nutrition.

Most convenient? Meal Delivery—everything you need to make a meal is delivered right to your door. It doesn't get much easier than that.

Most cost-effective? Grocery Delivery—take the guesswork out of your grocery bill by building it online. You can see your bill before checking out and add or subtract as needed. There are still fees for most delivery services, so consider curbside pickup to save even more.