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Now is a hard time for everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic is literally changing the world and quite a few people must completely rethink their grocery shopping because of it. Today, more than at any time before, meal kits can be a great help to many families. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they are more expensive than shopping and cooking your meals yourself.
The question is are they worth the extra money?
There is not one answer that will fit all. But there are several factors that you need to consider when thinking about this. Taking all them into account would help you decide whether meal kits are worth it for your family.
Grocery shopping isn’t cheap, and it’s getting more expensive
About $890 a month, this is how much an average American family of four (two adults and two children) spends on food. And this number will grow depending on how old your children are. Also, this amount regularly increases, in general because of the changes in prices. The pace of this change varies depending on many factors. For example, in Canada, experts predicted that the average family grocery bill will increase by $500 in 2020, compared to 2019.
However, with the coronavirus pandemic these numbers are guaranteed to increase further. That’s because the crisis caused by quarantines in many countries drives food prices higher. As this situation will take a while to settle, shortages with food supply will become a real problem. Therefore, prices will continue growing.
That said, you also shouldn’t forget about how often people dine out or get takeout. A regular visit to your local diner might not seem like a big deal to you. However, it puts a significant dent in your budget (Six Dollar Family) over time.
All in all, the truth is that you are, most likely, spending a lot more on food than you realize. Therefore, rejecting meal kits on the basis that they are a little bit more expensive than grocery shopping is wrong. Do your calculations and you might be surprised by how little difference there is. In fact, families who dine out several times a week might learn that using meal kits can help them save money.
Meal kits aren’t all that expensive
It’s true that if you calculate the cost of groceries per meal, it will be lower than the cost of a meal kit. It’s not surprising because there is a lot of labor, packaging, and other services included in producing this kit and delivering it to your door. In fact, the delivery itself is rather costly.
Therefore, if you compare how much money you spend on home-delivered groceries, the difference with meal kits won’t be that high. Sadly, today delivery is the only safe method of shopping. After all, with the quarantine measures and compulsory social distancing, shopping has become a challenge. In the meantime, the average meal kit costs in Canada are about $10 per portion. And this number goes down as the number of portions increases. Therefore, families are able to get the most cost-efficient deal.
Also, when considering the cost of meal kits, you need to keep in mind that grocery shopping is more expensive than what’s in the cheque. You also need to consider the cost of gas if you need to drive to and from the shop. Next, evaluate the cost of the time you spend both doing the chopping and planning your meals and creating grocery lists.
All things considered, the average cost of a meal kit isn’t that high.
And don’t forget that food prices will continue to rise.
Meal kits deliver healthy foods to parents who don’t have time to cook
The most important advantage of using a meal kit for a family is that it makes cooking easy. This is most important for working parents who don’t really have the luxury of time. Therefore, they are often unable to make sure their kids get a healthy and well-balanced meal three times a day.
With a meal kit, you will only need about 30 minutes to make a nutritionally-balanced meal. All ingredients are prepped, so you can cook easily even when tired after a work day. Therefore, there is no need to subject your kids to foods, like frozen pizzas or mac-n-cheese from a box.
Meal kits do have limitations
For all that meal kits can be amazing, they aren’t perfect. The main limitation of this service is that you get only a few recipes to choose from. Leading companies in the industry do their best to keep their offerings diverse. However, they must often choose more affordable produce to keep their own prices low.
Therefore, any exotic meals with cool ingredients will be rare, if any at all. Also, recipes are bound to repeat themselves periodically. But it’s not like you don’t cook the same things at home every now and then.
The true problem is, however, the fact that meal kit companies usually have about 2-3 options of menu for the week. This means that sometimes you might not like any of the offers. Moreover, when buying for a family, one of you might not like the offer.
All in all, meal kits are limited by their very design. Therefore, it’s essential that you research providers’ menus in advance. Monitor them for several weeks to see how they change.
In Conclusion: Are Meal Kits Worth It?
You are the only one who can decide whether meal kits are worth it for your family. It’s true that they aren’t really cheap. However, if you are pressed for time but want to make sure your family eats healthy and nutritious meals, this subscription box service is worth the extra money. In fact, considering the quarantine, it might be worth it regardless of any cost differences. That’s because it’s available, safer, and easier to use than food deliveries from restaurants.