Meal Delivery vs Grocery Shopping

Picture this: you’re hungry after a long day of work.

What do you do? Do you hop in the car and head to the grocery store? Or do you stay cozy at home and wait for a tasty meal to come knocking on your door? Ever wondered which option is better for your routine?

Today, we’re comparing meal delivery vs grocery shopping to help you decide. They’re both ways to get yummy food, but they’re a bit different. There are many factors to consider, such as price, time savings, and even food waste. Let’s explore the benefits of meal delivery and compare it to going grocery shopping!

Meal Delivery Service vs Grocery Shopping: Cost Breakdown

One of the most relevant aspects of this comparison is pricing. Is it more cost-effective to rely on meal delivery services or stick to grocery shopping?

Meal Delivery

With a meal delivery service, you either pay per meal or choose a subscription plan. The meal cost varies, but it’s usually between $5 to $15. It all depends on the service and the type of meal you order. We recommend reading meal delivery service comparison guides to find out which one fits you better.

Want to save more money? It’s possible to choose a subscription plan instead of paying for each meal. You might pay a weekly or monthly fee. Once again, the price can vary a lot depending on how many meals you want per week. 

Gobble offers a classic plan, lean & clean plan, and vegetarian plan. Each ingredient comes separately, pre-chopped, and measured. You’ll combine the ingredients together to cook your meal in 15 minutes or fewer.

With Gobble, it’s easy to eat healthy on a budget by customizing your meals. If you want, you can remove gluten or dairy from your meals. You can even double up on protein to make sure you’re hitting your macros!

Remember, every meal service is different. Some services charge a delivery fee, which can range from $0 (in some offers) to $10 per delivery. You’ll want to keep this in mind when you’re budgeting food expenses for the month.

Grocery Shopping

When you go to the grocery store, you buy ingredients to make your meals at home. The price of ingredients varies depending on what you’re eating.

Zippia reports that the average two-person household spends between $510 and $820 on groceries each month.

Don’t forget: time is valuable, too

Your expenses for gas depend on where you live and how close you are to a grocery store. NASDAQ research shows that the average shopper spends $83.20 driving to the grocery store roundtrip each year. 

Meal Delivery Service vs Grocery Shopping: Saving Time

Want to save time on mealtime? Let’s compare meal delivery vs grocery shopping. We want to help you reclaim more precious moments in your day!

Meal Delivery

Delivery time will vary based on your location. It depends on your distance to each meal delivery service’s distribution centers. If you opt for a plan, the kits will likely arrive together in an insulated box on the default delivery day of your choosing.

Most meal delivery services offer a quick and easy ordering process. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to select your meals and place your order online or through an app.

Depending on the meal delivery service, cooking time can vary. But most meals from delivery services are designed to be quick and easy to prepare. 

With Gobble, you will spend 15 minutes cooking—that’s it! It saves you so much time when you don’t have to make meals from scratch.

Grocery Shopping

Going to the grocery store takes time. NASDAQ reports that the average American spends 41 minutes in the grocery store. It takes more time if it’s a busy day or if you’re looking to select fresh ingredients.

Don’t forget about the time it takes to drive to and from the store. This could add another 30 minutes or more to your shopping trip. Once again, it all depends on how far the store is from your home.

When you get home, you still need to wash, chop, and prepare the ingredients before cooking. This can take another 30 minutes to an hour. It depends on the complexity of your meals.

Meal Delivery Service vs Grocery Shopping: Food Waste

Here’s a food waste fact for you…

Every time we eat, we’re not just filling our bellies. We’re also making choices that affect the environment. Choosing between meal delivery and grocery shopping is an opportunity to go green. 

Meal Delivery

Meal delivery services often provide pre-portioned ingredients. This means you get what you need for each meal. It helps prevent overbuying and reduces the chance of food going bad before you can use it. There are usually no leftovers to worry about. 

(Want to go the extra mile? You can still learn how to use your food scraps for sustainability.)

Also, ingredients from meal delivery services are typically fresh and high-quality. This reduces the likelihood of them spoiling.

Grocery Shopping

When you buy groceries in-store, you may buy too many of certain ingredients accidentally. This happens especially if they come in big packages or bundles. This can lead to food waste and leftovers if you don’t use everything before it goes bad.

It’s easy to forget about perishable items in the pantry or fridge. Even if you follow a good fridge organization guide, it can still happen. This can lead to them expiring before you have a chance to use them.

Meal Delivery vs Grocery Shopping: Pros and Cons

Meal Delivery 

Meal delivery services are a popular cooking hack these days—thanks to their convenience and time-saving benefits. Take a closer look at some of the pros and cons:


  • Become a Better Chef: Gobble provides pre-portioned ingredients along with easy-to-follow recipes. You will improve your cooking skills and learn new techniques. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of meal planning and recipe hunting.
  • No Shopping Time: Skip the grocery store altogether. Say goodbye to wandering aisles and waiting in checkout lines.
  • It’s a Great Gift: Meal delivery services often offer the option to send meals to someone as a gift. It’s a thoughtful way to show you care about friends and family. This is especially kind during busy or challenging times.
  • Less Food Waste: You get what you need for each meal—no more, no less. This benefit minimizes the chance of ingredients spoiling before you can use them.
  • Healthy Diet Made Easy: Meal delivery services ensure you’re getting balanced, nutritious meals—no need for extensive research and planning.
  • Easy to Transition Into a Plant-Based Diet: Trying out a vegetarian lifestyle? Exploring the world of keto? Meal delivery services are a great way to try out a new diet. No need to commit to a complete lifestyle change.


  • Costs: Meal delivery services can be pricey. They’re more expensive than cooking meals from scratch or grocery shopping. 
  • Limited Options: There’s less flexibility in choosing exactly what you want to eat each day. That’s why it’s recommended to choose a customizable meal service.
  • Packaging Waste: Meal services often come with a lot of packaging. This can contribute to environmental concerns. If the packaging isn’t recyclable or eco-friendly, it can lead to waste.
  • Dependency: Relying on meal delivery services can make you dependent on convenience foods.

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping has long been a staple of meal preparation. It offers a wide range of ingredients and flexibility. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons:


  • Seasonal Eating: Grocery stores provide access to a variety of seasonal produce. This allows you to incorporate fresh, local ingredients into your meals.
  • Learning to Cook: You’ll develop valuable skills to enhance your culinary prowess. But a good meal delivery service also sends recipes that teach you how to cook like a chef at home.
  • Flexibility and Control: Grocery shopping offers complete control over the ingredients you purchase. This is not true with meal delivery. This allows you to tailor your meals to your tastes, dietary preferences, and budget.
  • Opportunity for Creativity: Grocery shopping encourages creativity in the kitchen. Experimenting with new ingredients, flavors, and recipes can be fun! It’s a rewarding experience that leads to delicious culinary creations.
  • Learning Experience: Navigating grocery store aisles can be an educational experience. It teaches you about different food products. It’s an opportunity to expand your culinary knowledge. You’ll become more confident in the kitchen!


  • Need for Kitchen/Food Knowledge: Cooking from scratch requires kitchen and food knowledge. For example, you should know how to select and store fresh herbs, otherwise you’ll waste a lot of food. It can be overwhelming for those lacking culinary experience.
  • Time and Effort: Planning meals, making a shopping list, navigating the aisles, and hauling groceries home… these all call for time and effort. For busy people, committing time to grocery shopping can be a significant drawback.
  • Recipe Research and Planning: Grocery shopping requires you to plan your meals. For example, it can be really time-consuming to choose the best protein source for your recipe. You need to research and plan this ahead of time.
  • Potential for Waste: Without proper planning and storage, groceries can spoil. This leads to food and financial losses. Purchasing ingredients in large quantities can result in unused items going to waste.

Which Works Best For Your Lifestyle?

If you are asking yourself, “Are meal delivery services worth it?” The answer depends on personal preferences, lifestyle, and culinary goals. If you value convenience and saving time, meal delivery services are a great fit.

Choosing a meal delivery service also won’t stop you from creating your own dishes. For example, you can stock up on must-have pantry spices to enrich your meals.

Do you enjoy the flexibility and creativity of cooking at home? Grocery shopping might be more suitable. 

But remember, you’ll need to set aside time to brush up on your cooking skills! For example, you can:

In the meal delivery vs grocery shopping debate, there are many factors to consider. You should think about your schedule, budget, dietary preferences, and cooking proficiency. The most important thing is finding a method that works best for you and helps you enjoy delicious meals.

Ready to give meal delivery a go? Gobble is the best service for quick, convenient dinners in 15 minutes or less.CTA: Try Gobble Today

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