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Posted by on Jan 16, 2019 in Grocery, Seasonal & Events | 1 comment

HelloFresh vs. Whole Foods: Which One Will Save You the Most Money?

Is your New Year’s resolution to spend more time in the kitchen this year? Deciding on the best cooking strategy for you is an important decision.

Should you invest in premium-priced groceries from Whole Foods, or is it better to take a streamlined approach with a meal-kit delivery service like HelloFresh? This post will compare the price of ingredients at Whole Foods to several HelloFresh Recipes to help you determine which strategy will save you more money over the next year.

Comparing Prices for Whole Foods and HelloFresh

To start, let’s look at what’s included in four recipes from HelloFresh to see how this meal plan’s pricing compares to buying the same ingredients from Whole Foods. For the sake of comparison, each chart includes a breakdown of how much each ingredient would cost the per-recipe cost at Whole Foods.

Because HelloFresh is a subscription service, the cost for each meal is the same and only varies based on how many meals they deliver each week: two, three or four. As such, the two meal a week plan costs $23.96 per meal, the three meal a week plan costs $19.98 per meal, and the four meal a week plan costs $17.91 per meal.

Note: For continuity, all Whole Food prices are based on Chicago locations.

Recipe 1: Hearty Steak and Potatoes: $11.49 vs. $17.91-$23.96

This recipe combines the flavors of cabbage, potatoes, and cranberries in a hearty, New England-inspired dinner.

Ingredients Whole Foods Price Whole Foods Price Per Recipe (2 servings)
12 ounces sirloin steak $6.99 per pound $5.24
1-ounce soy sauce $2.99 per 10 ounces $0.29
¼ ounce rosemary $2.99 per ½ ounce $1.49
4 ounces red cabbage $3.68 per head $0.99
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar $3.99 per 12 ounces $0.33
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar $2.99 per 17 ounces $0.18
16 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes $.99 per pound $0.99
1 yellow onion $0.71 each $0.71
1 teaspoon mustard seeds $1.99 per ½ ounce $0.66
1-ounce cranberry jam $5.39 per 9 ounces $.60
Total: $32.65 $11.48


 Recipe 2: One-Pan Tropical Chicken Tacos: $11.61 vs. $17.91-$23.96

This Hawaiian-infused taco dinner boasts a warm and spicy flavor and quick cleanup.

Ingredient Whole Foods Price Whole Foods Price Per Recipe
1 shallot $0.96 each $0.96
¼ ounce cilantro $0.99 per pound $0.02
4 ounces pineapple $6.49 per pound $1.62
½ tablespoon blackening spice $2.99 per 2 oz $0.37
4 tablespoons sour cream $2.99 per 16 ounces $0.37
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar $2.99 per 17 ounces $0.18
6 flour tortillas $2.69 for 8 $2.02
1 bell pepper $0.65 each $0.65
1 lime $0.40 each $0.40
10 ounces chicken stir-fry $7.99 per pound $4.94
1 teaspoon hot sauce $2.49 per 5 ounces $0.08
Total: $31.63 $11.61


 Recipe 3: Rosemary Mustard Sirloin Steaks: $24.17 vs. $17.91-$23.96

Based on its rich demi-glaze flavor, this French-inspired recipe offers plenty of meat per serving.

Ingredient Whole Foods Price Whole Foods Price Per Recipe
16 ounces brussels sprouts $4.99 per pound $4.99
4 cloves garlic $1.80 per head $0.90
4 tablespoons sour cream $2.99 per 16 ounces $0.37
1/4-ounce rosemary $3.99 per ounce $0.99
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard $3.99 per 8 ounces $0.42
24 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes $.99 per pound $1.49
1 lemon $0.79 each $0.79
28 ounces sirloin steak $6.99 per pound $12.23
Beef demi-glaze $1.99 per package $1.99
1 teaspoon chili flakes $5.99 per ounce $0.33
Total: $46.37 $24.17


 Recipe 4: Smothered Pepper Jack Burgers: $22.63 vs. vs. $17.91-$23.96

Burger fans will appreciate the blend of cheesy pepper jack and sautéed peppers and onions on each patty.

Ingredient Whole Foods Price Whole Foods Price Per Recipe
4 sweet potatoes $0.26 each $1.04
2 green peppers $0.65 each $1.30
20 ounces ground beef $7.99 per pound $9.99
2 teaspoon hot sauce $2.49 per 5 ounces $.49
2 yellow onions $0.71 each $1.42
4 tablespoons sweet and smoky BBQ seasoning $3.99 per 2 ounces $3.99
1 cup pepper jack cheese $6.99 per pound $1.75
4 potato buns $5.29 per 8 $2.65
Total: $33.19 $22.63

Which Is Cheaper: Whole Foods or HelloFresh?

What can we learn from this data? Of the four recipes we looked at, two (Hearty Steak and Potatoes and One-Pan Tropical Chicken Tacos) are priced around $11.50 for two servings for Whole Foods ingredients, which is significantly cheaper than the price of a HelloFresh delivery.

The other two recipes (Rosemary Mustard Sirloin Steaks and Smothered Pepper Jack Burgers) both cost between $22-$25 for the ingredients from Whole Foods, which makes them slightly more expensive than signing up for a three or four-meal weekly plan from HelloFresh, and about the same price as signing up for just two meals per week.

The primary difference in meal pricing between Whole Foods and HelloFresh seems to be linked to protein size. The two HelloFresh recipes that included a large portion of meat were significantly better values than buying the same serving sizes at Whole Foods, while the two dishes that focused on chicken and vegetables were cheaper at Whole Foods.

However, Whole Foods’ prices must be looked at in context, as it’s usually not possible to limit your purchase size to a single recipe’s quantity. Instead, we found that you’ll be spending between $30-$45 for the ingredients for each meal if you don’t already have them. While some people appreciate buying in larger quantities, others will prefer the convenience of HelloFresh’s precise portion sizes.

So, what does this mean for saving money on your grocery bill?

HelloFresh becomes a better deal the more meals you commit to each week, and we found that the dishes with the most red meat are the biggest bargain.
If you love to fill your plate with veggies and don’t see yourself ordering more than two meals a week, we think you’ll save money by sticking to shopping at Whole Foods.

If, in contrast, you plan to eat HelloFresh meals three or four times per week and prefer dishes centered around steak and hamburger, there’s a good chance HelloFresh makes more sense for your budget.

Finally, if the convenience of a home-delivery is a selling point for you, keep in mind that Whole Foods delivers across much of the United States for $3.99-$5.99 per order. A quick zip code search should let you know whether home delivery is an option in your region.

Valpak: Helping You Make Smarter Shopping Decisions

When it comes to sourcing meal ingredients affordably, there’s a lot of factors to consider. At Valpak, we want to help you make the best decision possible by offering you access to deals hard to find elsewhere. Find discounts and grocery coupons that save you money at the checkout line, head to

Lydia Noyes is a health, wellness, and lifestyle reporter for who focuses on ways to live a healthier, more sustainable life. She received a bachelor’s in Environmental Studies from Calvin College and her writing work has been featured in Mother Earth News Magazine, Natural Living Ideas, and dozens of other websites, including her personal site


1 Comment

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