As we continue to manage the COVID-19 outbreak, finding
ways to safely buy groceries has become the new normal. Necessities like flour and toilet paper running low, hour-long lines to get into the grocery store, or forgoing shopping trips to get groceries delivered have become routine. If you’re looking for ways to get groceries when delivery slots are full, food subscription boxes may be the solution you seek.
While much of the country continues sheltering-in-place, the need for food and grocery delivery services has skyrocketed. However, shopping services like
Instacart have workers going on strike due to unsafe working conditions and unfair pay. Fortunately, there are still ways to get groceries without crossing the picket line.
With their increased popularity in recent years, food subscription services now run the gamut from standard at-home meal kits to
gourmet meals you can make at home to wine delivery boxes to hyper-specific snacking options. Of course, food subscription boxes aren’t always the most cost-effective alternative to buying groceries in-store. While a $14.99 meal at-home may be comparable to what you could get at a restaurant, that’s a steep increase from the couple of dollars a meal made from groceries would cost. With that in mind, here are nine relatively affordable food subscription boxes when you aren’t able to get a slot on grocery delivery. 1 Hello Fresh
If you’ve listened to even one podcast, you’ve likely heard an ad for
Hello Fresh. It’s the self-described “#1 meal delivery kit” that sends you pre-portioned ingredients for one of their recipes. It’s most ideal if you have trouble getting through fresh produce before it goes bad, something that may be difficult to avoid while buying groceries in bulk. Cost: $8.99 per serving + $7.99 shipping. A two-person plan for three meals a week costs about $62 a week. 2 Urthbox
Want to avoid extra trips to the store for between-meal snacks?
Urthbox sends you a box of healthy, organic snacks and beverages every month so you can stop weighing whether getting a bag of ships is worth sanitizing yourself. Cost: $24.99/month for a small box which includes about 14 different snacks. Box sizes range from mini (7+ snacks/month) to large (27+ snacks/month) and you can choose between a one-month, three-month, six-month, or year-long subscription. 3 Nature Box
Similar to Urthbox,
Nature Box is a healthy snack subscription service. They’ve got savory snacks like cheddar lentil loops and sweet snacks like peanut butter maca cookies. Plus, you can get your first month completely free if you’re trying Nature Box for the first time. If it’s not your thing, you can cancel your membership with no charge before your 30-days are up. Cost: $30/year for membership. Similar to grocery delivery, you pick the snacks you want and pay the price of each snack. Cost varies depending on what you choose, but there’s free delivery on orders over $25 and you earn a $5/month credit (or $60/year). So, you essentially get your membership fee back in snacks. 4 Dinnerly Dinnerly calls itself the “most affordable meal delivery service” with meals starting at $4.49 per serving. They’ve got vegetarian options as well if you’re trying to stay no-meat. Cost: $38.93/week for a two-person box with three meals. That includes the $8.99 shipping fee. 5 Blue Apron Scott Eisen/Getty Images News/Getty Images Blue Apron is the OG meal delivery service. Their meal kits range from easy one-pan dinners to more adventurous meal options. Again, if you’ve listened to even one podcast, you’ve heard an ad for Blue Apron. Cost: $7.49 per serving. 6 Veestro
If you’re looking for plant-based options,
Veestro has you covered. For those less experienced in the kitchen, there’s a Chef’s Choice plan that selects recipes for you. If you want more autonomy, you can select the meals you want to cook through their A La Carte subscription. Cost: the most basic options are $11.70/meal for 10 meals A La Carte or $117 for 10 meals distributed over 2 weeks using the Chef’s Choice plan. 7 Boxed Boxed is like a Costco delivery with even more variety. They’ve got groceries, snack items, and other home goods supplies. They’ve even got a “stay at home” section with all the motivation you need to stay sheltered-in-place: wine, Uno, and brownie mix. Cost: $49/year for a BoxedUp membership, which includes benefits like free shipping on every order and cashback. But there’s no membership fee to shop Boxed. You just pay per item as per usual. 8 Imperfect Foods
Having trouble finding fresh produce? Enter
Imperfect Foods. As its name suggests, it’s a delivery service that sends fruits and veggies that aren’t deemed fit for stores. That could be for reasons like there was too much of that particular food or because it was too “ugly”—beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my pretty little produce. Cost: a fairly basic plan for two people can run $33/week. That box includes 11-13 lbs of produce, 2-4 snack items, and 2-4 grain-based items. You can add/remove types of items as you see fit like their meat and fish pack or their dairy pack. 9 Home Chef Home Chef’s meals include options for quick dinners, protein packs, and classic dishes. You get to select which meals you want delivered and customize your plate by swapping out items, upping the serving size, or doubling the protein. Cost: starts at $6.99/serving but varies depending on meal options. A basic two-person plan for three meals runs about $60/week. We are shining a spotlight on some of the millions of small businesses now challenged by COVID-19. This is part of an ongoing commitment our parent company, Bustle Digital Group, is making to support small businesses throughout the entire month of May. Tell us about your favorite small business on social media using #SmallBusinessSalutes.