At this point, we have probably all heard of HelloFresh. For those who have not, HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service. I decided to try it because, since quarantine, I became tired of fast food, tired of cooking the same 8 recipes I know by heart, and finally, as I have mentioned in every food-related post, I hate grocery shopping.
HelloFresh seemingly would take care of all of my problems. When I searched Youtube videos for reviews, they were mostly sponsorships and paid content. The others were not as favorable. I knew it couldn’t be that good but was it that bad? Here are my thoughts on the service for anyone that wants an impartial opinion.
DO NOT PAY FULL PRICE FOR YOUR FIRST SET OF BOXES. I cannot stress this enough. There are tons of coupon codes all over the internet for HelloFresh. The number of coupons that were sent to my home before I even signed up was insane. Most of the coupons are $80-100 off of the first 5 boxes. The bulk of the discount is taken off of the first two boxes. After that, it equals about $10 off of the remaining three. I continued after the initial discount concluded and the boxes equaled anywhere between $65-80 per week.
The base price included 4, two serving meals with basic ingredients. There is also an option to upgrade to gourmet meals that adds an extra $5 per serving. One thing I felt was a little sneaky is how they add the shipping. HelloFresh gives you the price of the box only when checking out. They put in the print that shipping will be added to that price. They even process the shipping separately when charging your account. That skews the customer’s view about how much they are actually paying.
The website is extremely easy to navigate. There is a calendar that has all of the projected recipe options up to a month out. If I needed to skip a week, it was very simple to do so and you are even able to undo it. The website also contains the full nutrition facts for every recipe. Since I am also doing Weight Watchers, I was happy I did not have to estimate the nutrition facts. To my surprise, it was also very easy to cancel.
Typically, subscription services will let you sign up online but force you to call or chat into the customer service line to cancel. That is the ultimate money grab since most people forget to cancel until the last minute. With HelloFresh, all you have to do is click a button and it is canceled. I also had to chat into customer service once and that was also a very pleasant experience (more on that below).
The delivery is through FedEx which is perfect. You have the option to select the delivery day and the delivery window is between 8 am and 8 pm. The food comes packaged in an insulator with two giant ice packs. The meats are put directly under the ice to preserve them. All of the other ingredients are packed in brown paper bags separated by recipe. One issue that I did run into was the boxes being incomplete. My first box was missing the fish for one of the meals and I was given chicken ravioli instead of plain cheese.
When I mentioned to customer service that I was missing something from my box, they ended up giving me a coupon for $20 off of a non-discounted box. My last box had an extra beef tenderloin that shouldn’t have been added at all. In fact, it is still sitting in my refrigerator because I do not want to waste it, but my household does not eat red meat. If they mess up recipes this often, it seems like the company would end up losing money. The recipes are printed on cardstock so they can be reusable. However, the recipe cards don’t include the ingredient portions so when I make the recipes again, I will have to guess.
The recipes are simple. I was able to cook and eat all of the recipes during my meal break at work. The longest recipe I had took 45 minutes to prepare. The recipe cards have pictures with the written instructions underneath. Some of the written instructions are incomplete, though. For example, one recipe instructed to only use half of the seasoning because the rest should be used in a later step. Only the later step never came. A beginner cook might have struggled, but I made it through. I was very impressed by the taste. After about two months of recipes, I only had one recipe that was mediocre.
It was a mushroom pasta that was simply flavorless. Aside from that disaster, the others were delicious! My favorite recipe was a scallop risotto with truffle oil. One thing I noticed is the sodium content of some of the recipes. All of the enchilada style options are loaded with sodium. I was shocked to see that one had over 2000mg! I stopped adding the recommended salt to the meals after the first week. If you are interested in Hellofresh and have any type of dietary restrictions, make sure you read the nutrition facts before settling in on a recipe!
Overall, I enjoyed HelloFresh. It can be a little expensive but it is worth it if just for two people. It gets a bit pricey for a family size box. I ended up spending about $20 more per week than if I had just grocery shopped. However, the fact that I had a different meal every day instead of leftovers for the week made it feasible. Also, I noticed we did not eat as much fast food as we usually do. I now have a collection of recipes I can recreate and modify.
The fresh ingredients were the biggest draw for me. Even something as simple as using fresh garlic instead of the already minced kind added so much flavor to the food. Another perk to Hellofresh is that they added samples to the boxes. In addition to my meals, I often had an energy bar or drink of some sort to test out. If you are on the fence, give it a shot. You can cancel at any time and there is no obligation to finish out the discounted boxes.