HelloFresh Review: Is This Meal Delivery Service Worth It?
There’s nothing like a freshly home cooked meal but with our busy lives, it can often be tempting to put away the recipe book and reach for the take-out menu instead. Which is where meal delivery subscription services are increasingly stepping in. For a set fee, you get all the ingredients you need to cook a delicious, healthy meal delivered directly to your door. And with an estimated 10 million Americans subscribing to these easy-cook meal boxes, there seems to be no stopping the rise in their popularity.
Launched back in 2012, HelloFresh has become one of the largest – and most popular – meal box delivery services in the US. In this review, we take a look at what makes HelloFresh tick and ask the question: is this meal delivery service worth it?
How Does HelloFresh Work?
Imagine a chilled box of fresh ingredients, carefully measured out to the exact recipe, which is easy to follow and included in the package, and then delivered directly to your home. No planning, no need to shop at the grocery store and with just the minimal amount of prep and chopping, you can go from delivery box to freshly cooked dinner, all within 30 minutes. In a nutshell, that is exactly how HelloFresh works.
As a leading meal delivery service, HelloFresh is a meal subscription program aimed at people who want to eat a delicious home-cooked meal but don’t have the time, energy, or ability to cook anything too long-winded or complicated. There are a range of meal plans to choose from and the culinary ‘pitch point’ is in the TV dinner territory, albeit fresh, healthier, tasty, and super-easy to put together. You can pick from meal plans for two or four people and order weekly for how many meals you require that week, selecting from a changing menu of around 20 recipes. Certain dietary preferences are also catered for, including vegetarian, low calorie, and family-friendly.
Then you let HelloFresh do all the hard work and wait for your orders to arrive, in a chilled box with all the fresh ingredients and ready for you to follow the included recipe card. All you need to supply is salt, pepper, and oils if required. Oh, and around half an hour of your own cooking time. And, as it is a weekly subscription service, you can also cancel or pause your subscription whenever you need to.
How To Sign Up For HelloFresh?
The sign up for HelloFresh is actually fast and really easy and is all done online so you can access your account at any time via your phone, tablet, laptop or PC. To get started you simply need to add in your email, delivery address and your payment details then choose the type of meal plan you want, for how many people and the days of the week you would like it delivered – customers can select between two and six meals per week. You then order from the selection of recipes available that week for your meal plan and that’s you done. And, as you order week to week, rather than on a monthly basis, like some other meal delivery services, you can actually cancel your subscription as long as it is before your weekly cut-off point for delivery. And we also like the fact that you can postpone your weekly HelloFresh meals if you are away or on holiday so a good level of customer service and flexibility.
Types of Meal Box Food Options
HelloFresh offer four types of meal kits – ‘meat & veggies’, ‘veggies’, ‘family friendly’ (which includes meals to appeal to the younger taste buds) and ‘low calorie’, which provides dietician-approved meals of around 650 calories each. All four meal box options come complete with all the fresh and dry ingredients you need, carefully measured to avoid food waste and the easy to follow recipe cards.
Once you have picked your meal box option, you can then choose how many people the meal plan is for – two people (ideal for single people or couples) or four people (great for families).
The recipes for each meal box option is carefully tailored to ensure you get the right balance of fresh and healthy meals and each week and the menu list changes to keep you inspired. Typical meals include veggie burrito bowls, beef tenderloin with mustard sauce, Tex Mex shrimp, crispy cheddar chicken, BLT burgers with herby aioli and mustard soy salmon – just choose a recipe for each HelloFresh meal you have ordered for that week and you are all set to get cooking when your meal box arrives.
How Much Does HelloFresh Cost?
Compared to other meal box subscription services, HelloFresh is certainly not the cheapest but with its top price meal currently coming in at $8.99 it is by no means the most expensive, as some other services can charge up to £11.99 or more. The cost per meal does depend on how many you order per week, but with HelloFresh, you will pay between $7.49 and $8.99 per serving depending on your plan, plus $7.99 shipping. So, if you are ordering three meals per week for two people, that will be $8.99 per meal, meaning a total weekly cost, including delivery, of $61.93.
Compared to shopping for yourself and rooting out those great grocery store deals, HelloFresh is more expensive but you are paying for the convenience of someone else shopping and planning for you, and it is cheaper than eating out at a restaurant so if you are looking to try a home delivery meal box service, it is worth factoring all of this in. And the beauty of HelloFresh is that you can order a meal just a couple times a week and are not tied in beyond that week so you could also view the Hello Fresh meal service as a weekly or even monthly treat.
HelloFresh Pros and Cons
Balancing convenience and ease of cooking with cost and your own dietary needs and lifestyle, you may still be unsure as to whether a meal delivery subscription service is really for you. While on paper it may look impressive, services such as HelloFresh are not for everyone, so we take a look at the pros and cons to help you decide:
Sheer convenience – this has to be one of the biggest attractions to meal services such as HelloFresh and they don’t disappoint. Each chilled food box is delivered straight to your front door and contains quality ingredients as well as easy to follow instructions on how to cook a healthy and fresh meal. The ingredients are also carefully weighed so there is little waste. And accessing the service is very quick and easy to do, with an effective website and customer service that helps you to plan and manage your personal weekly meal orders.
Easy to follow, even if you don’t think you can cook – HelloFresh have put a lot of thought into how they package and present their meal boxes and recipe cards so that even if you have little experience in the kitchen, you will able to whip up a delicious meal in no time. The recipes are even graded by level of difficulty so that you can progress to more complicated recipes as you build up your cooking confidence. And if you don’t have too much time to spend in the kitchen, each meal will take no longer than 30-40 minutes to cook.
Meal variety – HelloFresh rotate their recipes each week so there should be enough meals to whet your appetite, although some recipes are repeated more often than others. However, with the four meal plan options on offer, there is a good balance and you shouldn’t feel short-changed if you are a vegetarian or have opted for the family-friendly package.
The meals are pretty healthy – yes, they may be trying to replace the microwave meal or supermarket-bought TV dinner but overall, the recipes provided by HelloFresh are healthy without compromising on taste. You also get a balance of carb-rich and lower carb recipes so you can opt for a lighter supper or a more substantial meal. And we like the clear ingredient labeling so you can get full nutritional facts and calorie amounts as well as any allergen information.
No penalties for canceling – as a weekly subscription service, you are not tied into a longer-term contract or commitment and you can cancel or pause your weekly delivery at any time (as long as you do it before the cut-off for delivery).
Limited options for dietary restrictions – other than vegetarian and calorie-counted, HelloFresh doesn’t provide additional options for those who need to follow a vegan or gluten, dairy, or nut-free diet. It does, however, disclose the main allergens (wheat, milk, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish) on all its recipe labeling and you can choose to omit certain fresh ingredients such as pork, beef or seafood.
Restricted serving options – the current HelloFresh meal options are for two and four people so if you live by yourself you must still order for two people. And for larger families (over four) it can be costly to get the portions to suit as you will need to order multiple boxes.
It isn’t the gourmet choice – while the recipes are graded and increase in skill difficulty, these are still everyday meals and can be a bit on the basic side if you are already an accomplished cook. So, if you are looking for something a little more sophisticated, HelloFresh may not be the right subscription service for you.
It is portion-controlled – each meal box comes with measured ingredients which those with larger appetites may find on the smaller side. For most of us, portion-control is a good thing, but some may find the final meals leave them wanting just a little more.
The cost – as with most meal kit delivery services, HelloFresh can be expensive, especially when you compare the per meal prices to the cost of doing the food shop and meal-planning for yourself. And for large families, the cost of the meal kit delivery service can mount up. But you are saving on time and you are also paying for the convenience which could well be your deal-breaker.
Is HelloFresh Worth It?
When it comes to whether HelloFresh is worth it, it really does come down to your own preferences and how important convenience is to you. The recipe choice is good, the online ordering service easy to use, and the meals are pretty healthy, fun, and quick to do – and the overall verdict is that they are tasty and fresh. But the cost per meal is on the expensive side so this may be the deciding factor, especially as the options to tailor meal quantities for single people or large families isn’t currently there. And there is a cap on the maximum number of meal kit deliveries you can order per week.
However, as a meal replacement when you need it, a cheaper alternative to eating out or reaching for the dial-up takeaway menu, even as a go-to for when family life gets too busy or if you want to learn how to cook healthier, everyday meals without the full commitment to an ongoing delivery service, HelloFresh is definitely worth checking out.