(This review has been updated since first published and will continue to be so).
HelloFresh is one of the largest meal kit delivery companies and one of the most ubiquitous as far as coupons are concerned. Indeed, it was the first company I subscribed to as I still had one of the coupons I’d gotten with other online deliveries. The company is based in Germany and it delivers meals to several markets as well as the US.
They are a mid-priced meal kit company, with kits selling at around $20/kit or $10/serving. The food is tasty but not overly creative. Once upon a time, Hello Fresh introduced consumers to somewhat exotic ingredients (demi glace!), but lately they seem to have been using cheaper ingredients in their meals and requiring you to have more things at hand.
On the other hand, their kits seem to have been getting simpler – or I’ve just gotten a hang of making them. The meals are consistently tasty, though not mind blowing. In general, we rate them 7 points out of 10.
So far, I’ve only subscribed to HelloFresh with a discount, though how much these are have varied each time. Personally, I wouldn’t keep HelloFresh at full price.
While I’ve liked most of the meals I’ve had, I’m seldom exciting by the offerings. On the other hand, I’ve had almost no problems with this service – except once when they didn’t deliver my box until after 11 PM.
These are the kits I’ve made so far:
And I cooked several different HelloFresh meal kit recipes using my own ingredients. This allowed me to get a broader idea of what HelloFresh offers, without having to spend too much money doing so.
|Singapore-Style Hakka Noodles with Summer Veggies|
Good vegan recipe from HelloFresh UK
|Oven-Baked Apricot Chicken Legs with Roasted Potato Wedges and Lemony Broccoli
Very satisfactory family fare.
|Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Spicy Peanut Butter Sauce & Garlic Bok Choy + PB Sauce Recipe
A vegan choice with an awesome peanut sauce and coconut rice.
|Balsamic Rosemary Steak with Garlic Herb Toasts and a Roasted Pear Salad
A restaurant-quality dinner at home. Yum!
These are my general observations.
HelloFresh’s kits taste better than I expected
I subscribed to HelloFresh before taking a look at the actual meals they offered – I had a coupon and I figured, for $15 for two kits, I don’t need to be too picky. However, I was disappointed by the choices once I saw them. All the kits sounded boring and the photos weren’t too enticing. Moreover, most of the kits included either pork or chicken breasts, not my favorite proteins.
But so far, almost every Hello Fresh recipe I made was very tasty – far more than I thought it would be. The one exception was the vegan sweet potato & black bean tacos I made.
HelloFresh’s offerings are not very adventurous
HelloFresh mostly offers updated American food. This can be a plus or minus depending on what sort of food you like to eat. Living in California, we rarely eat American food at home or in restaurants, but exploring it is not necessarily a bad thing. Still, I recommend looking at the offerings before subscribing.
They are mid-priced for a meal delivery service
HelloFresh prices their meals from $8 to $12 per person/per week, depending on what plan you choose. Their classic plan of 3 meal kits for 2 per week costs $61 after shipping costs, or $10.25 per person-per week.
You have to pay more for fancier meals.
HelloFresh’s basic plan costs $20 per 2-portion kit. But if you want something fancier, featuring steak rather than pork or chicken or special ingredients such as balsamic vinegar, you need to pay a $12 premium per kit – making each portion cost $16. That’s pricier than other services.
Portions are just the right size
So far, the portions we tried were the right size for us for dinner. We weren’t left full or hungry and there weren’t leftovers.
It’s not environmentally friendly
Like other meal kit subscription services, HelloFresh sends their kits in a large box with freezer gel packs to keep the proteins cold. While the boxes are recyclable, neither the packing material nor the gel packs are (they claim the bag around the gel packs are, but there is no longer any plastic recycling going on). Similarly, some of the veggies are in plastic bags that are not recyclable.
Update: in my last box, I got a compostable cotton liner and one of the two freezer packs was water soluble and non-toxic, so it can be drained down the sink. That was a welcomed improvement.
The meals take about an hour to make
Maybe it’s just me, but whether cooking from a kit or a recipe, I always need about an hour to make a full meal.
While I’ve been lucky with HelloFresh not everyone has been
I got four kits from HelloFresh and they all contained all the ingredients necessary to make the meals and only one item – cilantro – was spoiled. However, other people report receiving missing and spoiled ingredients. HelloFresh’s policy seems to be to refund you 50-cents to $5 for missing items rather than refund you the whole cost of the meal, which is pretty ridiculous. If you can’t make the meal or have to go shopping for missing ingredients, they should refund you the whole price.
HelloFresh is a subscription service
Many of the negative reviews of HelloFresh come because people sign up for free or discounted meal boxes and don’t realize this enrolls them in a subscription service. So if you subscribe, make sure you cancel at least five days before your next order is due. Better yet, skip the following weeks of meals so you have time to cancel after you actually try the kits.
Suspending and cancelling is a breeze
I was able to easily suspend shipments and then cancel my account. I got offers to resubscribe at a discount after I cancelled, thrice so far.
If you want to subscribe to HelloFresh
You can use this link and get $40 off your first box plus free shipping.