I’ve Been Using HelloFresh for 18 Months — Here’s What I Think About It
If there’s one truth about adulting it’s that the daily responsibilities of running a home and earning a living can be exhausting. Sometimes it would be nice if you could just come home from work and yell out “what’s for dinner?” Just like you did when you were a kid.
That’s where meal kits come in. They remove all the indecision and details involved in planning your weekly dinner menu by supplying you with a simple recipe and pre-measured ingredients. It’s cheaper and healthier than eating takeout and it saves you time at the grocery store and in your kitchen.
But what’s it really like to use a meal service and what are the downsides to these pre-packed kits? I’ve been using HelloFresh for more than 18 months — and here’s what I think.
How HelloFresh Works
When you sign up for HelloFresh, you’ll choose when you want to receive your meals, what kind of meals you want, and how often you want them delivered.
Options include vegetarian, family-friendly recipes, and low-calorie choices as well as the standard meat-and-veggie box. You can select delivery for two or four people for two, three, or four days per week.
The more frequent your delivery, the cheaper your ‘per serving’ price becomes. For instance, if you select four meals per week for four people, the price per serving is $7.49 (plus a $6.99 delivery charge). Choose the same options twice a week for two people and the per-serving price is $10.99.
This adds up to a minimum weekly price of $43 for two people for two meals a week and a maximum of $120 for four people for four meals per week, plus the delivery charge.
You choose from a range of weekly menus and must make your selection by the Wednesday before your next order. Skipping a week is easy; you simply select the option on the website’s calendar. This is handy if you are traveling or have other plans.
My family chose to receive meals three nights per week, as we find that relieves the pressure of planning and grocery shopping, but still allows us some freedom to make our own meals a few times a week and go out or order takeout during the weekend. There are always lots of choices and we haven’t yet found a week where weren’t excited by at least three of the menu options.
Sign up for HelloFresh here!
The package arrives at a designated time in a cardboard box with a honeycomb interior and ice packs made of gel. Everything is recyclable and HelloFresh has a dedicated page that explains how to dispose of each part responsibly.
Save for Alaska and Hawaii, HelloFresh delivers to all states and across Canada.
What I Like About HelloFresh
- It’s easy. The week before our delivery comes, we simply select the meals we want to try and then they are delivered on Monday morning. Each meal is ready in less than half an hour and the recipe cards are clear and easy to understand. My son, who is 6 years old, likes to help me to prepare them and the color photos make it easy for him to follow along.
- It makes me a more adventurous eater. I really like the fact that HelloFresh has made me try foods that I may not have made otherwise. Before using the service, I probably ate pork only once a month or so, but they often include pork dishes and I’ve found them all to be really delicious, especially any and all pork tacos. It has also made me more likely to try different spice blends and herbs, as they come pre-measured and you don’t have to worry about food waste if you don’t like the taste.
- The recipes are really good. One of our favorite meals is the middle eastern spiced chicken. The rice has a lovely crunch thanks to a scattering of almonds and the roasted sweet potatoes with the Turkish spiced chicken make for a warming and comforting dish. HelloFresh doesn’t reuse the same recipes very often, but every time this one has come up, we have ordered it. We have also found the meat to be very high quality and better than what we get at our local grocery store.
- Customer service is on it. We have had a few duds over the year and a half we have been using the service. One time, we were sent vegetables that were not very fresh and, another time, we received two very small potatoes to use for fries for two people. Both times I used the quick-function chat feature and we received a refund for those items.
What I Wish Was Different About HelloFresh
- There’s a lot of packaging. Although HelloFresh has a whole recycling mandate and a help page, there is no denying that it produces a lot of packaging, which doesn’t fit with a waste reduction plan.
- The recipes call for a lot of dishes.The recipes continuously ask you to set aside ingredients and put things in little bowls during preparation, which can creates extra dirty dishes.
Other Things to Know About HelloFresh
- You get free samples! From time to time HelloFresh sends you free samples in your box or special offers, these always feel like a nice little gift.
- They do holidays. On holidays they offer special boxes for an additional cost (think: a turkey for Thanksgiving!).
- You need to read the instructions. HelloFresh aims to provide all instructions in six squares with an accompanying photo. However, this sometimes means that they tell you to chop an onion and a tomato but those two things are to be used in different parts of the recipe and, if you don’t read ahead, you could just put them all together —which I have done many times!
Using HelloFresh in the Long Run
Overall, we really love using HelloFresh. The service saves us money because we’re only receiving the amounts of food we need to make the meals, and we are also not wandering around the grocery store picking up things just because.
We’ve had the opportunity to try lots of new-to-us recipes and foods that we may otherwise not have had the chance to experience. The preparation is quick and easy and is a nice family activity for my son and me to do together.
The service also helps us to stay within sensible healthy eating guidelines. Even though we don’t choose the low-calorie meals, they are not overly large portions, which encourages moderation.
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service, not a prepackaged meal, so I still get to touch fresh ingredients and cook from scratch — I just don’t have the hassle of meal planning and grocery shopping. For me, that’s a win-win and I’ll continue to be a subscriber!
Have you used HelloFresh? What’d you think? Leave your experiences in the comments below!