HelloFresh Table covered in delicious HelloFresh food.
HelloFresh Table covered in delicious HelloFresh food.
Image Courtesy of HelloFresh

Hello Fresh – An Honest Review

HelloFresh is a meal kit subscription box which lets you choose meals and get the ingredients delivered to your door on a weekly basis. The subscription is flexible, you can skip weeks or cancel any time.

For this review, I had 4 consecutive boxes with 3 meals for 2 people delivered. In this article, I am going to share my personal experience with ordering, delivery, supprt and food. Your experience might differ from mine but if you are unsure whether HelloFresh is right for you, this could clarify some things.

About HelloFresh 🍋

HelloFresh is a company founded in Germany in 2011. Their most popular product are the subscription meal boxes, which subscribers get on a weekly basis. According to their own website, they delivered roughly one billion meals in 2021. Aside from the main box service, they also offer subscription models for meat-free boxes (GreenChef), simple recipes (EveryPlate), Canadian customers (Chefs Plate), frozen meals (Factor_), and pre-prepared meals (youfoodz).
They claim to reduce food waste, emissions and save you money by offering the subscription.

Ordering The First Box 🙋

Getting your first box delivered is pretty easy. You choose how many meals you want every week and how many people you need to feed with each meal. Choose from 3 to 5 meals per week for either 2, 3, or 4 people. The price of the box will depend on the number of servings you need and shipping costs will be added on top. Your delivery will be delivered in a single box every week so you don’t get multiple deliveries if you choose larger plan sizes.

After confirming the plan you would like to get, you simply add a payment method and a delivery address and then your order is complete.

Money will be deducted weekly from your selected payment method approximately half a week before you get your delivery.

Dietary Preferences 🥕

HelloFresh offers meals for people with different dietary preferences. You can choose from: mostly meat, veggie, family, quick cook, calorie smart, or pescatarian.

Your preference only determines which meals get pre-selected for you by the system. You can always access the full menu selection and choose whatever you like.

What I personally didn’t like about this selection is that HelloFresh does not offer vegan options or have filters for lactose or gluten free diets, for example. If you have specific requirements regarding your diet or prefer to eat the same meals on a regular basis, the box is probably not for you.

We chose vegetarian recipes for our boxes.

Picking A Meal 🍝

You can pick meals for every week on the HelloFresh website after logging in.

HelloFresh will automatically pick meals for you that they will send out if you don’t change them manually. If you want to change one or all meals from the selection, you can click on “change meals” in the top right corner and amend your menu. Remove meals by clicking the minus button and add new meals with the + button.

Changing meals will be free of charge unless you exceed the amount of meals included in your plan or pick a premium meal. Premium meals are marked with a tag and will cost a bit extra if you pick them. Make sure to check your selection at checkout to avoid hidden costs.

After selecting the meals, you can add extras such as side dishes or desserts to your menu. The cost for these will be added to your subscription cost.

Delivery 📦

Delivery for me was very smooth and always on time. I had my delivery day set to Wednesday and I would get an email and a text message in the morning informing me about the time frame in which the box would be delivered. I had boxes delivered with both DHL and Yodel and they were always on time.
The boxes have instructions on them so they won’t be sent back if the recipient isn’t home. This is something to keep in mind if you are likely to be away during the day. They will either leave the box at the front door or in a safe place or leave it with a neighbour. We had one box left at the front door and one which ended up with a neighbour and I was informed about this via email and card through the letterbox. I personally prefer it if they leave them with someone indoors as things left at the front door can easily get stolen or wet from rain and wind.

The box includes a paper bag for every meal, labelled with a sticker corresponding to the recipe card, an insulating bag for things that need to be kept cool, and some goodies. The first box had energy tablets and a magazine as an extra, the second box came with a can of beer. The magazine was unfortunately autum themed – we got the box in the last week of December. Discount codes to give to friends were also part of the first delivery.

The ingredients were generally in good shape but sauce exploded in one box, leaving the packaging and some other ingredients tainted and the majority of the sauce missing in the meal.

Waste 🚮

While the box mostly looks like some thought went into avoiding waste from packaging, we did have a lot more waste than usual. This will be different for everyone and depend on what you usually buy but keep in mind that you will get a cardboard box, paper bags, the insulating bag plus cooling packs, and ingredients often individually wrapped in plastic. Larger and sturdier ingredients like bell pepper or garlic, will be loose in the paper bag, which is nice.

Cooking 🍳

Cooking the recipes was mostly very easy. The ingredients are all pre-portioned and you need little extra stuff from your own supplies (mostly salt, pepper, oil and butter). They expect you to have a decent variety of pans, pots and an oven but you can sometimes substitute the more obscure things with items you have at home.

The recipe cards were super handy and the app even comes with pre-defined timers so you can use these instead of calculating how much time things will need in the oven or the pan.

What I liked less about the recipes is that they require you to use a lot of oil. A “drizzle” of oil in the pan, on the baking tray, in the salad dressing – just everywhere. We decided to skip a lot of this but the outcome was still very oily sometimes. A lot of meals are also pretty calorie heavy and it’s a good idea to have a look at the recipes before you order them to see how many calories you are adding to your daily intake when you cook them.

Here are some images of the meals we cooked during the trial period.

Taste & Quality 🤤

Generally, all the meals were tasty and the ingredients of decent quality. If we didn’t like a meal, it usually came down to personal preference rather than poor quality. One batch of broccoli was really dry and not something I would have picked up in store myself but it wasn’t too much of an issue in the final meal.

Some meals even surprised us with their great taste. Our favourite meal in the 4 weeks does not look like much but it was so tasty!
This was the meal if you want to look it up or order it for yourself:

Missing Ingredients Or Recipe Cards 🚫

During the 4 weeks of testing, we had two missing ingredients and one missing recipe card.
Recipe cards can easily be substituted with an online or app-based version of the card or by fetching and printing the PDF.

Missing ingredients are a lot more impactful and can potentially ruin the entire meal.

You can report problems with the box via the HelloFresh website. The report tool is easy to use and you will get a bit of credit added to your account that you can then use to discount a non-discounted box. You unfortunately cannot use credit to buy meal extras or dessert.

Finances 💰

One central question with Hello Fresh is: Is their subscription box cheaper than buying the ingredients in the supermarket?

On their website they claim to save you money but is this really true?

This depends on a number of factors. For our household HelloFresh was more expensive than our normal food shop. We tend to buy food in bigger batches and then cook for multiple days in advance. If we cook something on Saturday, it will usually last us at least for the weekend, usually even into the week.

So let’s have a look at what our favourite meal would cost us if we bought it from a local supermarket. I calculated the prices so that the amount is the same as in the HelloFresh box but keep in mind that you usually have to buy larger quantities/packs of a single item.

“Super Cheesy Oven-Baked Tomato Risotto” a la Supermarket
Shallot: £0.26; Garlic: £0.22; Vegetable Stock Paste: £0.5; Tomato Puree: £0.13; Risotto Rice: £0.45; Baby Plum Tomatoes: £0.38; Mature Cheddar: £0.60; Lemon: £0.15; Tomato Paste: £0.44; Grated Hard Cheese: £1.12; Pea Shoots: £0.75
Total (2 servings): £5 = £2.50 per serving

“Two Cheese, Onion and Sun-Dried Tomato Panini” a la Supermarket
Potatoes: £0.63; Medium Tomato: £0.14; Balsamic Glaze: £0.11; Tomato Paste: £0.44; Grated Hard Cheese: £0.56; Mozzarella: £1.85; Ciabatta: £0.60; Onion Marmalade: £0.24; Rocket: £0.73
Total (2 servings): £5.30 = £2.65 per serving

We can see that the supermarket price is actually lower than what we pay HelloFresh for the meal. If we assume that a box containing 6 servings (3 meals for 2 people) costs £28.49 (plus shipping), that brings us to a cost of £4.75 per serving. This is almost double the amount we pay for the ingredients per serving from the supermarket.
Let us keep in mind that HelloFresh has to curate the recipes, run the infrastructure and pack the boxes for us as well. You could argue that the time you spend looking for recipes, driving to the supermarket and running around the aisles is worth more than what you pay HelloFresh but this will ultimately come down to personal circumstances.

If money is tight and you don’t mind shopping, a HelloFresh subscription is not for you.

Conclusion 📝

The subscription with HelloFresh had a few advantages and disadvantages:

+ easy recipes and recipe cards– ingredients sometimes not fresh
+ tasty meals– missing ingredients can ruin the experience
+ stress-free– expensive
+ different recipes every week– different recipes every week
+ pause or cancel anytime– most meals not healthy, lots of oil, cheese, etc.

A HelloFresh subscription can be for you if you want to try out new recipes, ingredients and ways of cooking something or if you simply find grocery shopping tiring and overwhelming and prefer to get everything pre-portioned and ready to use. Keep in mind that a HelloFresh subscription is not cheap and you can get meals for cheaper if you go to the supermarket and buy what you need there. Whether you spend more on food without the subscription will also heavily depend on your usual spending habits and whether you throw away a lot of unused ingredients.
The service itself works really well, the boxes arrived on time and in good condition and the service will help you if something isn’t right.

What I would like to see from HelloFresh in the future are more vegan and healthy options as these are missing from the current selection.

Discount Code 🤑

Gaming.Buzz has partnered with HelloFresh UK to offer you a discount if you would like to try the box.

Use the code “POGHELLOUK3665” to get 50% off the 1st box and 35% off the next 3 boxes + 3 gifts.
Alternatively, you can use this link: link.buzz/hellofreshuk *

If you are not in the UK but want to order a box or view the menu, head over to this post and click on the corresponding link to your country.

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