Food & Drink

HelloFresh meals: are they worth a try?

Many people would love to get creative in the kitchen but can suffer from a lack of time or fresh ideas. HelloFresh seeks to assist by offering meal options that you home cook using carefully selected ingredients that arrive on your doorstep in perfect quantities and ice pack fresh.

 - 8 Min Read
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HelloFresh meals: are they worth a try?
  • HelloFresh is a company that provides a meal kit service, delivering ingredients to your door
  • Subscribers can go with a full meal plan or can choose a recipe from the hundreds available
  • Some special diets are catered for, and you can easily discontinue the service
  • HelloFresh enables those with busy lives to get into the kitchen and get cooking

HelloFresh meals are they worth a try: FAQ

  • What kind of meals does HelloFresh have?

    HelloFresh offers meals to suit most tastes. Some are British, and some are from around the world, from Korean to Mexican. Traditional options include a Sunday dinner of chicken breast, crispy roasted potatoes and vegetables, and more adventurous recipes - say si si to a quesadilla! Some dietary preferences are catered for, such as calorie-restricted and vegetarian, and cooking time is usually kept to 30-40 minutes.

  • What are the ingredients in HelloFresh meals?

    Ingredients depend on recipes, so the exact ingredients that will arrive will vary depending on what meal you select. Your HelloFresh box might contain scallions, feta, green beans, sour cream, bell peppers, sweet potato, tacos, parmesan… the possibilities are endless. Whatever you select, you can be sure that the ingredients that arrive will be fresh and good quality and the perfect quantity for your dish.

  • What if I don’t like HelloFresh?

    You can cancel at any time if you decide that HelloFresh isn’t for you. All you need to do is to remember to cancel no later than five days before your next delivery is due. You can then reactivate your subscription at any time, should you feel the time is right to go back to HelloFresh, either with a weekly menu meal plan or individually selected fresh recipes.

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Lots of people like to cook. They love to get creative in the kitchen with a menu that offers an escape from the oven-chip road to moribund mealtimes. However, all too often, there’s that situation where you find the perfect recipe for tonight’s dinner, only to discover that of all the ingredients listed, you’ve pretty much just got some salt. 

There might be a solution to this unhappy scenario in the shape of HelloFresh. This company takes the hassle out by delivering just what you need to enable you to produce the meals you really want to make, not the ones that the contents of your kitchen cupboards dictate. 

However, are HelloFresh meals the answer to your cuisine ambitions? What strengths do they have? Are there any drawbacks? We’ll chew over all these questions, but first, let’s see exactly what HelloFresh is and how it came to be. 

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Say hello to HelloFresh

So, the ambitions of kitchen creatives all over the place are often thwarted by what’s actually available to use in the fridge and the larder. A quick scan can often just result in a roll call of something like an old piece of cheese and a tin of tomato soup. This could test the imagination of the most gifted of chefs. 

To assist in this kind of unhappy circumstance, HelloFresh pairs people with what they need to produce the goods in the shape of high-quality meal kits. It allows subscribers to either sign up for meal plans in which dishes are automatically selected for them, or choose particular meals from a constantly updated list of 40 recipes. 

Then HelloFresh delivers boxes full of all the fresh ingredients that are needed for a particular dish. What’s more, the ingredients are supplied in quantities you need for the recipe—no more, no less. So, no pesky leftovers clogging up the fridge and no emergency trips to the local supermarket to top up your garlic stocks. 

How did the company start? It all goes back to Germany in 2011, when three entrepreneurs started up a meal kit home delivery service, catering initially to 10 subscribers. Flash forward 12 years, and HelloFresh caters to 8.11mn active customers worldwide.

Different diets

There are a number of dietary plans you can choose from:

  • Meat & Veggies 
  • Chef’s Choice
  • Quick Cook
  • Family 
  • Calorie Smart 
  • Carb Smart 
  • High protein 
  • Pescatarian 
  • Veggie
  • Pork Free
  • Fish Free 
  • Flexitarian

Each of these plans is open to tweaking - for instance, you can specify that you don’t want seafood or pork. 

You can also select meals by picking a particular country’s cuisine. Fancy Italian? How about a Halloumi and Sundried Tomato Risotto? Or feeling like you fancy a little something from the east? Try Hoisin Pork, in among the Asian cuisine dishes. 

Most don’t take a long time to make, and for those for whom time is tight, the Quick Cook meal plan consists of dishes that take only 30 minutes or less to prepare.

You can change your meal plan at any time, should you fancy trying out another one, and revert to your original - or not - whenever you like. You can skip a week, and cancelling is possible at any point. 

So, you get the idea. Quality ingredients are delivered so that you can follow interesting and easy recipes that are special diet observant and as family-friendly as you want them to be. 

But how good are they? We’ll try to answer this by looking at four key areas: choice, cost, sustainability and portion size. 

HelloFresh choice 

As mentioned, the meals on offer form quite a range. Countries whose cuisine you can go for include the usual choices such as Indian and far more adventurous destinations, including Nordic, Lebanese and North African. Or, if you’d rather select dishes based on food type rather than country, you can choose recipes that are based around pies, potatoes or even pumpkins. 

Alternatively, you might be in need of inspiration, in which case the ‘Most popular recipes’ option is a good bet. This leads you to a list of eight big hitters that week, such as, at the time of writing, Greek Style Nachos Grande and Snap Dragon Chicken

If that’s not enough for you, further down the page are another 32 recipe ideas. With a click, you can load more, giving you more choices in increments of eight other dishes. 

If this kind of choice overwhelms you, you can just put in a simple search term, a word that sums up what you fancy. For instance, enter ‘meatballs’, and you get a bunch of delicious-sounding recipes such as Spaghetti Pomodoro and Vegetarian Meatball Tagine.

A decent number of low-carb and plant-based meals are also on offer, including an Indonesian Curry with zucchini and star anise rice. 

However, it should be noted that HelloFresh warns that it can’t assert that any of its recipes are totally dairy-free or gluten-free because of the sheer number of suppliers used. Similarly, meat can’t be guaranteed to be Halal. 

HelloFresh cost

The landing page tells you that HelloFresh meals start at just £3.15 per person per meal. This is pretty good, given the apparent quality - they really do look like delicious meals. 

However, there’s an economy of scale at work here - this figure applies to five recipes per week for four people. Should you elect to go for three meals per week for just two people, you’ll be paying £4.83 per person per meal. 

On top of this, you’ll be paying a £4.99 delivery charge for the week (regardless of number of meals). Of course, another expense that has become more significant of late is the gas or electricity you’ll use to prepare these meals. Including this is important, especially if you’re comparing HelloFresh with eating out or a takeaway. 

HelloFresh sustainability

The first point to mention here is that having the correct quantity of ingredients delivered means that there shouldn’t be any food waste. Another factor that helps with HelloFresh’s sustainability credentials is that delivery comes pretty much straight from the producer, so there’s no detour or repackaging en route to the consumer. 

As a result, it’s reckoned that the HelloFresh meal delivery service results in 25% less carbon emissions than would be the case were you to source the ingredients from a supermarket. In fact, using offset schemes and renewals-driven transit, HelloFresh is achieving carbon neutrality across its operation. 

As well as kudos for its environmental performance, HelloFresh deserves recognition for its charitable efforts too. For instance, if you donate £5 to The Felix Project (an enterprise trying to ensure that food that would otherwise go to waste goes instead to those in need), HelloFresh will give you £15 off your first four meal boxes. 

Finally, a common source of food waste is where meals are needed for one person only, but they come in quantities too great for that individual to finish. HelloFresh addresses this by having a meal for one delivery service

HelloFresh portion size

First of all, if you’re looking to monitor your calorie intake, HelloFresh is tremendously helpful, as every recipe card comes with the calorie count for each portion clearly displayed. Also, as previously mentioned, you can opt to go with just HelloFresh recipes that are all light on calories. 

But are the portion sizes big enough to satisfy most diners? After all, people tend to vary enormously in what they consider a decent helping - can HelloFresh fit the bill? The pictures certainly make it look like servings are a good size, but then again, they wouldn’t be the first to use a little camera trickery (or just small plates) to make things look more impressive. 

A quick jaunt over to Trust Pilot tells us that most customers are happy with HelloFresh overall, and portion size is mentioned as a plus by a significant number of reviewers. This pattern finds a degree of repetition across the internet, so we can conclude that HelloFresh has its helpings in order. 

Fresh ideas for your kitchen

Overall, HelloFresh offers great service to those who want to try out new recipes and practice their home cook skills but are too time-pressed to do all the necessary preparation. By taking out all the headache of amassing the right ingredients (not always easy if you live in a small town), HelloFresh frees you to enjoy new and exciting flavours from around the world. 

Some baulk at the price but considering that the average takeaway meal in the UK in 2022 cost £7.93, the HelloFresh figure seems like pretty good value. Especially when one factors in the quality and freshness of the ingredients delivered. And you basically learn to cook as you progress, which is a great talent to acquire. 

It’s also good to know that you can skip weeks if your budget is looking a little tight. Conversely, when you want something special, HelloFresh will oblige on those weeks. For instance, it offers Valentine’s meal ideas packed full of aphrodisiacs. Who knows what you’ll end up cooking up with HelloFresh?

Image Credit: CA Creative at Unsplash

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