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To be honest, I’ve only been using one meal delivery company for the past 3 years. Therefore, I was really excited to branch out and try something new for this review. In this article, I’ll provide you with an honest review of HelloFresh that includes pros and cons, key features, nutritional highlights, and my personal experience.
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What is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is the largest ingredient and recipe meal kit delivery service. The company serves customers internationally and sends them all the ingredients they need to prepare and cook a fresh meal in your home.
As a registered dietitian, I heard about HelloFresh through coworkers and friends. The service came highly regarded. It was easy to download the app and get started, plus no commitment is required. HelloFresh sends you the ingredients you need to prepare and cook a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of your own home.
A of HelloFresh’s key features that stand out to me include a large variety of meal options, convenient packaging, and informative meal cards. Let’s take a look at each of these features.
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HelloFresh comes with a variety of meal options
When I first set up my profile there were 3 options to choose from: veggie, standard, and family (which has 4 servings each). I chose the standard option for my delivery which included 2 servings each for 3 meals with a total of 6 meals.
There were 15 meal selections to choose from, so I was pleased to have such a large variety of meals. When I looked ahead at the next 2 months of delivery options there is an array of ingredients, dish types, and cuisines with no repetition. I found this as a huge plus as you won’t get bored from cycled menus and similar foods. Within the 15 selections, I noticed categories that designate 20-minute meals, calorie smart, global eats, one-pot wonder, kid approved, hall of fame, and 3 gourmet options for a higher price. However, not all of these categories are available each week (such as the kid-approved or one-pot wonder).
One unique option, for an additional fee, was a dinner-to-lunch selection that included a second recipe. As a result, items from the dinner could be reimagined for lunch the next day. Also, I discovered that 4 of the 15 selections for the week were an additional fee. Therefore, if you wanted to stay within the advertised price, you would be limited to 11 selections.
As I opened the box to begin unpackaging the delivery, I was impressed by the packaging method. HelloFresh claims “convenient meal kits that fit perfectly in the fridge” and I found this to be true.
All the ingredients for each meal are sorted and contained in an individual paper bag. The only things I needed to load in my refrigerator were the three bags and a sealed package for each raw protein (i.e. pork, chicken, and beef).
Personally, I appreciated this packaging method because it was very easy to put away the items and it reduced the time spent gathering the ingredients to start cooking. The food is sent in an ice packaged, insulated box so it stays fresh even if you can’t be home at the time of delivery.
Informative meal cards
The meal cards are very informative and have all the information you need to prepare your meal. I found this convenient because it can be tedious to look up details on a phone application or website when your hands are dirty from prepping and cooking.
A typical meal card contains ingredients included, additional items needed, a description of the cuisine you are cooking, and a suggestion for a wine pairing. Furthermore, there are some basic condiments that are not provided, like sugar, butter, vegetable oil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Therefore, make sure you have some of these fundamentals before you begin cooking. For example, I didn’t look at the additional items needed, and I noticed the vegetable oil requirement just before I started cooking. I substituted olive oil so it was not a problem. However, it would be more convenient if these additional items were highlighted at the time you make your meal selections.
Personally, I only have time to grocery shop on weekends, so I would want to get the additional items in advance. In addition to the foods needed, the meal card also listed kitchen utensils that are required. This suggestion prompted me to gather the pans, baking sheets, bowls, or measuring spoons in advance and it made my prepping and cooking process more efficient.
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Other notable HelloFresh features
The features I highlighted above are some of the things I found made HelloFresh different from its competitors. With this in mind, below are a few additional features worth noting!
Reducing food waste
My personal reason for choosing meal delivery companies is that I love to cook but don’t love food waste.
I have a small household, so when I grocery shop to prepare recipes at home for 1-2 servings I generally have a lot of food left over. It can be very time consuming to find different recipes with similar ingredients so that I can use the entire quantity. Also, I get bored easily when I am eating the same foods throughout the week in order to reduce food waste.
Honestly, I feel great about paying for the exact quantity I need for my meals. Companies like HelloFresh remove the guilt and pressure I experience when fresh ingredients go to waste.
Using fresh ingredients
Another benefit to receiving the right amount of foods with no leftovers is cooking with fresh herbs and spices.
In my attempt to reduce food waste, one of the things I compromise is fresh ingredients because I can never use them all before they expire. Even though I have a robust spice cabinet, nothing compares to the smell and taste of fresh herbs and the unique flavors they add to a meal.
For example, it was so refreshing to receive a fresh bundle of dill for my Creamy Dill Chicken recipe this week. Preparing and cooking with these ingredients is a full sensory experience. This small detail transforms an average home-cooked meal to restaurant quality.
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Learning how to cook
By using HelloFresh, you have the opportunity to improve your cooking skills. Their website claims “a fun cooking experience that makes you feel unstoppable,” which is definitely true for those that enjoy cooking.
The meal cards thoroughly explain each step of the cooking process and are easy to follow (even beginners would feel confident preparing these recipes). Ingredients are highlighted within each step to help ensure you don’t miss any items. There are no complicated cooking techniques, so prior cooking experience is not required. Also, I really liked the HelloFresh tips that are designed to help transfer cooking skills to other meals. For example, my Creamy Dill Chicken recipe had a tip that the sauce also pairs well with salmon. It was a simple, 3 ingredient sauce, so I can imagine preparing it without a recipe next time I cook salmon.
After using this service, I know how to make 5-minute garlic bread and the temperature to perfectly roast vegetables. These skills will go far beyond the meals HelloFresh delivers. Personally, I like that I am getting more confident as a home cook as this makes all my meals easier to prepare.
One recommendation I would make to improve the cooking experience is to organize the steps so the cooking is in sync. When I followed the order as written, sometimes parts of my meal didn’t finish at the same time.
An important part of cooking is safety and efficiency. The meal cards cover this as well. I like the food safety tips that are highlighted.
For example, this week my meal cards listed the safe temperature for cooking chicken and pork. I always emphasize food safety to my clients, family, and friends to prevent foodborne illness, so I think this is an important tip to include.
The preparation and cooking times are listed when you are choosing your meals, so if you have a busy week you can choose the meals that are less than 30 minutes. One of the common barriers my clients express to cooking healthy meals at home is time. Therefore, I like that there is even a meal option for less than 20 minutes.
A friend who also used HelloFresh expressed that these times seemed off and the preparation took longer than expected. Therefore, keep in mind, the advertised time may vary for you, especially the first time you cook a HelloFresh meal.
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HelloFresh nutritional highlights
The HelloFresh website claims that the meals are made of “high-quality ingredients sourced straight from the farm.” Their suppliers consist of family-owned and operated establishments. In fact, you can learn more about the specific farms they work with on the website. Personally, I like this transparency and being able to learn about where my food is coming from.
Meal variety accommodates dietary restrictions
From a nutrition perspective, the large variety of meal selections accommodates many different dietary preferences and needs. For example, a vegetarian option, and a variety of protein sources for the standard plan make this a convenient service for a wide range of people. Since you are the chef and can control what is being added to your meal, it is simple to leave out a specific ingredient or to make a substitution. This flexibility is not available for many pre-cooked meal delivery services, so I think this is a big benefit.
Digging for food allergies
When setting up my profile, I did not see an option to designate food allergies or preferences. Therefore, if this applies to you, you would need to be diligent to research each meal option on your own. On the website, you can select each meal to learn more about the ingredients offered and the nutrition facts. However, I found it time-consuming to look at the nutrition information and ingredients for each of the 15 meals individually.
Personally, I would prefer a nutrition facts summary page that shows all this information for the selections of the week in one convenient place. This would make choosing the meals much more efficient for anyone that is making their decisions based on specific nutrition components. I recommend working closely with your registered dietitian to make sure you are choosing meals that align with your health goals.
The variety of nutrients within the meal offerings each week addresses a large range of nutrient needs. For example, the calories in the 15 meals offered the week of my trial ranged from 520 to 840 calories per serving. Calorie needs vary based on many factors including age and activity level, so it is good to have many options that can fit your individual needs.
I did find the “calorie smart” designation confusing because one was 550 calories and the other was 700 calories per serving. Honestly, it was unclear what the criteria was for this label.
Also, sodium content per meal varied, ranging from 450mg to 1800mg per serving in the meals I reviewed. I liked that there were low sodium options, but even if you select something on the higher end, you can control how much salt you add while cooking. Personally, I didn’t add salt during my cooking process and I thought the meals still had great flavor from the fresh herbs and sauces.
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What people are saying…
- Deliciousness – Their chef-created recipes are tested 200 times to ensure your meals are as delicious to eat as they are easy to make.
- Simplicity – From step-by-step recipes to no-hassle account changes, HelloFresh makes your life easier every way they can.
- Flexibility – HelloFresh accommodates every appetite, household size, and schedule. Need to skip a week or cancel? No problem.
- Stress-free – Take back your evenings with fewer trips to the store, pre-planned meals, and little cleanup.
- Dietarily diverse – Picky appetites welcome! Tell them what you like and don’t like, and they’ll recommend something delicious.
- No waste – It’s easy being green with their pre-measured ingredients and recyclable materials.
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Is HelloFresh right for you?
- Gain experience cooking and learning new skills.
- No commitment required and you can change your selections up to 5 days before delivery.
- A variety of meal selections accommodate diverse nutrient needs and preferences.
- Ingredients are premeasured to save on cooking time and clean up.
- Convenient and recyclable packaging.
- The time required to prepare, cook, and clean up dishes.
- Estimates for prep and cook time vary based on experience.
- Less cost-effective for large family size.
- Cooking tools required.
- Nutrient information not easily accessible (only available on the website).
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How much does HelloFresh cost?
The cost of HelloFresh varies, ranging from $6.99 – $9.99 per serving (plus $6.99 for shipping). Furthermore, the price varies based on the plan you choose (veggie, classic, or family), the servings you select (2 or 4), and the meals per week (2 to 4).
Personally, this price point is more economical than when I eat out at a restaurant and even if I buy my own ingredients at the market to cook at home. Unless I purchase canned or frozen foods, I can’t match this price per serving. I think the fresh ingredients and quality of the meal is worth this cost.
The website advertised in two places on the home page that the meals start at $6.99 per meal. However, when I navigated to the meal plan options, I found the only plan at this low price was the 3 meal veggie plan with 4 servings each.
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If you decided you are done using HelloFresh, canceling is easily done online or via their mobile able. I like the fact that they do not require a monthly subscription or commitment. Also, you can make changes to your menu selections and cancel a delivery up to 5 days before the scheduled delivery.
Personally, I have a busy schedule and can’t always commit to cooking the 3 meals in one week, so I liked this opportunity to plan my deliveries up to 2 months in advance!
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HelloFresh is a meal delivery service for customers that enjoy cooking fresh ingredients in the comfort of their own home. Many customers say that having the ingredients delivered in the exact quantity needed right to their door saves a lot of time and effort from grocery shopping, measuring, and prepping a meal. I certainly agree!
As a dietitian, I like the variety of meals offered from week to week because this gives a lot of autonomy to customers to choose foods that support their health goals. I would recommend HelloFresh to anyone that enjoys cooking a variety of foods and is looking for a way to incorporate new recipes with fresh ingredients into their daily routine.
Have you tried HelloFresh before? What did you think of it? Share your feedback in the comments below
HelloFresh is a meal delivery company targeted at health-conscious consumers who like to cook. Through this service, you’re able to prepare restaurant quality meals with fresh ingredients without wasting food, spending time gathering the ingredients at the market(s), or the effort required to research and choose new recipes.
- Gain experience cooking and learning new skills
- No commitment required and you can change your selections up to 5 days before delivery
- Variety of meal selections accommodate diverse nutrient needs and preferences
- Ingredients are premeasured to save on cooking time and clean up
- Convenient and recyclable packaging
- The time required to prepare, cook, and clean up dishes
- Estimates for prep and cook time vary based on experience
- Less cost effective for large family size
- Cooking tools required
- Nutrient information not easily accessible (only available on the website)