I hate cooking. Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. I hate the hunting and gathering process of getting ready to cook. Going to the grocery store (often with two little ones in tow). Dragging the grocery bags home and finding a place for everything. Deciding what I’m going to cook and then preparing the ingredients. Grocery shopping is at least an hour each week and then deciding what to make and preparing it is at least another hour. Once I’ve got all the ingredients ready, cooking is pretty fun.
I heard about people who had food delivered to their homes. Recipes available, portions already set aside, and a menu of dishes that were supposedly delicious and healthy. I did’t believe it, but figured I’d do a little research. During my search, I came across Hello Fresh. I checked out their website and was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The food looked delicious. The menu changed each week, and most importantly, lots of the recipes looked like something that my kids might eat. Score!
I decided to take a chance and see if all the hype was valid. Here’s my Hello Fresh review, based on my personal experience.
What is Hello Fresh – A Hello Fresh Review?
Hello Fresh is a meal delivery service based out of New York City that delivers meals for 2 or 4 people. Classic, Veggie, or Family Plans are available.
Types of Meal Plans (4 Stars)
Classic Plan – Per the web site, this is the best selling plan and the one I selected for my first box. The classic plan allows for options of meat, fish, produce, and grains. If you’re a vegetarian, don’t worry we’ll get to your option shortly. You can select either 2, 3, or 5 meals for 2 or 4 people each week. I just want the five meal option to be able to take advantage of most of the recipes for the week.
This plan also has the option of selecting the particular meals that you want from their recipes that week rather than receiving the default selections. (It’s important to note that you’re not able to select the particular meals you want until after you’ve signed up for your plan.) The options for this week are Honey and Ginger Glazed Chicken (I’m excited about this one), the Icon Burger, Dukkah Crusted Pork Chops, Rockfish Piccata, Gnocchi Bolognese, and Fig and Quinoa Salad.
Veggie Plan – Their Veggie plan seems to be a little more limited than the Classic plan as you only have the option to choose three meals each week. This week’s options included the Fig and Quinoa Salad, Jamie’s Oozy Zucchini Risotto, and Portobello Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries.
Family Plan – The family plan is touted as having dishes that will have more kid-appeal. They have options for four people, and you can select two or three meals each week. The three selections for the week I’m reviewing are Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Gnocchi Bolognese, and Zucchini and Parmesan Crusted Chicken.
Even though the Family Plan says it has more kid friendly options, the Classic Plan seemed to be just fine and with more options, I have a better chance of finding something the little ones are going to like.
Order Process (4.5 stars)
The order process is relatively straightforward. You select a plan, select when you’d like to have it delivered, and set up payment information.
I give the order process a four and a half stars as it is relatively straightforward. You select the plan, schedule, and payment option. I took away half a star as I wish there was a way to select the meals you wanted before setting up the plan.
Pricing (4 stars)
The pricing for each plan is as follows:
Classic Plan (2-Person)
Three Meals – $69.00 per week ($11.50 per meal)
Four Meals – $84.90 per week ($10.61 per meal)
Five Meals – $99.00 per week ($9.90 per meal)
Classic Plan (4-Person)
Three Meals – $129.00 per week ($10.75 per meal)
Veggie Plan (2-Person)
Three Meals – $59.00 per week ($9.83 per week)
Veggie Plan – (4-Person)
Three Meals – $109.00 per week ($9.08 per week)
Family Plan (4-Person)
Two Meals – $79.95 per week ($9.99 per meal)
Three Meals – $105.00 per week ($8.75 per meal)
This is in line without meal service delivery plans in the industry, but slightly more expensive than competition like Blue Apron, which is the reason I give it four stars for pricing.
A delivery service like this is not for those who are looking to save money, but if you have an extremely busy schedule or don’t like grocery shopping, it might be a fair trade-off.
Delivery Windows and Schedule (5 stars)
The delivery window seems much like that for when you’re having furniture delivered to your house. It’s from 8 am to 8 pm on your chosen day. It does allow you to leave special instructions for delivery just in case you might not be around when your shipment arrives. I selected to have mine delivered on Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed that it arrives as planned!
I give them five stars on this because you can select your day for delivery. The one thing that was a little annoying is that you have a 12-hour window in which your package might be delivered. I did not take away points for this as this is a function of the delivery service and not in Hello Fresh’s control.
Payment Options (4.5 stars)
You can choose to pay for your box via credit or debit card or Paypal. At the time you set up your account, you will automatically be enrolled in their weekly delivery program. If you are just wanting to try this out, you’ll want to be sure to go in and cancel the upcoming weeks or make a phone call. I’m waiting to see how things work out before I decide whether seven want to cancel, but I have canceled the next month just in case.
I appreciate that they offer Paypal as one of the options for payment as it makes me feel a little bit more secure about my order.
Order Changes (3 stars)
You have until the Wednesday before the week of delivery to make choices of the recipes you’d like to receive or to cancel a box for the upcoming week.
I gave them three stars as it is not very intuitive how you go in and pause the order. Their knowledge base is helpful, but I think they should make it easier for a customer to make those types of changes should they choose to do so.
Customization (3 stars)
In addition to being able to select the recipes you’d like to receive, you also have the option to customize your boxes. You would select the Classic Box 3 meal plan. You can choose from Beef Free, Chef’s Choice, Fit, Pork Free, Quick, Seafood-Free, and Variety. I’m all about saving time so that Quick would be my choice. All of the meals that I selected mention they can be made in 30 minutes or less.
I would have to give three stars for customization. I understand that given that they have a large market to serve, they are not able to provide a huge variety of meals, however, if you choose the five meal plan and don’t enjoy at least one all seafood and/or all veggie meal, you’ll have a hard time getting five meals your family will enjoy. My family tends to like meat dishes and so I ended up selecting a fish dish for our fifth one to make it work. Crossing my fingers on that one.
What Happened When the Delivery Arrived? – (5 Stars)
The package arrived right on time early afternoon on Monday with plenty of time to prepare the Rockfish Piccata for dinner. When you open the box, the meal ingredients are neatly packaged by meal on top of the box. The meats for each meal are packed separately at the bottom of the box under ice packs to keep them cold and fresh. Everything was well packed and looked very fresh. The Rockfish Piccata even had a sticker noting that it should be prepared first due to the limited shelf-life of seafood.
The recipe book with the preparation instructions was included right on top of the box. It includes a picture of the meal, ingredients, and a little snippet about the meal. On the back, there is an ingredient listing (for both 2 and four people servings), nutritional information, along with the kitchen tools you’ll need to make the meal. The recipe makes up the rest of the card.
The back page of the recipe book even includes a cute little coloring page of one of the week’s menu items. In this case, it was the Icon Burger.
How Easy Were the Recipes to Make? (5 stars)
Rockfish Piccata (Level 2): Everything necessary to make the Rockfish Piccata was included with the exception of a little butter and olive oil, which I already had in my kitchen. This and sugar are the only items in the recipes included for the week which were not a part of the package which was great!
Okay, so no here’s the test. Martha Stewart would be offended by my cooking skills, but I was all in for giving this a go. The instructions say that the prep time is 10 minutes and the total time from fridge to table is 30 minutes.
The Rockfish Piccata was a breeze to make. Other than having to fight back a few tears while dicing the shallots, the meal was easy to make. The instructions were super straightforward and the timing was perfect. I was able to have everything prepared and plated in 30 minutes with my 6-year olds help.
This week’s meals are:
Honey-and-Ginger Glazed Chicken (Difficulty Level 1)
The Icon Burger (Difficulty Level 1)
Dukkah-Crusted Pork Chops (Difficulty Level 1)
Rockfish Piccata (Difficulty Level 2)
Gnocchi Bolognese (Difficulty Level 2)
There are three levels of difficulty with one being the easiest and three being the most difficult to prepare. I would not consider myself a cook by any stretch of the imagination, so I can prepare these without burning down the kitchen I will consider it a win.
I’m also hoping that at least one of these recipes can be a crowd pleaser. I have one little one who’s a picky eater and the other who will try just about anything that I make. We’ll see how it turns out.
How Did They Taste? (5 Stars)
So far we’ve only made the Rockfish Piccata, but I must say it’s been a hit thus far. My 7-year-old is a very picky eater, and I had something in the fridge as a backup just in case he decided not to eat it. Not only did they both eat clean their plates, but they asked for seconds (and there was plenty). So I was able to feed three people with a second helping for little ones with the two people meal. I consider it a win. I’ve saved the recipe to use again down the road. Now there are four more meals for us to try, but so far I’m a Hello Fresh fan.
What Others Have Said (1 star)
As with any other service I use, I scour the internet for reviews of what other people thought about the service. I found a few reviews, some not so great, but I want to make sure you’re armed with the information you need for making a decision when feeding your family. I was a bit alarmed to learn that they have an “F” BBB rating, which certainly gave me pause, but figured I could be your guinea pig and let you know the real deal.
Who is Hello Fresh a Good Fit For?
Hello Fresh is a great fit for busy people who don’t have a lot of time to do grocery shopping. Busy parents and people who work long hours or odd shifts might find their service beneficial. Based on the price per meal, I would consider this a luxury item or something for folks who want to save time.
Groupon is currently running a promotion for new customers who choose to sign up for Hello Fresh service. Be careful with the details if you choose to move forward. The Groupon offer applies only to new customers. If you purchase the Groupon, you would be required to set up a new account. Also, they limit you to purchasing only two certificates. One for yourself and one as a gift to a friend or family member. I would not want you to think you would be able to receive multiple weeks with multiple certificates.
Here are some of the Hello Fresh competitors:
Purple Carrot (vegan food)
$5 Meal Plans – if you don’t mind going grocery shopping, this meals service offers ready to go recipes complete with grocery list.
Gathered Table – recipe subscription similar to $5 Meal Plans
Plan to Eat – recipe subscription similar to $5 Meals and Gathered Table
Hello Fresh is not likely to be cheaper than going to the grocery store and planning meals on your own, but it is comparable to going to a restaurant for dinner. Given that, I was able to feed the kids two helpings each made it even cheaper.
Would I Recommend Them? (Overall Rating: 4 Stars)
Letting the Grocery Store Come to Me? Yes, Please! Although the reviews that I read about Hello Fresh made me a little nervous, I decided to give it a try anyway and so far I’m very glad that I did. I’ll keep you posted on how the other meals turned out. If you’d like to give them a try, they are offering $50 off of your first two boxes with this offer code.
I will be doing reviews of other food delivery services soon, so stayed tuned! If you have any suggestions on meal services or other products that help Mommas save time that you would like or me to review, please feel free to leave them in the comments below or tweet me @mommashelping. Please let me know your thoughts!