Back in December, I posted my review of Blue Apron, and now I am posting my review of HelloFresh. So, the concept of these two services is very similar. Both are meal delivery services. Both have meals for two. Both arrive on your doorstep and you can keep getting deliveries, skip deliveries, or cancel at any time. I’m sure you probably already know that I got a deal on this one-week box. I bought it through Groupon. I did go ahead and pay a $10 upcharge for the steak. More on that later…
The HelloFresh Model
Blue Apron offered two meals for two people on their weekly plan. HelloFresh offers three meals for two people for the week. Costs were similar between the two due to the discount I received.
They offer three plans.
- Classic – $9.99/meal Includes meat and fish.
- Veggie Plan – $9.99/meal Meat-free proteins.
- Family Plan – $8.74/meal
I looked through several weeks of plans. It’s typical to get two meat meals and one non-meat meal. So, you might get chicken, fish, and pasta. You can choose from six different dishes, but some require an upgrade.
I didn’t care for meatloaf, salmon, or wedding soup, so I made the decision to choose a chicken dish, a pasta dish, and upgrade to New York strip steak for my third meal. I’ll talk more about this upcharge and whether it is worth it in a minute.
HelloFresh indicates that you can adapt their menu to special diets in a number of ways. You can pick and choose so you aren’t eating pork, or whatever you don’t like/want to eat. You also can do fairly well with food allergies as everything is packaged separately. So, if you are allergic to nuts, you would simply throw out the packet of almonds in the green beans almondine recipe box.
The Meal Delivery Box Arrives
My HelloFresh meal box arrived right on time as promised. I had added a note to just leave it on the front doorstep and that is what happened. The box itself is not too large to lift and bring inside, but it is a little heavy, so lift with your legs and not your back.
I was excited to try this company. I had heard good things about HelloFresh. I also always plan out my menus, because it saves money, so knowing I could rely on the box to arrive when our grocery stash was low was a good thing. I rather like the logo. It is cheerful and bright and easily recognizable. .
Inside the box is a foil liner. This keeps everything insulated and leak free. A large ice pack kept the meat cold and fresh. Most of the other items only needed to be cool or room temperature.
On the very top were the recipe cards and some info on HelloFresh. As you can see, the recipe cards are sturdy, list the ingredients you should have for each meal and offer very detailed instructions on the back.
I did have one issue with this box. Although everything was packed neatly and it makes sense to put the meat on the bottom and then put the ice over it to keep it cold, the steak leaked blood all over the bottom of the box. It did not get on the other items as there was a thick separator.
I had to put the meats each in a separate gallon-size baggie to keep it from leaking further. At first, I thought it might be the chicken leaking, but it was the steak. All-in-all, this could have been a one-time issue and wasn’t that big of a deal or a deal breaker for me.
One of the things I really loved about HelloFresh over Blue Apron was that each meal’s ingredients (except the meat) was in its own little box. This meant I didn’t have to spend time separating out what went where. Instead, I just grabbed a box with all the ingredients needed to make that specific meal. Here are some photos to show you what I mean:
The meals I chose for this box were:
- Lean mean chicken and greens with rosemary potatoes and gremolata
- Penne with a kick in a pancetta-tomato arrabbiata sauce
- New York strip steak with truffled mashed potatoes and green beans almandine (there were typos on this recipe card, which drives me crazy as a writer/editor)
One thing that I really liked about the food sent from HelloFresh was that it was organic and much was labeled as grown in the USA. The foods seemed fresh and high quality. The recipes were fairly healthy, except the pasta and that was my choice to pick that dish.
So, one thing I don’t like about these meal kits are that they require a lot more prep work and time to cook than the simple meals I make at home or things I throw in my crock pot. However, I love that I can try something new that we wouldn’t normally eat, such as truffle seasoning in potatoes.
I wish that these companies had a plan where you could order just one meal a week. I can see cooking one of these as a fun thing to do and to try something new. I personally don’t like cooking three meals in one week and doing this much prep work. I’d say each meal took me around 45 minutes with all the chopping, cleaning, cooking, plating, etc.
In my normal life, I don’t typically spend more than 20 minutes cooking. I tend to cook the same dishes over and over and have all the shortcuts in place and they are simple and quick. However, it is a trade off, because I really did enjoy trying something new.
All of the dishes tasted wonderful. I particularly liked the chicken and salad with the roasted potatoes. This recipe was so good that I saved the card so I can repeat it on my own. I think the sauce that went over the chicken (made of parsley, etc.) was what really made the dish. It was also extremely healthy and low in calories. Another bonus.
The steak was tasty and the green beans almondine different. I did not care for the truffle potatoes. I think this was my own personal taste. I hadn’t tried truffles in potatoes before and it just wasn’t my thing. It was edible but not delicious.
The penne pasta had a nice kick that gave it a different taste. I added a salad and fruit and some bread to round out the meal. I probably wouldn’t choose pasta again as I like my own simple pasta best.
Overall, the quality of the food was high, which makes for a delicious meal. The sauces were creative and gave the meal a nice difference from our everyday meals.
Cost v. Convenience
The normal cost of a meal for two is going to be around $20. You know what a cheapskate I am. I have a hard time justifying this cost. I can make a meal for the two of us for $10 that is a feast and have plenty of leftovers for another meal or at least lunch.
However, if you are cooking for one or two and don’t like to shop, how great to have it all delivered to your doorstep. You could even buy the plan for a family of four and eat on it for two days, having enough meals for six days of the week. Overall, you would probably save money by not making impulse purchases and would lose weight in the process.
The convenience of having it delivered to your doorstep is fabulous. Having to spend so much time washing, drying, chopping and prepping was not so convenient. However, it was no more so than what I had to do for Blue Apron. that is just the nature of these services. You are basically being given a dummy kit that helps you cook a gourmet meal, including instructions on how to plate it pretty. Here are my two meals I took pictures of. I didn’t get a good picture of the pasta.
So, here is the thing… These plates look okay. They don’t look like the card:
So, yeah. User error, for sure. Obviously I need to work on my presentation skills before I go on Top Chef. However, the taste was wonderful. The sauce was amazing and I wasn’t even sure what they meant when they told me to cook until reduced. Yes, I’ve heard the term when watching cooking channel, but what does it mean exactly? I just guessed and it turned out amazing and so tasty.
I also paid $10 to upgrade to the premium recipe with New York Strip steak. Frankly, I don’t think it was worth $10. The steak wasn’t very big. I could have bought a huge steak for $10 in the grocery store. And this was an upgrade, so it was replacing something. In my mind, I should have gotten the value of what it replaced, but the $10 upgrade. I don’t feel that happened. They did put two tiny little chocolate bites in the box, so maybe that made up for it. ha ha
If I were doing it again, I would not take an upgrade recipe unless it looked really phenomenal. Lesson learned.
Is HelloFresh Worth It?
I really liked HelloFresh. They often offer discounts, too, so you can make the costs a little better. I really loved the quality of the food and the taste of the dishes. I will probably order from them again at some point in the future, but I may switch to the family plan so all that prep work at least gives me a bigger meal and lunch for the next day. Also, I really wish they’d come out with a one meal a week plan instead of three. That is a real drawback for me. I can see fitting one gourmet a week in. Three is too much for my budget.
My final thought is that you probably should give it a try. If you would like to, use the link below to get $40 off your first box and I’ll get a $20 referral fee if you order again. This is similar to the deal I got on my first box.
Let me know what you think. Love it or hate it? Or do you prefer something else altogether?