Interested in a meal subscription plan and want to try Hello Fresh? Looking for a Hello Fresh Review? I tried it for a week, and here’s what I thought. Please note: This post is NOT sponsored by Hello Fresh– I used an online promo code for $40 off one week’s meal to try it out.
A few years ago, Jamie Oliver came to my hometown to help the schools ‘get healthy.’ The show was controversial locally, because it interviewed mainly unhealthy kids and parents who didn’t know what a tomato is, and some people were upset by how that made us look. (I was upset too, but mostly because now I knew there were people here who didn’t know what a tomato is!) I admit– I didn’t watch the whole series, but I saw the aftermath in the schools, and it was Wonderful. Not everything stuck (the flavored, sugar-filled milk was back right away), but the salad bar stayed, and the breakfast pizza vanished completely. Not every student took advantage of every healthy option, but there ARE more healthy options for those who want them. Because of his healthy schools program, I’m a huge Jamie Oliver fan– but I’d never tried any of his recipes. When I saw that Jamie Oliver worked with Hello Fresh, I was excited to give it a try as part of my “Blue Apron Project.”
What they promise:
Hello Fresh promises ‘chef curated’ meals with ‘fresh ingredients.’ They work in collaboration with Jamie Oliver, and each week’s meal plan is supposed to include the option to get a meal he designed.
Meal Selection / Current Pricing*:
Hello Fresh offers the most economical pricing of any meal subscription company I looked into (just slightly cheaper than Blue Apron). The classic box (for two to four people) is $9.90 per person per meal, and the veggie box (also for two to four people) is $9.08 per person per meal. There’s also a family box for two adults and two children that is $8.75 per person per meal. If you’re looking for the cheapest meal subscription service option– the vegetarian plan, for two people, would feed you three times a week for $54.48. They do not offer a vegan meal option (yet). Shipping is free.
Hello Fresh offers two meal box choices– classic or vegetarian. The classic box lets you choose two meat and a veggie– and only one of the ‘meat’ choices can be seafood, so I ended up ordering the vegetarian box. The ‘classic’ box gives you meal options to choose from, but with the vegetarian box– there are no choices. Either you like the options that week, or you skip the week. Also note– skipping weeks seems to be simple for most weeks, but changing your first delivery is a little more complicated– you have to contact customer service and have them do it for you. (I found this out the hard way… twice. I’m indecisive).
UPS didn’t deliver my food box until almost 8pm, the latest of all my food box deliveries, but shockingly enough, the food was still cold. Everything was packed well– and the three meals were divided up into three smaller cardboard boxes. I was impressed with the packaging, because it seemed as eco-friendly as possible. There was minimal plastic, and the packaging was recyclable. The produce was in great shape, and it was easy to figure out what produce went with which meal.
Meal One: Quinoa, Fig, & Arugula Salad. This salad was easy to put together, and FAST! It was ready, start to finish, in about 20 minutes. The meal looked delicious, but I was a little worried when I looked at the finished product– it was a pretty small salad and needed to feed both me and the hungry husband, and I felt like it was more of a side dish than a full meal. That said, it was packed with quinoa, almonds, and feta, so it should have had enough protein. The problem was… neither of us liked the dinner. I wanted to like it– and liked the idea of putting dried fig in a salad. I’ll probably try making it again on my own, but leave out the quinoa, and swap the feta for blue cheese, and the almonds for walnuts.
Meal Two: Portobello Burger + Sweet Potato Fries. We ate this for lunch, and were pretty happy with it. It was straightforward and easy– simply a roasted Portobello mushroom head on a bun with a few veggies, and then a side of roasted sweet potato fries. I found myself wishing for a strong cheese or some other big flavor to help round out the taste (you know– to make it AMAZING), but overall it was a decent sandwich.
Meal Three: Zucchini Risotto (the Jamie Oliver meal). This was the most flavorful meal from Hello Fresh. It wasn’t new to me– I already make risotto on occasion– and this rice dish with zucchini and fresh herbs was delicious. My only problem was… it didn’t feel like a meal to me. Again, it felt like a side dish. There was a LOT of risotto, but I didn’t want to just eat a giant bowl of rice for dinner. While I stood over the stove stirring the risotto, I became more and more convinced that this was not a meal. Since I had the time (risotto is not fast, ya know?), I seared flounder and served it with the risotto. So I’m counting this one as a side dish, but a tasty one.
Hello Fresh is budget-friendly (compared to the other companies), and the produce looked fantastic. My main complaint was meal selection and portion size– I was disappointed that I couldn’t try their seafood recipes and had to stick with the vegetarian box, and I felt like the meals were on the small side. I also felt like my taste buds just weren’t in sync with the meals– I wanted to love it, but usually the husband finished my food. However, the recipes were easy to prepare, and since everything was made from scratch, they could be incorporated into your normal meal routine. If you’re vegetarian, or a meat-eater without any dietary restrictions, Hello Fresh could be a great option.
Who Might Love Hello Fresh
- Anyone without dietary restrictions
- People who eat out on a regular basis (this might actually end up saving you money!)
- Anyone looking for very basic cooking lessons (these meals weren’t complicated, but they were made from scratch)
Who Should Keep Looking
- Anyone with dietary restrictions that Hello Fresh doesn’t accommodate (vegan, gluten free, paleo etc)
- Anyone who can only eat certain types of meat (i.e.- no pork, no beef)
- Vegetarians who want more meal choice options
Was this Hello Fresh Review interesting, but you’re still looking? Check out these meal delivery services:
*A Note on Cost: The cost for meal subscription companies varies quite a bit from company to company. However, with each company, expect that the food will cost more than at a grocery store. You’re paying for convenience– they’ve taken care of several meals for the week, and you don’t have to worry about what to cook on those nights. You probably will still need to go to grocery store for the rest of the week’s meals, but the Hello Fresh meals are taken care of. You’re also paying for produce that may be hard to find locally, as well as an introduction to new foods and cooking styles. Whether or not the cost is worth it, is of course, up to you. Additionally, the prices I’ve listed here are what each meal subscription service currently charges and may change over time– check each company’s website for up-to-date price information.
Also Note: As the name implies, all of these companies provide meal ‘subscriptions.’ That means they keep your credit card information on file, and your food will keep coming (and you’ll keep paying for it), unless you tell them otherwise. A lot of complaints I’ve seen about meal subscription companies are about canceling the food on time– each company provides a ‘skip or cancel by date,’ usually about a week before each delivery. I didn’t find it difficult to cancel or skip weeks, but keep the ‘subscription’ part in mind when you’re ordering.