Reviews

HelloFresh Review: All You Need to Know About This Meal Kit Service

In this review, we'll look at the offering from HelloFresh, and unpack the details of registering and using this international food delivery service.
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Are you sick of ordering from the takeaway or drive-thru for dinner? Fast food isn’t most people’s meal of choice, but the convenience is worth the trade-off for many.

A report from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that 36.6% of American adults, more than 85-million people, consume fast food on any given day. The research shows that of people aged 20 to 39, 44.9% consume fast food daily, while 37.7% of people aged 40 to 59-years eat from fast food restaurants every day.

Why do so many Americans eat junk food as one of their primary sources of nutrition? Some experts believe that it’s because most people don’t have the time or energy to cook after working all day. The temptation of slipping into the line at the drive-thru, or calling the pizza place after you arrive home is too much to resist when you’re feeling flat after a long day at the office.

Now there’s no need to order from the local slop house when you’re feeling hungry. HelloFresh is the world’s largest meal delivery kit service. This company delivers all the ingredients and instructions you need to make a home-cooked meal in minutes – directly to your door.

HelloFresh Homepage
HelloFresh Homepage

That’s right; there’s no more grocery shopping involved with making delicious meals right in your kitchen. HelloFresh does all the hard work for you, and you get fresh, healthy, and nutritious meals without the hassle of sourcing the ingredients yourself.

Time is your most valuable asset, and HelloFresh saves you plenty. Founded by Dominik Richter, Thomas Griesel, and Jessica Nilsson in 2011, the trio wanted to bring fresh, convenient meals to the public. The company started in Berlin, Germany, and quickly expanded to the rest of Europe, North America, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

HelloFresh listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2017, with one of the best-received IPOs of the year.

In this review, we’ll look at the offering from HelloFresh, and unpack the details of registering and using this international food delivery service.

Visit HelloFresh


HelloFresh Explained

The hassle of going to the grocery store is a real time-burner. Planning your meals, selecting the foods, and then waiting in the checkout line is all time you could spend winding down after a day at the office. It not surprising that so many Americans turn to the takeout menu or the local pizzeria for their evening meal.

It’s due to this change in how we value our time, that caused the founding members of HelloFresh to see a gap in the market. Back in the 90s, the thought of a commercially-viable food delivery service never crossed the minds of investors.

However, a few decades later, and HelloFresh is raking in annual earnings above 1.24-billion Euros. HelloFresh is a meal delivery service that delivers a weekly fresh food parcel to your doorstep. You get all the ingredients you need to make tasty and healthy meals, along with recipe cards that show you a step-by-step method of cooking and plating the meal.

HelloFresh saves you time shopping at the grocery store and prepping your meals. Everything comes individually packaged and ready for cooking. All you need to do is follow the recipe guide, and you have a meal that’s ready in as little as 20-minutes. That’s faster than ordering from the pizza place.

Many millennials turn to TV dinners to get their evening meal. The issue is that while TV dinners are affordable, they contain poor-quality ingredients. The company’s that manufacture TV dinners need to cut costs wherever they can, and lowering the quality of the ingredients is a great way to increase profits.

As a result of the cutbacks in quality, most TV dinners feature sub-par ingredients. Why even put something like that in your body when you can have a freshly cooked meal that only takes a few minutes longer to prepare?


How Does HelloFresh Work?

HelloFresh is a web-based service that you access through the company’s website. When you visit the HelloFresh homepage, you’ll see the “Log In” button on the top right corner. If you click it, you also have the option of signing up for the service as well. The Homepage feels like it has a simplistic design, but you have to scroll down to see the “Get Started” button.

When signing up, you can either use your Facebook account or your email address to register for your account. HelloFresh sends you a food parcel every week on the same weekday. Inside the insulated box, you get all of your foods you ordered to make your menu, with an ice pack keeping your food fresh.

You can have HelloFresh deliver to your work address, and the box will remain cold until you get it home in the evening. The box holds bags of all the dry items, sorted by each meal in color-coordinated packaging.

How HelloFresh Works
How HelloFresh Works

All meat and fish come vacuum-sealed in bags, and the box also includes all the recipe cards you need to cook and plate the meal. One thing to note is that HelloFresh assumes you already have seasonings and condiments.

Therefore, it doesn’t include them with your food parcel. However, that’s standard practice across the industry, so make sure you have your seasonings and condiments on hand. The recipe cards included with your food parcel give you step-by-step instructions on how to cook your meals.

The instructions are straightforward, and they even provide spate cards on individual cooking practices, such as how to cook a steak properly. You’ll have to do some minor prep work with your meal, but it usually doesn’t take more than a few minutes, depending on the menu item you’re cooking.


What Are Your Box Options?

After registering your account and supplying your delivery address, you’ll go through to a screen that hosts your box options. Your box options consist of four offers.

  • Meat & Veggies—Includes meals that feature seafood and meat.
  • Vegetarian—Vegetarian meal options that might also contain dairy products.
  • Family Friendly—Customize your box option to feed two, three, or four people.
  • Fit & Wholesome—The best choice for people on a diet, each meal contains around 650-calories.
  • Quick & Easy— Simple meals for people who are always on the move and have little time to cook.
  • Pescatarian— Pescatarian meal options which do not include red meat or poultry.

Selecting Your Meals

After selecting your box option, you have to choose the day of the week that you want to receive your food parcel. As mentioned, HelloFresh will deliver to your home or office, and the packaging keeps your food fresh for hours.

You then move onto selecting your meals for the coming week from the HelloFresh menu. However, it’s important to note that this option is only available for the Meat & Veggies and Low-Calorie diet plans. Vegetarians don’t have the same amount of choice, but more on that later.

For non-vegetarians, you get to pick the meals that look tasty, selecting the foods that align with your tastes. The selection is excellent, and you can keep switching each week to bring plenty of variety into your diet.

When choosing your favorite recipes, you can view the ingredients to check for any allergies, as well as the nutritional information of the meal.

Some Of The Meals HelloFresh Provides
Some Of The Meals HelloFresh Provides

HelloFresh Features and Details

Overall, HelloFresh makes it easy to sign up for its service and start receiving food parcels. Before you checkout with your menu plan, read through these additional features and details of using HelloFresh.

Serving Sizes

How many people can you feed with HelloFresh? We looked at all of the plans and came up with the following.

Vegetarian

When ordering the vegetarian plan, you get vegetarian recipe cards featuring an ingredients list that covers plant-based proteins, seasonal produce, and grains. You have the option of choosing plans to feed two or four people, but you only get the option of selecting three recipes per week.

Meat & Veggies

This meal plan is the HelloFresh classic offering and its most popular plan. The Meat & Veggies menu has the widest variety of seafood, meats, and seasonal produce on offer. You get the option of selecting plans to cater for two or four people, and your choice of two, three, or four recipe options a week.

Family Friendly

This plan offers you quick-and-easy meals with plenty of flavors designed to please the entire family. However, with the family plan, you only get meals that cater for four persons. You can also take the option of two or three recipes per week.

Low-Calorie

If you’re dieting and trying to lose weight, then the low-calorie menu option is a great choice. HelloFresh has a wide variety of dietician-approved meals that measure out at around 650-calories per recipe.


How Much Does HelloFresh Cost?

The cost of using the HelloFresh service depends on a few factors. How many people you’re catering for, and how many meals you need each week to determine the final costs you need to pay.

HelloFresh prices for different meal plans
HelloFresh prices for different meal plans

Discount Sign-Up Offer

As a first-time customer of HelloFresh, you get a special discount offer of 8-free meals when selecting your plan. That’s possibly the best introductory offer we’ve seen from food delivery companies and incentivizes the user to sign up and give HelloFresh a try.


What Kinds of Recipes Does HelloFresh Provide?

HelloFresh works with local food suppliers to source the freshest ingredients. Therefore, you can expect many of the dishes to include local, seasonal produce. However, the service offers you plenty of options, regardless of the time of year or what’s in season. With HelloFresh, you get tasty meals all-year-round.

With every meal, HelloFresh includes a recipe card that gives you step-by-step instructions for cooking your meal. The menu cards also have pictures of how the final meal should look when you plate it for serving.


What are the Pros and Cons of Using HelloFresh?

During our experience using the platform, we encountered a few unique features that make the HelloFresh offering stand out from its competitors. However, we also found a few drawbacks with the service as well. Here is our list of pros and cons of using HelloFresh.

Pros

  • One of the most affordable food services – HelloFresh is expensive, but its cheaper than most other food services when it comes to the entry-level plans. Compared to Blue Apron, the entry-level plan with HelloFresh is $1 less expensive per meal, and the introductory offer is better.
  • User-friendly – HelloFresh recipe cards turn anyone into a chef, even with limited cooking experience.
  • Accommodates your dietary restrictions – You can customize your meals to exclude certain ingredients, or select a low-carb plan on the low-calorie option.
  • Variety in menus – HelloFresh changes up the menu each week, allowing you to experience plenty of variety in your diet.

Cons

  • No discount for large families – Families with more than four members might find it disappointing that HelloFresh doesn’t offer you savings if you buy more.
  • Some preparation needed – You might have to do some minor prep work when cooking, such as chopping vegetables or nuts.
  • Minimum of 2-servings – The HelloFresh minimum makes it unsuitable for singles unless you’re a fan of plenty of leftovers.
  • Experienced chefs might find recipes boring – If you’re a whiz in the kitchen, you might find some of the recipes from HelloFresh to be uninspiring. The service is for people that want to cook tasty meals in as little time as possible.

Who Would Benefit from Using HelloFresh?

If you find that your schedule is so busy that you never have time to cook, then HelloFresh is a valuable service for your hectic lifestyle. With HelloFresh, you get fresh food delivered to your doorstep. Without the hassle of going grocery shopping.

The meals are easy to put together, with some taking as little as 20-minutes of cooking time, while others might take 30-minutes or more. Still, that’s only a few minutes longer than you spend waiting for a pizza to arrive, and it’s far healthier for you.

If you need to make a change in your diet, then HelloFresh is a great option to get you out of the fast-food lifestyle. The service does seem like it caters for a minimum of two persons per meal, but you can separate the ingredients and cook two of the same meal in the same week if you’re single.

HelloFresh suits anyone who values time over money and prefers convenience in their grocery shopping and meal plans.


Who Should Avoid Using HelloFresh?

If you’re a frugal person that counts every penny, then you’ll probably find the pricing of the HelloFresh meal plans horrendous. It’s no secret that HelloFresh is somewhat expensive. However, how much is convenience worth to you?

Experienced chefs might also find the menu offerings slightly unadventurous and lacking creativity. You might find that you add additional seasonings to the meat, or use different cooking methods other than what they describe on the recipe card.

First-time cooks also might find the recipe cards confusing because they call for the chef to multi-task while cooking. If you have no experience in the kitchen, HelloFresh is an excellent way to learn to cook, but you might have a few mistakes along the way.


The Quality of Ingredients Is Average

HelloFresh is the largest food delivery service in the world. Therefore, they have contracts with numerous food producers to supply them with vegetables, fruit, meats, and seafood.

We found that the quality of the meats and seafood were good, but the vegetables seemed like second-rate produce. The foods cook well, and we experienced plenty of flavorful meals in our parcel.

There are No Leftovers

HelloFresh serves millions of meals every day, all around the world. Therefore, they understand precisely how to measure the correct-size portion. While there’s nothing for leftovers, each meal provided satiates your hunger. If you do prefer leftovers, then we recommend that you double-up on portion size, although this can add significantly to your food budget.

Excellent Customer Service

HelloFresh has excellent customer service. If anything’s missing from your food parcel, and that’s a rarity, then the company credits your account for the missing food immediately.

Packaging and Recycling

Serving millions of customers results in plenty of cardboard and plastic waste produced by the company. However, HelloFresh does make a plan to help environmentally-conscious people recycle their packaging materials.

The site has directions on how to recycle the packaging, and they also mention that all of HelloFresh cardboard is a blend of recyclable and virgin cardboard. Remember to recycle for the sake of the planet.

HelloFresh Recyclable Packaging
HelloFresh Recyclable Packaging

Wrapping up the Review – The Verdict for HelloFresh

Of all of the major food delivery services, HelloFresh is the largest, but we feel like it doesn’t have the best offering.

We think that Plated offers you a higher quality of food, for a similar price range when you compare the family plans. Plated recipe cards are also easier to read and use, and they have just as much variety on offer in their weekly menu.

Overall, HelloFresh does have a good offering and an excellent introductory discount that makes it worthwhile giving the service a try. HelloFresh serves all U.S states, but there might be a few towns in rural areas where you can’t get the service.

HelloFresh does have a good selection of meals on its menu, and the service also provides timeous delivery. If you have a family of four, then HelloFresh is worth a try. However, if you’re single, then you might want to go with another food delivery service that caters to individuals.

If you’re tired of ordering takeout, then HelloFresh is a nice way to make you feel like you’re eating healthy, at least a few nights a week. As a bonus, you’ll never have to eat those terrible TV dinners again.

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Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of MoneyCheck and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience in Investing and UK Business. His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More. He built Money Check to bring the highest level of education about personal finance to the general public with clear and unbiased reporting. oliver@moneycheck.com