Several weeks ago I decided to try out Hello Fresh, a food delivery service that sends you all the ingredients for weekly dinners along with the recipe cards to make the meals, so that you can make fresh, “healthy” dinners with ease and convenience.
The Nuts and Bolts:
With Hello Fresh a weekly order is placed for your meals for the week. You can order from either three meals for two people or five meals for two people, or you can also order family boxes. Options include classic boxes which are meat and veg, or all vegetarian, and classic boxes cost about £42 per week, if you’re ordering for three meals, while veggie only boxes are a little bit less.
Essentially, Hello Fresh advertises that they use fresh ingredients, often from local businesses and organic where possible. You are expected to have a few basics on hand such as salt, pepper, butter, milk, but they pretty much send you everything else in exact quantities, so no measuring out of ingredients is required. A very colourful, easy to following recipe card is provided with exact timing for how long the meal should take to prepare.
Often they have an intro offer so that you’re first box is cheaper to incentivize you to try their service. I got mine through a recommendation of a friend, so it only cost me a £1 to trial. Beyond that there’s no obligation to carry on, which makes it quite attractive for those who unsure of whether to give it a try.
What I liked...
I liked the ease and convenience of the service. You can choose from various delivery times, including Sunday afternoon which was great for me, as generally I’m usually home on a Sunday, which is great for prepping meals for the week ahead. I also liked the fact that not only does it take away the need to do grocery shopping for dinners, it also takes away the question about what to have for dinner each night.
In our household, we're often busy and don’t work a strict 9-5 schedule, so having ingredients at home with recipes made dinner preparation much quicker and easier! Another positive for me was that waste was limited. Most food came in recyclable packages and because it came pre-portioned there was very little food waste. It also encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone to try new foods and recipes that I don’t typically make, such as Tilapia with a creamy tarragon sauce, which was delicious!
What I didn’t like so much...
Although Hello Fresh advertises that they use fresh, healthy, often organic food so that you can make healthy weekly dinners, I found the “health” part a bit lacking for me. Generally, the ingredients seemed fairly fresh and well-sourced; however, the actual meals for me were generally quite heavy and often more “comfort foods” than healthy dinners.
You have some choice over the meals you choose but not much as your selection is limited to three out of five possible choices. Generally, I found the carb portion very heavy, so lots of potatoes or lots of rice, the meat portion depending on the meal from pretty to decent to a bit paltry, and the veggie portion quite small, inadequate and lacking in variety. In two out of our three meals for the week, we had green beans as the veg, and in the other meal, which was burgers, there was a bit of salad to go on the burger - definitely not a vegetable portion!
The Verdict: Will I order again?
Well, not at the moment unless they make some changes. I absolutely love the concept of fresh ingredients with recipe cards delivered straight to your door, and I do find it fairly good value for the cost; however I would like more variety and healthy choices. For me, especially at dinner time, I would prefer to go a bit easier on heavy carbs such as potatoes, or recipes with a lot of cheese or cream. I would also like to have a lot more veg on my plate.
It would be great if they had some lower carb/carb free options, more variety of vegetables, and less cheese and dairy ingredients. Even if there was a basic meal, but you could substitute various sides, for example, sweet potatoes instead of potatoes, other veg over starchy carbs choices. I would also happily pay a little bit extra for that convenience.
I can see this being a great service for some people, busy families with kids or for anyone looking to start eating healthier and usually has pre-packaged meals or takeaways, this is definitely a big step in a healthier direction. However, if you’re already a fairly healthy eater you will probably find that the meals are a bit too rich and starchy.