There are few things more frustrating than finding a tasty recipe online only to discover it calls for exotic ingredients you can barely pronounce, let alone find at your local grocery store. Luckily, this isn’t the case with HelloFresh, a meal delivery service that features repeatable recipes you can create using more common cupboard-dwelling foods – just be sure to keep hold of the handy recipe cards after you’ve finished cooking.
The efficient yet fun cooking process, delicious results and emphasis on including vegetables in every meal add to HelloFresh’s appeal, which is why it’s a contender for the title of best meal delivery service.
Two, three or four person options
Three to five recipes per week
Pre-weighed ingredients for minimal waste
Step-by-step recipe cards
Vegetarian, meat, pescatarian, family, quick cook and calorie smart options
New recipes each week
Great tasting meals
At least one of your 5-a-day in every meal
All ingredients are delivered in a cardboard box, with most already weighed out so all you have to do is pop them in the pan, oven or mixing bowl and start cooking. You can customize the number of people you are looking to serve, how many recipes you want to receive, and if you need any dietary requirements met – with options for ‘mostly meat’, ‘veggie’, ‘family,’ ‘quick cook’, ‘calorie smart’ and ‘pescatarian’. These groups are given a selection of recipes to choose from, though we did miss the option to choose vegan or gluten-free meal kits.
Each serving we tried contained around 600-800 calories and roughly 30-40g of protein, which is similar to the amount you’ll find in some of the best protein powders. (If you’re wondering, “What is a calorie?” or “What is protein?”, you can find the answers in our handy guides.)
Some of our in-house testers who exercise for more than an hour-a-day said they could have used a larger portion to ensure they were full, but most people will be satisfied with the serving sizes. Read on for our full Hello Fresh review.
Hello Fresh review: Fees and delivery
The HelloFresh website is easy to use and clearly laid out, displaying all the information you need without feeling cluttered. If you opt to see what meals are available, you are given a choice of the number of people you want to cater for (two, three or four) and the number of recipes you want to receive each week (three, four or five). You can also select whether you would like it to display mostly meat, veggie, family, quick cook, calorie smart or pescatarian dishes, with the promise of “over 37 fresh recipes every week” to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, there are no labeled provisions for vegans or those wanting gluten-free options.
We opted for four vegetarian recipes to feed two people which, including shipping ($9.99), costs $85.91 (around $10.74 per serving)). While it’s definitely possible to make a nutritious meal for less, HelloFresh promises quality saying it “works hard everyday to… source quality ingredients for your best dinner yet”. You also save time, not only because the ingredients are already located and measured for you, but also because you don’t have to make your regular pilgrimage to the supermarket.
If the price still sounds steep to you, it’s still worth taking a look at the site as there are often a selection of special offers and promo codes available, with considerable savings for the likes of first-time buyers and those who have been referred by a friend.
Hello Fresh review: Using the meal delivery service
HelloFresh deliveries arrive in a large cardboard box, with each of the recipes encased in a numbered paper bag (these correlate with the relevant recipe cards, so you know which bag to tear into after choosing your meal). The only items not included in these bags are those that need refrigerating – these arrive in an insulated parcel alongside several ice packs, to keep them cool.
Within the bags, most ingredients are already measured out for you – a nice touch that ensured our culinary exploits didn’t go awry, and meant there was less waste as there was no half-finished food left over.
Portioning meals into paper bags made finding the ingredients incredibly easy, and this fool-proof approach continued with the recipe cards. The instructions are laid out with explanatory images and clear explanations underneath, with no more than six stages to any recipe.
We found we were given just enough autonomy to feel like we had cooked for ourselves and accomplished something, but using HelloFresh was definitely far simpler than making a meal from scratch. There were no advanced cooking techniques either, so we never felt out of our depth boiling, frying and baking ingredients.
Another factor we’re big fans of is the absence of unfamiliar ingredients, with our vegetarian recipes instead including supermarket stalwarts like kidney beans, cheeses, passata and more common vegetables. So, you can repeat the recipes of your own volition without too much difficulty, just keep hold of your recipe cards and recycle the instructions.
The approximate cooking times on the recipe cards were spot on, giving us a good idea of which meals we could make in the time we had available, and having the nutritional information (including calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates, sugars, protein and salt) per 100g and serving on the recipe card is helpful for anyone keeping track of their consumption.
Hello Fresh review: Taste and nutrition
Given the simple ingredients and easy cooking experience, you’d be forgiven for worrying the result might taste somewhat basic. However, let us put your concerns at ease by confirming that every recipe we made was packed with flavor.
A beetroot, feta and walnut salad put a tasty twist on the leafy dish, while fried bean and mushroom tacos took under 20 minutes to make, providing a takeaway-esque experience with fresh ingredients. The results of our two cheese ratatouille pasta bake were rich and warming, and the Indonesian style spiced tofu curry put shop-bought sauces to shame with its impressive taste.
In our vegetarian meals, most servings provided around 30-40g of protein per serving – going some way to answer the question, ‘Do you need to eat meat to get protein?’. When included in a wider balanced, protein-rich diet, this is a good amount for an active person looking to build strength and muscle.
The tacos were slightly lower at 17.2g per serving, but they can be paired with the salad as a ‘special side’ to boost this figure by a further 7.8g.
The number of calories per serving varied from around 600-800, including the tacos and salad as a couplet. This will be adequate for most people, though those leading a particularly active lifestyle may require something more substantial.
We liked that each meal provided at least one of our five a day, with the veg-packed ratatouille boasting an impressive four portions of greens including courgette, aubergine, pepper and tomatoes.
However, the omission of options specifically for vegans or those wanting only gluten-free options on the HelloFresh website seems like an oversight.
Hello Fresh review: Customer reviews
HelloFresh scores 3.7 out of a possible five stars on review platform Trustpilot, with more than 51,000 ratings left on the site. Customers praise its fresh ingredients and wide choice of recipes available each week, with one saying it “takes all the hassle out of deciding what to have week in, week out”. Some also say their food bills have decreased since they began using the boxes.
However, a smattering of customers say they have struggled to cancel the service after deciding to end their subscription.
Should you use Hello Fresh?
Hello Fresh takes the hassle out of cooking by delivering fresh, tasty food to your door. With the ingredients already measured out, the cooking process is simple and efficient, while still delivering delicious dishes.
There is a wide choice of recipes updated on a weekly basis, with vegetarians, pescatarians and those on lower calorie diets all catered for – although there are no vegan-friendly labeled meals. Those leading very active lifestyles might want something a bit more substantial than a single serving offers, but the 600-800 calories and 30-40g protein hit on offer will be enough for most buyers.
If this product isn’t for you
HelloFresh is great for giving you new meal ideas and encouraging you to get into the kitchen. But if you’re after more of a healthy ready meal alternative that can be prepared in under three minutes, we recommend trying Freshly. The brand ships ready-to-heat meals to customers, so you can be tucking into a nutritious dish within 180 seconds of peeling the packet open, while expending minimal effort.
Or, if it’s vegan meal kits you’re after, look no further than Marley Spoon. Much like HelloFresh, ingredients for a selection of meals come pre-portioned to streamline the cooking process. But, unlike its competitor, Marley Spoon offers more options for those with dietary requirements, including vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and calorie-conscious options.
Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.
When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.
Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.
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