We Tried Hello Fresh: Here’s The Verdict

This picture is an accurate depiction of the product.

New Experiences Are Great

I am not a chef, but tonight my husband said that I could be. In fact, he thought that I had ordered out and transferred the food to our plates. (As if I’d go to that trouble!) I smiled and reminded him that we have been ordering meals from Hello Fresh for the last three weeks. 

Our journey with Hello Fresh began simply because I don’t remember how to cook for just two people anymore, and with our recently acquired empty nest, we had a lot of food leftover each day. The company’s marketing was successful because they sent me a coupon on the right day, and I decided to give them a try.

Background

To say that good-tasting food is vital in our home is an understatement. In fact, I often argue that Gary Chapman missed one of the most essential Love Languages in his book, The Five Love Languages because Austin’s love language is definitely food. As such, trying anything new with his menu is advised with caution. He is a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy and would prefer homemade biscuits at every meal if his wife would still take time to make them.

Not only was Austin concerned when I first mentioned the idea because the food looked too “fancy,” but also he was not too keen on the idea of paying for food to be delivered to our door that we still had to cook. His concern was well-founded. I do all of the cooking, but he helps me clean up the kitchen every night and knows how much more work it is to clean up when I’ve cooked. But since he doesn’t have to cook, and since I assured him that the recipes looked like they used minimal pots and pans, he said we should give the company a try. We are both glad that we did.

The Food

Tonight we had the Balsamic Tomato and Herb Chicken over Buttery Garlic Spaghetti. It was more than enough for us and incredibly satisfying. The meals are delivered in individual bags placed inside an insulated box, and when I open the bag, I am always concerned that there won’t be enough. Still, I am also used to cooking for four, so I am always relieved to find the portion sizes are perfect. We haven’t had a meal sent to us in the last three weeks that we did not absolutely love

The Plan

The service is simple to use. They have a variety of plans, and you select the number of meals you want each week. The plans include:

  • Calorie Smart
  • Meat and Veggies
  • Veggies
  • Family Friendly
  • Pork-Free
  • Pescatarian

So far, my meals have been about $18/meal + shipping. That is a fraction of what we used to pay when we went out to eat, and the Hello Fresh food tastes better; I think because I control the sodium content, I am more satisfied. Another good thing is that the portions were just enough, so neither of us left the table feeling stuffed as we often do when eating out.

The program is relatively simple. 

  1. Go online to pick your plan.
  2. Select the number of meals you want and the number of people you will feed.
  3. Select from the week’s menu. It changes every week, and if you don’t select, Hello Fresh will select for you based on the most popular recipes that week. I think of it as the daily special in restaurants. If by chance, you don’t like anything on the menu, you can also skip that week.
  4. Determine if you want to order “sides” with your order. I highly recommend their Kale salad and Garlic bread.
  5. Wait on your delivery. It comes via UPS in a box clearly marked, and it has reflective insulation in the box and two dry-ice packs to keep the food cool. We have not received anything that was not cold and fresh when it arrived.

Austin and I selected the Calorie Smart plan but have also enjoyed the Family Friendly one. Both were equally tasty and easy to cook. In fact, every meal I have cooked so far with this service has taken a maximum of 30 minutes from start to serving and was easy enough that a beginning cook could build confidence in the kitchen cooking these meals.

Moving Forward

Hello Fresh is my first experience with a food subscription service, so I do not have anything to compare the company or the food to, but I can say that I have enjoyed what we have received, and even if I cancel the service, I still have all of the colorful menu recipe cards, so I can try to recreate the dishes on my own.

My only concerns with the program are:

  • The packaging – there is a LOT of it. We try to be environmentally conscious and appreciate that Hello Fresh uses primarily recyclable packaging, but there is a lot of it to deal with.
  • If we are not home when UPS delivers, the box will stay on the porch. I doubt that porch pirates would be an issue where I live, but animals might, so that may be the reason I cancel the service when I am no longer teaching from home.
  • The price. I struggle to put the price in as a concern, but when I deduct $50 – 60 from my paycheck for three meals, it seems like a lot. However, that amount is for absolutely everything I need to cook the dish with the exception of everyday kitchen staples like salt, pepper, sugar, and oil, so I guess it may feel like I am paying slightly more, but the convenience has been worth it.

I am not sure how long we will continue on this program, but it is one that I believe is worth the money due to its convenience and the taste of the meals. It has been fun to cook new meals, and it has been educational to see how little food I need when I’m cooking for two rather than four. Maybe I will determine that it is worth it and continue the subscription, but I know that whether we continue the service or cancel it, Hello Fresh has earned my trust.

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