I Tried HelloFresh Meal Delivery & Here's What I Think
I've been buying HelloFresh meal-delivery kits for a few months, and here are my takeaways.
A few months ago, I received a HelloFresh coupon in the mail and decided to give it a try. Why not?! If you haven't heard of HelloFresh, it's a meal-delivery kit service that sends you the ingredients and recipes right to your doorstep. It takes out the need to plan meals and take a trip to the grocery store. I tried other meal-delivery services in the past, and I was less than impressed. They were expensive, the portions were too small and in the end, it wasn't worth it for me. But, it had been years since I tried one, so I decided to give HelloFresh a shot.
How It Works
Each week, you log in and — depending on the plan you've chosen — pick out three or four meals from the 20 meals available, along with a delivery date. If you don't select your meals five days before the delivery date, they will preselect them for you, and you can easily skip weeks if you want. They offer new recipes each week, and you can click each one to get more details including ingredients, instructions and nutritional info (which is great for those with dietary restrictions or for those counting calories). Some recipes are categorized as calorie smart, hall of fame (a crowd favorite), quick (20 minutes or less) and gourmet or gourmet plus. (These recipes come with an extra charge ranging from $5.99 to $7.99 per serving.)
My fiance and I choose the plan that includes two servings of three meals per week. Each meal is separated into its own paper bag (I like to use the bag to discard trash while cooking) and comes with an ice pack you can recycle or reuse. All the ingredients are measured out, but you still have to wash and chop the produce, so a little cooking is still involved. The ingredients are fresh, so we found that we have to cook the meals no later than a few days after we receive our delivery (or you can always stick them in the freezer).
You can choose your serving size (two or four) and the number of meals per week (three or four) of a few different meal plans. I've highlighted the meal plans below to help you choose the best one for you:
- Meat & Veggies: A variety of meals with chicken, beef, pork, seafood with vegetable and rice sides
- Veggie: A variety of meals with seasonal, naturally-grown vegetables
- Low-Calorie: A variety of dietician-approved meals that are around 650 calories per serving
- Family Friendly: A variety of kid-approved meals that are quick and easy to make
Is It Worth the Cost?
Short answer: Yes, if it fits within your budget. Each serving comes out to $9.99, including shipping, so my fiance and I spend $60 per week on three meals. The portions are great and the meals are delicious. Seriously, we have been so impressed with every meal we've made — I would spend $18 to $20 for a single meal at a restaurant. However, the $9.99 price per serving is slightly more expensive than if you go grocery shopping and cook every night. I kept the recipe cards (you can also access these on their website for free) and made the recipes using ingredients I bought at the grocery store myself, and it comes out cheaper. But, if you hate grocery shopping like me, it's worth subbing in a week of HelloFresh meals once or twice a month to cut down on grocery store visits.
They also sell protein-only plans like chicken, sausage or ground beef so you can build your own meals around them. The costs are comparable to your local healthy supermarket (around $4.99 for 12 ounces of chicken, $3.99 for 10 ounces of ground beef, etc)., plus you don't risk not finding what you need at the store.
Pros and Cons
- Delicious meals
- Good portion sizes
- A good way to try new foods
- No meal planning or grocery shopping required
- Minimal, eco-friendly packaging (all the packaging is recyclable!)
- More expensive than homemade meals
- It still requires some basic cooking skills and tools
- Your options are limited to about 20 meals per week