My Completely Honest (and unapologetic) Review of Hello Fresh

My Completely Honest (and unapologetic) Review of Hello Fresh

Healthy meal delivery services are popping up everywhere. If you’re on Facebook then I’m sure you’ve seen the ads for the different ones that are available. If you’re not online (um then you’re probably not reading this) it likely you received a coupon mailer enticing you to give meal delivery service a try. It’s clear there’s a need for meal delivery services but is it worth the price? Maybe, maybe not. There’s many meal delivery services to choose from but right now I’m just going to focus on Hello Fresh.

If you’re ready to try Hello Fresh, and don’t want to read my entire review, you can use my link to get $30 off your first box. <– That’s quite a deal!

Hello Fresh is a meal delivery service that caught my eye many times but I never gave it a second thought to actually try it. Why would I? I’m a food blogger and part of my job is to create new recipes. Well, my trusty friend, and honorary life advisor, Paula, suggested that I try Hello Fresh. She reminded me that another part of my job is to help people find different ways to fit healthy food into their busy lifestyles.  I never thought to fit a meal delivery service into the equation. But Paula was right (as usual) I needed to test out some of these services, because we all have different needs and a meal delivery service could be something that could work for some of my readers – not all – but some. Anyway, Paula provided me with a free week so I decided to give Hello Fresh a try.

That was back in March and since then I’ve received 10 more Hello Fresh Boxes. I didn’t want to do a review after just one box. I wanted to really give it a try so I can provide a good accurate honest review of Hello Fresh.

Obviously, there are tons of meal delivery options and for the most part all follow the same concept. They put together the meal plan and mail you the recipes with all the ingredients. I have only tried Hello Fresh so I can’t comment on the other meal delivery services available but I can say I’m glad Hello Fresh was my first experience with meal delivery service because overall it was a very positive one. Now I’m not saying it’s for everyone, it’s not. But for my lifestyle I can see the benefits of usin Hello Fresh. I’ll talk more about my experience in a second first let me give you a little background on Hello Fresh.

Here’s the deal. Hello Fresh has 3 plans to choose from. The Classic, Veggie, and Family Plan. You can learn more about each plan here. But I will give you a brief rundown.

Hello Fresh honest review

The Classic meal plan is my favorite and the one I order most. You can choose between 2 and 4 people and receive 3, 4, or 5 meals. It’s your choice. Obviously, the price is going to change depending on which you choose. Personally, I think $99 for 5 meals to feed 2 people is pretty good. I would spend at least half that on a dinner out with a friend. Not to mention the food wouldn’t be very healthy.

The Classic Plan offers the largest variety of recipes. I’ve had everything from fish tacos to mustard chicken to baked pasta dishes. The recipes are classic but not boring. I like that I recognize the ingredients but I also get introduced to new foods I probably wouldn’t purchase on my own.

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Next there’s the veggie meal plan. I think this is a great option for someone who is working on becoming vegetarian. I struggle the most with vegetarian recipes so I thought about ordering the veggie one just get more vegetables in my diet. I haven’t yet because I really like the recipes in the Classic box. The Veggie Meal Plan is 3 meals for 2 people for just $60 a week. Again, I think that price is reasonable. You can see the other price options here.

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Now we the family meal plan. This plan is for 4 people and you can get 2-3 meals a week. I subscribed to this box a couple times. I thought it was good but I liked the classic box better. I thought the family box had too many recipes I could easily stop and grab ingredients for at the store. For example, one box had a flat bread pizza with tomatoes. I didn’t think that recipe was worth the price of the box. The Classic box has more meat and fish and because of that I felt like I was getting more for my money. But it’s still worth a try if you want a bigger size box.

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Something I like about Hello Fresh is they work to customize your box based on the preference you check. So, if you’re trying to eat meals under 600 calories then, by clicking fit, those are the recipes you will get. If you don’t want seafood then no seafood. I like to check “no preference” because then I pick the recipes I want each week.

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Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like to select your meals. You just select and unselect the meals you want. The tricky part is this needs to be done by 11:59am on the day your box gets scheduled. I have my meals delivered on Saturdays so my meal choices need to be in by Monday at 11:59am. That might be different for you. I will get a email reminding me to make my selections and then I’ll get an email when my box is shipped. Hello Fresh is reliable and efficient.

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You can also pause delivery whenever you want. Again, this just needs to be done by 11:59 of the day your box would be scheduled. As you can see I have my service pause a few times this month. I schedule Hello Fresh for busy times when I don’t have time to plan out dinner or get to the grocery store. This weekend is going to be one of those times so I can’t wait to get my box on Saturday.

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You can read more about the Hello Fresh boxes and all they offer by checking out their website. If you’re ready to try Hello Fresh you can use my link to get $30 off your first box.

Okay let me take you through one of my most recent Hello Fresh boxes then I’ll talk more about who I think should and shouldn’t use Hello Fresh.

After you subscribe, pick your delivery date, and confirm your meal selections now you just need to wait for Hello Fresh to deliver your box of food. Something I didn’t expect was the excitement I felt when this box was delivered to my door. Who knew groceries delivered to my door would bring so much joy? Not me!

I ordered a few of these boxes earlier this year right in the middle of dance season. This is an insanely busy time of year for me and I can’t even put into the words the relief I felt coming home and having this box waiting for me. Even though I still had to grab food for breakfast and lunch, dinner was taken care of. HUGE RELIEF! It was during that time I knew a meal delivery service could really come in handy for certain folks.

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This is what the inside of the box looks like. You get the recipe cards, coupons for other things, and all the food is in an insulated cooler bag with dry ice on the bottom.

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Each recipe comes in it’s own box.

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All the meat, chicken, and fish are on the bottom under the ice.

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Now I have heard from friends of mine who use Hello Fresh that their meats have leaked. I never had that problem. But if that does happen just send Hello Fresh an email and they will make everything better. They have stellar customer service.

This is the Classic Box and includes Beef and Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry, Pan-Roasted Chicken, and a Red Rice Bowl.

Each came with a beautiful recipe card, detailed instructions, and all the ingredients. Actually, the only extra ingredients I ever need for a Hello Fresh recipe is olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Here’s what the Pan-Roasted Chicken with Dijon Mustard Sauce and Israeli Couscous looked like.

The recipe card.

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The instructions.

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The ingredients. One thing I want to point out is the quality of the ingredients. The meat and seafood is always top notch. That’s a big deal to me because I spend big money on these things in the grocery store. The vegetables are always fresh too.

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And the final product. This recipe (along with the others) were very easy to make. The rice in the rice bowl recipe did take a lot longer than the recipe card said but other than that everything cooked as stated.

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As you know I’m really into food prep. A recipe does me no good if I can’t make part of it ahead of time. Each recipe had at least one component that could be made on meal prep day. This shaves off a good 10-15 minutes during the week when I threw the rest of the recipes together. Also, I’ve made complete Hello Fresh meals ahead of time and portion them out using the containers below. This worked out great when I needed to bring meals with me or only had time to warm up meals during the week.

The containers I used can be found on Amazon. You can get the single compartment here and the triple here.

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As you can see the portions are big. Typically, I order the Classic Box for 2 people. I go back and forth between 3 and 5 meals. Just so you know the size of my family I’m a single mom with 2 small girls (9 and 11). I ordered the box for 4 people and that was too much food. The 2 person box is perfect for the 3 of us. Which brings me to whether or not my kids like Hello Fresh. To my surprise, my kids love Hello Fresh. At first I think it was just the novelty of getting a box of dinners delivered to our door. But then it turned into fun as we put together the recipes. My youngest has always been an adventurous eater with my oldest being beyond picky. Well both of them have enjoyed 90% of the dinners we received. My kids hate seafood so they never eat that. But will chow anything with steak or chicken. They also love rice and potatoes. If my kids hated the food I wouldn’t continue to order it because it would be too much food for me.

The constructive criticism I have for Hello Fresh is I would like to see the shrimp cleaned and the chicken pounded into cutlets if the recipe calls for it. I know this is minor but that’s one thing I think they can improve on. I hate cleaning shrimp and handing chicken. Given the extra cost that I pay for the convenience of having the ingredients I would like to see the proteins prepped and recipe ready. This won’t stop me from ordering Hello Fresh but it would be a huge plus.

Okay, now let’s talk about the type of person I think Hello Fresh is great for and who shouldn’t even bother.

Who should use Hello Fresh?

  • You’re trying to change your eating habits to healthier ones and have no clue where to start and become overwhelmed by all the recipes in Pinterestland.  I get you! If this is you I think Hello Fresh would be a great option for you. Hello Fresh creates the recipes, compiles all the ingredients, and delivers to your door. All you have to do is cook it. Every recipe has the nutritional information and are made with fresh real ingredients. If you don’t cook don’t worry because the recipes are super easy and the recipe cards walk you through everything. Plus, they have a great website and app with lots of tips and information.
  • You love to cook but hate to meal plan and grocery shop. I can also relate to this. Taking the time to meal plan and then spend hours groceries shopping after a long week is exhausting. Even though I’m a food blogger I can honestly say I hate to grocery shop. It takes forever, I can’t find anything, and I always forget an ingredient or buy crap I don’t need. Having all the ingredients I need delivered to my door is a dream come true. It saves time and stress.
  • It’s just the two of you. Many readers would like to see recipe options that take into account a 1-2 person household. It seems people get annoyed having to make a recipe for 8 when it’s just them and their partner. I don’t blame you. Hello Fresh solves that problem by offering 3 different meal plans for only 2 people.
  • Your time is extremely limited.  If you work long hours on top of tending to children, cleaning your house, running errands, and everything in between then you deserve to take a break once in a while. Hello Fresh might not be able to clean your house but they can take care of planning and shopping for dinner. Sure it’s not the same as a cleaning service but I can tell you that there is a huge sense of relief when the ingredients are there and you don’t need to fight the grocery store crowds.
  • You have a busy week is coming up. I don’t get Hello Fresh every week. But I do plan for a box to get delivered when I know my week is going to be busy. For example, this weekend is going to be crazy. It’s after Thanksgiving, I have Christmas decorating to do, and we have some events to attend. I don’t have time to plan every dinner and grocery shop. So I scheduled a box to come on Saturday.
  • You’re not afraid to try new recipes. Hello Fresh doesn’t have what I would consider exotic recipes but it’s quite different from frozen pizzas and tacos if that’s what you’re used too. But if you like trying new recipes and want to venture out and start cooking with new fresh ingredients then Hello Fresh can help.
  • Time is just as important as money to you. When I first shared I used Hello Fresh I was criticized for wasting money when I could easily buy the ingredients at the store. Or some said that this service is not realistic for the average American. Well here’s the thing… Yes I can go to the grocery store and I do most weeks. However, my time is extremely limited and I feel that the little extra money spent on Hello Fresh is 100% worth it. To some people it won’t be but to some it will. Everyone has different needs and financial means. It’s just how it is. These services are popping up for a reason and that’s because there’s a need. Many mother’s work outside the home or are very busy doing other things. There are single parents and many couples without children. America is filled with many different types of people who all live in different situations. If using a service like Hello Fresh helps them eat healthier and reduces stress then I say good for them. Also, I just want to mention that I never did a comparison of the money it would cost me to purchase the same ingredients at the grocery store. Yes, I’m sure I would save a few bucks but when adding in the time and stress that comes with the grocery store I think the few extra bucks spent is worth it. I can save money in other areas. It’s really about your lifestyle and if Hello Fresh could help make it healthier and happier.
  • You’re ready to eat more at home. Eating at restaurants 2-3 times a week can make living a healthier lifestyle very difficult. It also becomes expensive. Last week I took my mom out for her birthday, my kids out for a quick dinner, and a friend out to breakfast. Those three meals cost me over $100 plus I felt extremely sluggish. I did my best to make healthy choices but I still gave in to fries and bread. Eating at home is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Hello Fresh provides well-balanced, healthy, delicious dinners for you to cook and eat at home. Their meals are restaurant quality and if you do dine out a lot then I bet you will find yourself saving money over time.

Who shouldn’t even bother with Hello Fresh

  • You’re completely focused on getting the best prices on food.  Hello Fresh offers reasonable prices but it’s likely you can get a better price on ingredients shopping the stores yourself.  I covered the money issue already but it seems that’s really the only issue people tend to have with Hello Fresh. Again, I think the few extra dollars are worth it but if you’re budget is very tight and/or you are a couponing queen then you might not have a good experience with Hello Fresh. That’s totally fine. It’s your money, you worked hard for it, and that means you choose how to spend it.
  • You’re a picky eater. You get to choose some meals but all recipes are still in the hands of Hello Fresh. But if you tend to have issues with new recipes and cuisines then you might not have a good experience with Hello Fresh.
  • You have dietary restrictions. I think Hello Fresh does a great job of working with your preferences. However, if you have strict dietary restrictions or need to eliminate certain food groups then Hello Fresh might not work for you.
  • You travel a lot. Hello Fresh could possibly work for someone that travels but it would require you to make the foods ahead of time and store in a cooler as you travel. This could be more of nuisance but it could work. However, it might be easier to shop for healthy foods in the area you are traveling too. If I was a betting person I would say a meal subscription service would not be the best option for someone who travels a lot.
  • You have no desire to cook. Hello Fresh creates the recipes and sends you the ingredients. You need to cook the recipes. By cooking I mean dice onions, chop garlic, chop vegetables, bake chicken, sauté shrimp, and everything in-between. While the recipes are simple they still require more effort than setting the microwave. You have to put in a little effort. If you can’t see yourself doing this or know you won’t then Hello Fresh won’t be a good experience for you. But if this is your only issue I still encourage you to give it a try because cooking is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. If you want to change your eating habits then you will need to start cooking.

So those are my thoughts on Hello Fresh. I’ve used this meal delivery service 10 times and just ordered my 11th box today. I’m paying for the convenience of having a healthy meal plan put together and ingredients delivered to my door. Most weeks I do all the work myself but sometimes it’s really nice to open my door to a beautiful Hello Fresh box stocked with delicious food. That, to me, is worth every penny. As a busy working mom I have no problem getting help when I need it. Especially, if that means healthier food and less stress for my family.

I hope my review of Hello Fresh helps you make an informed decision about whether or not to subscribe. Like I said, it’s not for everyone but if you think it would meet your needs then you can use my link to get $30 off your first box.

Leave any additional questions below in the comments, I’d be more than happy to answer them for you.

**This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small commission if you decide to subscribe to Hello Fresh. However, this is my completely honest review and you are by no means obligated to use my links. If you do thanks so much for supporting my site.

 

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Comments

  1. I’m thinking this would be a nice gift for my dil & son. They just had their first baby. Can you buy say a week or two worth of meals & that’s it? I don’t want them to have to worry about canceling or pausing.

    • Patricia thanks so much for brining up this point because I thought about it in bed after I posted it. Yes I think a gift card for Hello Fresh would be a wonderful gift – I know I would love it. I will update this review with information on gift cards.

  2. @Patricia – you can always order a gift card for a one-off box!
    https://www.hellofresh.com/gift/

  3. Hello Fresh is a waste of your money definitely stay away from this company. They will send you a box anyway even if you pause your subscription. I have a screenshot of when I last logged into my account and they lied and said I logged in at a later date. The site tells you when you last log in, however they still will say it is a different date. Then you cannot get a refund, for food you did not even want. They were very rude and acted like they did not care, but since it’s not their money I guess they would not.

    • Hi Bri,

      I’ve been using hello fresh for over year and never had that experience. A couple times the meat leaked and I wasn’t able to use the vegetables but they gave me credit for the following week. I found them very easy to work with. But Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think it’s important for people to hear other experiences so they can make an informed decision before signing up.

  4. I’m going to give this a try! Thanks for this awesome review. I live by myself and my social life is very active (with LOTS of eating out, which is costly). My kids (5 and 12) are coming soon for the summer and this sounds like a good way to make cooking fun with them (and learn how to cook better).

  5. Karina Guerrero Fernandez says:

    Is there any food box service that not provides only dinner, but also lunch and breakfast?

  6. Jim Barnett says:

    My daughter gave me a groupon for 1 week of classic meal plan for 2 delivery. What a fantastic gift, I love to cook. The meals came on time in good condition, well packaged. Menu was Salsa Verde Sole, Cherry Drizzled Pork Chops, and Vietnamese Marinated Steak. Prepping was pretty simple, ingredients very fresh. They came out great, my wife and I really enjoyed them. The cost is reasonable considering you’re receiving good quality perishables delivered to your door, and figure in the convenience factor. If those things are worth it to you, the cost is OK. For me, I enjoy shopping and preparing meals from scratch so to me, I would prefer getting my own ingredients and saving some money. Also it would be nice if the entire packaging the meals come in was recyclable – the insulation was a fiber wrap. However, I enjoyed the different recipes and cuisine, so because of that we will keep our account open and probably buy meals one week a month or so just for the fun/experience of it. The groupon is a fantastic gift for someone who loves food and loves to cook, then they can decide whether to continue the deliveries or not.

  7. Thanks for this review! very helpful

  8. Alison Grant says:

    Thanks for the great review! I’m on my second box having read your review and realising I fall into one if not all of the ‘who would this work for’ categories. It’s been a delight to be able to cook nourishing meals for my partner and I despite us both being incredibly busy and working late because no more time is wasted standing in the store trying to think about what to cook! I’ve also noticed we’ve saved money on eating out and takeaways midweek. I’m currently getting the 5x2person classic box and get 3 large portions of every meal so we have dinner and I have lunch Monday – Friday for £48 which I think is a bargain. I’ve been impressed with the quality of the ingredients, the recipes and the service over all so far!

  9. Just would like to know if the contents are organic? No gmos

  10. Christine says:

    Just got a great deal to try this. I agree that it is not the cheapest way to eat, but if you compare it to eating out it is so much cheaper!

  11. Thanks for the detailed review. I’ve had about 25 or so meals from Blue Apron and while I’ve found the ingredients to be high quality, the recipes have been both time-consuming and bland, a bad combination. The big plus for me is having two nights a week when I don’t have to come up with dinner ideas. My family is into food so I am always trying to surprise and please them, but bland doesn’t cut it. On your recommendation I am going to try Hello Fresh. Thanks

  12. Carliss Dollar says:

    I never liked to cook until I joined Hello Fresh. I have enjoyed this experience so much. I have rated all of my recipes on a scale from 10 to 1, with 10 as being excellent! So far I have had eight 10’s, seven 9’s, ten 8’s, nine 7’s, three 6’s, and seven 3’s. I must tell you that I love the program and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I think they do an excellent job with packaging their meals. You save money because you have fewer trips to the grocery store where you are picking up more than you need, I highly recommend Hello Fresh to everyone!

  13. Courtney Smith says:

    I’m not the type to comment but I greatly appreciate your review. This is by far the best review I have found, and I have read quite a few, to say the least. The section “Who should use Hello Fresh?” and “Who shouldn’t even bother?” is ingenious – I struggle to justify the money spent on something that seems extravagant but after reading your article I believe I do need to give it a try. Thank You!!

  14. This was my first meal kit experience. The box the food comes delivered in impressed me enough. Well insulated with cardboard insulation, I love to recycle so this surprised me, a thick sturdy box, along with 2 big square ice packs. They definitely put a lot of thought into the packaging to make sure everything arrived fresh. The food was good, enjoyed the recipes and the cards that they gave, as they were graphically beautiful. Now that I know the recipes, I can refer to them whenever I want!

  15. Wayne Steinmassl says:

    First off thank you for your well written and I especially liked that u took time to do a review with multiple orders not just 1. I have tried a lot of ways to relieve the stress of ‘What’s for dinner tonight’?” If u have a family where both parents work full time then that 1 question stress is high. So I tried meal plans from hello fresh, home chef , blue apron and peach dish. Blue apron and peach dish were either to costly or to fancy for my family. Fancy means there’s always some type of spice that changes taste that we don’t like. Tarragon, Rosemary, fennel etc..maybe other families grew up with spices mine did not. Middle class meat and potato family here. So wet left with hello fresh and home chef. So I have been ordering from home chef the last 8 mnths and I love it but after reading your review my daughter says lets just try it. Home chef comes complete with recipe cards and binder to keep them organized and about 6-8 different meals to choose from. So my question is does hello fresh allow u to change your meals and choose any meal u want out of the recipes that week? Say u have 2 meat and 1 pasta dish but want to switch out the pasta dish to add another meat meal. Can you? Or do u have to,keep the switch the same.

    • Thanks for this comment. Yes you can choose your meals for the week. Also I tried home chef too and really like them and totally agree with everything you said about spices and what not. I grew up the same way. My home chef review will be up shortly.

  16. Jill Nielsen says:

    Hi_
    Thanks for your review on this product. I am looking for my dad who is going through chemo, radiation….needs healthy meals he doesn’t have to cook, just reheat. Do they provide that? He also has a live in girlfriend who is not savvy in the kitchen. I need to find something soon as I want him eating healthy asap.
    thanks
    Jill

  17. Carol Kuzilik says:

    I read your review of Hello fresh and thought I would give it a whirl. The packing was impressive and well thought out. However, we found the recipes to be very basic and honestly, boring. Perhaps I chose the wrong ones, but there was nothing in the box that is usually not in my kitchen. Also, the first box we received sugar snap peas with tiny insect larvae in them. We were so disappointed with the quality that we cancelled my subscription. Quite a bummer of a tryout.

    • I’m sorry you had that experience. I hope their customer service worked with you to rectify this. personally, I never had this experience and I’ve been using this service for a long time. I know there are other meal delivery services that offer more exotic type meals – Sun Basket is another one I like. Thanks for your comment.

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