We all see the meal-kit commercials and think, "I wonder if that's worth it?"
Maybe you've tried one or maybe you haven't. The appeal of meal kits is understandable. Less grocery store trips, delicious meals crafted by chefs, and less waste. What isn't there to love about that?
Well, I decided to try HelloFresh for a month, and this was my experience with the service:
How Does HelloFresh Work?
In case you're not already familiar with the meal service, HelloFresh delivers meals you choose to your house. You can choose between 2-6 meals per week and the size of your family as well.
We chose the two-person plan and picked out 3 meals per week. Each week has a certain selection of meals you can choose from that are different from the previous week. You can also submit your dietary preferences as you're choosing recipes.
After you've chosen your meals, HelloFresh will send them each week with all the ingredients perfectly portioned as well as the recipe cards.
What Does HelloFresh Cost?
One great feature of HelloFresh is that they offer pretty generous discounts when you're starting out with the services.
For example, we received a coupon for 9 meals for 50% off. With the coupon, we were paying around $30 total for the 3 meals. That's not bad at all when you consider how many ingredients it would take to make a meal for two people, plus the fact that these are quality meals!
Unfortunately, you can only use one discount code per account, so after you use your code you have to pay full price for the rest of the subscription.
At full price, our meals ended up being around $60 for 3 meals.
Is HelloFresh Worth It?
The answer to this is going to depend 100% on your lifestyle, budget, and taste.
If you prefer more simple meals or you consider yourself a "meat and potatoes" kind of person, the HelloFresh meals may seem a little too fancy to you. They use quite a few ingredients and they usually have a unique sauce with the dish.
Personally, my husband and I loved the complex recipes because we aren't too keen on plain meals for dinner. We loved trying the toppings and off-the-wall flavor combinations that we probably wouldn't have on our own.
You'll want to think about your budget for this as well. With the coupon, the meals are a great deal. Without the coupon, the meals are pretty pricey.
For the portion sizes you get, the price tag is especially high. If you and the people in your family are pretty big eaters, you'll probably find the portion sizes too small.
My husband eats more of the entree than I do (he's 6'5 so you can imagine what his meals look like) and I eat more of the veggies, so the portion sizes balanced out perfectly for us.
If you order the family package for 4 and 3/4 of your family members are growing boys, you probably won't have near enough food with HelloFresh's portion sizes. If you want more food for your money, you'll definitely want to just make your own meal from the ingredients you buy at the grocery store.
If you don't have a ton of time to cook dinner, you may not find HelloFresh to be a good fit.
Between cooking, eating, and cleaning up, dinner time took us around 1 1/2-2 hours each night with HelloFresh. As I said earlier, the meals are pretty complex and they require a lot of steps and moving parts. Since the meals require the use of so many different dishes, cleaning is a little more tedious as well.
If you have the time to spend on dinner each night and you're interested in learning more about cooking, you may find that HelloFresh is the perfect option! We loved learning new techniques through the recipes, like:
How to properly caramelize onions
Sauce recipes that are made from ingredients you wouldn't expect to combine well
How to cook and season roasted vegetables better
We take some of the lessons we learned about cooking through to other recipes.
Is HelloFresh Worth It?
If you can find a coupon, I would 100% recommend trying HelloFresh.
The meals are delicious, you're getting to learn more about cooking, and you're cutting down on waste. I wouldn't personally pay full price for HelloFresh meals again, but if you want a restaurant-quality meal without having to take the time to research recipes and techniques, this is a great option.
We personally felt that with how much meals cost at full price, we could just order takeout and save 2 hours of the night. Or, we could find our own recipes and have enough for leftovers since we both enjoy cooking.
Another obstacle we ran into was the ingredients sometimes only being good for a day or so after they arrived. That may have been due to COVID-19 slowing down mail services, but we ended up having to make some of the meals without all the produce because it didn't last long enough.
All in all, I think a meal subscription is a great thing to try. In the end, we found that we enjoy finding recipes better, but we learned so many great lessons about cooking through our HelloFresh recipes.
Some of our favorite recipes were:
Black bean flautas
Sweet and spicy breaded shrimp
Barramundi with the special sauce
(I don't remember the exact names so I apologize if those aren't helpful!)
Try it if you've been curious about meal services. You can cancel anytime if you aren't satisfied!