- What is a Meal Kit Delivery Service?
- What is HelloFresh?
- How HelloFresh Works
- A Note on Food Safety
- Cost of HelloFresh
- HelloFresh Compared to Average Cost of Food at Home
- My Experience with HelloFresh
- Factors to Consider when Deciding on a Meal Kit
- Comparison of HelloFresh to Other Meal Kit Delivery Services
- Final Thoughts
Are you tired of grocery shopping, cooking, and trying to come up with healthy meal ideas? Have you wondered if a meal kit delivery service like HelloFresh is worth it?
HelloFresh delivers fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards right to your doorstep. In this blog post, I’ll review my experience with their service and meals.
Before we dive into the review, it’s important to note that I have no affiliation whatsoever with HelloFresh, nor am I being sponsored in any way to write this post.
The purpose of this review is to provide an unbiased opinion of the meal kit delivery service based solely on my personal experience. My goal is to help readers make an informed decision about whether or not HelloFresh is the right meal kit delivery service for them.
What is a Meal Kit Delivery Service?
A meal kit delivery service is a subscription-based service that provides customers with pre-measured, prepped, and portioned ingredients to cook fresh meals at home. The meal kits are ordered online through the company’s website.
These meal kit delivery services provide a convenient way for busy people to cook healthy and tasty meals at home, without the hassle of grocery shopping or meal planning.
Meal kit delivery services typically offer the following:
- A range of meal plans to choose from like vegetarian, family-friendly, and low-carb options.
- Customers can select their desired meal plan and recipes from a weekly menu.
- All the pre-measured and portioned ingredients and recipe instructions delivered in a box straight to the customer’s doorstep.
- Customers can choose how many meals per week they want and for how many people.
- Weekly meal kit deliveries with options to skip a week or more.
Who meal kit delivery services are for
Meal kit delivery services are a convenient option for a wide range of people. The following people might benefit from using these services:
- Individuals who enjoy cooking but want to simplify the process.
- Busy individuals who want to save time on meal planning and grocery shopping.
- Anyone who wants to avoid the hassle of going to the grocery store.
- People who want to try new recipes and expand their cooking skills.
- Those who want to eat healthier but may not have the knowledge to cook nutritious meals.
- Individuals or families with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free, vegetarian, or keto diets.
- People who want to reduce eating-out expenses and cook at home.
- Those who want to reduce food waste by receiving pre-portioned ingredients.
- People who live alone or with a partner and may not want to buy large amounts of groceries that may go to waste.
Who meal kit delivery services are not for
While meal kit delivery services offer convenience and ease for many, they may not be the best fit for everyone. Here are some groups of people who may not benefit from these services:
- People who don’t enjoy cooking.
- People who enjoy the process of grocery shopping and meal planning.
- Those who have limited access to a reliable are delivery service in their area.
- Individuals who prefer to cook and experiment with their own recipes rather than follow pre-planned menus.
- Individuals who are on a very tight budget and cannot afford the extra expense of meal kit services.
- People who mostly eat out or travel a lot
What is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that offers a variety of meal plans and recipes designed to make cooking at home easy and convenient.
Founded in 2011, HelloFresh has quickly become one of the most popular meal kit delivery services in the U.S. and operates in several other countries .
With HelloFresh, customers can select from a range of meal plans like family-friendly and plant-based options from a weekly menu of 30+ recipes. Professional chefs and nutritionists create the recipes.
How HelloFresh Works
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at how to sign up for HelloFresh and choose your meal plan, as well as how the delivery process works.
1. Look at the menus and recipes
Before proceeding with HelloFresh’s series of questions aimed at tailoring your meals, I recommend looking at the menus and recipes.
Preview the menus by clicking “Our Menus” at the top banner of the homepage. Click on a recipe to learn more about it.
When you click a recipe, you’ll see the following information:
- Tags like gluten-free, spicy, or veggie
- Allergens like milk, wheat, or eggs
- Total cooking time
- Difficulty level
- Nutrition information
- Ingredients and amounts for each
- Ingredients not in the delivery like salt, pepper, and cooking oil
- Utensils or cooking equipment needed
- Cooking instructions with pictures
2. Select a meal plan
To get started with HelloFresh, choose your meal plan first. After you choose a meal plan, answer a series of questions to tailor your meal plan. Start by selecting from one of the following meal plans or a combination:
- Meat and veggies
- Fit and wholesome
- Quick and easy
Next, indicate if you have any of the following meal preferences:
- High protein
- Low carb
- Low calorie
- Low salt
- Low sugar
Then share what your goals are with HelloFresh by choosing from the following:
- Eat healthily
- Spice up my cooking routine
- Save time
- Same money
Answer how many people you plan to feed. There are only two answers for this: 2 or 4 persons.
Let HelloFresh know how many recipes you’d like per week. You have a choice of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 recipes per week.
Note that HelloFresh like many other meal kit delivery services is a weekly subscription. However you may skip a week more; more on this in the next section.
For example, if you choose 6 recipes per week, you will receive all 6 of your recipes for that week in one box.
3. Register, checkout, and select meals
After selecting your meal plan and answering the above-mentioned questions, you’ll create a HelloFresh online account. Provide your name and shipping address.
Next, you move on to payment. You may pay by credit card or PayPal.
Finally, select your recipes from the weekly menus. HelloFresh also emails you the cut-off date and time to make changes to your selected recipes and the delivery day before your box ships.
The cut-off date to make changes is 5 days prior to your scheduled delivery day.
You may cancel your subscription anytime. You also have the option to pause deliveries and skip weekly deliveries. Just be sure to pause/cancel 5 days prior to your next scheduled delivery.
4. What to expect in your HelloFresh box
Your meal kits for the week will arrive all in one box on the scheduled delivery date. Expect the following contents in a box with insulated liners:
- Ingredients in separate labeled bags according to the recipes you selected.
- Fresh meats (if ordered) in separate sealed packages.
- Recipe instruction cards with a list of ingredients, cooking equipment needed, steps with pictures, and calories.
- Dry ice at the bottom of the box to keep everything cool.
- A note reminding you to look under the ice pack for any ingredients that may be placed there.
A Note on Food Safety
When ordering a subscription meal kit, it’s important to prioritize food safety, just as you would with any foods prepared at home.
It’s crucial to handle delivered food safely for all, but particularly for those who are at higher risk of food poisoning, such as :
- Older adults (65+)
- Young children (under 5)
- Individuals with weakened immune systems due to health conditions or medication (such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, HIV, or cancer)
- Pregnant women
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps to ensure food safety :
- Research meal kit companies and contact their customer service to inquire about their safety practices.
- Arrange for delivery when someone is at home.
- Inspect the packaging and its contents.
- Verify that the company utilized insulated packaging and dry ice or frozen gel packs to keep perishable items cold during transit.
- Check for labels indicating “Keep Refrigerated” or “Keep Frozen” if you have ordered perishable food items.
- Use a thermometer to ensure that perishable foods have been delivered safely below 40°F.
- Store food immeidately in fridge or freezer after inspecting.
- Inform the company immediately if the food arrives above 40°F. Don’t taste the food to check if it’s safe as it can still be unsafe even if it looks, smells, or tastes fine. When in doubt, toss it out.
Cost of HelloFresh
HelloFresh’s regular pricing starts at $7.49 per serving. Plus, there’s a $10.99 shipping fee for the box filled with all your meal kits for the whole week.
I chose the 4 meals per week plan for 2 people. The cost for this meal plan is broken down in the following table.
|HelloFresh’s regular pricing for 4 meals per week for 2 people||Cost|
|per meal (2 servings in one meal)||$19.58|
|per week (for 4 meals per week)||$78.32 + $10.99 shipping|
But I took advantage of HelloFresh’s “get 16 free meals + free shipping” promotional offer. I didn’t pay the regular price and shipping for my first delivery. More on this in the next section.
This doesn’t mean you get 16 free meals and pay nothing. It means that the amount saved is equivalent to 16 free meals.
Cost with the promotional offer
Using the mentioned promotional offer, I ended up paying $38.32 for my first box of meal kits. A $40 savings plus free shipping.
|HelloFresh’s promotional offer pricing for 4 meals for 2 people for the first box||Cost|
|per meal (2 servings in one meal)||$9.58|
|price for the week/first box||$38.32|
Under this promotion, you get the biggest discount with your first box ordered and then a smaller discount for each week you choose to continue the meal kit delivery service.
The discount continues until you reach the equivalent of 16 free meals. For my meal plan, the discount would apply to the second to seventh boxes delivered.
For example, here’s a breakdown of the cost for the upcoming orders (after the first box):
|HelloFresh’s promotional pricing for 4 meals for 2 people for each upcoming box (second through seventh deliveries)||Cost|
|per meal (2 servings in one meal)||$16.57|
|price for each box until promotion ends||$66.26|
You may cancel your subscription anytime. You also have the option to pause deliveries and skip weekly deliveries. Just be sure to pause/cancel 5 days before your next scheduled delivery.
HelloFresh Compared to Average Cost of Food at Home
Now let’s see how HelloFresh compares to the average grocery bill. HelloFresh is cheaper than grocery shopping according to some customers. The following factors help with savings, according to HelloFresh:
- Direct procurement of supplies without increasing the prices of ingredients.
- Everything you need for your meal kits delivered to you, a savings on transportation.
- Seasonal ingredients
- Pre-portioned ingredients to eliminate food waste
Average cost of food at home
To compare weekly costs, the average food at home costs by age and sex in the following table were pulled from the U.S. Department of Agriculture .
This average cost is for one person and includes meals and snacks at home for March 2023. It doesn’t include eating-out expenses.
|Age-sex groups||Weekly low-cost plan||Weekly moderate-cost plan||Weekly liberal plan|
Average cost of meals at home vs. HelloFresh for 2 people
I took the food costs for me (female 19-50 years) and my partner (male 51-70 years) and combined them in the following table.
The table essentially compares a whole week of groceries for at-home meals to my selected HelloFresh weekly meal plan of 4 meals for 2.
|Average weekly cost of all meals for me & my spouse||HelloFresh promotion |
for 1st box with 4 meals for 2
|HelloFresh promotion for 2nd-7th boxes with 4 meals for 2||HelloFresh regular cost|
for 4 meals for 2
|$38.32||$66.26||$78.32 + $10.99 shipping|
Cost comparison analysis
As you can see, it’s a bit of an apple-to-orange comparison when you look at a whole week’s worth of meals from grocery shopping versus a HelloFresh meal plan of 4 meals for 2 people.
To do a proper cost comparison for your household, you need to look at your own grocery spending and HelloFresh’s meal plans for your household.
Essentially, the biggest savings comes from the first subscription box using the promotional offer.
Also, if you skip eating out and replace that with HelloFresh, you might be saving, depending on what you typically spend at restaurants.
The meal plan I selected with HelloFresh, 4 meals per week, takes care of 20% of my week’s meals. I still have 17 meals I need to prepare for the week. That’s assuming 21 meals in a week with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Therefore your food supply for those other meals is something to consider.
If your primary goal is saving money and sticking to a tight budget, then a meal kit service like HelloFresh is probably not worth it. You should follow your budget, cook at home, and eliminate/reduce eating out.
My Experience with HelloFresh
In this section, I share my personal experience with HelloFresh and give you an honest review of the service. I cover first impressions, how easy it was to follow the recipe cards, the taste of the meals, and if HelloFresh is worth it.
Unboxing and first impressions
My meal kits arrived on the selected delivery date in a well-sealed insulated box without any issues. All items were present and accounted for, and the packaging was undamaged.
As expected, the box came with all my meal kits for the week, recipe cards that include the cooking instructions and step-by-step photos, and a note reminding me to look under the ice pack for ingredients.
The ingredients for each recipe are sorted and packed into separate paper bags, which are then labeled with the name of the corresponding recipe.
This helps to keep everything organized and easy to find when it comes time to cook each meal.
Some items like fresh pasta and meat come in their own packaging.
You can recycle the box and some of the packaging. See HelloFresh’s website for more recycling information.
The ingredients appeared fresh and well-packaged. Overall, I didn’t have any issues with the quality of the ingredients.
Following the recipes
I selected “quick and easy” for my meal plan and let HelloFresh select my recipes for me. I didn’t bother with editing the four selected recipes and wanted to see what they’d surprise me with.
Well, I didn’t realize until the last minute that three recipes used tortillas while one used pasta. I expected more variety, like a rice or grain-based dish, to be included in the meal options.
But it was my fault for not looking over the order closely and making edits before the deadline to make changes. And to be fair to HelloFresh, they did notify me several times to make changes before the deadline.
Nevertheless, I recommend selecting your own recipes unless you don’t mind being surprised like me.
Recipe cards include the following information:
- Pictures of the ingredients
- Cooking instructions and tips
- Step-by-step photos
- A list of cooking equipment you’ll need
- Basic ingredients you’ll need that don’t come in meals kits (like butter, salt, and pepper)
According to the recipe cards, total cooking time ranges from about 20 to 30 minutes.
Cooking time wasn’t an issue since I’m comfortable multitasking and cooking at home. And by my definition, any hot meal I can make in 30 minutes or less is “quick and easy.”
The recipes were easy for me to follow. If you’re new to cooking, you’ll appreciate the well-written instructions and step-by-step photos.
HelloFresh also includes special notes about some ingredients.
For example, in one of the recipes that calls for cilantro, the recipe card mentions that genetics can influence whether or not you like cilantro and to try a little bit or skip it if you’re unsure.
Also, consider clean-up when deciding if meal kits like HelloFresh are worth it, accounting for utensils, dishes, and other clean-up tasks.
How the meals tasted
My husband and I found all the meals to be filling and full of flavor.
The One-Pan Pineapple Salsa Pork Tacos recipe wowed me, as I’m not used to eating pineapple in savory dishes. However, the combination of flavors in this dish was spectacular.
I usually eat pasta-based dishes like ravioli, but the Galaxy Greens Ricotta Ravioli surprised me, too. It had a good balance of flavors and zucchini to pasta ratio and was easy to make.
The ingredient portions were just right for each recipe, leaving me satisfied without any excess.
Compared to the quality and freshness of a similar dish at a restaurant, I estimate that I would have paid around $15 per portion at a restaurant.
But with HelloFresh, I only spent $4.79 per portion after applying the promotional discount.
Additionally, compared to restaurant meals that tend to pile the salt, home-cooking offers more control over the amount of salt used in your meals, regardless of whether you use a meal kit delivery service or not.
Is HelloFresh worth it for me?
Overall, I was impressed with HelloFresh’s service and meal kits.
I made my first order when we were running low on fresh food, and instead of eating out (which costs more) or going to the grocery store on the weekend (which I typically avoid), I decided to give HelloFresh a try.
The promotional offer, especially for the first box, was a significant factor in making HelloFresh worth it for me.
The HelloFresh meal kits served us for four dinner nights. We had enough pantry items such as eggs, oats, and smoothie ingredients for breakfast. And some foods like leftover air-fried chicken, vegetables, and grains to cover the other meals for the week.
Although the regular cost of HelloFresh doesn’t fit within my budget, I would consider using their service again in the future when promotions are available, as they seem to offer them regularly.
HelloFresh provides a variety of easy-to-follow recipes and quality ingredients all delivered to your doorstep. It helps when you have a hectic schedule and want to eat fresh home cooking.
Factors to Consider when Deciding on a Meal Kit
When trying to decide if a meal kit delivery service like HelloFresh is worth it, there are several factors to consider, such as:
- Grocery bill
- Eating out expenses
- Cooking skills and time availability
- Your feelings towards grocery shopping and meal planning
- Household size
- Dietary restrictions
- Food preferences
- Your current food stock
- How much food you waste
- How you feel about cleaning up after a meal
- Environmental impact
- Meal kit options and flexibility
- Customer service and satisfaction guarantees
Comparison of HelloFresh to Other Meal Kit Delivery Services
Compare HelloFresh to similar meal kit delivery services with the table below, which includes cost and other details to help you make the best decision for your needs. The table doesn’t include shipping fees, which vary by company.
Meal delivery kit services offer promotions with steep discounts that include free shipping. This can be a significant cost savings when you consider the weight and size of the package.
Take advantage of promotional offers and try a variety of meal kit delivery services before committing to one. You can cancel anytime. And you can skip a week or more if that’s a better fit for your budget.
This table compares DIY meal kit delivery services, not ready-to-heat meals (microwave or oven-ready), though there are delivery services for those.
|Regular Price starting at||Minimum to maximum meal size|
|Menu options/diet types|
|HelloFresh||$7.49 per serving||2 to 4||Meats & veggies, veggie, family friendly, fit & wholesome, quick & easy, pescatarian, high protein, low carb, low calorie, low salt, plant-based, low sugar|
|EveryPlate||$4.99 per serving||2 to 4||Meat & veggie, veggie, family favorites, quick & easy, nutritious & delicious|
|Blue Apron||$7.99 per serving||2 to 4||Wellness, family friendly, fast & easy, plant-based|
|Home Chef||$7.99 per serving||2 to 6||Easy-prep, fresh-start, family friendly, calorie-conscious, <30 minutes, carb-conscious, vegetarian|
(Offers organic and responsibly sourced ingredients)
|$9.99 per serving||2 to 4||Paleo, vegetarian, gluten free, carb-conscious, keto, Mediterranean, diabetes-friendly, pescatarian, fresh & ready|
|Green Chef (certified organic)||$11.99 per serving||2 to 6||Protein-packed, keto, vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean, fast & fit, gluten-free|
|Purple Carrot||$11.00 per serving||2 to 4||Plant-based meal kits and prepared (ready-to-heat) meals|
(Their chefs do the prep work like peeling, chopping, and marinating)
|$11.99 per serving||2 to 4||Classic favorites, vegetarian, lean & clean|
Overall, I enjoyed using HelloFresh for its fresh ingredients, reliable delivery, easy-to-follow recipes, and affordable price point, especially with the promotional offer.
I would recommend this service to anyone who enjoys cooking and values the convenience of having pre-portioned ingredients delivered to their door.
That being said, deciding whether or not a meal kit service like HelloFresh is worth it requires careful consideration of multiple factors, including cost and time savings.
If you’re looking for a way to simplify your meal planning and preparation, a meal kit service like HelloFresh may be worth trying out.