HelloFresh is a popular meal kit subscription service that aims to inspire people to get back into the kitchen and fall in love with cooking.
However, you may wonder whether HelloFresh’s self-proclaimed title of America’s most popular meal kit holds true.
This article provides a detailed HelloFresh review, explaining how it works, its pros and cons, and whether it’s worth the money.
How it works
HelloFresh is a meal delivery service that allows you to skip meal planning and grocery shopping.
Here’s how the program works:
1. Select plan
You can get started by visiting their website or downloading their app.
HelloFresh allows you to choose from various meal options that include:
- Meat and veggies: meals that include a variety of meats, fish, and seasonal produce
- Veggie: meals that are centered around veggies but not entirely vegan like Purple Carrot
- Family-friendly: quick, easy-to-prepare, kid-approved options
- Calorie smart: dietitian-approved meals that are around 650 calories each
- Quick and easy: meals that require less prep, cooking, and cleanup time
- Pescatarian: dishes with plenty of veggies and seafood
After you choose your meal preference, you can select the number of people you’re cooking for and how many days you’d like to cook each week.
HelloFresh discloses food allergens but does not currently offer dedicated gluten-free or allergen-free menus.
HelloFresh pre-selects your meals based on your “chef’s choice” preference you but you can select your own recipes each week.
In addition to your selected meals, you also have the option to select extra items for an additional cost, such as proteins, sides and complements, desserts and treats, and breakfast items.
You can choose which day of each week that you’d like your box delivered along with any special delivery instructions.
After placing your order, HelloFresh sends you a confirmation email with your scheduled delivery date of choice.
You can make updates to your order up to five days before your delivery date, but you must make any changes through their website, not the app.
Because HelloFresh is a weekly auto-renewing subscription service, your subscription will automatically renew and you will be charged the amount shown in your order confirmation email until you modify or cancel your plan.
Except for Hawaii and Alaska, HelloFresh delivers anywhere in the United States, three times per week.
On the day of your scheduled delivery, HelloFresh sends an email with a tracking code notifying you that your box with the pre-portioned ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes is on its way.
You don’t have to be home at the time of delivery as no signature is required to accept the box.
HelloFresh utilizes an insulated liner with cooling technology that promises to keep your ingredients fresh and cool for up to 48 hours after your expected delivery date.
Each food item is clearly labeled so you can organize the items in your fridge and pull out just the ingredients you need.
3. Cook and enjoy
All HelloFresh meals can be prepared in under an hour, with the quick and free meals requiring as little as 15 minutes.
Although the recipes are relatively easy to follow, you should have a basic understanding of common cooking terms like mince, core, zest, and al dente.
The meals come with all the ingredients you need, except for basic ingredients including salt, pepper, sugar, oil, and butter.
You will also need basic cooking equipment such as cutting boards, baking sheets, skillets, and measuring cups and spoons.
A food thermometer like this one from Taylor also comes in handy to ensure you have cooked the meats to the proper internal temperature.
There are several benefits inherent to HelloFresh that other meal kit subscription services may not offer.
These benefits include:
Potential time savings
Depending on how often you grocery shop, HelloFresh can save you a significant amount of time each week.
HelloFresh not only saves you time by taking the guesswork of what to make and the ingredients needed, but it can reduce the number of trips you take to the grocery store each month.
Some people — especially those with a hectic schedule — may prefer the money for the time tradeoff.
Supports a healthy lifestyle
Like Blue Apron, HelloFresh encourages cooking at home with fresh ingredients.
Although there are many factors associated with maintaining a healthy body weight, regularly cooking at home is one of them.
In fact, cooking dinner frequently at home is associated with a healthier diet — regardless if you’re trying to lose weight (1).
But if you are trying to lose weight, HelloFresh has a wide selection of dietitian-approved meals that are around 650 calories each.
Following the recipes also provides you with a sense of proper portion sizes.
Many people have a skewed idea of what a proper portion size for different food groups looks like and consequently eat more calories than they need (2).
Flexible and easy to cancel
Canceling a subscription service isn’t always an easy or pleasant experience.
Just make sure you cancel before your weekly cutoff — up to five days before your next scheduled delivery — to stop your next order.
HelloFresh also affords flexibility with the order process.
If you change your mind, you can add extra meals or sides, change your delivery date, or even put your deliveries on pause.
However, you can not cancel your subscription or change your order from the app — you must visit their website through a browser.
HelloFresh states that their carbon footprint is 25% lower than that of meals made from store-bought groceries (3).
The company attributes this to its streamlined supply chain, more efficient distribution, and prevention of unnecessary food waste through the use of pre-portioned ingredients.
Each box along with the insulator used to keep the food cool are completely recyclable.
On their website, HelloFresh also provides a list of vendors from which they obtain their ingredients and showcase their strong commitment to animal and fish sustainability and welfare.
In making a decision, you should always consider the pros with the cons.
Here are a few potential cons of HelloFresh:
It can be costly
The price per meal can vary from $7.49 for an order of 16 meals per week to $12.99 for the minimum order of 4 meals per week.
These prices exclude shipping costs and applicable taxes.
Depending on where you live and your access to fresh foods, you can probably prepare a similar but cheaper meal.
However, if you are constantly throwing food away due to over-purchasing, HelloFresh might save you some money since the ingredients are all pre-portioned.
It’s more suited for couples or families
While you can use HelloFresh if you’re only cooking for yourself, it’s more suited for couples or families.
This is because you must order a minimum of four meals per week — two recipes with two servings.
Still, you can have the leftovers the next day, but some meals may not reheat well.
In some — albeit rare — instances, HelloFresh has provided the wrong ingredient for a meal or didn’t include an ingredient at all.
Of course, errors happen but it can be a large inconvenience when you receive the wrong ingredient or a key ingredient is missing and you have to make an emergency trip to the grocery store.
A final look
HelloFresh delivers pre-portioned ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes right to your doorstep.
Replacing some of your meals with HelloFresh throughout the week can be a huge time saver given the convenience of fewer grocery store visits and less time meal planning.
This time savings may be worth the cost to some but not to others.
Depending on how often you cook at home, HelloFresh can encourage you to cook at home more often, which helps support a healthy lifestyle.
And unlike some subscription services, HelloFresh is easy to cancel and also allows flexibility in changing your meals or deliveries.
Although HelloFresh is more suitable for couples and families, single people can also enjoy HelloFresh and its prioritization of environmentally friendly packaging and sustainable ingredient sourcing.
The bottom line
HelloFresh is a subscription meal kit service that allows you to personalize your meals according to your taste buds and schedule.
Benefits of HelloFresh include potential time savings, its sustainability model, its flexibility, and the ability to support a healthy lifestyle.
However, factors related to cost, suitability for single people, and order errors can represent potential downsides of HelloFresh.
Consider both the pros and cons of HelloFresh before making your decision.