I love food as much as the next person, but if I’m going to have to pay a premium to get it made and delivered to my door, I want it to be the best fit ever. I’ve tried a few in the past, including CookUnity and Freshly, and although they were pretty good, they weren’t perfect perfect for me. CookUnity was a bit on the expensive side for what it is, while Freshly didn’t quite have the taste that I wanted. I’m the type of person who doesn’t mind the food tasting a bit better while sacrificing a bit of my own health. I like to truly enjoy the food that I eat.
I know that can be a bit polarizing, but if you’re with me on that latter part, join me in my honest review of HelloFresh. Let’s get started.
What is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is a meal kit company that’s based in Berlin, Germany. To give you an idea of how huge they are, they are a publicly traded company, and have been since 2017. You can trade their stock right now if you wanted to. The CEO himself, Dominik Richter, has been spearheading the entire operation since 2011. That’s a lot of years under his belt. Is he doing a good job? We’ll get to that below.
What sets HelloFresh apart from other cooked meal deliveries?
There are a few things in my mind when considering how to rate a meal kit that’s delivered to your door. Some may be obvious, others not so much. In fact, many of these things can be quite subjective. Here are my personal top 5 when it comes to important things to consider in a meal kit:
- Taste & Experience
- Speed & Method of Delivery
- Ease of Preparation
- Dietary Restrictions and Alternatives
I personally don’t have any dietary restrictions, so the latter doesn’t apply to me. I still cover it in this review though.
Taste & Experience
The good – the taste of the ingredients themselves are perfectly fine in my book. Nothing to write home about, but if you’re looking for a simple, convenient meal that’s sent straight to your door, I’m quite ok with it.
The bad – their portions don’t leave me feeling fully satiated. I always find myself reaching out for a snack after each meal, which I don’t usually do when I order out or cook at home. Also, the proportions of ingredients that were sent to me were sometimes confusing. Sometimes, the protein is extremely small compared to the carbs that come with the meal. And I get that they like to portion it for your health, but why not make it more balanced. I’ve also had a pouch sent to me that had exactly two single shreds of Monterey Jack Cheese. Whether HelloFresh was being extremely stingy or whether someone really didn’t put any care into packing ingredients, I can’t tell.
Speed & Method of Delivery
The good – I’ve never had a problem with the delivery of meals, and I’ve had meals delivered for over 10 weeks straight now. I live in an apartment and they always come on time. That’s not to say I’ve had mistakes in my order. I’ve contacted them regarding mistakes, and they always put credit towards future meals.
The bad – the amount of packaging that comes with the food is a bit overwhelming to take care of. I’m not the most environmentally-conscious person you’ll find (working on it, though), but even I couldn’t help but feel bad at all the trash I was producing in the name of convenience.
The good – pricing with promos is quite manageable. It comes out to about $5 or $6 per meal after delivery and everything considered. However, a weird thing about the promos is that it isn’t applied to your orders evenly. In fact, I’m not sure how they decide to distribute the discounts throughout your promo meals. It seems to be quite at random. All I can say is that the majority of the promo savings comes from your first box, and anything after won’t ever see that amount of savings.
The bad – pricing without promos is quite expensive! You have to buy at least two meals at a time. If you don’t have a partner, you can always use it for a next leftover meal. On average though, prices for me always came out to around six meals for $70. That’s an average of almost $12 per meal! If I had a bit more time and were to grocery shop for that amount, I’d easily be able to feed myself for quite awhile for the same amount. But I guess the convenience factor is the whole point of meal kits after all.
Ease of Preparation
The good – everything is very straightforward and easy to prepare. There’s no doubt about it.
The bad – keep in mind that these aren’t completely prepared meal kits in the sense that you still do need to have salt, pepper, sugar, butter, etc. Some basic ingredients, really. It’s just annoying that I don’t always have butter in my fridge though, so I’ve had to go out and get it which really defeats the whole point of the meal kit in the first place.
Other than that, preparation usually does take longer than they estimate. Not the biggest dealbreaker for me though. Also, the amount of packages you have to go through to get at the ingredients, as previously mentioned, is outrageous.
Dietary Restrictions and Alternatives
The good – you can easily swap out proteins. I’ve done it numerous times.
The bad – however, it does seem that the more often you do it, the more likely they’ll get your order wrong, so I found myself trying not to do it if I don’t have to. Not that I have dietary restrictions though; I just have protein preferences in general.
HelloFresh annoyances to be aware of
The two main annoyances I have with the company are:
- They don’t prompt you to choose each and every meal. If you don’t select preferences, they send you a basic order.
- If they make a mistake, they just credit it to a future meal.
For the first one, not prompting you to choose a meal and instead sending you what they think they should send you isn’t what I would expect. If I don’t choose anything for the week, the default should be to not send me anything. I get that this is their way of keeping their income coming in if you decide to be passive or lazy about it, but it’s quite predatory.
For the second one, if they make a mistake, just give me back the refund through my same method of payment. I suspect that if you decide to cancel all of a sudden, you can’t get your credit back in cash. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t confirm this to be true.
In conclusion: Is HelloFresh worth it?
HelloFresh can be worth it. However, it’s not worth it for the price, the taste, or the healthfulness of it. The only thing I can see it being worth it for is if convenience is truly necessary for your life to keep moving uninterrupted. But even in that scenario, the convenience factor can be simply when you don’t have an ingredient they expect you to have. In my case, that ingredient has always been butter. Butter alone has made the convenience factor all but moot for me more than once in my relatively short stint with HelloFresh.