Meal Kit Monday: A Review of HelloFresh
Meal kit services have been around for years, but there are so many options that it can be overwhelming to figure out which one to choose. To help cut through the noise, I tried nine different meal kits that cater to various types of home chefs so you don't have to. I’ll be posting an honest review about my experience with a different meal kit every Monday.
If you've ever heard of the concept of a meal kit, odds are you have heard of HelloFresh. The company, which has boasted celebrity spokespeople like Mindy Kaling, Jessica Alba and Lea Michele, offers a variety of meal plans that cater to different dietary preferences, from the meat and veggies plan down to family friendly and calorie smart kits. HelloFresh sends ingredients and recipes straight to your door for a weekly cost and you can cancel at any time. I recently tried one week's worth of Home Chef's meals; this is what I thought.
HelloFresh is a well-known meal kit delivery service. The company’s kits start at $62.93, and that price includes shipping and three recipes per week, with each recipe serving two people. But the service also has kits that come with four or five recipes, and all of the kits can serve up to four people.
When signing up for HelloFresh, customers can choose between a few different meal plans: Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Pescatarian, Family Friendly, Calorie Smart and Quick and Easy. The Family Friendly meal plan consists of kid-approved, easy-to-make meals, and the Quick and Easy plan is designed to limit prep, cook and cleanup time. Customers choose from a menu of 23 recipes each week that is equipped with a few options for every meal plan.
The best part about HelloFresh is that no two dishes are similar to each other. The menu has options ranging from Chesapeake steak and lobster tail to crunchy curried chickpea bowls. Although this makes it tough to decide what to order, you’ll likely never get bored with the selection.
The menu lists recipes with helpful labels that indicate if the meal is easy to prepare, low in calories, uses one pan, is a crowd favorite and more. Knowing the level of involvement and type of recipe before ordering sets you up for realistic expectations early on.
I chose the Gouda Vibes Burger, Pork Flauta Supreme and Bruschetta Chicken. The meals arrived undamaged in a curbside recyclable box and were still cold upon opening. Each kit came in its own brown paper bag and the meat was laid delicately underneath the ice packs.
To limit the amount of packaging used, items like tomatoes, onions and potatoes were placed freely in the bag, which I appreciated. Some of the produce was a little bruised and brown, but still usable. For all of the recipes, I needed my own olive, salt and pepper as well as some common kitchen appliances.
The recipe cards were large, easy to follow and had photos for each ingredient so that I didn’t confuse one item for another. There are additional photos that walk you through the cooking process on the back of the recipe cards, and important steps and ingredients are bolded.
All of the recipes were easy, and the listed cook times were pretty accurate. Sometimes it took me about 10 minutes longer because I’m a fairly slow cook, but nothing was overly tedious. HelloFresh’s instructions are well suited for people who have a hard time multitasking. When cooking the Gouda vibes burger, for example, the recipe card explicitly told me when to flip the burger, when to add cheese and what other steps to complete while I waited for the burger to cook.
Overall, HelloFresh is a great meal kit service if you enjoy and know the basics behind cooking, or if you want to try new techniques like how to add a Parmesan crust to chicken or make an onion jam. The recipes are creative, too. However, HelloFresh might be limiting for people who follow a keto, paleo or vegan diet. Despite a specific meal plan for vegetarians, most recipes on HelloFresh’s weekly menu are catered toward carnivores.
Disclosure: The meal kit was provided by the company, but all opinions are honest and belong solely to the reviewer.