HelloFresh is certainly one of the most popular meal delivery service companies around today — but is it the best? In this article, we provide an honest review.
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Once again, it’s closing in on dinner time and you find yourself unprepared. Between work and errands and chores and just life in general, you don’t quite have a gourmet entree to enjoy at the end of your long day.
You know you should stop by the grocery store so you can resupply the barren refrigerator — but you don’t. You’re exhausted. But, the stomach growls don’t stop. It looks like another drive-thru night.
This scenario is all too common — trust us, you are definitely not alone. Long days make grocery shopping feel like a chore, one to be left for tomorrow or the next day... or next week.
For many, the whole process of meal planning can feel overwhelming, a burden rather than a joy for the home chef. Simply put, it can be stressful.
However, there is one company that seeks to take the stress out of mealtime.
Say hello to HelloFresh.
HelloFresh meal delivery kits certainly garnish a lot of attention — but, are they the best options out there in a growing market of pre-prepared dishes?
In this review, we will take an honest look at this popular company, and examine all it has to offer to see how they stack up against the competition.
Meal delivery is not a new concept — even ordering a pizza could fall under the category of meal delivery. But meal delivery kits like those offered by HelloFresh, are a totally different take on meal delivery.
While some meal delivery services simply deliver fresh (or frozen) portions of prepared meals to your home, HelloFresh takes it a step further. They offer flexible meal plans that deliver all the fresh, high quality ingredients and recipes straight to your door, to be prepared by you so you can easily get your Gordon Ramsey on, even after a long day.
HelloFresh was founded in Berlin, Germany in 2011. It was one of the earliest companies of its kind to hit the global market, and that market has not slowed down. According to statistics, meal kit revenue is projected to reach over $7.6 billion in 2024.
There is a good reason why they boast being the most popular meal kit in the world. In 2020, HelloFresh had a global net revenue of approximately 1.18 billion U.S. dollars (3.7 billion Euros) — delivering over 600 million meals. HelloFresh had 7.3 million active customers at the close of Q1 2021.
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that delivers kits on a weekly basis. Their primary goal is to take the stress out of meal planning and grocery shopping. Of course, these meals are not pre-made — the cooking is left to you.
We personally found the whole process to be simple and straightforward, which is definitely welcome considering this is usually an option taken advantage of by busy bodies.
Let’s take a quick look at how it works.
The first step in the process is picking a personalized meal plan. Plans seemed to be flexible and able to cater to most culinary lifestyles. We noticed that HelloFresh offers various protein options as well.
Preference options include:
Each plan is customizable, and each week you can curate your own menu, selecting from over 27 weekly recipe options. The good news is, you can skip a week, cancel, or change meals, seemingly without a fuss, which is a plus in our book.
Here’s one recipe that made our mouths water in particular: Sriracha Turkey Burgers, served with sweet potato chips and ginger-dressed greens. Total time from prep to plate is 35 minutes.
Oh, and don’t worry. They do give allergen warnings for each recipe.
Also, it is important to note that many of their ingredients are organic, but not all.
What about the meal amounts?
We had the option to choose meals for either two people or four people. Also, recipe options ranged from 2 to 6 recipes per week. Their most popular option seems to be 3 meals a week for 2 people.
??What about pantry staples?
You are expected to have all the necessary pantry staples on hand — salt, pepper, oils, and so on. To get a heads up on what you may need, you can always check the recipe card online.
Part of us wishes they had a system in place where they could give you a heads up before the recipes even shipped, but this might be wishful thinking.
How much does it cost?
Weekly cost varies by plan. However, on average, each serving will cost you $8.99. For example, the Meat and Veggie option for two people at three meals a week will have a box price of $53.94 plus $8.99 for shipping.
However, if you have more people and at least three recipes per week, the cost per serving drops to $7.49. Two people with only two recipes per week will cost $12.49 per serving.
HelloFresh accepts all major credit cards as well as PayPal. Since it is a weekly subscription service, HelloFresh charges 5 full days prior to the scheduled delivery day.
One feature we particularly liked is that there’s no contract to sign and you can cancel at any time.
Each week, customers receive their box with all the necessary fresh ingredients, pre-portioned. Each meal includes simple, step-by-step recipes and nutritional information. Actual delivery days depend on your zip code, but you do have an option on what delivery day you would prefer. Deliveries can also be tracked.
HelloFresh delivers to all continental states in the U.S. (not Hawaii or Alaska).
Will my food stay fresh during delivery?
We sure hope so! But seriously, it seems like they’ve thought this out fairly well. Each box is specially designed for food transport. Cooling material and insulating liners help keep the food as cool and fresh as possible — it was still cold when we opened ours, and we took our sweet time bringing the box inside out of the sun. HelloFresh mentions that the box can stay out of the fridge for up to 24 hours after delivery.
Am I able to skip a week of delivery?
Yes. HelloFresh allows you to skip a week (or more). They only ask that you request to do so before the delivery cutoff time (5 days prior to delivery). This can be scheduled up to six weeks in advance.
Once the recipes are chosen and the box is delivered, it is up to you to make the meal magic happen. The nice thing is, the dreaded “what’s for dinner” question has already been answered. The meals are already planned and easy to cook.
Here’s what some HelloFresh customers have to say about their experience:
This is an amazing meal service. You do have to cook everything lol but I do know how to cook. The ingredients ARE fresh and the recipes are carefully explained on large colorful recipe cards. Everything is perfectly packaged and there is such a huge variety in types of meals with lots of chicken and vegetarian choices. I love love LOVE it and since I live alone the meals for 2 give me enough for an extra meal. I really don’t understand the bad reviews. It’s simply the best.
— Connie, 5/5 stars on TrustPilot
Absolutely amazing…it is very seamless transition from the app to the food. Hello fresh is expanding my palette in a whole new way. In my first week I have already fell in love. This is absolutely revolutionary.
— Kiser, 5/5 stars on TrustPilot
Of course, no system is perfect no matter how hard they try. Mistakes happen.
However, according to customer reviews, HelloFresh seems to take those mistakes seriously, which is always something we like to see:
Hello Fresh is my favorite meal delivery service. They offer a great selection of recipes to choose from each week. The meals are delicious and easy to make. Occasionally, I will receive a delivery that is missing an ingredient, but I have found Hello Fresh's customer service to be exceptional and the issue is usually resolved in a manner that is above and beyond my expectations.
— Mekaela, 5/5 stars on TrustPilot
One of HelloFresh’s main competitors is Blue Apron. The process is virtually identical. You choose recipes, options, and the amount of meals.
However, Blue Apron only offers three menu options — Signature, Vegetarian, and Wellness — and you can only choose from 2 to 4 recipes per week (each serves two people).
Blue Apron does offer a Diabetes Friendly option, something HelloFresh lacks. Plus, they also offer Weight Watchers-approved options, which may be a benefit to those within the program. Blue Apron also provides a Beyond Meat option, something HelloFresh doesn’t offer yet either.
The pricing is comparable. Blue Apron serving price ranges from $7.49 to $9.99 depending on the option selected.
All in all, those looking for more recipe options may enjoy the benefits of HelloFresh, while Blue Apron may make a better option for those on more restrictive diets.
HelloFresh is certainly at the top of meal delivery kit services. We found better customer ratings than their competition, and their customers' reviews on TrustPilot alone are over 10 times that of Blue Apron.
Sheer numbers told us a lot. HelloFresh had approximately 7.3 million active customers in Q1 of 2021. Blue Apron has seen a significant customer drop-off since 2017, having roughly 353,000 customers at the close of 2020. The former continues to rise, the latter is continuing to fall.
While it’s hard to argue with rising customer rates, here are our pros and cons of this meal delivery service.
Convenience. Okay, all meal delivery services share this same benefit. Meals are chosen and delivered to your door with all the necessary ingredients and recipe steps. It truly takes the stress out of meal planning and saves some trips to the grocery store.
Not to mention the fact that they have plenty of healthy meal options to satisfy almost any palette — from vegetarians to meat lovers.
Sustainable and socially responsible. These days, many people are looking to support companies that go above and beyond. HelloFresh definitely has sustainability in mind — their supply chain has a lot to do with that. They make an effort to lean out their supply chain by sourcing ingredients locally. This helps eliminate food waste and reduces carbon emissions.
Furthermore, HelloFresh has taken steps to be a socially responsible business. Their social impact programs, Beyond the Box and Meals with Meaning, are helping to make fresh, healthy food more accessible to those experiencing food insecurity in America.
Online cookbook and mobile app. HelloFresh has a vast online cookbook library where more than 2,500 recipes are housed and can be accessed by members. Plus, their mobile app allows you to manage your meals and deliveries on the go — anytime from anywhere. We love an easily accessible and easily manageable account.
Meal options may be limiting for some. The only real drawback we can levy against HelloFresh is the lack of restrictive diet recipe options. For example, they do not offer any options that are exclusively gluten-free or allergen-free. Also, those looking for strict diet recipes — keto, vegan, paleo, etc. — may be disappointed.
HelloFresh is one of the top meal delivery services in the world. After customizing your meal, they deliver all of the fresh ingredients right to your door. The hassle and stress that comes with meal planning and tedious trips to the grocery store are replaced with simple, easy-to-cook recipes.
Picking a plan is simple and convenient, ranging from meat and veggie options to family-friendly plans.
Their thousands of customer reviews speak for themselves — in fact, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Hello Fresh is an absolutely great service that I can't recommend enough. It is simple to order from, easy to change what you need to, and always has wonderful meals. It makes cooking so much easier, without the stress of meal planning. The meals are delicious too.
— Deanna, 5/5 stars on TrustPilot
If you want the stress of meal planning to be a thing of the past, then HelloFresh is certainly worthy of consideration.