Welcome to the 2nd edition of my meal delivery product review series. I started this series to test the plethora of meal delivery services available and to see if they were cost effective, easy to prepare and healthy. My hope is to find a way to help people eat healthy and do away with the age old excuse…I don’t have time to eat healthy. The first article in the series focused on Home Chef, in which my family prepared 3 meals sent to us by Home Chef. You can find the article here.
Is the Website easy to use?
Yes, the site is very easy to use. You select a plan, enter address and payment information and are then directed to the menu page. There are choices selected for you, but the menu can be changed.
Unlike Home Chef, this site does not allow for allergens, which is a problem for me, since I’m allergic to gluten. On their website, this is what Hello Fresh says about allergies:
“We offer plans for meat eaters and vegetarians along with the option to customize plans via the following preferences: beef-free, pork-free, fish/shellfish-free, fit, quick, or variety.
However, we do not yet offer the option to tailor your plan for specific allergies.
That being said, HelloFresh has a team of dietitians that reviews every ingredient for any of the major 8 allergens: wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish.
The dietitians then use this information to identify and disclose if any recipe contains any of these allergens. Information about any potential allergens in any recipe is then posted on the website next to the meal choice, and the specific ingredient that contains the allergen is called out. “
Once the account is set up, you can choose among 5 different meals. There is also a link to a calendar, where you can see when future deliveries are scheduled. You can select a date and change future menus as well.
Is it cost effective?
I paid $74.88 for 12 meals or $6.24 per meal. However, this included a $30 discount for the first week. Subsequent deliveries are $8.74 per meal, slightly less than Home Chef, which was $9.99. Again, these prices are pretty standard. I’m finding the prices range from $8.00 to $12.00 per meal
Is there a variety of meals and is it good quality food?
I found the meal variety to be lacking for this service. This site had 5 meals from which to choose. This isn’t a lot, when you’re choosing 3 meals. AND, as stated above, they don’t give you the option to exclude allergens, something that I was able to do on Home Chef. I had difficulty choosing meals that were gluten free. In fact, the choices were so limited, that I had to choose a meal that included flour tortillas. I decided I’d simply eat a salad that night, not an ideal solution.
As far as I could tell, the food was not organic, free-range or pasture raised. The one thing I did like was the inclusion of a nutrition information sheet in the box. This sheet included ingredients as well as nutrition information for 10 different meals (5 on each side of the sheet). In my case, however, it was the WRONG one and NONE of my 3 meals were on the sheet. (Not good!)
Some of the seasoning packets and canned goods did include ingredient lists. Which was helpful.
The meals were, for the most part, whole food meals. There was very few processed ingredients. This is ALWAYS a good thing in my book.
Are the meals easy to prepare?
The box came on the exact date as expected and was packed in a lined cardboard box, with an ice pack at the bottom, where the meat was stored. Here’s how it looked:
Since I was unable to choose a specific menu, such as gluten-free, like I was with Home Chef, I was at the mercy of Hello Fresh, having only 5 meals from which to choose. As before, my family made the meals. The process was very similar to Home Chef, with step-by-step instructions. However, they were not written quite as clearly, and were a little harder to follow. My family said they didn’t like cooking these meals as well.
As I unpacked the box, the recipe cards were on top, the produce bags were next, packaged in brown paper bags, with the meat at the bottom.
The three meals we made were:
Honey sesame chicken tenders with rice and broccoli
One pan pork carnitas
This meal was SUPPOSED to include 8 flour tortillas, however, there weren’t any tortillas in the bag. Instead, I made a batch of my Cassava flour tortillas, as my husband prepared the meal. This was the second thing that went wrong with this service.
Good gravy pork chops with sweet potato fries and cheesy broccoli
Do the meals taste good? PLUS Overall impression and closing thoughts…
I will be awarding each service up to 5 spatulas (instead of stars) to show my thoughts on the service. ( I went back and gave Home Chef 4 spatulas.)
I decided to award Hello Fresh 2 spatulas. I was flip flopping between 2 and 3. At the end of the day, I decided on 2 spatulas. My reasoning for 2 spatulas:
I gave them an extra point for the whole food nature of the meals and the price per meal, as well as the taste and ease of preparation. At the end of the day, we didn’t like our experience with Hello Fresh nearly as well as that of Home Chef. The meals were easy to prepare, but the instructions were a bit confusing. My family began to call it “The bad meal service,” which is unfortunate.
Even though the meals were less expensive than Home Chef, this service lacked the ability to exclude allergens. I don’t mind paying a bit more, if I know I’m guaranteed an allergy free meal.
We did enjoy the meals. My boys liked the tacos, while my husband and I liked the pork chops. That said, my family all said they enjoyed the Home Chef meals more. We received 2 weeks worth of meals for both services, so we have a good idea as to the quality and taste of the meals provided by each service.
Overall, our experience with Hello Fresh was not as positive as our experience with Home Chef. I can’t pinpoint only one thing we didn’t like. It was really the whole experience: The lack of tortillas, lack of allergy-free menus, the wrong nutrition sheet, the instructions, and the meals, which simply lacked the flavor and zing of the other service.
If you have tried Hello Fresh, and had a more positive experience, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.