Do you want to save time and have more fun cooking in the comfort of your own home? Read this Hello Fresh review!
Hello Fresh is a meal kit delivery service that delivers boxes of fresh food ingredients to your doorstep. The meal planning and meal delivery service is sure to please all family members – you get changing recipes and meal kits so you can cook a variety of healthy food in the comfort of your home, quickly and conveniently. It saves you time, and by delivering recipe and portion specific groceries nothing goes to waste.
They also provide a big 40% discount on the first box (and then 30% off the second, 20% off the third and 10% off the fourth) as an incentive to sign up – but is it actually worth the cost?
- Delivered to your door every week
- Flexible and custom meal options (modular system)
- Variety: 28 recipes from all over the world plus side dishes, desserts, baking and snacks
- Recipe and meal kits take the hassle out of deciding what to eat
- Teaches you how to cook at home and reduces food waste
- Family friendly – suitable for fussy eaters
- A bit more expensive when compared to Aldi
- Lots of plastic packaging (most is recyclable)
- Must supply some basic pantry items yourself
- Some meals take longer to cook than it says on the card
Verdict: Hello Fresh saves time, prevents food waste and teaches you how to cook awesome meals at home. Perfect for time poor professionals or young families.
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What is Hello Fresh
Hello Fresh is a subscription based meal delivery service. For a fee, each week they deliver boxes of fresh food ingredients to your doorstep with recipes and meal kits so you can cook healthy meals in the comfort of your home. It is very convenient, helps save you time and prevent food wastage and takes the decision out of what to cook for dinner each night.
You can choose up to six meal plan options from 28 different changing meal options each week, ranging from vegetarian and vegan options with plant proteins through to meat and seafood, Family friendly, Quick and Easy and even Calorie Smart options.
Hellofresh meal kits are delivered weekly, containing fresh ingredients and fresh produce, cold packs (ice packs), meal plans and recipe cards. In general the hello fresh meals are family friendly, have bold flavors, and nutritional information is included for all meals.
How does Hello Fresh work?
When you sign up with Hello Fresh, they will ask you what kind of cuisine type or dietary restriction level you have, as well as how many people will be eating at dinner (you can choose two or four) and how many meals you want per week.
- You sign up with an email address, and then use a secure password to create an account.
- The next step is entering in all of your personal information such as delivery address, email and payment method.
- Then you will be able to choose your Hello Fresh meal plan and choose specific meals from their ever changing 20-meal plan.
- The last step is choosing what kind of delivery frequency you would like: weekly or every other week for example. You are by default set to weekly orders, so you just go into the calendar and skip weeks you don’t want.
The last thing that’s needed is selecting your start date – this will be either a Saturday or a Sunday and you have a choice of four time slots. You can’t start any sooner than week after the confirmation of an order from Hello Fresh – this is so they have time to get it all set up before sending out anything – remember their business model is about pre-ordering so they can save by on costs by taking bulk deliveries and then packing them up to send out individually
What is not included in the Hello Fresh Box?
Generally speaking the kits provide everything you need to cook including sauces, seasoning and garnishes, however you will need provide some of your own basic ingredients from time to time – especially if you like adding your own variations on the recipes. These are just basic pantry items and its likely you will either have this stuff already, or you can pick it up when you do your other basic household needs shopping every month or two.
Missing ingredients include:
- Soy Sauce
- Fish Sauce
How much does HelloFresh cost?
The price of Hello Fresh subscriptions varies massively depending on what you actually want. They have a baseline level meal subscription kits – the total price increases as you order more food, however the price per meal decreases as you benefit from the economy of scale. As of May 2021 the price per serving is;
For two people is
- 3 meals per week: $11
- 4 meals per week: $10.70
- 5 meals per week: $10
For four people
- 3 meals per week: $10
- 4 meals per week: $9
- 5 meals per week: $8
Delivery cost is extra (usually $10 per week) and there are also a number of additional extras like Desserts, Snacks, Sides and Fruit boxes which you can also order.
Personally though, I have found its pretty easy to bulk up the meals with extra vegetables or adding your own side dishes like Rice or Pasta which stretches it further and reduces the cost per serve (my experience with the largest kit and bulking it up with more veggies to cater for 7 people took the total cost per serve down to $5.70)
Additional extras with Hello Fresh
You can upgrade your meal kit to premium ingredients, as well as order things like fruit boxes, desserts or ready meals. The following extras are available (and cost you extra):
- Grill kit: The Grill Kit is a upgrade that features quality cuts of meat like pork loin and limited edition side dishes. The perfect combination for grilling on the barbeque or in your oven!
- Gourmet: Give yourself a “culinary delight” with the Gourmet upgrade. Choose from premium cuts of protein and exotic ingredients to put together your own dish for date night, entertaining guests or just because you deserve it!
- Fresh & Fast: This upgrade gives you 3-step recipes using pre-prepped ingredients so that you can have dinner ready in around 15 minutes
- Dinner to Lunch: The 2-in-1 dinner to lunch recipes include a few extra ingredients and steps to make two unique meals at once.
- Sides: You can make dinner stretch further by adding Veggies & Roots (like green beans and roasted potatoes), a Seasonal Salad or Cheesy Garlic Bread.
- Desserts: The desserts upgrade includes recipes and ingredients for making desserts and sweets.
- Ready Meals: The ultimate in laziness. Ready meals just need to be heated.
- Fruit Box: Selection of seasonal produce – Small or Regular
- Snacks: Choose from a selection of snacks each week.
Hello Fresh – How does the cost compare?
When I did my trial, I opted for the most food possible because its cheaper in bulk. I got the 5 meals for 4 person kit – yes I know I don’t have a family yet but I usually eat 4 meals a day (plus snacks) so this would cover me for the week apart from Breakfast.
This ‘bulk’ option is $170 per week which works out $8.50 per serving. I would just have to add my home made muesli (granola) with berries for breakfast which is about $1.70 per serve or an extra $12 per week, plus any other extras like a fruit box (I have three bits of fruit a day so a Regular fruit box suits me). This would make it approx. $207 per week for me.
The smaller, 5 meals for 2 person kit is only $110 per week – however this raises the price to $11 per serving.
When I was meal prepping and saving hard, I was using a target of around $2 per meal for my plant based diet and a total weekly spend of under $50.
Of course, we need to compare apples with apples here, and my $2 plant based meals were obviously not the same as the more expensive ingredients you are getting from Hello Fresh including fresh Salmon and other expensive luxury ingredients, and I also had to do the work planning and shopping for all the ingredients to get it cheaper in bulk. [Side note, my $2 meals were actually pretty lux, and you can make rice and bean based meals for well under $1 per serve if you really want]
Anyway, when I compare the Hello Fresh prices to what my friends and family are paying for groceries, the Hello Fresh meal kit services aren’t actually that much different.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there are 2.3 million single-person households in Australia. The average single-person spends about $100 per week on groceries. 2 person households spend about $140 per week on groceries, and the Average 4 person household spends $180 per week on groceries. This is because they benefit from the economy of scale.
This realistically only makes Hello Fresh marginally more expensive than what people are paying in the shops, but you get the convenience of having it delivered, and the benefit of not having to worry whats for dinner as you simply pull out one of the recipe cards
Pros and cons of the service
Pros and Cons of Hello Fresh;
PROS of Hello Fresh
- Hello Fresh saves food waste by only delivering portion specific groceries so you don’t waste any food. On average this saves 21% of food waste!
- Convenient and delivers to your door meaning everything is right at your finger tips and there’s no more juggling between stores or lugging heavy bags of shopping around the house!
- Delivers healthy and fresh meal ingredients
- Takes the hassle out of choosing what to eat – you’re having what is in the box mate haha!
- Great to try new meal kits and recipes – fun, family friendly and happy cooking experiences together
- Helps you to not be tempted to buy take-out, and sets up a healthy relationship with food
- Meal kits help you learn cooking at home – A valuable skill which will save you HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS over your lifetime!
- First Meal delivery service to be fully carbon neutral
- You get to keep the insulated cooler bags and re-usable ice blocks – great for sport, beach or road trips etc.
CONS of Hello Fresh
- It does require *some* planning which could be difficult if you are not organized – but this should be expected when using a meal kit service
- You do need to prepare and cook the meals yourself which usually takes around 30 minutes compared to a ready made meal service (although this is hardly a con). Some recipes take longer than advertised on the recipe.
- It is more expensive than buying in the shops (you are paying for convenience and fresh ingredients).
- There is a fair amount of plastic packaging in the meal kit box (although most of this is recyclable soft plastics and all cardboard is recyclable)
- Can be frustrating if living in an apartment or if street access is restricted or confusing for delivery drivers
- Not everything is included – for example Soy or Fish sauce, Butter, Milk, Eggs, Flour or sugar is not included so you still need to stock the pantry with these basics
- Certain meals are difficult for cooking at home, i.e. if you don’t have an oven.
- Low calorie menu is not as appealing as the classic menu
Trial Hello Fresh with an epic discount
I am also working on getting them to give me some free boxes to hand out to the community – so make sure to check social media for the Weekly CaptainFI giveaways.
I think its worth giving it a go just for the discount – if you aren’t happy with it after the first few boxes, just cancel your subscription.
The final verdict – would I use this service instead of grocery shopping?
Meal kit delivery services can be a good way to enjoy cooking your own meals and new recipes at home with easy to follow recipes. They are generally portion size, easy to prepare and prevent food wastage.
They may not be appropriate for all people with specific dietary needs such as low calorie diets or allergies, but most ingredients are individually packed in a vacuum sealed bag which suits picky eaters or most special dietary needs.
I would recommend Hello Fresh to a time-poor friend if they were looking for a convenient and healthy meal delivery service, or someone wanting to improve their home cooking skills. It is easy to prepare a delicious meal with the cooking process usually under half an hour thanks to the pre prep work and easy meal choices.
I would not recommend Hello Fresh to anyone struggling to make ends meet, instead I would direct them to their nearest Aldi supermarket where they can get cheap access to masses of fresh food for meal prepping.
If you’re not all that good at cooking and want to learn, you value convenience or you just simply want an easy way to get out of your weekly food shopping trip then Hello Fresh is definitely worth checking out.
I think it makes sense for highly paid professionals that may be working long or irregular hours that do not want or need the additional task of shopping or deciding on what to eat. Furthermore, even though it is more expensive than shopping yourself, it is probably going to save you a lot of money on things like Uber eats or take-away!
The cooking skills you learn cannot be understated, because the recipes make it super easy to learn and they are generally quite quick. You might find that after a few months of Hello Fresh, that your cooking skills have massively improved and you might gravitate away from using it and instead prefer to select your own more unique or specialised ingredients to start experimenting with more complex recipes or improvising and making up your own.
I’m doing a trial and will report my experiences along the way.
Captain FI’s Hello Fresh review
I wanted to trial this myself before publishing anything, so I gave it a crack! I ordered the biggest box I could
The sign up process was fairly standard for any online service, I just entered some basic details such as address and payment details. Then I got into selecting the meals – Because I will be off-and-on cooking for around 8 (including a pregnant sister) I opted for the Meat and Veggies box 5 meals for 4 people (and planned to bulk it up with extra veggies when needed to make them stretch further). Vegans/Vegetarians may want to skip this section because it shows me cooking up salmon cutlets.
A week later, as promised, came the Hello Fresh Box. Not one, but two huge boxes full of food! They were deceptively heavy, I’d say around 5-10kg each. So that could be an issue if you have to bring it up stairs or the like – but you can always open them up and carry the bags up individually like you would with normal shopping.
Inside each box was broken down into individual meal bags, and ‘refrigerator-ables’ were separately packed into insulated cool bags with three big ice blocks each. As a side note, I’m pumped to have a few more insulated cool bags and ice blocks as they are completely re-usable which is very handy to have at home and for long drives, road trips, going to the beach, sports, or even just future shopping trips to be honest.
The instruction card says to put the individual brown paper meal ingredient bags into the fridge as they come, but I wanted to unpack them so I could store them in the correct areas in the fridge, i.e. veggies in the vegetable crisper that sort of thing. By breaking up the bags I feel I did lose out on somewhat of the ‘gimmick’ of having it all grouped together for me, so in future I might just store these bags in the crisper without breaking them down.
Of course, I wanted to empty everything out onto the table to get an idea of how far that $160 box stretched.
Inside the box there was roughly the following ingredients (with equivalent large chain supermarket costs)
- 4 x 280g twin portion packs of Huon salmon (4 x $13 = $52)
- 2 x 700g packs of chicken breast ($14)
- 2 x 180g packs of halloumi (2 x $4 = $8)
- 1 x 500g pack of beef mince ($8)
- 1 x 200g pack of shredded cheese ($4)
- Approx 6kg of mixed veggies – tomatoes, potato, sweet potato, beetroot, green beans, carrot, zucchini, red onions, brown onions and cucumber ($30)
- 4 bulbs of garlic ($4)
- Packet of burger rolls ($4)
- Packet of tortillas ($4)
- 2 packets of Basmati rice ($3)
- 5 packets of salad greens – rocket, lettuce and baby spinach ($15)
- Miscellaneous Herbs, Sauces, Spices and Dressings ($10)
Total: Approx $156 – So yes, you will save a few bucks by going and doing your shopping yourself (especially if you live rurally where there is a $20 delivery fee instead of the standard $10 delivery fee). Furthermore, if you ditch the large chain supermarkets like Coles and Woolies and instead go to Aldi and farmers markets, I am confident you could get all of this for under $120, and if you went plant based you could do it for much less again! But the point of these kits is really the convenience aspect, time saving and the recipe cards.
The ingredients are obviously going to change each week depending on what meals you select on the app or online, and I am not going to do a detailed write up on any of the other kits or meals I get because really I just couldn’t be bothered, but it was more just to highlight that actually you do get a decent amount of value in the boxes and point out how expensive meat and other animal products are in general.
So how long does this stuff last? Well obviously there was a lot of fresh salmon and that stuff should be eaten first, right? Well the recipe cards come with a suggested order for when to cook which is really handy, which of course went Salmon, Chicken, Chicken, Beef, Halloumi.
I decided to cook the salmon first. I realised there had actually been a mistake with my order because I got sent 4 twin packs of Huon Tasmanian Salmon which was actually 8 x 140g individual portions, instead of the standard 2 twin packs which is 4 x 140g portions (i.e. because each meal is supposed to cater for 4 servings). Most meals seem to have around the 100-150g of meat per serving. The person from customer support said that was fine and to just think of it as a bonus this time around. Ironically I am a big eater so I ended up just having the twin pack of salmon to myself as a single serving anyway.
So I decided to cook up the Honey-Soy salmon kit first. Guess what isn’t included in this meal kit – no honey or soy sauce (these are pantry items that you are expected to have). Well I didn’t have them, and I was tired and CBF going out to get those, so I just had ‘Salt and pepper salmon’ instead!
I just followed the recipe card and loosely diced the veggies to roast them on a tray in the oven. they looked a bit sad by themselves so I decided to add a diced onion as well as salt and pepper and olive oil before roasting.
I chucked the tray of veggies into a fan forced oven at 220C whilst I got to work prepping the salad and the salmon. I simply dumped the whole pack of mixed salad into a large bowl and then squeezed the garlic aioli sauce out onto it, then I sprinkled salt and pepper on the salmon cutlets and pan fried them.
I always just cook them lightly skin side up, and then finish them skin side down to make sure it is optimally crispy and hot when its easy to serve.
I think I accidentally overcooked these cutlets by about 30 seconds but they were still pretty much perfect on the inside. I always like getting a bit of char / crust on the outside.
After I finished frying the salmon, the veggies were ready. As a side note, these did not take 20 minutes to cook as per the recipe. They took 40 minutes to cook – I had selected fan forced and 220C, and at the 30 minute mark turned it up to max. This could have been an issue with my families oven though, and I am not familiar with using it (feedback generally though from social media when I posted my experience to my stories was a lot of other people had the same experience though of the recipes taking a bit longer than it says on the card, which is a bit optimistic IMO).
The last step was simply to combine the veggies and salad with the garlic aioli sauce – I dumped in the roasted veggies and stirred it around a bit. Then I put my salmon on top.
Since I was cooking for one tonight, I couldn’t think of a better place to have my dinner than in the spa
In total, it took me 45 minutes to make and in that time I was able to polish off the better part of half a bottle of red wine. The meal itself was outstanding and the salad with the roast veggies and garlic aioli is a new instant favorite of mine and I will be making it as a side dish for all sorts of meals from now on. This is probably hands down the best aspect of Hello Fresh – you get to experiment and try new things, and expand your cooking repertoire.
Lunch the next day was the Beef Burgers (out of order I know – but a request from the nephew). Still to go is the rest of the salmon, the chicken capsicum melts, chicken tikka curry and the herby halloumi tacos. I will be adding extra veggies to these recipes to stretch them out a bit further since everyone is pretty excited by how yummy the meals are – including a 3 year old picky eater.
Other ways to save money on your groceries
When it comes to grocery shopping on a budget, one of the first things you should do is make sure that your kitchen and pantry are well stocked with the basics. This ensures that when you’re in need of items for meals or snacks they will be available right away without having to run out at inconvenient times – making it very family friendly.
If possible, buy groceries that store well in bulk – especially when they are on special. For example, baking ingredients like flour are needed for a variety of recipes and it can easily be stored at home in an airtight container. The same goes for canned and dried food, herbs and spices. UHT milk and juice last for ages!
Another way to avoid wasting money is to avoid food waste – plan your meals accordingly using a meal planner or by by simply mapping out what perishables you need for the week. This ensures that produce isn’t wasted and any fruit or vegetables are used up before they spoil.
Meal prepping is another common technique used to save money, but also to ensure you are getting the correct nutrition especially if you have a busy lifestyle. You batch cook a few different types of meal in bulk, and then portion them up and freeze. This doesn’t work for all kinds of meals, but is perfect for things like curries, soups, pastas and lasagne.
The most effective way to save money on your groceries is by considering what you put in your mouth – adopting a whole food, plant based diet is by far the best way to reduce your grocery and food costs costs, especially when coupled with buying in bulk and meal prepping.
Hello Fresh has come up with a great way to make healthy, delicious food without spending hours in the kitchen, and takes away the hassle of having to decide what is for dinner. They have a range of meal plans and recipe cards – New recipes come out all the time, including vegetarian and plant based options. They are easy meals for happy cooking with the whole family. But is it worth it?
Some people find that they actually save a lot of time by not having to grocery shop and prepare all of their meals from scratch. Others have found that the cost outweighs the benefits, especially if you’re trying to stick to a very tight budget or want more flexibility than just cooking what’s included in your box each week.
When deciding whether this meal service will work for you, consider how much money you’re willing to spend on convenience, and think about where you are in life right now, how busy you are, what your cooking ability is like and how valuable your free time is – maybe ordering these boxes could be helpful. In any case, I think its well worth at least trying a few boxes to see how you feel about it – especially with such ludicrous discounts for the first few boxes!
Probably my biggest take-away is that Hello Fresh helps teach people how to make awesome food at home. Cooking skills and general home economics are some of the most valuable skill-sets you can learn on your journey to Financial Independence – if it stops you ordering Uber Eats or getting take-away even just a few times a week, then this meal kit delivery service should more than cover its own cost and is easily justified.
There are a number of meal kit delivery services, and Hello Fresh market themselves as one of the premium meal kit services – a title I think they well deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions about HelloFresh
Answers to Frequently Asked questions about Hello Fresh
Is HelloFresh worth the money?
Hello fresh is a little more expensive than your average grocery store, but it can be worth it for the convenience alone.
How much does HelloFresh really cost?
Hello Fresh costs around $9-11 per meal once you factor in delivery. Additional sides desserts or fruit is extra.
Are HelloFresh meals good?
HelloFresh ingredients are good quality and frequently get five stars, but ultimately if you aren’t happy cooking they may not turn out as good as the picture. With practice you can make outstanding meals from the hellofresh meal kits. For more reviews ask in the CaptainFI facebook group.
Is Marley spoon or Hello fresh Better?
Marley spoon is marketed as a premium option with organic and fresher produce and more options compared to other meal delivery kit services, however it is more expensive than Hello Fresh.
Is HelloFresh cheaper than Grocery shopping?
Hello fresh is more expensive than your average grocery store shop, but it can be worth it for the convenience alone.
Can you cancel HelloFresh after getting a free box?
HelloFresh can be cancelled with 24 hours notice from your online account on the hellofresh website or by sending a direct message to the customer care team.
How much is hello fresh for three meals a week?
HelloFresh meals from the Classic menu for a 3 meal kit costs $76 for a two family plan, or $130 for a four person plan.
Can you save money with Hellofresh?
Hellofresh is typically more expensive than store bought groceries, but you could always make extra money delivering them!