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HelloFresh Review 2021: See My Real Ordering Experience

www.hellofresh.com
VegetarianLow-calorieKetoVeganPaleoGluten-freeLow-CarbWeight-LossHigh-Protein-MealsHealthDairy-Free-OptionAllergy-Friendly
Our Score:
9.5
User Score:
20 - 30 min. meal kits
Vegetarian,Low-calorie,Keto,Vegan,Paleo,Gluten-free,Low-Carb,Weight-Loss,High-Protein-Meals,Health,Dairy-Free-Option,Allergy-Friendly
23 recipes
8.99$
Written by: Kat Torgersen on Sep 14th, 2021

HelloFresh in a Nutshell

While there isn’t much room for meal customization, all of the dishes I tested were super tasty. Plus, my customer service experience was arguably the best I’ve ever had. 

What I liked

What I didn’t like

  • No options for customization

  • Lots of dishes to clean up

  • Some issues with delivery

HelloFresh Is Best For

  • Families

  • Busy people

  • Kitchen novices

HelloFresh Overview

Given its name, I thought HelloFresh would cater to a more plant-based crowd. I guess I just associate “fresh” with “vegetables” (not that your meat shouldn’t also be fresh...). Either way, I was wrong. HelloFresh covers six mainstream diet plans, which might make it seem like you have a lot of choices. 

I didn’t have as much choice as I would have liked on the Veggie plan, but besides that initial setback (and since I don’t follow a strict vegetarian diet), I was really happy with the meals I received. As someone who’s been known to burn water in the past, I was able to make some delicious dishes – and even learned a couple of new tricks I can use in the kitchen. 

In my review, I’ll go over the things I loved about HelloFresh, and the things I think could be improved. Let’s get cookin’!

How HelloFresh Works 

Before signing up, you’ll be able to choose your preferred plan. On the same screen, you can also indicate how many meals you want to be delivered that week (two through six) and for how many people (two or four). 

I wasn’t able to order for just myself, but I have no problems with leftovers – or eating for two people – so I wasn't all that bothered.

The following screen is where you actually sign up. You can use your email to set up an account or log in with either Facebook, Google, or Apple. 

Once you’re in, you’ll be asked to enter your billing and shipping information. 

HelloFresh delivers every day of the week although the exact delivery day will depend on your location. Unfortunately, you cannot set a specific delivery window. Your meals could arrive anywhere from 8 am to 8 pm, so your box could be sitting out for a while, or even arrive after dinnertime.

Only once you’ve gone through the whole sign-up process will you be able to choose your meals.

HelloFresh Menu

HelloFresh is known for its meal kits and at least eight of these recipes each week take less than 30 minutes to prepare. If you’re super busy or prefer an even simpler option with less cleanup, its new range of oven-ready meals could be ideal for you.

Each week, there are also around 25 add-ons, including breakfast, lunch, and groceries. From egg bites and peanut butter to avocados and carrots, the HelloFresh Marketplace covers all your food-related needs .

But let’s focus on the dinner meal plans, since that’s what I tested.

Your meal preferences (e.g., Veggie, Quick & Easy) will impact the dishes recommended to you. If you forget to go in and select your meals one week – HelloFresh will do it for you based on your chosen plan, so you won’t miss a scheduled delivery.

As I selected the “Veggie” plan, four vegetarian options were auto-populated for me. To be honest, I wasn’t blown away by the number of choices, but the meals looked tasty enough. 

Here’s just one example, the Middle Eastern Chickpea Bowls:

This was lucky enough for me, as there was only one other vegetarian option that I could sub out. But what happens if I were to select six meals for the week? I’d have had to double up on one of the recipes, with the hope that I’d enjoy it enough to eat it twice in one week.

Since I’m not strictly vegetarian, I decided to open up my options to include pescatarian dishes as well. This is where I got a little frustrated for the second time – there’s no way to customize the recipes. Each week there are more than 25 meals to choose from, and what you see is what you get.

With Home Chef , you can substitute the protein in many of the dishes. For example, you can swap chicken for fish, and sometimes you can substitute meat for a vegan-friendly alternative. There are no such options with HelloFresh.

I settled for a couple of vegetarian choices and a couple of fish dishes. They all sounded tasty, so no worries. However, if you have real dietary restrictions your choices will be much more limited.

If you’re not vegetarian, you can enjoy an extra package of protein to put your own favorite meat-based recipes together.

There isn’t any way to filter your options by things like protein (e.g., beef, fish) or cooking time. But, then again, there aren’t that many options, so scrolling through them all isn’t too big of a deal. 

Overall, I thought there was a good range of recipes for people looking for classic “American” dishes (e.g., Blackened Chicken Penne) as well as more international meals (e.g., Szechuan Pork Ramen Stir-Fry).

For each dish, you can click on the recipe card, where you’ll find the total cook time, calories per serving, and difficulty level. You can also look at the “full recipe,” which will give you tons of nutritional values, plus the full set of instructions.

You can get a sense of what ingredients and utensils you’re expected to have on hand. These all seem generally straightforward, but you may need to make sure you have a strainer or butter ready to go. 

Overall, the menu options are transparent, but HelloFresh could have done a better job of letting you filter your choices. However, being able to filter would probably show you how limited your selection in any category actually is…so maybe they wouldn’t want to do that.

These are the four meals I chose: 

  1. Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowls

  2. Broccoli-Carrot Donburi with a Fried Egg

  3. Steelhead Trout in Cranberry Dijon Sauce

  4. Ginger Lime Salmon

HelloFresh Delivery

I got an email notification letting me know when my order had shipped. For whatever reason, I didn’t get text message notifications as I did with Home Chef. 

Like I mentioned earlier, you can choose what day you’d like your meals delivered. You can also update this week by week if your schedule or preference changes. 

I’d been a little worried when I saw my order could be delivered anytime between 8 am and 8 pm, but it ended up arriving just after noon on a Monday.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know the box had arrived until I checked the tracking information on my computer. It also wasn’t left outside my door, but at the entry of my apartment building.

Not the end of the world, but also not super convenient as the box was a bit heavy! 

HelloFresh Unboxing

HelloFresh did okay with the packaging.

Despite being delivered early in the day (just after noon), the ice packs were mostly melted. They were still pretty cold, but things were starting to feel a little...moist.

The salmon for one of my meals was also leaking a little bit. It wasn’t too bad, but I had to clean things before putting them in my refrigerator. 

I really liked the recipe cards that came with each meal. I don’t like having to try and follow instructions on my phone or computer while I’m cooking. Plus, these are perfect for saving and referring back to later. 

It seems like HelloFresh does a pretty good job at choosing recyclable packaging, where possible. I feel a little guilty about using individually packaged ingredients, so I appreciate any effort to minimize waste.

Favorite HelloFresh Meals

While I was initially annoyed that I couldn’t choose all vegetarian options, the dishes I did choose (which included two fish meals) were super tasty

HelloFresh nailed it when it came to the prep and cooking instructions. It’s so annoying when one part of your meal is done, and you have to wait for ages for the rest of it to finish. For each of the meals I cooked, everything was ready around the same time. 

Despite some of the recipes sounding difficult (uh, am I even qualified to cook a Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowl?), it was all really easy. The final results looked impressive and I was surprised I’d made such tasty meals. 

It’s hard to choose, but my favorite was probably the Shawarma Chickpea Couscous Bowl (I guess I am qualified). In fact, I was happy I’d been “forced” to order two servings of this dish. There were no leftovers.

The flavors and seasoning of each dish were spot on. I even saved some of the sauce from the ginger-lime salmon recipe to use on my salad the next day.   

I do have one (relatively) small complaint. I had SO MANY dishes to wash up after cooking each meal. 

This was partly because everything finished cooking at the same time, so I couldn’t clean up along the way. This won’t be a big deal if you have a dishwasher, but some of us aren’t so lucky. If you hate washing up, you might be better off choosing HelloFresh’s new oven-ready dishes.

HelloFresh Customer Service

There are a bunch of options when it comes to HelloFresh customer support. 

In the Frequently Asked Questions section, you’ll find “Action buttons to help yourself,” which can point you in the right direction when it comes to changing certain preferences or updating your account. 

Underneath that, you’ll also find a pretty robust set of “Help Articles,” which you can search through by typing in keywords. HelloFresh also has a list of the most frequently asked questions, which come with clear and succinct answers.

If you run through these options and still have questions, you can either place a call or use the online chat.

I received a coupon by email only after I ordered. Typical! So I reached out via online chat to see if I could apply it to an order that I had already placed (why not, right?). Straight away, it was clear I was chatting with a real person.

Kyla wasn’t able to apply the full discount after the fact, but she did refund me a partial amount and credited my account with the rest. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it! I don’t think I’ve ever had such a good customer service experience – maybe I should try asking for things more often!

I also tested out what it’s like to pause or cancel your HelloFresh subscription, and wrote about it in this short blog post.

HelloFresh Prices

Dinner servings range from just over $7 to about $12, and a bit more for the gourmet ones.

Since there’s no ability to customize the meals, prices are pretty straightforward. You can, however, choose to add sides, snacks, breakfasts, lunches, extra proteins, or even fresh produce to your order.

This is because HelloFresh recently added a Marketplace feature, which lets you do your groceries online as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t see an option to have just these extras delivered (you have to order meals as well).

A weekly plan for four people will be cheaper than one for two people, and, of course, the price also decreases the more meals you choose per week. 

Prices start at $7.49 for an order of 3-6 meals per week for four people. For two people, six meals cost $8.99 per serving, while the minimum order of two weekly meals for two people is a pricey $12.49 per serving.

Shipping costs are set at $8.99 no matter how many meals you order. 

Pricing

From $7.49 per serving

Meal plans

Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, Calorie Smart, Quick & Easy, Pescatarian

Shipping costs

$8.99

Special deals

Get $80 Off + Free Shipping

Alternatives to HelloFresh

HelloFresh is delicious, but there are some other good options out there.

Alternatives to HelloFresh

HelloFresh

Home Chef

Green Chef

Sunbasket

Starting Price

$7.49 per serving

$6.99 per serving

$10.49 per serving

$8.99 per serving

Dietary Preferences

Balanced, Family-Friendly, Veggie, Pescatarian, Calorie Smart

Calorie-Conscious, Carb-Conscious, Vegetarian

Balanced, Keto + Paleo, gluten-free, Plant-Powered

Vegetarian, Paleo, Mediterranean,  Carb-Conscious Diabetes-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Low Calorie, Pescatarian

Weekly Meal Kit Options

25+

20+

9-12

42

Meal Types

Meal kits, oven-ready meals

Meal kits, grill- and oven-ready meals

Meal kits

Meal kits, prepared meals

Pescatarian

Vegetarian

Vegan

Low carb

Special Discount

Get $80 off plus free shipping from HelloFresh

Get $80 off plus free shipping from Home Chef

Get $80 off plus free shipping from Green Chef

Get $90 off and 4 FREE gifts from Sunbasket

If you have certain preferences when it comes to meat (maybe you don’t eat pork or want to increase your protein intake), then I’d recommend Home Chef’s customizable meal kits . For almost every dish, you can customize the protein, which greatly expands your options.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in sustainability and are happy to pay more for top-quality ingredients, you’d be better off going with Green Chef’s healthy meal plans , which are certified organic.

Sunbasket’s meal plans cover a range of dietary requirements, including meals that are gluten-free or diabetes-friendly.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of positive things I can say about my experience with HelloFresh. The recipes were well outlined and resulted in super tasty meals. Plus, the customer service I received was hands-down outstanding. 

Of course, nothing is perfect (and I can always find something to complain about). It’d be nice if HelloFresh had more customization options for individual meals to accommodate different dietary preferences or restrictions. There were also some bumps when it came to packaging and delivery.

At the end of the day, if your diet is pretty versatile, I think you’ll be happy with your HelloFresh meals. If you don’t eat meat or are just more of a picky eater, you’ll probably feel like your choices are a tad limited.

FAQ

What is HelloFresh?

HelloFresh is a meal delivery service that brings you family-friendly meal kits, oven-ready meals, grocery items, and more. The recipes are very quick to put together and range from one-pan wonders to craft burgers and gourmet meals.

How much is HelloFresh?

It depends on how much you order. The prices start at $7.49 for an order of 3-6 meals per week for four people, but increase with smaller orders. The same number of meals for two people costs $8.99 per serving, while the minimum order of two weekly meals for two people brings the serving price up to $12.49.

Luckily, you can use our special discount code to save $80 and get free shipping.

How do you Cancel HelloFresh?

It’s super simple. Just log into your account on the website, click your name in the upper-right corner, then Account Settings. On the Plan Settings page, you’ll find the Cancel Plan button right at the bottom, under the Status section. Then, follow the prompts for your cancellation and it’s done.

Just make sure to cancel by 11:59 pm PST at least five days before your next scheduled order, so HelloFresh can stop the preparations for your meals. We walk you through the whole process in our cancellation blog.

About The Author

Kat Torgersen

Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

When she's not testing out recipes in her own kitchen, Kat is probably just out eating somewhere else. Formerly of the DC consultancy world, Kat now writes, edits, and manages content for clients around the globe.

When she's not testing out recipes in her own kitchen, Kat is probably just out eating somewhere else. Formerly of the DC consultancy world, Kat now writes, edits, and manages content for clients around the globe.

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