Review Hello Fresh Meal Boxes

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When renewing our car insurance a couple of months ago I unexpectedly received an email from the price comparison site with a "reward" voucher for a discounted run of Hello Fresh boxes (1 free, then half price for the next 3). At £30 for 3 x 2-person meals its not something I've ever been interested in before (seems an expensive way of cooking!)....I guess like many of you here I just look for recipes and then go and cook them from scratch. Plus one of the main benefits: that you don't need to buy a lot of expensive ingredients when you only need a teaspoons worth; doesn't apply because I actually do have a cupboard full of those ingredients. Buy anyway, as it was significantly discounted I decided to give it a go.

Firstly...the practicalities. The app and the website are easy to use and it clear to see what you'll be charged. If you have a discount voucher applied then this is very visible, so its also easy to see when your voucher runs out and you return to full price boxes. You also get a few "free" boxes to send to friends and unlimited £20 off vouchers. There isn't any minimum contract period and you can easily pause deliveries for a week or even stop them completely. Deliveries around here are via DPD and have all been on time, in good condition and with no missing ingredients.

The recipes are varied and very easy to follow. The nicest ones are usually "premium" for which you have to pay between £1.99 and £2.50 extra per portion, but there's always enough choice from the non-premium ones. You can either follow the recipe on the website, via their app or from the A4 recipe card that comes in the box. I've learned a few little tips that I'd not come across/thought of before: for example adding the soy sauce to your breadcrumbs before adding them to your meat when making Asian-style meatballs, crushing half your beans when you're making a chilli style dish to thicken it. Simple things, but effective.

The quality of the ingredients is generally fairly good - I would say more Morrisons standard than Waitrose though. I did cost out a few of the recipes in Ocado....at the discounted rate I'm getting at the moment they're reasonable value...about the same as I'd pay if I was making them from scratch. Which also confirms that its an expensive way of cooking if you're paying full price (though of course there's no waste). We think the portion sizes are generous - certainly we've never finished a meal still hungry. But there haven't been any leftovers either. All the recipes have their calorie count on them.

Though they use paper bags where possible and leave whole veg loose, there's still a lot of plastic packaging - I'm not sure how they could cut down further on this because everything is in just the right amount for each recipe. Speaking of these individual sachets....I find them quite fiddly...it'd be much easier to just measure with a spoon from a bottle. For example these are the the ingredients for last night's Fruity Lebanese Lamb:
uYJ9cbR.jpg


So, after 4 weeks what do I think? The best thing about it is trying new things - I've really enjoyed that aspect of it. I think we were in a bit of a rut in terms of food selection and this has been a good way of mixing things up a bit. This week have Hoisin Chicken and Plum Stir-Fry with Zesty Rice, Chipotle Pork Tacos with Charred Sweetcorn Salsa and Cheese, and Fruity Lebanese Lamb with Cumin Roasted Carrots. The recipes are well thought out and have all worked really well so I'll be keeping the recipe cards and replicating a few of the dishes myself in the coming weeks.

I won't be subscribing full time once my discounted boxes run out....I find 3 meals a week is just too intense. Because you're following a new recipe every time you need to concentrate, whereas when I'm cooking something familiar I can relax and just potter along because I know what I'm doing. I will use them occasionally though: the meals have all been very nice, at full price I think they're expensive but convenient. I'm thinking they could be useful for example when we've been away and haven't had the opportunity to do any shopping. If get any more discounted vouchers then I'll probably do another few weeks now and again just for varieties sake.
 

FowlersFreeTime

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I find your review 100% accurate!

I've done them in the past and as a home cook, the best thing about them is that it forces me to try something new. I'm never 100% happy with the meals though. I don't know, I guess I prefer to cook "family" portions of simpler dishes so I can enjoy leftovers a few times a week. 3 new-to-me recipes back to back (because otherwise the ingredients may not last longer) is... how do you Brits say it... A bit of a faff?

I only do meal plan things like this because of the wife. SHE loves the fact that all ingredients are included, clearly labeled, and calorie counts are included (especially if you're on a diet plan like weight watchers). In fact, we're doing 3 Hello Fresh meals this week.
 

rascal

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I enjoy making stuff I like, but I can see how it suits others, my d.i.l has 3 kids under 12 so they are a handful, she's just signed up for it, and she gave our daughter a free voucher to try as well. It suits them, but not me, so I'll keep on doing what I do.

Russ
 
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I've done them in the past and as a home cook, the best thing about them is that it forces me to try something new. I'm never 100% happy with the meals though. I don't know, I guess I prefer to cook "family" portions of simpler dishes so I can enjoy leftovers a few times a week. 3 new-to-me recipes back to back (because otherwise the ingredients may not last longer) is... how do you Brits say it... A bit of a faff?
Yep I think you've summed it up well - it's a bit of a faff :okay:

We've skipped next week and I'm really looking forward to not having to follow a recipe all week :D I will be using a couple of the Hello Fresh recipes as inspiration to make up something of my own though....so its definitely achieved its aim of getting us out of a rut.

I still have some discounted boxes available so I'll use them up maybe every other week but I can't see myself doing it long term.
 

garlichead

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If you build it, they will come, especially with a marketing campaign that Hello Fresh has in place at the moment. 4 g's of sumac and enough dill for 1 meal, GMO carrots and garlic from China, processed foods and dairy in hermetically sealed individual bags coming from a warehouse with foods purchased for the absolute lowest price from all over the world, isn't the kind of relationship with food I would ever promote or encourage. It's also a disaster environmentally speaking. IMO Sorry I don't mean to sound preachy.
 
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Morning Glory

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If you build it, they will come, especially with a marketing campaign that Hello Fresh has in place at the moment. 4 g's of sumac and enough dill for 1 meal, GMO carrots and garlic from China, processed foods and dairy in hermetically sealed individual bags coming from a warehouse with foods purchased for the absolute lowest price from all over the world, isn't the kind of relationship with food I would ever promote or encourage. It's also a disaster environmentally speaking. IMO Sorry I don't mean to sound preachy.

I didn't realise Hello Fresh was available across other parts of the world.

garlichead are you saying that this is the origin of the ingredients of the UK Hello Fresh pictured above?
 

garlichead

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I didn't realise Hello Fresh was available across other parts of the world.

garlichead are you saying that this is the origin of the ingredients of the UK Hello Fresh pictured above?
Garlic is fresh and available where I live right now but we also have 4 different countries supplying garlic to our local supermarkets. 1 is from Spain, 1 from the USA, 1 from Mexico and 1 from China. the garlic from China is very, very cheap comparatively speaking. We have produce from all over the world as well. for me to think that all fresh produce comes from my Province of Ontario or my country of Canada is just wishful thinking. Hello Fresh is a muti billion dollar worldwide business, emphasis on business.
 
Joined
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If you build it, they will come, especially with a marketing campaign that Hello Fresh has in place at the moment. 4 g's of sumac and enough dill for 1 meal, GMO carrots and garlic from China, processed foods and dairy in hermetically sealed individual bags coming from a warehouse with foods purchased for the absolute lowest price from all over the world, isn't the kind of relationship with food I would ever promote or encourage. It's also a disaster environmentally speaking. IMO Sorry I don't mean to sound preachy.
I agree that from an environmental point of view there's too much plastic packaging (as an aside...I wonder which is worse for the environment.....plastic packaging or food waste? That would be an interesting study.) But personally I think anything that encourages people to cook rather than use pre-prepared meals is a good thing....if it means that someone who thinks they "can't" cook learns a few basic techniques and builds their confidence to try "proper" cooking then that's to be encouraged.

As a note...all the fresh ingredients (apart from the veg of course!) are labelled with their country of origin - I don't know if this is true in other territories, but its normal for food over here. Of course they're a business and want to maximise their profits so of course the ingredients are bought in bulk at the lowest possible cost....I didn't expect them to be top quality, but in my judgement the quality is on a par with mid-level supermarkets. Again, this may vary according to where you are in the world as I expect they tailor their offerings to local market conditions so I can only speak from a UK point of view.

I must admit I only tried this because I got a couple of really good offers. In the past I've turned my nose up at schemes like Hello Fresh and Gousto feeling that they're not for me. Some of that is a kind of snobbery I guess, and to a certain extent that remains true: I prefer to buy local where I can - direct from local farms (milk, meat, eggs) and farm shops (vegetables, meat, cheese) and we tend to eat seasonally and grow a lot of our fruit and vegetables ourselves. But there is definitely a place for these kind of products.....I'm certainly not their target market, but I'm glad I tried it: I've learned a few things, got some new ideas, and can now make a better-informed judgement on it.
 
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I didn't realise Hello Fresh was available across other parts of the world.

garlichead are you saying that this is the origin of the ingredients of the UK Hello Fresh pictured above?
They operate in 15 countries (well that's where they have offices....but its logical to assume they also deliver food in those countries): Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, France, Nordics, Australia, UK, Canada, Benelux & USA.

In the photo: the lamb is from New Zealand, the dill is from the UK, the parsley is from Spain...the rest I can't tell and sorry I'm not digging in the bin to look :p:
 
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rascal

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[Mod.Edit: This post and the following few have been moved here from a thread on the same subject (MG)]

Does anyone here get food bags delivered? It was raised here a while ago and I said I thought it was a lazy way of doing food. My dil loves it as her three kids are hard to cook for so its easy to get it delivered to you, 5 nights meals with meat and vege etc . Because she signed up for a certain time she got to give someone a voucher for $120 so that's one weeks of food. Ours arrived on Sunday afternoon. This is tonight's meal.
Pic below.
Last night we had another chicken meal with Israeli cous cous, my sworn enemy. The meal was absolutely beautiful so I have put cous cous on our shopping list. I will use the menus for ideas but won't be buying into it. The packaging that comes with it is unbelievable. Bubble Pack for Africa, individual packaging is over the top.
A good experience non the less.
Russ

68991
 
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The Velvet Curtain

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Does anyone here get food bags delivered? It was raised here a while ago and I said I thought it was a lazy way of doing food. My dil loves it as her three kids are hard to cook for so its easy to get it delivered to you, 5 nights meals with meat and vege etc . Because she signed up for a certain time she got to give someone a voucher for $120 so that's one weeks of food. Ours arrived on Sunday afternoon. This is tonight's meal.
Pic below.
Last night we had another chicken meal with Israeli cous cous, my sworn enemy. The meal was absolutely beautiful so I have put cous cous on our shopping list. I will use the menus for ideas but won't be buying into it. The packaging that comes with it is unbelievable. Bubble Pack for Africa, individual packaging is over the top.
A good experience non the less.
Russ

View attachment 68991
The Israeli cous cous? Does it annex the Palestinian side plate when nobody is looking?
 

caseydog

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I have not tried any of the meal kits. Hello Fresh seems to get the most promotion on YouTube cooking channels.

I'm sure it is great for people who don't like cooking, but still want a home cooked meal. The shopping is done for you, and the cooking is step by step easy.

But, I just don't need it, and can't justify the extra cost over doing my own shopping.

CD
 

rascal

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I have not tried any of the meal kits. Hello Fresh seems to get the most promotion on YouTube cooking channels.

I'm sure it is great for people who don't like cooking, but still want a home cooked meal. The shopping is done for you, and the cooking is step by step easy.

But, I just don't need it, and can't justify the extra cost over doing my own shopping.

CD

I wouldn't subscribe to it ever, but hey it's free and it gives me ideas. Btw my wife just rang and she has another weeks free from her work colleague, we just need a different e mail and a different delivery adress. I have 4 different e mails so it's sorted.
If I lived alone I'd be takeaways every second night,lol.

Russ
 
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