Welcome to the world of arbitrarily scoring something based on a gut feeling and zero scientific analysis. Hello Fresh is a service that has been heavily promoting themselves across every website I frequent and has apparently succeeded in seducing me with trigger words like 'fresh' and 'hello' (my favorite Adele song). I ordered a box hoping to save myself from interacting with humans or exerting myself physically on a walk to the nearest grocery store. Let us begin...
Website & Ease of Ordering:
Overall I was pleased with how up front all the pricing and terms of service were. You can easily change your account and select which types of food your heart desires, whether it's vegetarian or purely carnivore. After you order your box, I chose a 'classic box' with 3 meals per week, you can then edit your desired meals in your 'account'.
There are 6 meals to choose from with the 3 meal option, by clicking on 'Select meals' a window will appear allowing you to choose whichever combination you want delivered:
The option to unsubscribe is very easy and straight forward if you so choose after the first box is delivered. Here are the deadlines to pause/cancel/restart any scheduled deliveries, and lets be clear they will automatically deliver you food WEEKLY:
The cut-off for any pauses, order restarts, address and box type changes made online is 11:59PM EST on the Monday before Saturday delivery, and 11:59PM EST on Wednesday before Monday-Friday deliveries. Emails need to reach us by Monday at 7pm and Wednesday 7pm respectively.
Lastly, with all those factors being considered the website was well designed and easy to navigate.
9.5 / 10
There are three box types; Veggie, Classic & Family.
The Veggie Box has two options, 2 or 4 servings for each meal and only a 3 meal option per week. The Family Box has a standard size of 4 servings per meal however there are options for 2 or 3 meals per week. The Classic Box is the most flexible option for 2 or 4 servings per meal, with an option of having that delivered 3/4/5 times per week.
The options are not the most consumer friendly part of Hello Fresh and if you have stricter dietary requirements you are even more limited on your options. It would be nice to have many options for meals and meal plans, but I am empathetic to the business side of things and offering the most fresh ingredients at the time of delivery.
Meal plan score:
7.0 / 10
Delivery Time & Packaging:
The box arrived at my apartment shortly after I got home from work, it showed up inside my door without me home so I assume my neighbor had answered the door for the delivery person. The box was labeled with the Hello Fresh logo which is probably not something I would leave on someones front step with legions of hungry homeless people walking by. In retrospect, I probably should have left a note on the delivery option to not leave on my front step to avoid any missing boxes. I do not know if they will actually leave this sitting at the front door or if Hello Fresh has a contingency plan for stolen packages.
I was not expecting everything to be packaged separately per meal and I appreciated the gesture. Not only did it help me store this in my fridge but I am sure it makes it easy for Hello Fresh to package this into boxes for each customer. The meal boxes were thin enough to not feel excessive but strong enough not to fall apart upon transferring from counter to fridge.
The worst part was the strange gel ice packs that came in the box. I wasn't sure how to dispose of them and made the mistake of cutting them open into my sink. DO NOT DO THIS. I still don't know what was in there, it clogged the shit out of my drain and took me an extra 20 minutes to play plumber (if my landlord is reading this I am joking and this didn't happen).
From what I could tell the food was in fact fresh.
8.1 / 10
These recipes were very easy to make and for any novice this should not be a struggle. That being said the recipe book was not easy to read and the steps were convoluted and clunky. Cooking as much as I do, I understand the steps it takes to make something but I was still confused at the steps (this could also be because I am an idiot). I got the feeling there was an effort to save space on printing, but there was a lack of direction to correctly time the cooking of each ingredient. Being a normal, average, everyday home cook I have to figure out how to correctly time the cooking of each ingredient through trial and error. It would be nice for Hello Fresh to give me the progression of cooking to be able to have everything done at the same time, and ultimately finish each meal in the time given. I think they could shrink down some of the pages, reduce the amount of bullshit information/pictures and focus more on the directions which is really the most important part of the book.
The proteins (shrimp, steak & sausage) were packaged and prepared as they arrived on my doorstep. I was most impressed that the shrimp was de-shelled and de-veined in the package. This is typically a step I dread and was happy to see this was done for me.
These were all pretty good and the portion size was enough for two average eaters, or one big eater. Be advised they didn't include any butter, oil or salt & pepper so you will have to have these on hand (which is completely reasonable to think people have these on hand). I didn't see anywhere them explicitly saying this but I could be wrong as I am not known for reading anything before purchasing. The difficulty level on all three of these were a 1 out of 3 and appropriately scored. In the end I wish there was a more uniqueness to the recipes and not just something I could think up on my own. Between the overly brief directions, sloppy recipe book and uninspiring food they lost a few point but were saved by the easy to prepare ingredients.
6.5 / 10
Without any promotional codes the cost is $11.50 per meal ($69 for the 3 meal classic box). Based on the local Whole Foods pricing I estimated the contents of the box to be $45 or $15 per 2-portion meal. This seems reasonable when you figure the shipping costs, which they assure you are 'free' are definitely included within the price of the box, is probably worth $5-10. Figuring all these factors the box is worth $50 and you're paying $19 for the convenience, portioning and recipes. Some of these things are not available in the portion sizes given (i.e. spinach) so the waste you would normally have isn't a factor. Typically I would use this 'waste' for other things and the fact you don't have to do this is a big help.
Cost / Pricing Score:
8.9 / 10
When it comes down to it this isn't going to be a weekly thing for me. There are limited options to choose from and you are at the mercy of the menu for that given week, however the fact you can pause deliveries and opt out of a week is HUGE. If there's a week I want to cook and know I am not going to have enough time to shop for groceries, I will absolutely order from Hello Fresh. These recipes were good not spectacular but are perfect for someone learning to cook.
8.0 / 10
If you want to order from Hello Fresh and try it out use my code below for $40 off.