Last week, we cancelled our subscription to the meal delivery system HelloFresh and I thought I would share with you our experience.
I was tempted by the meal delivery service experience but I wasn’t actively seeking it until one day, a coupon came inside my J. Crew package (kuddos for the marketing). I thought this would be a good opportunity to try it out at a minimal price. I vaguely remember paying around $30 for our first box of 3 meals, which is without arguing, pretty low. Without the promotion, a weekly box of three meals for 2 persons is $59.00, which brings the price per meal at $9.83. This is not bad. The price factor definitely motivated me as I have been trying to cut out our food bills.
HelloFresh also offers a vegetarian option.
I also had hoped to spend less time grocery shopping and/or cooking and spend more time playing with my daughter. The time I spend focusing on meals is insane. I love cooking but still I find I spend way too much of my energy in preparing meals.
My last reason was that Jamie Oliver partnered with HelloFresh to sign some of their dishes (you typically get one Jamie Oliver recipe per box). I know a lot of people that swear by his cookbooks, but especially are attracted by his nonchalant, no-fuss cooking style (he might actually have been one of the wonderpot precursor). If you see one of his cooking shows, It’s actually kind of funny. It would always crack me up because he looked messy but in a genius kind of way. Anyhow, again, I thought it would be a chance to try out some of his dishes.
Now that I have exposed my hopes, let’s see how they faced up with the reality.
Let’s start with the Pros.
I have to say, I was very enthusiastic at first. It might have been the novelty factor but I enjoyed discovering the content of the box, conveniently and cutely packaged for each meal and the instructions that go with it.
Knowing I had something already planned out for dinner enabled me to relax a bit more and start cooking a little later than usual.
I did discover some new ingredients: freekeh, sunchokes for instance. That was kind of cool, especially since my husband literally freaks out about the freekeh (sorry…). He is a vegan and was ecstatic that I had found a grain that tasted like meat.
No Leftovers. This is a big one. Our lunches typically rely on whatever’s left from dinner and some meals, like soups or stews last a few days offering plenty of reheating. The time we used HelloFresh, I felt more pressure around lunchtime and often had to fix light meals. We probably used take out (typically sushi) a little bit more too, hence minimizing the price factor.
Too many salads. The veggie box typically comprises 2 cooked meals and one salad. Unfortunately, salads don’t do it for us for dinners. Too light and not satisfying enough. The salads were systematically what I was the least excited about so I typically would wait at the end of the week to make them.
Freshness- to some degree. I have to put this into perspective. Considering that all the produce are shipped fresh, HelloFresh is not doing too bad. However, I did have to throw some items twice (fresh herbs from what I remember) and I had a few salads that were too wilted. This is an issue to some extent as the box is supposed to last for a week.
No savings. I had big expectations on this one. I truly hoped there would be a positive impact on our food bills but this wasn’t the case. The main reason is that we couldn’t rely on leftovers as mentioned earlier.
Jamie Oliver was a let down. I am sorry to say but Jamie Oliver’s meals were our least favorite meals of the boxes, and that was pretty systematic to the point that we were not looking forward to preparing his meals. Too many repetitive meals perhaps (a lot of risottos…), lack of flavor in general…
Conclusion: I was globally happy with the experience and the customer service but it just didn’t work for our needs. I did recommend it to some of my friends and am looking forward to hearing about their experience.
What about you? Have you tried any of these services?