Hello Fresh, a fair and impartial review
When I was living in the UK, as a food blogger, I was often being sent products for review. This was a very common practice for companies. I was always more than happy to receive something free of charge and write about it.
I always tried to be as fair and impartial as I could be when reviewing these things. I will be honest here however, when someone is giving you something for free with the expectation of review, it is only natural to be a bit slanted towards the positive and minimize the negative. Its only human.
Also, if someone is sending you something for the purpose of review, they are only going to send you the very best. It would be a very poor business practice indeed to send anyone anything substandard if you are expecting something positive from the outcome.
I have had the opportunity through the years to review a great many things.
Here in Canada, it’s not been my experience that companies send me anything to try out. In fact, since my return to Canada, I have not been offered anything for review purposes. I am not sure if that is a legal thing in Canada or not.
I recently decided to try out Hello Fresh, totally independently and for the purposes of a fair review. I had reviewed them in the past in the UK, but I thought it would be interesting to review my experience as a consumer who had to go through the process of using this service from the very beginning, and in another country.
Hello Fresh is a Berlin Based company that has their services available throughout the world, with meal plans that are touted for being family friendly, as well as catering to a variety of diets. I believe their largest customer base is in America.
For those who are not aware of them, Hello Fresh is a meal KIT delivery service, that offers weekly shipments of recipes and groceries that are delivered right to your front door. It enables you to make fresh, easy and appealing meals from the comfort of your own home, without the hassle of having to plan and shop for ingredients on your own.
I decided to sign up for and try the service out for a few weeks. I like to cook, but I have found, as a single person, it is difficult to purchase quantities of ingredients in the exact amounts that I need. I often find myself wasting things which really bothers me, especially fresh ingredients such as salad or vegetables. It’s not so difficult with other things like meat as I can simply freeze the excess for later use.
One thing which I did not like is that I had to sign up for the service before I was actually able to see what they were offering in terms of meal kits available. I was also limited to the meals available and unable to design or devise a meal myself.
On the plus side, there were plenty of meal options to choose from. They also cater to certain diets such as vegetarian or low carb. You can also choose plans which cater to smaller sized families and larger groups, with the smallest size being 2 people.
Boxes are delivered once a week.
Included in the box are all of the main ingredients for however many meals you have chosen. All of the meat, produce and most condiments/sauces/etc. What they do not include are things such as cooking oil, sugar, salt, pepper, butter, etc.
Seen here are the contents of my first box. It was beautifully packed, everything arriving cold and ready to put into my refrigerator or freezer.
The meat/proteins are packaged separately and stored with frozen ice packs at the bottom of the box.
The remaining ingredients for each meal are separated into their own individual paper bags. Included are detailed recipe cards which show you a photograph of what the finished meal should look like on one side, and detailed cooking instructions with photographs of each step on the reverse side.
I found the instructions to be very simple and easy to follow. Included also on the cards are information on anything you need to do before you begin and any equipment or tools you might need in order to prepare or cook the recipe, with any special instructions being outlined in red.
I have a daughter who is developmentally challenged, and I believe that she would very easily be able to follow the cards and cook the meals I received.
One of the meals that I ordered was for a Turkey, Lettuce and Tomato Burger with Ranch and Roasted Sweet Potatoes. You can see their photo on the card shown above and my results in the photo just above here. It was delicious.
Another meal which I had chosen was Soy, Maple and Ginger-Glazed Pork Chops with Stir Fried Veggies. It too was very quick and easy to execute . . .
This was the end result. Perfectly cooked pork, with a delicious glaze, crispy tender stir fried vegetables and perfectly cooked rice.
When making my decision to try out this meal plan, I decided at the outset that I would try it for more than just one week, to make sure that the experience of my first box received would also be the experience of consecutive boxes, so I tried it for three weeks running in order to check on the consistency of the meals and service provided.
Here is another one of the meals I chose. Baked Chicken Parmesan with Crispy Potatoes and Garlicky Green Beans. It was also delicious.
I discovered though, as a keen cook, I found myself diverting somewhat from the recipe cards and doing my own thing on the actual day. What I had thought I wanted to cook when I placed my order, was not always what I felt like cooking when it came to the day.
Through all three weeks I tried the boxes however, everything I received was received in good order, fresh and of excellent quality.
You can sign up for as many weeks as you wish and quit at any time. You can also pause your subscription if need be. There is also a rather attractive bonus and discount on your first box.
All of the ingredients are delivered to your doorstep, saving on wear and tear on the car and petrol, not to mention putting up with the hassle of traffic, not to mention saving on the time needed to go shopping and pick up the ingredients.
Their insulated boxes are well packaged, double lined and containing ice packs which help to keep the food fresh. Everything has a shelf life of at least a week.
The recipes were simple and quick to execute with detailed instructions. Their meal cooking time ranges between 30 and 40 minutes.
Their fresh produce and condiments are packaged in color-coded bags so that you can easily sort them out, with all of their packaging being recyclable, and everything was very fresh.
The biggest one for me is that you have to sign up before you can see what meal choices are actually on offer. I did not like that at all.
They decide the meal plan choices which are available for you to choose from. As a subscriber, you are not given the freedom to choose from anything other than what is on their menu.
They don’t deliver sugar, salt, pepper, butter, and cooking oil. I appreciate that, as a keen cook, I always have these things in my home, but other people might not.
The smallest size of the meals in their plans was for two servings. It would be nice if they had single serving offerings. I did not like having to eat the same thing two days in a row.
Without the incentives offered for your first few meals, their meals can be rather costly compared to if you walked to a grocery store and brought the ingredients yourself. The cost will vary according to the type of meal chosen and for the size of the meals chosen. There is also a delivery fee.
There is quite a lot of packaging, ie. cardboard, plastic, etc. to get rid of each week.
Overall, I quite liked the boxes I received. I think they are great for a single person who is living on their own, or for a young couple who both have jobs and not a lot of time for planning and shopping for their meals.
If you are an elderly person who likes to cook, they give you the freedom to do just that. I know a lot of seniors end up purchasing frozen prepared meal deliveries. Those meals are often filled with sodium and fat. You can control the sodium and fat in these meals yourself, which is a real plus, as well as having the pleasure of being able to cook for yourself.
There was no waste. Everything in the boxes was specifically designed to be used up, with nothing being leftover, which is actually quite cost effective over time.
All of the packaging is recyclable. The paper bags included can also be repurposed to collect food scraps for composting.
Each meal I received was fairly complete, as well as being quick and easy to do. I didn’t have to plan for sides, etc. Everything was there, and I was able to sit down to a full, nutritious and delicious meal in about half an hours’ time total.
They were somewhat costly, so if you are on a very limited income this could be a bit of a drawback, but when you figure in the fact that there is no waste, I believe this balances out in the long run.
I hope that you have enjoyed my fair and impartial review of the Hello Fresh Boxes. I was not asked by them to do this review, nor was I compensated for doing so. What you see here is the truth of my own experience in trying out this meal plan box system here in Canada.
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at mariealicejoan at aol dot com.
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