This is part of a series offering reviews of the top meal delivery services, plus tips and tricks on how to get these subscriptions shipped straight to your kitchen for a fraction of the advertised price. Other posts include A Low Price for Plated, Save Big on Blue Apron, and Home Chef Coupons and Cash Back.
Cost: Regular list price for the three meal per week plan is $59.94. I scored $25 off through MrRebates.com by using the coupon code FRESHNEW50HF, which is advertised as $50 off your first two orders but still worked for this single purchase. After my coupon redemption and a $5.94 cash back rebate, my adjusted total cost was $29 or less than $4.84 per meal.
Delivery dates available: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday
Meal choices: For two people, Hello Fresh offers plans that include three, four or five meals per week. (Families of four only have the option of three meals per week.) There are six meal options from which to choose every week and you are given complete freedom when it comes to choosing your menu.
Packaging and ingredients: An insulated liner and several large ice packs helped keep the Hello Fresh box contents cold. The proteins were located at the bottom of the box. Separated from the meat by an ice pack, the produce, spices, starches and other ingredients were divided by meal into separate boxes. I appreciated this help to keep my fridge tidy (ha!), as well as not needing to hunt for each night’s ingredients.
Recipes and instructions: The choices I made for the week were Crispy Shrimp Tacos, Cherry-Drizzled Pork Chops and Quick Sausage Bolognese. In addition to the recipe cards for the three meals selected, Hello Fresh provides a booklet that includes all six of the week’s recipes with ingredient lists and step-by-step instructions with photos.
Another added value was the portion size. While we polished off all the shrimp, I had enough tangy red cabbage and carrot slaw, tortillas and sour cream for lunch the next day. And the same was said for the Bolognese. Bonus points to Hello Fresh for enough leftovers for two extra meals!
Level of difficulty: All three of the meals were relatively easy (thanks in large part to the chopping attachment that came with my Cuisinart Smart Stick, which is pretty much the best kitchen tool in my arsenal), and delicious. I’d never in a million years considered making my own pasta sauce, but after being introduced to Bolognese (a great way to sneak veggies into my carnivore of a husband’s diet), I could easily replicate it. And the slaw for the tacos… better than any restaurant.
Again, the only negative was my lack of non-stick cookware. My stainless-steel skillet left most of the crispy from the shrimp stuck to the bottom of the pan. Nonetheless, they were still devour-able.
Ease of cancelation: You can modify, pause or cancel your delivery before midnight five business days before your next delivery. I appreciated this information being clearly stated in my order confirmation, and had no problem logging-in to my online account and stopping any additional shipments. Shortly after deactivating my account, I received a confirmation indicating my subscription had been cancelled. Five days later, I received an email offering me a $5 incentive to give Hello Fresh another go.
Overall impression: Compared to several of the other meal delivery services I tried during this experiment, I seemed to get a little more with Hello Fresh. They provided more upfront options, extra delivery days, better packaging, additional recipes, and two brown bag lunches. Hopefully, they’ll send me a coupon for more than $5, so I can justify a second order! If they do, I’ll let you know.