A 1-Week Review of HelloFresh

With Pictures :)

About a weeks ago, I decided to try HelloFresh. This is my 1-week review of trying out HelloFresh!

Note: all pictures are of meals I made from HelloFresh

Steak with Creamy Thyme Sauce

The System

It’s actually quite simple:

The way HelloFresh works is that you choose a number of meals, a number of servings for each meals, and what meals specifically you want for that week. I eat a lot, so I choose 5 meals with 2 servings per meal [1]. That came down to $84.91/week for me—or $339.64/month. Also, the meals are pre-selected (so if you’re lazy like me and like surprises, this works great!), but if you’re more picky you can edit it to get other things.

While the price is $84.91 per week for me, for the first 5 deliveries I have discounts. Specifically, I got a 50.1% discount for my first delivery and got 41.72% my second delivery, and I will get 25.04% for the next 3 deliveries after that. I believe this was the black Friday discount though.

Finally, you also have the option of not getting anything delivered for a particular week (e.g., if you’re going on vacation).

BBQ Pineapple Flatbreads

My Personal Review

Before HelloFresh and when I was still cooking regularly (during the pandemic mostly), my budget for groceries was $300. With HelloFresh, I’m getting up to $340 per month. So, it’s slightly more expensive.

$340 would be on the higher end of grocery budgets that I’ve heard being recommended (e.g., I heard of ~200–300), but this is absolutely reasonable for me, and here’s why. While I’m paying an extra $~40, there’s a lot of annoying things that I don’t have to do anymore and other benefits that make this feel like a bargain me!

Pros 🚀👌

Mozzarella & Herb Chicken

TIME SAVINGS

First, all the meals are delivered to me, and I don’t have to go grocery shopping. Prior to that, I would spend about 30–60 minutes for grocery shopping. Even when I knew what I wanted, it still took time to go out of my apartment, pick everything out from the store, and come back. I value my time, and the fact that HelloFresh cuts that time by so much is actually great. I’d say it saved up 2–3 grocery shopping trips per week, so that’s a 90–180 minutes of time saved.

To top that off, HelloFresh helps me save time! Most of the meals are done cooking within 45–90 minutes. This sounds like a lot, but for comparison before that I would take at least 2 hours if not more. While I’ve gotten better in the kitchen, I’m not the most efficient guy in there. With HelloFresh, I feel like the meals are done fast enough that I don’t dread cooking, and the fact that I know that I’ll get more efficient makes me feel good about this. So, if that’s cooking 5 days a week (since I’m doing 5 meals), that’s saving me at least 30 minutes x 5 = 150 minutes and up to 375 minutes per week.

To put that into context, that’s 240 minutes to 555 minutes per week, which amounts to 4 hours or up to 9.25 hours. So, by spending an extra $40 per week, I’m freeing up enough time for at least half a working day’s hours to more than a full day. There’s a lot of that can be done with that time, and I’m glad to have it and use it to re-invest in myself and my own personal growth.

Pub-Style Shepherd’s Pie

ALLEVIATE DECISION FATIGUE

Secondly, the meals are preselected, always different, and new (at least so far—I’m sure they recycle after a couple of months), and this helps me make less decisions throughout the days. Before, I spent a lot of time learning about various techniques and understanding how to cook, but now it’s hard to spend time online to look for recipes. In addition, having to go buy all the ingredients can be annoying (sometimes you can’t find them). Finally, it’s also a lot of mental effort to figure out what to eat every day. I’ve noticed in myself that the more time I spend making decisions, the more exhausted I feel at the end of the day. So, anything that helps me make less decisions frees up my mind for more important things (like reading, writing, or making other important decisions!).

One-Pan Pork Fajita Lettuce Wraps (Without the lettuce wraps though!)

IMPROVES MY COOKING SKILLS

In addition and to piggy back off of the previous point, the always different and new meals help me improve my cooking skills. I just discovered how to cook couscous, which was, to be fair, very easy, but it was great that I learned it through just following the recipes! I feel like my skills in the kitchen are getting better and better every meal. I keep discovering a new way to cook something, and that means that in the far future I’ll be much better at putting something together.

THE MEALS TASTE SOLID

Finally, the meals from HelloFresh taste good enough! I don’t think they taste super amazing, but they taste good—good enough. And that, I’m happy with because I know that whatever I’m cooking will taste good. This is not the same as when I’m picking a random meal from online and trying to buy the ingredients for it, which have not always turned out good.

Cons 😤

HelloFresh should add instructions on how to store the delivered items!

Remember how I said that I try to limit the decisions I make throughout the day? Well on my first delivery, I just took everything in the box and threw it in the freezer—trying not to make too many decisions for how to store everything in the HelloFresh box. While some of the items (mostly meat) rightly needed to go into the freezer, that was a bad idea because others items (produce, vegetables, etc) should have gone to the fridge or outside the fridge (like Onions or seasoning). I had no idea about all of that, and it made the vegetables just taste a lot worse (the last meal I had to throw away a bunch of it sadly—thus why no lettuce on it).

Missing recipes!

I got might 2nd delivery just yesterday, and 2 of the 5 recipes were missing. This was annoying because I then had to go find them online. HelloFresh shouldn’t mess up like that on the 2nd delivery, and I hope this doesn’t happen again.

If your budget is tighter

I am OK spending $340 in my grocery budget (and in fact I spend slightly more because I still need to buy weekend breakfast items, but it’s maybe an extra $20–30), but I can imagine a situation where this would be too much. So, if you are on a tighter budget and still want to get 5+ meals, HelloFresh might not be for you.

If you don’t know how to cook

People might think of HelloFresh as a way to start on your cooking journey, but I’m going to make a hot take here and say that that’s not true. If you have no cooking experience, you will mess up. That’s not to say that the meals are hard to cook, but it’s to say that there are some skills you build up over time cooking that you need to use that ensures you cook these meals right. Some of those include:

  • Figuring out the right heat level
  • Using the right cookware (e.g., good knifes!)
  • Having the tools for certain items (e.g., a zester)
  • Knowing when something is done (especially meat, like beef or chicken or pork)
  • Understanding your kitchen appliances (“medium high” doesn’t necessary translate to medium high on every kitchen appliances!)
  • Having an intuition for the right levels of seasoning

If you have zero cooking experience, I’d recommend learning a few basics first prior to jumping on something like HelloFresh.

If you are picky

I wouldn’t recommend HelloFresh if you are super picky with the food you eat. It’ll just be another set of more decision making within their sites (though they usually have a selection of 20+ recipes), and it might be being frustrated with the result.

I honestly couldn’t say whether this would be bad for picky eaters because I’m not one and can’t speak for those who are, but I just would be more cautious before jumping on it.

My Recommendation ✅

I’d say, if you’ve spent some times cooking before (maybe making 20+ meals—excluding breakfast but repetitions allowed), if you’re not a picky eater, and if you have the budget for it, I would recommend HelloFresh. Spending an extra $40 to gain an extra 4–9.25 hours per week is the insane deal that HelloFresh gives me.

While I hope the mistake HelloFresh made were just one-offs (maybe I’ll write a follow up to this blog to comment on that), HelloFresh is an overall great time saver, provides solid meals, and helps with making less decisions throughout the day.

End Notes

[1] Why 5 meals instead of 7? I usually eat out on the weekends (Friday and Saturday). Some weeks I eat out more, but some weekends I also don’t eat out, so things will even themselves out that way.

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Robert M. Vunabandi

Robert M. Vunabandi

I’m a human, living on earth, and doing Software Engineering. I enjoy reading thoughtful posts, and I like to write! So, here we are.