HelloFresh Meal Delivery Review
Updated for December, 2021
The current top dog of the meal kit market, HelloFresh is known chiefly for its partnership with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. But a closer look at its features suggests some surprising ease of use for an unlikely market— the senior citizen population.
Starting at $7.99 per Serving
- One of the largest and easiest recipe cards to follow
- Recipes take under 35 minutes – and are more accurate in estimated time than many competitors
- Many options for picky eaters
- Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free meals
- One of the most flexible plans in the industry
- Free shipping on all orders over $50
- Wine club
- No delivery to Alaska or Hawaii
- Some meal kit steps, e.g. marinades, take longer than 30 minutes for optimal taste
- Some consumers report complications with cancelling an account
HelloFresh offers great value in service and ease of use for seniors wanting to try meal kit delivery without breaking the bank.
German meal kit king HelloFresh is the current top rung of the meal kit market. It offers the low-price benefits of its closest competitor, Blue Apron, while turning around a more user-friendly and consistently higher quality of product and service.
History And Popularity
Like its competitors, Berlin-based HelloFresh arrived on the meal kit scene in the early 2010s. It quickly expanded to the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and the Netherlands. Claiming to deliver one million meals a month, it raised $67 million in funding rounds over the next few years. Though it was not profitable in early 2015, the company had 250,000 subscribers which grew to 750,000 in the following years and raised its profile further by partnering with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. By its €1.7 billion IPO on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, the company’s market capitalization had doubled that of Blue Apron, its closest competitor.
Spring of 2018 saw the acquisition of organic meal kit provider Green Chef, a smaller competitor known for its variety of meals for different dietary restrictions.
HelloFresh’s site makes it easy to review menu choices before committing to a subscription.
How To Order
Getting started with HelloFresh is a matter of first choosing whether you want vegetarian dishes (the Veggie Plan) or omnivorous (Classic Plan vs. Family Plan) and selecting meal kits for either two, three, or four people. Once you have chosen the type and frequency of the plan, you will be prompted to choose your delivery date.
HelloFresh’s wine club gives you slightly more options than the Blue Apron wine subscription with which it competes. While both offer mixed red and white vintages, HelloFresh allows you to choose for an exclusively red or an exclusively white wine box.
Using the Website
HelloFresh’s site makes it easy to review menu choices before committing to a subscription. In fact, this is much easier than with the websites of many top competitors. Once you have chosen a meal plan, however, you must register your account to move forward.
For returning customers, the online process is simple enough. Scroll down a six-step recipe, peruse each photographed step and the ingredients list with complete nutritional information and “Ingredients Not Included,” and determine whether you want to order it. This is a must for frequent meal ordering and planning. While the scrolling has awkward stalls, the interface is adequate for getting what you need quickly and moving on with your day.
Plans grant members access to the largest variety of recipes with a handpicked selection of meat, fish, produce, and grains.
Selecting Your Plan
Classic Plan subscribers may order two, three, or four meal kits per week for two people or three recipes per week for four individuals. You can choose from eight recipes on its menu each week. This plan grants members access to the largest variety of recipes with a handpicked selection of meat, fish, produce, and grains.
The Veggie Plan only allows you to order three recipes per week and you can choose whether you want to cook for two or four individuals. With only three weekly options, your only other choice is to skip a delivery. However, the plan does guarantee that there will consistently be three meat-free meals to choose from each week.
The Family Plan allows for either two or three weekly recipes for a family of four. At this time, this plan allows you five meal kit options a week. The recipes available take no more than 30 minutes to make and no more than two pots. They are simple enough for the entire family— even children— to participate.
Both skipping deliveries and canceling can be done online, directly through a customer account. Any changes, however, must be made by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time five days before your next box is scheduled.
Most “Ingredients Not Included” are staples which almost everyone has at home: vegetable oil, butter, and salt.
Types Of Meals
True to its name, Hello Fresh is fresh and innovative in its food pairings, but also succeeds in finding something for everyone. Maple Glazed Pork Chops, Balsamic Glazed Strip Steak, Spiced Dijon Salmon, Winner-Winner Chicken Orzo Dinner please fussy palates. Tex-Mex lovers who couldn’t find dinners they liked with competitors had better luck with HelloFresh.
Most “Ingredients Not Included” are staples which almost everyone has at home: vegetable oil, butter, and salt. An occasional random listing of olive oil, strainer, and baking sheet may be a dealbreaker for some recipes…and problematic for Veggie Meal Plan subscribers who only have three recipes a week to choose from. Happily, this problem does not apply to most of these recipes.
Even with random complaints of less-than-appealing citrus fruits, recent reviewers offered HelloFresh overwhelmingly positive ratings. While criteria like taste didn’t seem to hit the highest marks among its competitors, the overarching message is that the company offers excellence in ingredient quality, order flexibility, and ease of food preparation and repeat ordering for its relatively low cost.
Value & Cost
HelloFresh’s Classic Plan costs $9.99 per serving. On a weekly basis, that amounts to $39.96 for two meals for two people plus $7.99 for shipping, a requirement for small orders. Three meals for two people comes to $59.94, whereas $79.92 secures four meals for two people. and $119.88 for three meals for four people. Prices are similar with the service’s Veggie Plan – again ranging from $9.99 a serving and up to $119.88 for three meals for four people. Dinner To Lunch items come to $10 per two-serving lunch add-on.
The Family Plan, which focuses on kid-friendly cuisine at $8.74 per serving, may seem counterintuitive for seniors. But for an older adult with non-adventurous tastebuds who regularly eats with relatives, the family that cooks together saves together. Subscribers can keep costs down to $69.92 with this option if they are preparing two meals for a family of four and $104.88 for three “foursome” dishes.
Like its rival, Blue Apron, HelloFresh’s brand extension includes an affordable wine club. Monthly deliveries of six 750 ml bottles cost $89 per delivery, with shipping included.
Depending on your locality, HelloFresh delivers to your door via UPS. Deliveries take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. each day. While the delivery window cannot be narrowed, the box can be dropped off without a signature and will be sufficiently insulated to last for hours.
HelloFresh is the first American company to use the latest sustainable packaging known as the northbox™ insulated containers. These containers are made of 100% recycled materials and they are designed to make it easier for consumers to recycle them.
While it’s impossible to predict to what extent a future meal will be pre-prepared, Hello Fresh does take care of many labor-intensive steps difficult for arthritic joints. Case in point: pre-peeling garlic, which Blue Apron not only expects home cooks to smash themselves, but encloses the same garlic clove for two separate recipes.
Best of all, the company’s place mat-sized recipe cards beat its top competitors in ease of use. The steps are clearly photographed with large font, making it easy to refer to them even with both hands full of food in progress.
Cancellation is free and simple in theory, as customers are not bound to a contract.
Subscriptions And Plans
Once you have committed to either a Classic, Family, or Veggie Plan, indicated the number of servings, and registered your account, you can change them at any time on your account page. Ordering new boxes is as simple as going under the “Our Menus” heading and selecting the recipes available with your specific plan. To change plans or skip a week, visit your account page and make the necessary changes by 11:59 Pacific Standard Time.
Cancelling Your Plan
Cancellation is free and simple in theory, as customers are not bound to a contract. The process can be done online and directly through one’s account. In practice, some consumers report having to go through repeated steps with customer service to free themselves from their HelloFresh commitment. Another recent complaint involves unwittingly signing up for auto-renew options, which is not clearly documented on receipt fine print or other email correspondence. As with orders, making account changes by 11:59 Pacific Standard Time five days ahead of a scheduled delivery bypasses potential problems.
Whether more seniors will say hello to HelloFresh depends largely on their reasons for choosing to use a meal kit delivery service and the effect of the Green Chef buyout on quality and customer service. While the company does not yet boast a comprehensive array of plans designed for dietary restrictions, it is possible to identify heart healthy and low-sodium or low-sugar options in its recipe arsenal. More importantly, the company’s streamlined process guides the consumer seamlessly from website to unboxing to meal preparation…and takes enough worry and bother out of the shopping and meal prep process to make the financial commitment worthwhile.