I’m a busy girl. I’m not going to sell you on the specifics because at one point or another, we’ve all been up to our eyeballs in stuff to do and barely enough time to wipe off our makeup before we hit the pillow. Which is why I was so tempted by the food box services. After reading so many famous people leave their honest review of HelloFresh, I was sold. Kinda.
The thing that threw me about it all was that it arrived in a cardboard box. And while it was insulated, I have to admit that I was a little grossed out by the whole thing. What if it had been raining and the cardboard gave way and the insulation got flimsy and my food touched the concrete outside? While it also had an ice pack to keep the meats and veggies fresh, what if it had been a particularly hot day? And as someone who lives in the city, I was also unhappy that the box was very, ungodly obvious that it came from Hello Fresh. Not saying anyone would, but free gourmet-style meals might be pretty easy to swipe up.
The second thing I never thought to consider before: the limited quantities of ingredients do not allow for any diversion from the recipe card. My first meal was a barbecue chicken and mac ‘n cheese meal. I like my mac ‘n cheese ridiculously cheesy and saucy and my chicken with extra barbecue sauce. The very specific measurements and set supply meant I couldn’t have the extra-ness I typically go for. I was definitely bummed out and majorly unsatisfied. When you can’t have to extra boost of flavor that comes with more barbecue and extra cheese sauce, taste-wise components fall flat.
View this post on Instagram
The sweet and spicy barbecue chicken caught our eye, but we're staying for the quick stovetop mac 'n' cheese 😋 Carolina Barbecue Chicken, on this week's Classic Menu. #HelloFreshPics #GetCooking #HelloFresh #Food #Foodie #Recipe #InstaFood #FoodGram #FoodPic #Foodstagram #RecipeIdeas #RecipeOfTheDay #Dinner #Chef #Delicious #Yummy #Yum #BBQ #Barbecue #ChickenDinner #MacNCheese #SouthernFood #BarbecueChicken
OH – and the meal I prepared didn’t look anything like the picture. The mac and cheese was goopy, not creamy. Again, the set portions of ingredients didn’t lend themselves well for me. There was by no means any wow-factor. HelloFresh sold their product as an easy yet delicious meal, but I felt like I was eating a fancy Panera dish. Yikes. I followed the recipe and my chicken had a very noticeable vinegar taste. The rest of the plate lacked direction. Expecting a gourmet, show stopper meal, my tastebuds were disappointed and I didn’t even have an Instagram worthy picture to show for it.
Then, there is the pricing – which was the nail in the coffin. Basically you are looking at $9.99 per serving. Each meal contains two servings for a minimum of two recipes per week, keeping in mind you pay $8 for shipping if you only get two recipes. And then remind yourself that this is per week. For a single cat mom, this was laughable at best. As I stared down at my plain jane plate, I reminded myself how much easier it is to order my groceries online at my local store and have everything I need to make my food exactly how I want and how much money I save by doing the legwork and digging up recipes myself.
So long story short: is HelloFresh worth the hassle? If you’re a single person with a specific palate, nope. It’s too expensive, it’s not memorable, and it’s not worth the stress. If you want meals that will both wow you and expand your skill set, buy a couple cookbooks and throw a dinner party. You’d be doing yourself a favor.
Featured image from Instagram.