Before I’d decided to make the decision to join Weight Watchers, I spotted a Groupon for a discounted Hello Fresh box. If you are unfamiliar with what Hello Fresh does, it is basically a food subscription service. You can receive a box once a week that includes the ingredients and the recipes for various meals. I’d heard about it previously but had always been put off by the hefty price tag (normally £39 for the box I chose) but Groupon was offering a box for the much more reasonable £13.50 and so I decided that it was worth a shot.
What’s On Offer?
Currently Hello Fresh offers three different types of subscription box:
- The Classic Box
- The Veggie Box
- The Family Box
You can choose whether you want three meals a week for 2, 3 or 4 people. There is also the option for a five meal per week box for 2 people. The Classic box starts at £39 per week for 3 meals for 2 people, the Veggie box starts at £36 and the Family box which provides 4 meals per week for 4-5 people is currently selling for £49. They deliver to most mainland UK destinations but charge a whopping £13 extra charge for delivery in Northern Ireland. They also offer a trial box which is a one-off order for £42.
The meals are designed to reflect seasonal produce and vary. The meals available this week were:
- Moroccan Spiced Salmon
- Spring Time Crispy Chicken Parmigiana Salad
- Garlic Day Pork Linguine
- Chicken Yakitori (5 meal boxes only)
- A Trendy Cauliflower and Lentil Panang Curry (5 meal boxes only)
There are also “swap” dishes provided in case a particular dish doesn’t tickle your fancy but these are not available for all box types. The swap dishes this week were:
- Mexican “Dirty Rice”
- Stuffed Peppers
I’m not a huge salmon fan and so I swapped it for the Dirty Rice dish. The swapping process was very easy and straightforward and could be done through My Account on the Hello Fresh website.
Ordering and Delivery
Ordering was very straightforward. The Groupon code was accepted without any issues and I was given a choice of delivery dates for my box. There is almost always someone at home here between the three of us and so delivery wasn’t an issue for me but I’m not sure how I’d feel about ordering if no one was going to be at home as the box contains fresh meat and I wouldn’t want it sitting outside. However, you can leave a delivery note specifying that you want it left outside if no one will be home and you’re comfortable with this. The cut off date for delivery for the next week is Wednesday night at midnight. I ordered my box on the Tuesday night and selected the Monday for delivery.
Delivery was by DHL. I had an email reminding me of the delivery and then had a text message on the day of delivery specifying a delivery time. The delivery actually came earlier than anticipated. The text message had informed me that it would arrive after 1pm and it came just after midday. Again, this wasn’t a problem for me as I was home anyway but I suppose it could have been problematic for some.
The outer packaging was, as expected, a large cardboard box. The majority of ingredients inside were loose (for example, the veg) but the fiddly little things were packaged in a separate little cardboard box and the fresh meat was inside a large plastic bag, lined with wool and ice packs. I don’t like lots of additional packaging so I was quite glad that packaging was kept to a minimum and the welcome booklet inside lets you know that you can return used packaging to Hello Fresh for them to recycle. I was impressed!
Now onto the important part! The quality of the ingredients seemed to be impressive. The meals I’d chosen required chicken breast, chicken thighs, chorizo and Italian sausage. The chicken was lovely and didn’t look the sickly, pale way that some supermarket chicken appears. The sausage looked a little odd but I’ve never had Italian sausage before so it probably only looked odd due to my ignorance and my being too familiar with supermarket sausage!
The recipe cards are all very clear and concise. I’m very far from being a chef but can get by in the kitchen reasonably well. I was a bit worried that the dishes were going to be fussy and difficult to prepare but the recipes were quick, easy and not “cheffy”. The wonderful thing was that all the ingredients were provided and in exact quantities so there was no weighing or measuring needed.
I first attempted the Chicken Parmigiana. I had to bash the chicken into submission with a rolling pin which was good fun and then smother it with a layer of sour cream before topping it with some breadcrumbs, cheese and garlic salt. It was served with new potatoes and spinach coated in a sour cream and olive oil dressing. I felt pretty unsure about this one but was willing to give it a go and it was fantastic! It was really very tasty and I’m going to hang onto the recipe card for it.
The second dish I tried was the Garlic Day Pork Linguine. Again, it was a simple to follow recipe and relatively quick to cook. I used all the chilli flakes provided and thought that it had a nice kick but was a bit disappointed in the sausage. I seemed to find quite a few bits of gristle and there’s nothing that puts me off eating meat than that! The pasta and sauce were lovely, though, and it is a recipe that I’d definitely consider trying again with another type of sausage.
The Mexican Dirty Rice dish was the dish that I found most disappointing. Again, it was easy to follow and relatively quick to cook but I didn’t particularly enjoy the taste. However, my dad loved it and went back for a second helping so I think this was a matter of taste.
All in all, I was really impressed with Hello Fresh. I love how you are provided with everything you need and in exact quantities and I was impressed with the quality of the produce, too. I am quite a fussy eater and tend to stick to very plain, boring meals and so I expected to not like the food but really enjoyed it. However, it wasn’t healthy eating, as such with the calorie contents of the meals being quite high (the Parmigiana was around 700 cals per portion, the Mexican Dirty Rice around the 800 cal mark and the Garlic Day Pork Linguine was a whopping 1000). I cut my portion sizes down by quite a lot to ensure I wasn’t going over my calorie allowances for the day and had to cut back all day to allow for the ‘cost’ of my dinner that night. On the plus side, the Hello Fresh website does have all the nutritional information for their meals on the website so that you aren’t left guessing.
The major downside, for me, was the cost. I don’t think I would pay £39 a week for this. You do get quite a lot of food in each box and if you were buying all the ingredients at a supermarket you would, of course, have to buy full packs rather than the necessary amount and so you would probably pay more. However, it is easy to feed yourself relatively cheaply by not making elaborate meals.
I also found the meals quite filling and a little too heavy for me. It would be nice for one meal a week but to have to have three meals a week would be daunting if you were doing it on a weekly basis.
I would definitely consider ordering another box as a one-off treat or for a special occasion, though and would also consider signing up if they ever offered a 1 meal per week option.