When you think of Food Delivery, what pops into your mind? Pizza? Chinese?
Lately, I have been fascinated with the concept of fresh ingredients brought right to your door because it is revolutionizing the way we think of the words “Food Delivery”. Services like Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh offer something uniquely different than prepared fast food dropped off on your porch. They provide the convenience of doing the grocery shopping and measuring for you. They hand you fresh produce with tried-and-true recipes and say, “Now enjoy the fun part of cooking”. Yes, you still have to dice an onion, sear a pork chop, soft boil an egg and roast mushrooms, but isn’t that what you want to hear? This is healthy farm fresh fruits, vegetables and meats delivered to you in a neatly packed box.
Like I stated previously, I have become intrigued with food delivery services as of late. I reviewed the companies Blue Apron, Plated, Home Chef and Peach Dish and compared them all to one another. This past week I had the pleasure to experience and now review Hello Fresh.
- Classic Box (for omnivores) is $10.75 per person | per meal
- Veggie Box (for herbivores) is $9.08 per person | per meal
- Select either 3 meals for 2 people or 3 meals for 4 people
- They offer many promotions in magazines, on Facebook or search “Hello Fresh” promo codes online. I got my first box for $35.00 for two people with a 50% off coupon.
- Choose the day you want it delivered
- Arrives once/week
- Skip deliveries on certain weeks depending on your availability or interest in the menu
- They deliver to all doorsteps in the United States, except Alaska and Hawaii
- 5 recipes offered for the Classic Box
- 3 recipes offered for the Veggie Box
- They will select a menu for you but once you make the purchase you can choose any meals you want
- View meals from last week, this week, next week and upcoming to get an idea of the food they offer
The First Impression
The Hello Fresh box of ingredients included three bags, one for each recipe. The icons on each bag indicate what type of meal it is such as seafood, meat and pork. These logos are also found on their associated recipe card, for ease of identification. The meat and seafood were packaged separately.
The Recipe Cards come together in neat pamphlet, where you can tear a recipe out or keep them all together. The front of the card has a final photo of the meal, along with an explanation of the dish’s flavor profile and pictures of the ingredients you’ll find in the bag.
On the back of the card, the top section has a written list of the ingredients, measurements, allergens, tools needed and nutritional information. The rest of the card is dedicated to teaching the home cook how to make the meal with step by step directions and photos.
The Taste Test
This meal was divine. Yes, I took a vibrant looking photo, but the recipe is what made it great. The shrimp arrived fresh, not frozen, and therefore was indicated on the recipe to “eat me first”. So we did. The simple preparation of the gyozas was impressive. All I had to do was chop the shrimp, ginger, garlic and scallions. Then my husband and I stuffed them into the won ton wrappers and pan fried them until golden. The spring succotash was so refreshing. Hello Fresh had me cut the kernels off a fresh ear of corn. This is so different from the times I make chili or tacos and use canned corn. I know, yuck. The soy sauce mixture complimented the gyozas very well, but my husband and I also dipped them in teriyaki sauce.
This pan-seared pork chop with butternut squash and broccolini is very similar to what we eat every night. For this reason, we obviously liked it! No, it was not some fancy new foodie experience, but it was a good staple meal. When I make pork chops, I use the same method as was directed on this recipe. It involves pan-searing the pork chop in oil and then letting it bake on high heat for a few more minutes. This seals in the juices and flavor. I really appreciated that the butternut squash was pre-chopped, as I do not like doing this myself. It takes muscles to slice through a squash. The broccolini and squash were roasted on high heat in the oven as well, making this an easy meal for a weeknight. Lastly, the homemade garlicky sage-butter was an excellent topping for the pork.
This was my favorite meal, which is why I saved the best for last. This dish brings back memories from my childhood. My mom would always make my favorite meal, which was Stroganoff, any time I asked for it. The sauce for this meal is the exact same flavors as my mom’s Stroganoff. Before this meal, I would have told you that I do not like Swedish meatballs. It was not a meatball that I am familiar with, as my Italian Grandma wouldn’t ever attempt to make one. Making it myself helped me realize where those unique flavors come from. The nutmeg and allspice offer that warm zest, which compliment the creamy beef sauce. In my opinion, you can not go wrong with adding earthy porobello mushrooms to a cream sauce. These flavors made this dish sing.
One critique that I have is when I asked someone on Instagram, who had made this meal, how it was, she said it needed more sauce. So I added more water, beef bouillon and sour cream, from my own kitchen, in order to avoid this sauce-tastrophe.
The Final Say
I am a legit foodie. I love to cook, style, photograph and eat food. I would say that I enjoyed Hello Fresh. For this reason, it is a high competitor to Plated and Blue Apron. In our experience of cooking and eating three meals from each company, my husband and I liked all of the meals from Hello Fresh. Whereas, we only liked one or two from the other companies. Also, I was pleased to find that the meat and seafood were fresh, as those from Plated were frozen. Lastly, of all the companies I have tried, Blue Apron still had the most unique ingredients, which is a great feature for someone like me living in the middle of nowhere.
As far as calories go, Plated and Blue Apron boast meals in the range of 550-700 calories per serving. However, Hello Fresh had two of three meals in the 800 calorie range. As health conscious foodies, we do not typically eat fried won tons or creamy noodles, but it was okay to have a treat this week.
Hello Fresh has a big social media network. Even on their recipe cards they tell you to tag your photos with #HelloFreshPics to be entered into a weekly contest. This is a fun community of foodies like you and me. I also liked that on one of the sections in the recipe pamphlet they go over details on how to take a worthy food photo.
When I was looking into Hello Fresh, I doubted that it was going to be up to par with Blue Apron or Plated. The latter companies seem more established and popular. But after giving Hello Fresh a go, I am pleased to say that it was an excellent food delivery company and was my favorite of the three based on the final meals.
Update June 2016: Check out my Reviews of Plated, Blue Apron, Home Chef and Peach Dish to see how they compare to Hello Fresh (click the company’s name).