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Finding a balance between frugal living and convenience is tricky. In my experience, this is especially true when it comes to food. Buying groceries at the store and cooking your own meals is frugal.
You’ve also got to make time to coupon and shop if you’re serious about saving cash. They say time is money, so this puts you in a tough spot. What else could you be doing with your spare time?
That doesn’t mean you have to spend $20 per night on fast food though. Many singles and families find that meal delivery kits are a perfect compromise. Meal delivery services ship fresh ingredients to your home, and you can easily and quickly cook meals with them.
One of the most well-known services is HelloFresh. In this HelloFresh review, we’ll discover if it’s a truly frugal option.
What Is HelloFresh?
Before I discuss expenses and meals, I want to provide some info about the company itself. HelloFresh is America’s second largest meal kit provider. The company was founded in 2011, and over 1.7 million people subscribe to it in the U.S. alone.
HelloFresh provides the exact ingredients you need for wholesome meals. On average, it takes about 30 to 40 minutes to prepare an entire HelloFresh meal. You can choose from various customized recipes to ensure the meals suit your taste. HelloFresh also offers a Rapid Box option, and these meals take 20 minutes to make.
The meal kit service is typically used by singles or small families. However, there are different subscription options to meet different needs. You can also add wine pairings to your meals for an extra fee. In addition to the United States, HelloFresh serves 10 different global markets.
HelloFresh Pros And Cons
If you Google HelloFresh reviews, you’ll get over 8,900,000 results. That’s a pretty overwhelming amount to browse through. I’ve condensed the most prominent pros and cons listed by HelloFresh users. From consumer report sites to food blogs, I used a wide variety of sources. This should give you an honest look at the HelloFresh pros and cons.
- The ingredients are reportedly high-quality and fresh.
- The recipes are detailed yet easy to follow.
- Delivery is free for most subscription options.
- New HelloFresh users get an automatic discount by using a free coupon – you can access one here.
- HelloFresh offers multiple subscription options.
- HelloFresh uses a soft subscription model – you can cancel at any time, and you can skip a week of delivery whenever you want.
- The recipes are curated by experienced, professional chefs.
- The recipes are also created by an in-house dietitian at HelloFresh.
- Many users save hours of time per week by using the service.
- Users can choose from vegetarian or omnivore recipes.
- HelloFresh has a solid 4 out of 5-star rating from over 1,700 Consumer Affairs reviews.
- HelloFresh has a 9 out of 10-star rating from over 11,200 Trustpilot reviews.
- HelloFresh meals are typically low in fat content when compared to other meal delivery kits.
- Reviews commonly mention that HelloFresh customer support is very responsive and helpful.
- HelloFresh has a convenient smartphone app that you can use to update preferences, find helpful info, and more.
- Parent reviews often note that their children enjoy HelloFresh recipes – even picky eaters.
- HelloFresh packaging is recyclable, and the company website provides details on how to recycle all of the packagings.
- The minimum order for HelloFresh is designed to serve two people, so an individual user may end up with leftovers.
- The vegetarian recipes aren’t as diverse as the omnivore options.
- Some users say they spent 15 or more extra minutes than the listed cooking time for different recipes.
- Some users find that the ingredients include too much meat and not enough vegetables. Other reviewers state that they have the opposite problem.
- HelloFresh has been criticized for using excessive packaging for deliveries.
- Some users find that the subscription price is not worth the time saved.
- Some users have had issues with receiving incorrect recipe cards with their ingredients.
- There is no discount for subscribing to larger meal options.
- Some subscribers say they were disappointed by the freshness of the produce.
There are definitely a lot of pros and cons to consider. But I do think that many of these points boil down to personal preferences. For example, some single subscribers may enjoy having leftovers to eat later on. Others dislike leftovers and may find this wasteful. And everyone has different budgets and schedules when it comes to grocery shopping and cooking.
Overall, the positive feedback genuinely stands out to me. The Consumer Affair reviews are verified, detailed, and very consistent. HelloFresh seems like a pretty convenient option if you want to save money while still enjoying freshly cooked meals. And with the soft subscription model, you aren’t stuck spending money if you’re unhappy with the service.
How Do You Sign Up For HelloFresh?
The HelloFresh signup process is pretty simple. You’re guided through it step by step when you visit their website. Below you’ll find the basic details about the process.
- Visit the HelloFresh website and click the green ‘Click To Get Started’ button.
- On this page, you’ll read a few helpful paragraphs about the whole process. It includes how to customize your plans, how meal selection works, account information, and more.
- Click the green ‘View Our Plans’ option to start the ordering process.
- Select the plan that suits you. You’ll choose the number of servings you want, and how many recipes you want to receive per week.
- Click the ‘Select This Plan’ button once you’ve found the plan settings that you prefer.
- On the next few pages, you’ll select recipes, create your account, and finish the signup process.
Once you do this, you’re all set to receive your first meal kit. By using our referral link, you automatically get $30 off your first kit. The discount is instantly applied during the checkout process. In the section below, I’ll discuss what the delivery and cooking process entails.
How To Use HelloFresh Meal Kits
You choose the delivery date during the signup process, so you know exactly what day your meal kit will arrive. HelloFresh ingredients are shipped inside an insulated styrofoam cooler box. The box uses ice packs to keep the ingredients refrigerated and fresh. You receive all of the ingredients you need except for salt, pepper, and oil.
Your box will contain a detailed recipe card for each meal. Every card has clear photos of finished recipes and step-by-step cooking instructions. You’ll also get an additional card that features extra cooking tips. For example, the card may explain how and why to cut meat a certain way. This helps you get the most out of every meal kit.
Unpacking the box is easy because everything is sorted based on the recipes. The meat for each meal comes in vacuum sealed bags. Produces, spices, and additional ingredients are grouped and packaged in color-coded bags. This simplifies the cooking process and ensures that you use the right ingredients for every meal.
When you’re ready, you can begin cooking your first meal. Current recipes on the HelloFresh website list cooking times of 30 to 45 minutes. If you choose the Rapid Box option, your meal should only take 20 minutes to cook. Recipe cards include ingredient lists and info such as whether the meal is egg-free or nut-free.
By following the instructions, you’ll easily have your meal ready in under an hour. HelloFresh encourages subscribers to contact customer support whenever they need to. I also found tons of information and helpful answers in the HelloFresh FAQ section. You can access this by clicking the ‘Help’ link at the bottom of any HelloFresh website page.
How Much Does HelloFresh Cost?
The HelloFresh subscription options are priced per serving. Below I’ll list each option and the exact price per serving. These prices do not include the discount you get with a $30 off coupon. All prices include free shipping except for one option that I noted below. You can pay for your subscription using any major credit card or through PayPal.
- Veggie Plan – $9.99 per serving, 2 to 4 person serving options, and 3 recipes per week.
- Classic Plan – $9.99 per serving, 2 to 4 person serving options, and 2-4 recipes per week based on your preferences.
- Family Plan – $8.74 per serving, 4 people served per recipe, and 2-3 recipes per week based on your preferences.
Based on these numbers, I’ve added up the exact weekly prices for each plan:
- Veggie Plan – 2 people x 3 recipes per week = $59.94 per week
- Veggie Plan – 4 people x 3 recipes per week = $119.88 per week
- Classic Plan – 2 people x 2 recipes per week + $7.99 shipping = $47.95 per week
- Classic Plan – 2 people x 3 recipes per week = $59.94 per week
- Classic Plan – 2 people x 4 recipes per week = $79.92 per week
- Classic Plan – 4 people x 3 recipe per week = $119.88 per week
- Family Plan – 4 people x 2 recipes per week = $69.92 per week
- Family Plan – 4 people x 3 recipes per week = $104.88 per week
This is every option you can choose from when subscribing to HelloFresh. All options except for the first classic plan come with free shipping. Keep in mind that you can change your subscription whenever you’d like. So if you’re spending too much or have too many leftovers, you can pick a different plan.
HelloFresh Wine And Gift Options
If you’re a wine fan, HelloFresh offers three different monthly wine subscriptions. You can choose from a red wine plan, white wine plan, or mixed wine plan. Each one provides you with six bottles of wine per month. The cost is $89.00 per month, and this breaks down to $14.83 per bottle.
You can also send HelloFresh gift cards to your friends and family members. Gift cards provide recipients with a single delivery for two to four people. You can choose from the Veggie Plan, Classic Plan, or Family Plan. This is a commitment-free gift, so recipients aren’t subscribed to the plan you choose.
Verdict: Is HelloFresh Worth The Price?
After researching HelloFresh, I believe it’s worth the price for many people. If you dislike meal planning and grocery shopping, it’s completely ideal for you. It’s also great for busy people who have limited amounts of time to spare. Lastly, HelloFresh is suitable for you if you enjoy diverse recipes.
If you’re hesitant to try HelloFresh, consider choosing the most affordable meal plan that meets your needs. You can test out the service for a week to see how you like it. And with the promotional discount, you really aren’t spending too much money. Remember that you can cancel your subscription at any time.
HelloFresh certainly stands out from the crowd, but it’s not your only frugal food option. Frugal For Less covers many ways to save money on food. Some of my favorite posts include:
- 26 Ways To Save On Food Costs
- 9 Free Food Subscription Boxes To Try For A Free Meal Or Snack
- Blue Apron Review: Everything You Need To Know
- 10 Food Delivery Services That Deliver Free Food
Read these articles to learn all about affordable eating. From grocery shopping to ordering fast food, we offer tons of helpful tips and tricks. I’m confident you’ll find ideas that will help you cut down on food costs.