HelloFresh Review: Is It Worth It?
If you're anything like our family, you'll know that food can be a pretty big monthly expense. Even if you exclude dining out and takeaway, the grocery bill can still pack a punch - especially if there's more than two people in the family.
Behind the mortgage payment, our grocery bill is the next biggest expense for us, at around $1,200 each month. This has been pretty standard for us since we started our personal finance journey back in 2019.
Breakfast, lunches and snacks were never an annoyance for us, but thinking and planning for what to have for dinner each night was draining and we'd often find we'd waste a lot of food by stashing it up the back of the fridge and forgetting about it. So we thought we'd give HelloFresh a go and see if it would be beneficial financially and also make dinner time less stressful.
What is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is a meal kit subscription delivery service that gives you weekly shipments of pre-portioned ingredients complete with recipes - that you can select - for easy meal creation at home.
The ingredients come in one or two boxes, depending on the size of your order, and are delivered directly to your door. Sauces, seasonings and garnishes are even included, all you need to supply is the basic pantry items.
You can choose a meal plan and allow HelloFresh to choose which meals you receive, or you can choose every meal yourself. HelloFresh offers a 20-meal menu to choose from each week. Skipping a week or pausing your service is quick and easy, and you can do so at any time.
The convenience of having everything you need to create each meal takes the stress out of cooking. You simply follow the easy to read recipes - complete with pictures and nutritional information - and you'll have a meal on the table within half an hour most times.
How HelloFresh Works
Every week on your choice of a Monday or Wednesday, a delivery box is brought to your door containing ingredients for a new set of recipes for that week of meals. Your box will have everything you need to whip up the meals, except for any assumed pantry items (e.g. oil, salt & pepper, soy sauce, eggs, milk, etc.).
Recipes are posted online a week prior, and they notify you of what ingredients are assumed to already be in your fridge or pantry so you can be fully prepared before you box arrives.
When you customise your HelloFresh meal plan, you are able to select the type of box you’d like, how many people you are feeding and how many recipes you’d like to receive each week. In Australia, there are three types of boxes to choose from:
Family-Friendly Box – The family friendly box is designed for families with young children in mind. Since we are a family of four (10 and 8 year old children), this is the option we regularly select.
Meat & Veggies Box – This option has the widest range of recipes to choose from, with a combination of proteins and seasonal produce.
Veggie Box – The Veggie option gives you a variety of vegetarian meals to choose from each week.
Once you’ve selected the type of box, you can then choose how may people you wish to feed. Currently the options are either two or four people each meal. You then have the option to receive three, four, or five recipes each week. The cost of your personalised plan is then calculated on a price per serving basis. You'll find that the more servings you opt for the cheaper the price per meal becomes.
If you’re not crash hot on the coming week’s menu, you can pause your subscription for a week either through their website or on the app, and it's pretty simple which is nice. You’re not locked into any regular contract or subscription length, so you can make any changes or cancellations you like up until the deadline, which is Tuesday 11:59pm the week before your order is due to arrive.
On your selected day of delivery, your box will arrive at your front door in the morning. Inside your box(es) you'll find labelled, colour-coded bags that contain all of the ingredients for each meal, except for the meat. The meats will be inside a separate cooler bag (inside one of the boxes) with reusable ice blocks to ensure they stay cool during transit.
How Much Does HelloFresh Cost?
Now for the part you're all keen to see. The cost of the HelloFresh convenience. I'll admit, I was sceptical about signing up and the value of this type of service. I was under the impression (without any prior research and experience) that the cost of the weekly boxes would far outweigh the cost of organizing it all yourself.
You'll have to sign up for a subscription to use HelloFresh, which literally takes 5 minutes or less. When you first sign up there will usually be a promotional offer. Most commonly you'll see a certain percentage off your first four boxes.
There is a Promo Code field below the recipes section when you're selecting your plan and if you have a code you can receive an additional discount. Without a promo code the pricing for your subscription is listed below:
As you can see, the price per serving decreases as the people and meals per week increases.
HelloFresh Price Comparison to a Supermarket
To put the value for money to the test, we decided to grab the HelloFresh ingredient list for a week and go shopping online at Woolworths (Aussie Supermarket chain). What we found surprised us.
We loaded up the cart with all the ingredients listed on HelloFresh for the week and the total came pretty close to $160. We went with the cheapest options as well, so if you went more upper class with the supermarket selection that would add 10 or 20% to the total price.
That was pretty surprising to be same price as HelloFresh for the week less the delivery fee ($7 - $10). This has the added benefit of you not having to spend your time thinking of meals, creating the ingredients list, and then going to the supermarket to purchase it all.
What's not included in the HelloFresh box?
There are a few items that are assumed to be in your fridge or pantry already and do not come in the HelloFresh box. These items are listed on the ingredients list and you have quite a few days to stock up before your order arrives for the coming week.
We have found that there are a few things missing from this list such as balsamic vinegar, white wine vinegar and brown sugar. However these are things that we already had on hand. All other sauces and garnishes required for the recipe will be included in their pre-portioned sizes. If something will not be included it will be explicitly noted in the ingredients list.
Unless you opt for their extra fruit or snack packages, you'll still have to head to the supermarket to grab those items. While the price of HelloFresh meals is pretty competitive with supermarket prices, you'd find better value by buying your fruit and snacks elsewhere for the most part.
What If You Want To Pause Your HelloFresh Service?
Pausing, skipping a week or cancelling is super easy and can done through their app or website. If you feel like skipping a week you'll need to make sure you do so on the Tuesday prior to the coming week's delivery. Their is no contract length with HelloFresh so their are no lock in fees to be aware of.
Is The Quality of HelloFresh Good?
According to the website, HelloFresh states that it purchases high quality ingredients, with some sources even quoting "farm-to-table" and some organic ingredients.
Every ingredient, including the meat, will last at least a week in the fridge when stored properly, with no decrease in quality. From our experience, there have been no low quality products in any of our deliveries.
The Verdict: Is HelloFresh Worth It?
HelloFresh serves two purposes; home delivered meal kits and meal planning. While you can go out and buy all of the ingredients for the meals, that takes time and preparation. If you're a busy person and/or have no idea what meals you'd like to eat for the week, HelloFresh takes that burden away with it's service to you.
With it's convenience of home delivered meal ingredient kits complete with recipes and instructions, HelloFresh is a front-runner in the industry. The price and quality of the meals is hard to beat, even if you were to source the ingredients yourself.
Price aside, not having to think about what to have for dinner is the standout benefit for us. You just grab the labelled bag out of the fridge, grab the meat (if you choose a meat option) and get cooking. We have also noticed a considerable change in wasted food items in the fridge, no more rotten baby spinach left in the bottom of the crisper.
We're happy to say that the kids enjoy 90% of the meals of the "family friendly" option, which is a big plus for us. At the time of writing we've had the HelloFresh service for close to 3 months now and we've got nothing but good things to say about it. It's a yes from us.
Blake - FIRE with a family