Updated: Mar 17, 2021
A look at Hello Fresh - One of my new year new experiences
Cooking dinner and shopping for one carries its own challenges. There is the wonderful flexibility of being able to do whatever you want, when you want, and live on cheese if you so desire. The reality is that it’s not all wine and roses if you want to try and be relatively healthy, prepare regular meals, balance a budget, and find the motivation each night to cook for an audience of one.
On the supermarket front, we live in a country where we are lucky to be able to get an amazing variety of fresh ingredients whenever we what; however, if you’re like me and want to be a little more responsible about what you’re buying, the quality, and the waste, then shopping for one can pose its own issues. Foremost is the amount of waste. For instance, it’s more economical to buy a whole pumpkin, container of milk, carton of eggs, etc. rather than smaller quantities. Unfortunately, come the end of the week this can mean half a pumpkin, half a litre of milk, and eight eggs can end up in the bin. I detest this kind of food waste.
The alternative to buying ‘whole’ products is to shop smaller but this often means increased cost and packaging ie six small 200ml cartons of milk, pre-cut vegetables etc.
And so, with the turning over of another calendar year, I thought I would try out one of the meal delivery options. Whilst some prepared meals such as YouFoodz etc can be simple and convenient, I find that these are primarily suited to microwave reheating and work best with curries and pastas, but not so much for steak, chicken, roasts, pastry, and the like. I also like having freshly cooked meals from raw ingredients, so this lead me to providers like Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon. I decided on Hello Fresh as the recipes appealed to me.
So, Hello Fresh, my experience…
What is it?
Both Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon offer a weekly delivery of fresh ingredients with step-by-step recipe guides for preparing your own meal from scratch. Each recipe is delivered with the correct amount of ingredients. If the recipe calls for one egg, you get one egg.
Boxes come in a variety of options depending on your need; classic, veggie, and family. The names are fairly self-explanatory. The classic box is a little bit of everything; meat and vegetarian meals. The veggie box suited to vegetarians, and the family box is suited to families.
You can then choose how many people you want to feed ie two or four adults (or for the family box, 2 adults and 2-3 kids), and how many meals you want in the box (three, four, or five).
Meals work out to be approximately $8.75 - $9.50/each
A Classic box with three meals for two people works out to be approximately $65
As indicated above, by having pre-proportioned ingredients there is no unnecessary excess by having to purchase more than is required.
Hello Fresh directly source their ingredients reducing waste in the supply chain by 20-40%
Hello Fresh take environmental responsibility seriously.
Meals are delivered in a cardboard box (not polystyrene), ingredients are placed loose in a paper bag paper bag (per recipe) with minimal individual packaging.
Where there may be a need for packaging ie loose lettuce mix, bags are made from ‘PLA’, a product derived from corn and is completely biodegradable.
The same goes for the insulated bag that refrigerated items are delivered in. These are made of PLA and packed with a cooling gel pack that can be emptied into general waste or, better yet, kept in the freezer and reused!
Delivery is weekly and in allocated time slots. You have flexibility as to what time and day you prefer.
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a text on my day of delivery (Saturday) to say that my box had been dispatched and was due for delivery at 12:39:00. I was impressed by the apparent accuracy!
I had nominated that it was OK to leave my box on the front porch, and found it there waiting at 1:00pm (I got distracted around 12:39pm and forgot to check if the courier met the estimated time.
In the box
In my case I ordered three recipes, so in the box were:
Three recipe cards
Three paper bags of loose ingredients (one for each recipe) - colour coded to match with the relevant recipe card.
An insulated bag of refrigerated items ie meat and dairy
Each recipe card includes a photo of the end product; an attractive looking finished meal, step-by-step instructions on preparation, ingredients (and measurements), nutritional information, any relevant allergy notes, and timing (for both prep and cooking times).
What's not in the box
There are some things that Hello Fresh recommend you have in your kitchen. These can be included in recipes but not in the ingredients delivered such as salt, pepper, oil, etc
The cooking bit
The recipes are simple and easy to follow with some good tips on how or why you’re doing something.
There is an estimated time for prep which I found to be pretty close to the mark. I didn’t rush.
Ditto for the cooking time. This was pretty much spot on but I can imagine could vary depending on individual ovens etc.
I found there was very little waste. Mostly off cuts of vegetables, onion skins etc, and a few plastic (biodegradable) bags.