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HelloFresh Community Review: 3 MSA Readers Put This Meal Kit To The Test

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseOct 14, 2021 | 4 comments

Recently, we posted an open call for community meal kit reviewers, and we were blown away by the response. We received a whopping 272 comments from readers eager to toss their hat in the ring! (And, yes, we read and considered every single one.) It was difficult to choose three winners, but we ultimately selected Jordan, Jill, and Olivia to help review meals from HelloFresh. Each selected three recipes of her choosing and was sent a box of meals to cook, enjoy, and review.

Curious to see what they have to say about HelloFresh? We’ll meet each of these ladies below, take a look at the meals they selected, and then hear their thoughts on the food, selection, packaging, and more.

Let’s dive in!

Meet Jordan

Jordan is a 24 year old student working towards her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling. She’d never tried meal kits before responding to our open call, and as someone on a student budget, she was curious to see if the benefits of meal kit delivery services would make the cost worth it for her. Additionally, as a beginner in the kitchen and someone who often cooks meals for one, she was curious to see if she’d be able to successfully create the meals with her limited cooking skills, and whether a 2-person plan could work for a solo diner.

Jordan’s HelloFresh Meal Picks

 

Here are the three meals that Jordan selected for her HelloFresh delivery:

  1. Shawarma-Spiced Chickpea Fritters with Dill Yogurt Sauce plus an Arugula, Almond & Apricot Salad
  2. Harissa Chicken Bowls over Tabbouleh with Feta & Greek Vinaigrette
  3. Longhorn Turkey & Black Bean Chili with Jalapeño & Smoky Red Pepper Crema

Jordan’s Thoughts on HelloFresh

After Jordan had a chance to cook through her HelloFresh box, I sent over some questions to gather her feedback about the food and find out what she thought about her first-ever meal kit experience:

MSA: Thanks so much for volunteering to review HelloFresh, Jordan! Let’s start with a little background. Is this your first meal kit experience or have you tried other ones before? 

Jordan: I do not currently subscribe to any meal kits, and so this is my first attempt at solo cooking HelloFresh.

MSA: Do you have any dietary concerns or follow a particular diet? 

J: Nope! I do not have any dietary concerns.

MSA: How long did it take you to prepare the meals in this HelloFresh delivery?

J: I would say on average it took me between 45 minutes to an hour for each meal.

MSA: What was the cooking skill required? 

J: As a non-cook that found this super easy to follow and make, I would say that the cooking skills required are minimal!

MSA: That’s great to hear! Especially since you didn’t shy away from recipes with higher difficulty ratings. Did you know the chickpea fritters are classified as “hard”? But let’s move on the the packaging. Did it keep your ingredients safe in transit?

J: I really enjoyed the fact that each meal was packaged in its own bag – made it super easy to know which ingredients went with what meal.

MSA: Now for the important stuff! What did you think of the food? Was it tasty?

J: The food was awesome!! I thoroughly enjoyed all three meals and would totally order them again. On a side note, I’m definitely going to keep the recipes so that I can recreate them soon!

MSA: Which meals were your favorite? Were there any you didn’t enjoy? 

J: The One-Pot Longhorn Turkey and Bean Chili was hands down my favorite meal. Super easy, extremely tasty, and quick! As a graduate student, I don’t have a ton of time after work and school and this was amazing. I also really liked the Shawarma-Spiced Chickpea Fritters, but I will say that they didn’t hold up as well for lunch the next day.

MSA: Cost was a concern for you going into this. Looking at the cost of the subscription and the food you received in your delivery, do you think HelloFresh is worth it? 

J: I think HelloFresh is totally worth it. Having everything prepackaged with the exact proportions is so convenient. I can definitely see myself incorporating HelloFresh into my lifestyle in at least some capacity (most likely 2 meals a week) based on my schedule and cost of HelloFresh.

MSA: What are the pros and cons of HelloFresh?

J: Pros:

  • convenience
  • tasty
  • variety of meals
  • delivery
  • enjoyable experience

Cons:

  • cost
  • lack of one-person subscription plan

MSA: To whom would you recommend HelloFresh?

J: I think anyone would like this meal kit – I can see it meeting the needs of a variety of people. There were a large variety of options for each week which is a plus!

Meet Jill

Jill is 44 years old, married, with a 10-year-old daughter. (Jill’s daughter is a very picky eater, so she did not take part in the tasting of the dishes.) She works from home as a freelance copy editor, and she lives in Laurel, MD, which is a suburb between Baltimore and Washington, DC. She’s subscribed to meal kits in the past, and she likes how they can help break her out of a dinner rut. Jill is a vegetarian, so she was eager to check out HelloFresh’s selection of vegetarian meals.

Jill’s HelloFresh Meal Picks

 

Here are the three meals that Jill selected for her HelloFresh delivery:

  1. Penne Rustica with a Kick tossed with Asparagus & topped with Crispy Panko
  2. Mexicali Black Bean Soup
  3. Sweet Potato Fajitas with Pepper Jack, Pickled Jalapeño & Lime Sour Cream

Jill’s Thoughts on HelloFresh

MSA: Hi, Jill! Can you start by telling us a little bit about your past experience with meal kits?

Jill: I currently subscribe to both Martha & Marley Spoon and Sunbasket, but skip most weeks unless the meals look really appealing. Other meal kits I’ve tried in the fairly recent past include Green Chef, Purple Carrot, and Gobble.

MSA: Do you have any dietary concerns or follow a particular diet? (Organic? Keto? Vegetarian? Paleo? GF? Etc.?) Did HelloFresh provide options that worked for you? 

J:I’m vegetarian (eat dairy and eggs), though my husband and daughter are not. I was pleasantly surprised by how many vegetarian options HelloFresh had! I think I had at least 5 options from which to choose. When I looked at them a few years ago, they didn’t have nearly as many vegetarian options, so I’m glad they’ve increased them.

In addition, my daughter is allergic to cashews and pistachios, so we avoid having them in the house. We left the almonds out of one of the dishes just to be safe (due to potential cross-contamination issues). HelloFresh was clear about labeling any allergens.

MSA: How long did it take you to prepare the meals in this HelloFresh delivery?

J: They ranged from about 25 minutes to nearly an hour for one of them. The times listed on the recipes were fairly accurate (certainly better than some other meal kits I’ve tried!) I appreciate that they break down the times into “prep” and “cook.”

MSA: What was the cooking skill required? 

J: I consider myself a fairly skilled cook—maybe intermediate level? And I felt that all three recipes were quite manageable, probably for beginner cooks as well.

MSA: How did you find the packaging? Did it keep your ingredients safe in transit?

J: The products were all cold when they arrived—the ice packs in the box were still almost completely frozen. Notes on the packaging said it was environmentally friendly, which I appreciated. One concern I have about meal boxes is the amount of packaging there can be for each meal—it seems wasteful and like more than if I’d purchased ingredients at the store in many cases.

I’ve had issues in the past with food boxes arriving warm, at unsafe temperatures (I checked with a thermometer). The times that happened, I contacted the company and got a credit or a refund.

MSA: Which meals were your favorite? Were there any you didn’t enjoy? 

J: Our favorite was the One-Pot Mexicali Black Bean Soup. It was quick and easy to cook (about 25 minutes total) and filled with flavor. The included tortilla chips added a nice crunch.

Second favorite was the Penne Rustica with a Kick. We frequently make pasta with veggies, but this was a nice twist on our usual—very flavorful with the chives, garlic butter, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest, plus the toasted panko bread crumbs on top added crunch. It tasted quite, well, fresh!

Finally, the Sweet Potato Fajitas were pretty good, but involved a fair amount of work (I think they underestimated prep at 10 minutes for sure!) It just had a lot of components to make, with roasting the sweet potatoes, pickling the jalapenos, frying the onion and pepper, making the salsa, and prepping the flavored sour cream. It also tasted fresh, but it was just a lot of work!

MSA: Looking at the cost of the subscription and the food you received in your delivery, do you think HelloFresh is worth it? 

J: I do feel like it is worth it. It’s easy to look at a recipe and think “Oh, pasta with veggies, I could make that for much cheaper!” But if you really look at the ingredients and consider what it would cost to buy them all separately, it would add up quickly. And the ingredients all seemed high-quality, with the exception of a green pepper that was a bit off (but we had one in the fridge, so just replaced it).

MSA: What do you think are the pros and cons of HelloFresh?

J: Pros:

  • Nearly all ingredients are included.
  • Recipes are clear and easy to follow.
  • It gets you out of a cooking rut.
  • Lots of recipe options
  • Saves trip to grocery store

Cons:

  • Cost (still more expensive than cooking entirely from scratch)
  • You have to get at least 3 meals a week (some meal kits let you do just 2)
  • Bags take up a lot of room in the fridge!

MSA: To whom would you recommend HelloFresh?

J: I think HelloFresh is good for couples or families who like to cook but are maybe stuck in a rut with the same recipes. Those with little time to shop – or who hate grocery shopping! – would also like it. It’s also good for those who want to learn different cooking techniques.

MSA: You’ve tried a lot of different meal kits in the past. What do you think makes HelloFresh unique?

J: It’s less expensive than many of the meal kit options out there and also has a large number of recipes to choose from. The recipes (at least what I tried!) also seem very accessible and don’t require extensive cooking skills.

Meet Olivia

Olivia is a 34 year old mom of two active little boys (7y and 23m). She’s been married for nearly 10 years, and both she and her husband work remotely full time. Between work and kids, they’re very busy and are always looking for ways to simplify their lives. Olivia and her family have subscribed to a number of different food boxes over the past 5 years, and she loves the convenience of not having to meal plan, shop, or prep ingredients. She credits meal kits for introducing her family to different recipes they might not have tried otherwise, and she likes how they can keep mealtime interesting.

Olivia’s HelloFresh Meal Picks

 

Here are the three meals that Olivia selected for her HelloFresh delivery:

  1. Firecracker Meatballs with Roasted Green Beans & Sesame Rice
  2. Harissa Chicken Bowls over Tabbouleh with Feta & Greek Vinaigrette
  3. Sesame Beef Tacos with Quick-Pickled Veggies and Chili Sour Cream

Olivia’s Thoughts on HelloFresh

MSA: Hi, Olivia! Thanks so much for volunteering to help with this review! Which meal kits have you tried before this one? 

Olivia: We are currently subscribed to HelloFresh, though don’t get a box every week. It’s been by far our favorite meal subscription box we’ve tried and we’ve tried a LOT of them. We started off with Plated (no longer available) and enjoyed their meals, but found them to be pricey. We subscribed to BlueApron for a while, but their meals weren’t very kid-friendly and they didn’t offer many choices. We’ve also tried HomeChef, which definitely had more family-friendly offerings, but I personally found their meals too bland. We’ve also tried Green Chef (which I really liked, but was a bit too pricey) and EveryPlate (very reasonably priced, but meals were repetitive).

MSA: Do you have any dietary concerns or follow a particular diet? 

O: We don’t have any dietary concerns, though we do try to incorporate vegetarian options into our weekly rotations 1-2 times a week. HelloFresh has been great at introducing us to a wide variety of vegetarian meal options. We now have a great love for “grilling cheese” though it’s hard to find in our local grocery stores.

MSA: You’ve tried HelloFresh before, but let’s talk about this box in particular. How long did it take you to prepare the meals?

O: It took between 20-30 minutes for each meal.

MSA: What was the cooking skill required? 

O: All the meals were fairly simple and the recipes were easy to follow. Most of the “work” involved cutting up the veggies/herbs.

MSA: What’s the packaging like? Did it keep your ingredients safe in transit?

O: Everything arrived fresh and undamaged. I love the way HelloFresh packs all the ingredients into bags by recipe (sans meat). It makes it super simple to put everything away and take it out when it’s time to cook.

MSA: Did you find the food tasty?

O: Definitely! Everyone enjoyed the recipes we chose.

MSA: Which meals were your favorite? Were there any you didn’t enjoy? 

O: The “Spicy Harissa Chicken Bowls” was definitely my favorite meal. The spices were very flavorful and the veggies provided a nice freshness to the dish.

While I enjoyed the “Firecracker Meatballs,” I found the meatballs a bit too soggy. I think if I try to make this again I’ll just drizzle the sauce on top of the meatballs instead of tossing them in a bowl with the sauce. This was, however, my 7 year old’s favorite meal (minus the green beans).

MSA: Looking at the cost of the subscription and the food you received in your delivery, do you think HelloFresh is worth it? 

O: Yes, I think it’s worth it. I wish the price per serving would come down more for a 4-serving plan, but I still think the price is fair.

MSA: What are the pros and cons of HelloFresh?

O: Major pro is its overall convenience. I’m someone who loves cooking, but none of the prep. Basically I’m a lazy cook. I hate meal planning, grocery shopping, gathering ingredients from the cabinet/pantry/fridge/etc, and measuring out ingredients. I also love how it introduces my family to new cuisines we would have never tried otherwise.

Con would be the price. While the value is there, especially for discovering new meals, it can be pricey for a larger family. Also, although it’s rare, I have experienced delivery issues where the box arrived later than expected. This caused a last minute scramble for dinner.

MSA: To whom would you recommend HelloFresh?

O: Couples, roommates, or smaller families. Especially those who value convenience without compromising variety or quality.

MSA: You’d had the chance to try a lot of different meal kits, but you’ve said HelloFresh is your favorite. What makes HelloFresh special?

O: The number of meal choices offered. I haven’t seen many other subscriptions (if any) that offer as many choices every week. I also love how their recipes seem to find the perfect balance between being family-friendly without being bland or unadventurous.


Thanks so much to Jordan, Jill, and Olivia, for putting on their reviewer hats and stepping forward to help us with this community review! Great job! Can we get a round of applause for our three community reviewers?

If you’d like to learn more about HelloFresh, hop on over to our brand page. There, you’ll find reviews, reader ratings, and lots more info.

COUPON: 50% off. No coupon needed - just use this link.

 


Did you enjoy this HelloFresh community review? Would you like to see more reviews from the MSA community? Head to the comments section and let us know!


 

HelloFresh is a popular meal kit delivery service and subscription that takes the guesswork out of planning and prepping home-cooked meals. Feed your family or just yourself with quality pre-portioned and fresh ingredients, and easy-to-follow recipes that you can choose week by week. No grocery stor... read more.
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.
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4 comments

Maddie in PA

I ordered Hello Fresh for my college senior son who is in his first apartment and cooking for himself for the first time. I ordered two meals/box with four servings each so that he might have leftovers for the next day.

After two boxes, he asked me to stop because he said that the meals were taking far too long to prepare and he just didn’t have the time.

Bottom line, he said the meals were okay but that the time commitment just wasn’t worth it. I chalk it up to busy senior and complete neophyte in the kitchen.

KayKay

That’s so sweet that you were trying to help him eat freshly cooked food. My son is newly on his own also and I’m trying to convince him to stop eating only egg noodles and tomato sauce or cereal.

Lauren

I’ve subbed with HelloFresh since 2016 and have received about 300 boxes with this company. I have tried other meal box subs, but always come back to this one. Their customer service is flippin’ amazing. In all the deliveries, I’ve had more than a handful get delayed or lost (sadly more lately than in the past, but I know shipping is a nightmare now) and their customer service always makes it right.

I really love the sub, but their meals from 2016-2019 were way better than 2020-current. We skip a lot more than we used to, and one of the reasons is they incorporate SO MANY vegetarian options each week. It feels like they are pushing the vegetarian/Beyond Meat thing really hard. I find it interesting that all three reviewers incorporated vegetarian options into their boxes. They are generally some of our least favorite meals in terms of flavor(except Salsa Verde enchiladas; those are amazing!) and I never feel that the vegetarian options are really worth the price of the meal. However, to each their own!

We’ve seen a lot of meal changes as they’ve gone through meal developer/head chef turn over and as long as there are meat options, we will keep this sub.

RAR

I just finished a trial and thought that the vegetarian options actually looked better so I added meat. For example, a curry is a nice option because you can add chicken or shrimp. I’d never had curry with noodles, so I think I would sub my own rice next time. I had to change the crispy chicken as well because the sour cream gave it such an odd taste. Every meal we’ve gotten is oh so close to being great, but know that you may need to make a few changes to improve the flavor.

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