HelloFresh is a German start-up company that launched in 2012 and now delivers fresh ingredients recipe boxes across seven countries. Recipe boxes are a rapidly growing business. The premise is simple.
Order a box on-line. It is packed with recipes and all the ingredients, including the little things like spices and condiments in the correct measurements to cook delicious dinners. Shipped for free, HelloFresh delivers to front doors across the UK, US, Germany, Austria, Australia and the Netherlands.
We trialed HelloFresh’s three day classic box with three evening meals for two. And loved it.
Price: £39 – £64
Classic Box: 3 meals for 2 people £39 (veggie option £36), 5 meals for 2 people £49, 3 meals for 3 people £49, 3 meals for 4 £59 (veggie option £57), Family Box – 4 meals per week for 4 – 5 people £64, Trial Box (3 meals for 2 people) £42.
Included in the box: All ingredients, except olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar and butter are included. Set recipe for each meal. Includes delivery.
Manufacturer: Hello Fresh
“Only a short while ago, Patrick and a merry band of HelloFreshers set out to change the way the nation eats. It was a pretty big dream, but they believed that everyone should have access to the best ingredients and the knowledge to cook them. Not just the experts and the enthusiasts.
And so they spent a whole afternoon packing shopping bags (yep, that’s them!) in Patrick’s living room and delivering them by hand to their first 10 customers…their families and friends! … HelloFresh now serves over 4m meals every month across 7 countries and 3 continents!” Read more on the HelloFresh official site here.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
The HelloFresh recipe box is accessible to some people with diverse abilities. It doesn’t require a high level of skill, it doesn’t ask for any complex organizational skills and information is presented in a clear and legible format printed and in a mobile app. It is a great option for families, couples, singles (no single boxes, but the ingredients for 3 meals for 2 will last for 5-7 days) and house mates alike and the recipes are easy enough that the average teenager or adult could prepare them successfully.
It’s design accommodates a limited range of individual preferences and circumstances. The mealplan is set except for the classic 3-day box that has a choice to select 3 recipes from 5, but a lack of choice sometimes leads to an increase in versatility. The foods included are varied, healthy options we may not normally cook. We easily fall into a dinner routine and repeat the same recipes with the same ingredients. The HelloFresh set-meal box pushes us out of our comfort zone and challenges us to embrace adventure and try something new.
Dietary restrictions are taken into account, but not catered for. There is no gluten-free boxes, but some meals are gluten free and ingredients are individually wrapped and sealed, it is possible to substitute your own gluten-free version of gluten-containing ingredients. The same goes for other food intolerances, like lactose and casein sensitivity, as well as personal preferences. We preferred using fresh oregano growing in our garden rather than dried oregano and added tomatoes to our salad. The ingredients are set, but it is easy to replace like for like.
It is easy to order, receive and use. The website is clear, the box is well-packed, a good size and dimension for carrying, opening and unpacking. The recipes require only one person to cook, but a standard kitchen and standard skills and the ability to cook a meal is required. It is cooking meals from whole, fresh ingredients from scratch – no chopped vegetables or microwaveable rice packets. Some of the recipes require a higher level of concentration than others and as with all recipes, timing is vital to turn out a well-cooked meal.
The recipe box is ideal for anyone looking for convenience when cooking healthy, nutritional, delicious meals that have access to a fully fitted kitchen and basic ability and skill to cook from scratch with a set of instructions. The recipes are not accessible to those with a learning disability or are on the autistic spectrum disorder as multiple steps are often summarized as one step and many recipes require more than one action to be carried out at the same time on a strict time allocation.
The HelloFresh Classic box allows for some flexibility and versatility, but does not go out of its way to be used by the widest range of people in the widest range of circumstances.
The HelloFresh Classic Box and its ingredients have a standard design that transforms shopping for and cooking a meal into an efficient and comfortable process requiring minimal exertion. How the ingredients are put to use depends largely on how ergonomically equipped your kitchen is.
Cooking as a family we found the easier and shorter recipes very convenient and within half an hour had a hot, healthy, freshly cooked meal on the table. Others, like a 45 minute pork recipe, left us a little tired towards the end and it was an hour of active cooking and preparation before we were able to sit down and eat. I would recommend to those who struggle with fatigue, chronic pain or other health issues that make cooking a more intensive process to select the easier recipes when possible.
Environment & People
In use: Recipe boxes reduces food waste because it only provides the exact quantity of ingredients required. This is not an organic food box, however the ingredients are seasonal, fairly locally (nationwide) sourced from ethical suppliers – read more about them on the HelloFresh site here. Some ingredients are tinned, which uses plastic containing minimal amounts of BPA for the lining.
The making of: The ingredients are seasonal, fairly locally (nationwide) sourced from ethical suppliers – read more about them on the HelloFresh site here. It is packaged in recyclable material and shipped in the same country.
Post-use: The packaging inside the HelloFresh box was less than supermarkets use, but there is a significant amount of packaging materials involved. All packaging used can be recycled, see here for more details. The ice-packs are water and plastic and can be reused or emptied and recycled. The woolpack liner can be put on the compost heap or returned to HelloFresh for resuse (they have over 5,800 drop off points in the UK). The cardboard box is made of biodegradeable and recyclable material and FSC certified.
Meals delivered in a box is less environmentally friendly than growing your own or shopping at the local farm shop just down the road, but for those of us who still buy mass-produced produce with dubious origins, fresh ingredients flown half-way around the world to arrive on our table and use plastic wrapped food we take home in single use plastic bags, the sustainably sourced and recyclable packaging from HelloFresh is a big step up towards being greener.
Is a HelloFresh box cost-effective? Definitely, but it is not a budget choice. It falls within market price – there are a few companies who are producing recipe boxes for delivery in a similar price range.
It is not much more expensive than supermarket produce when buying the equivalent quantity and quality, however for those living on a tight budget who purchase value ingredients, it is a significant amount more. We did a general cost-comparison to our locally sourced fresh farm produce at farm shops in Wiltshire and here the cost was virtually the same.
It is not just a ingredient box, it is a recipe box that does add some extra value to the product. It does all the planning for you – down to having measured out the exact quantity of each ingredient. No more mealplans, shopping lists, shopping trips or on-line orders. It took less than 5 minutes to order on-line. It couldn’t be more convenient.
For those tempted by a take-out after a long day at work, it is a very cost-effective and much healthier alternative. It is about the same cost as a luxury brand supermarket ready meal with a side-salad. Need to feed friends or family? A very cost effective choice compared to taking them out for a meal.
They have been advertising in a number of places including Amazon deliveries and many of these adverts include vouchers. They also run a refer a friend scheme where you and they both get a discount on your next box.
Size: Variable, depending on contents
Our box contained recipes and ingredients for:
Chorizo Beef Burger with Red Onion Marmalade
Pan-fried chicken with creamy leek and spicy lentils
Paprika Pork with Crushed New Potatoes and Butter Bean Stew
A kitchen with oven, grill and hob. Kitchen utensils – knife and chopping board.
I love fresh fruit and vegetable boxes, but I have never tried a recipe box until now. It is awesome. The ease and convenience only begins with having both recipe and ingredients at hand when it is time to start cooking dinner. There is often a lot of time and effort involved in sourcing cost-effective, quality, seasonal, ethical ingredients. No more. The team at HelloFresh does all the hard work for you.
The biggest HelloFresh selling point for me is their recipes and the quality of the ingredients. The recipes we have tried have been exquisite. We have eaten foods that I always mean to cook and never get around to – lentils, broadbeans, chorizo and smoked paprika.
Evening meals quickly turned into a positive family experiences with many “What’s that? What do we do with that? What can I do?” questions from both my husband and 4-year old. Everyone ate their vegetables, even the regular stuff like sweetcorn that used to be instantly rejected, I think because everyone participated in the process.
Highly recommended to anyone looking for ultimate convenience, chronically short on time with access to a kitchen, the ability and interest to cook from scratch and the willingness to try something different.
The review is based on the Classic Box: 3 meals per week for 2 people delivered on 24 August 2015. First published on 2 September 2015.