As a millennial living in a big city, I’ve been getting ads for pre-prepared recipe services on social media for well over a year. It’s a crowded market with Gousto, Simply Cook, Riverford & others all vying for attention & none of them had really grabbed me, but when a rep from Hello Fresh appeared on our doorstep with a great introductory offer, we figured we might as well give it a shot.
Let’s start with a bit of context. I love cooking & am pretty experienced, my fiancé is less experienced & can be a bit nervous in the kitchen. Neither of us are particularly fussy eaters, but by the time we’re done with work we’re often tired which means falling into a rut of the same five super quick recipes, or getting takeaway.
What we were looking for from Hello Fresh were quick, relatively simple recipes, with clear instructions that my partner would feel confident following without me. We also wanted to add some new meals to our regular rotation, but without the risk of buying lots of new herbs, spices & garnishes that we’d never use again.
Below, I’m going to breakdown what I think is really great about Hello Fresh & as well as some of the potential drawbacks, before giving you my final verdict, one month in. There’s also a little discount code at the end of the post if you decide you’d like to give Hello Fresh a try.
What I love about Hello Fresh
First up, it’s undeniable – we’re eating more varied meals. Each week, you use the app to pick your recipes from a menu of around 10 dishes – the number of recipes you choose depends on your plan – & so far we’ve been really impressed by the range of options. There’s normally a mix of meat, fish & vegetarian dishes, with varying difficulties & prep time, making it really easy to choose recipes that are going to work for you. Speaking of flexibility, we’re also big fans of how adaptable the plans are – each week you can decide whether or not you want a box (great for if you’re going to be away, or out in the evenings) & how many meals you want.
We’ve also started cooking together as a couple which is lovely & not something we used to do – after all, when you’re cooking a recipe from memory or just sticking a tragic supermarket tray of chicken breasts in the oven, there’s not much teamwork involved. Now, my partner will often start the ingredient prep before I get home from work, & then we’ll hang out for 45 minutes to an hour while we cook & eat. The layout of the recipe cards – with simple steps & ingredients highlighted in bold – makes it super easy to share the work without one person having to take the lead.
& finally, I’ve rediscovered my love of cooking. The sizzle of fresh grated ginger in a hot pan, home-made potato wedges, the joy of garnish – cooking is great! I was worried that when my energy was low or after tough days at work, I wouldn’t be able to face the recipes, but because you only have to prepare the fresh ingredients & everything else comes pre-measured, it’s super easy – a couple of nights ago we made an incredible salmon & broccoli pasta, the hardest part of which was chopping broccoli florets.
What to consider before you sign-up
While the recipes are relatively simple, they’re not foolproof – we had to ditch the rice in our first meal because I forgot to check it was actually cooked when the timer went off & before draining it. I personally like having the back-up of a basic knowledge of cooking as I think it makes the recipes easier to follow & means you don’t feel totally overwhelmed when things don’t quite go to plan. How simple you find the recipes also depends on your current cooking level – if you’re currently surviving on super quick & easy meals because you don’t have the energy to cook, then Hello Fresh maybe isn’t for you & that’s totally fine! But if you feel like you could cook but are stuck in a rut of not bothering then maybe it’s worth ago.
One of the big criticisms of these recipe boxes is that they’re pricey in comparison to the cost of the core ingredients, & there’s no denying it. I could Google recipes each week, buy the ingredients from Tesco in our weekly shop, & make them at a fraction of the cost. But honestly, if you’re already doing that then you’re probably not the target market for Hello Fresh. What you’re paying for is the convenience of having someone source the recipes, provide you with a limited set of options to choose from, pre-prepare the ingredients, & deliver them to your house (along with a dose of motivation to cook, since you’ve splashed the cash so you might as well). The cost per meal, per person is between £4.00 & £5.83 depending on your plan – not cheap, but equally if you’re currently buying ready meals or eating out to avoid cooking then you’re probably spending around that anyway.
The final verdict
We’re Hello Fresh converts. I totally acknowledge that these recipe boxes aren’t for everyone, but for this naturally lazy millennial who’s totally stressed about work & planning a wedding, they’re so worth it. I’m excited about food for the first time ages, I’m loving cooking regularly, & we can’t stop talking about last week’s butternut squash & bacon risotto.
This post isn’t sponsored, but I do have a referral link which I would love you to use if you fancy giving Hello Fresh a go – remember there’s no subscription so you can cancel whenever you like. If you click here you’ll get £25 off your first box, & we’ll get £25 off our next box too, so it’s a win/win.