Should we say goodbye to Hello Fresh?

An honest review of food subscription services, should you invest in them? what are their pros and cons? Michael Duckworth explains.

Michael Duckworth
14th December 2021
Hello Fresh logo/ Image: Facebook (@Hello Fresh)
Hello Fresh, for the uninitiated among you, is a weekly subscription food service that delivers a selection of ingredients to your door with handy little recipe cards. I’ve been trying out Hello Fresh for the past couple of months and it has been an enlightening experience. Would I recommend it? Well, it’s complicated... 

When I tell people I use Hello Fresh the usual response is something along the lines of “Isn’t is really expensive?” and my reply is usually “well yes, and no”. In my subscription I get three meals a week for about £30, pretty pricey when you put it like that. But each of the meals serve two, and so I can usually save the second portion till the day after and voilà that’s 6/7 meals a week covered. Now this is only a financial gain if, like me, you can’t control yourself in a big Tesco’s. Having these meals sent to me prevents a lot of frivolous spending on usually unhealthy snack foods, it also reduces my food waste drastically as nothing is ever tossed away. Furthermore, it helps me experiment with meals I wouldn’t usually create as like most students I’m culinarily inept. It helps that most recipes are easy to follow and taste amazing, although I have had one or two duds where the final product wasn’t up to scratch. 

The choice of meals is quite good too, there are a broad selection of recipes that change week by week, and while there are a few common options that crop up fairly often, every week their will always been something new and exciting to cook. It also makes cooking a much more enjoyable task, for the most part everything is already portioned out so you just have to chop, fry or bake whatever you’ve ordered and the food will be on your plate before 30 minutes is up. 

It helps me experiment with meals I wouldn’t usually create as like most students I’m culinarily inept.

There are a few drawbacks to the service however, firstly it tends to trap you in rigid, regimented structure that it’s hard to veer from. As most ingredients will go out of date by the end of the week (or sooner) so everything you get must be used up quickly. This can be a positive thing if you spend too much eating out or getting take-aways, but it also can be restrictive to your social calender. There is also the risk that ingredients may be forgotten or the box isn’t delivered at all. There has been two occasions since I subscribed in October that ingredients were missed out, luckily I had them on hand anyway but it could’ve been very frustrating if I hadn’t. The Hello Fresh team is also happy to refund missing items so its less of a financial hit 

Overall I would recommend Hello Fresh to those who would describe themselves as less that great cooks. If you don’t live close to a supermarket and have to get groceries delivered anyway or if you’re stuck bulk cooking the same 3 recipes over and over because you haven’t learnt how to make anything else, then this is for you. If you’re already a whizz in the kitchen and you have great budgeting skills when it comes to food shopping then absolutely stick to your guns. 

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