Recipe kits are a hot new trend in dining. While more Americans are eating meals outside the home, there are many who are returning to their kitchens interested in cooking. For those who want to cook but aren’t necessarily trained chefs or don’t have the time to read recipes, shop, and portion their own meals, recipe kit delivery services fill the void. Enter HelloFresh. The service will deliver pre-portioned ingredients and cooking instructions to your door. Kits can be selected before delivery to suit personal tastes, in addition to a preference toward boxes with or without meat. The meals can generally be prepared in thirty minutes or less, for about the same cost per meal as takeout. Previously only available in the East, HelloFresh today launches its delivery service across the 48 contiguous United States.
We had the opportunity to try Hello Fresh, and like any product there were benefits and drawbacks. The ingredients are delivered in a large styrofoam box with long-lasting ice packs to keep everything fresh. For added convenience, the ingredients are packaged individually and labeled by the name of the meal, so when it’s time to prepare the meal, all one need do is select the recipe card and take the corresponding bags out of the fridge. The meals pretty faithfully took about thirty minutes to prepare, and the instructions were easy enough to follow that one wouldn’t need much experience cooking to understand them. There are additional tips included in each box for novice cooks outlining the importance of mise en place.
There are drawbacks, of course. While the meals are chef-created under the supervision of a nutritionist, they are absolutely a convenience product. Cooks who like to pick out their own produce and make sure they’re cooking ingredients at the height of freshness and flavor are better off sticking to the grocery store. Similarly, the packaging and shipping required for six to ten meals isn’t carbon-efficient and creates a great deal of garbage, although pre-portioning the meals does reduce food waste. That aside, the time saved by not stopping at the grocery store is significant.
For food that’s been delivered, the quality is also quite good. We were particularly impressed with the quality of meats that were delivered in the box we tried, although at least one avocado came out of the box disappointingly overripe (almost liquid). However, by and large the products were of very good quality and several of the sauces and condiments that were included were supermarket name brands.
HelloFresh today also launches the limited-time introductory campaign “You’re Better Than Takeout”. For six weeks, users can submit their takeout receipts to be eligible for credit of up to $50 toward their HelloFresh delivery. “Takeout isn’t the only option for a convenient meal at home, you can still enjoy convenient and healthy, self-cooked meals alone, with a partner or with your entire family,” says Dominik Richter, Founder & CEO of HelloFresh. “We’re excited that an additional 100 million people across the country now have access to high-quality and farm-fresh ingredients from HelloFresh.”
Our experience turned out pretty convenient, and the best part was some of the recipes were easy enough to memorize and recreate so that they became fast favorites. Check out our slide show for more details.