If you’re a college student with even the slightest social media presence, you’ve likely seen ads for a meal service company named HelloFresh.
These ads promote a certain amount of free meals, ranging from seven to 14, and they capitalize on how convenient and delicious the subscription-based food is.
Is it worth the hype, though?
From September of 2020 to February of 2021, I was a HelloFresh subscriber, receiving anywhere from two to four meals a week. Since I’m a vegetarian, I can only speak to the meat-free meals, but the delivery and prep for HelloFresh meals are largely the same.
As a vegetarian, I often struggled to find recipes I liked. There were usually one or two good recipes a week, with around five to six vegetarian options total, but some weeks I was stuck with less than appealing choices. The options seemed to rotate on a monthly basis, so the same meals arrived about five times over the course of the five months I was a subscriber.
The meals were always promptly delivered to my doorstep on Saturday mornings. The packaging is advertised as being eco-friendly with paper meal bags and very little plastic packaging, and the food was always cold upon arrival. The boxes included a free sample of other products, whether that be granola bars or sparkling water, in addition to various deals and discounts for other services.
The recipes include everything required for the meal, minus olive oil, and were relatively easy to follow, especially once I got the hang of them. The first few times I cooked, I felt like I was in the kitchen well beyond the preparation time listed on the recipe. However, by the end of my subscription, most meals did not take that long to prepare.
The food, as promised, was always fresh, although there were missing ingredients on occasion. There were very few meals that weren’t enjoyable, and I still recreate my favorites with grocery store items on occasion. Some of my favorites include rajas quesadillas, green enchiladas, potato wedges and Italian garden veggie soup.
Is HelloFresh worth it?
Yes and no. For the trial period, I definitely recommend it. The food is good, convenient and feeds multiple mouths. After the trial period, though, I recommend dropping the service immediately. It gets grossly overpriced — around 60 dollars a week — considering the same items are available at the grocery store for a fraction of the cost. With discounts, three meals usually cost around $30 per week for three meals.