Hello Fresh

Way back at the end of May I got an offer through Naked Wines to try a free Hello Fresh box which would also come with a free Joseph and Joseph chopping board (as long as I ordered wine, obviously). I was pretty much going to order wine anyway so I went for it.

This is what I was hoping for…

Hello Fresh operates on the principal that preparing and cooking food needs to be simplified. People don’t know what to cook, they don’t know what ingredients they need. It isn’t worth buying an entire jar of spice for the tiny pinch you’ll need for that one receipe you might not even like. So, they send you just a set of recipe cards and just the right amount of fresh ingredients to make the meals listed on them. Boxes have enough food for either two or four people to make however many meals you’ve subscribed to. They have options for vegetarian boxes and, once you’re signed up you can do meal swaps if you’re organised enough and you really don’t like particular ingredients.

That’s the premise. I don’t really have any trouble buying the ingredients I need and cooking the meals I want. Leftover ingredients just get used for the next meal and I don’t feel like I generate very much waste food. However, I can see why if you were new to cooking from scratch you might like this approach.

The serious drawback is delivery. My first box got lost. It took them most of a week to figure out that it really was lost and wasn’t going to make it to my flat. If I’d been counting on this for my evening meal I would have gone hungry. It also meant that the day I’d spent waiting at home for the delivery had been wasted. I can work from home if I organise it carefully, but I certainly couldn’t do this once a week just to wait in for food I could easily buy on my way home anyway.

The customer service people are pretty good and said they’d send out a second box. This time my partner worked from home to wait in for it and it did actually arrive. Most of the food was fresh but some was definitely suspicious. I had to throw out a very sad looking carrot. A couple of minor items were missing – my well stocked kitchen saved the day but I really don’t feel like this is aimed at people with well stocked kitchens. The free chopping board was nowhere to be seen.

I did quite like the recipes but the cards were really optimistic in cooking times. Maybe if I’d made the recipes several times over I could have got them down to 30 minutes including prep but while I’m unfamiliar with them they took much longer. They were nice though – I’ve kept the receipe cards and have made the dishes again since. The recipe cards were probably the highlight.

I contacted them to ask about the chopping board and they promised to send one out but it never came. I’ve abandoned it now – I can’t be bothered with more phone calls and emails to customer service and I doubt they have any left.

I think if they were just a little bit more careful about the freshness of their ingredients and if they could find some alternative delivery method this would be a great service for new cooks. There’s no way most people can give up an entire day’s work for food that might not arrive, though. Asside from that, it’s ordinarily pretty pricey. They claim to be cheap because their meals come in at around £5 per person but to me that’s actually really expensive.

I don’t plan to order again, not even if it’s free, it’s just too inconvienient for me. If you’re rich, only work part time and would like to learn to cook then it might be ideal.


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