Meal delivery kits continue to be really popular these days – Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Gobble, Home Chef and more! Out of curiosity and my not so much interest in cooking, I decided to give “Hello Fresh” a try.
The whole concept of subscription-based mail-order meal kits is to make your life easier by not having to plan what, when and how to cook.
On navigating to the Hello Fresh website, I was presented with the benefits of joining the plan, what I can expect in each box, and thumbnails of Instagram images, a very standard landing page for any website, but neatly laid out.
Figuring out how to “get started” wasn’t a big problem. On clicking the button, I was directed to their meal plans page where I was to select which one I wanted to go with.
Pretty clear step, and being a vegetarian (no meat of any kind), I decided to go with their Veggie Plan. It does have a limitation of only allowing 3 recipes per week, so I technically have to think about what to cook for the rest of the 4 days (not a biggie for now).
On selecting a plan, I was then presented with an option of signing up using my Facebook or email. Now, here’s where I had a bit of trouble since there wasn’t an official sign up page, without any explanation as to what can I expect next (screenshot below)!
I decided to give email a shot, and that’s when they asked me for my password! Definitely not a common behavior you would expect!
Having done all of that, once I was in my account, entered my payment details, few basic settings as far as when I would like to receive my kit (the days from Mon-Sun), etc. Overall I would have to say it took me a good 15-20 minutes to get set up.
COMPANION MOBILE APP
The process of getting started in their mobile app was a little different, of course. The app allows you to explore recipes even without signing up. You can select from one of their 3 plans and on selecting one, they ask you to either sign up or log in using Facebook or email.
The only thing that felt different was the password field not hidden in the app for some reason. It was clearly visible in comparison to the web experience.
Anywho, since I had already created an account, I logged into my account and was presented with a dashboard. I wouldn’t call it “refreshing” but it had access to the things that as a customer I might like to see.
What was more interesting to me was the “My Menu” section (right image above). It lets me know the plan I am on, the day of delivery and the status (on its way, scheduled, or completed).
Since the veggie plan consists of only 3 meals, I didn’t have other meal options to select or unselect. What I could do was skip a meal that is in the future. Tapping on each meal card will take you to recipe details screen that allows seeing the ingredients, calorie, time to prep, cook, etc. Pretty standard stuff that you’d see in other recipe apps as well.
THE DAY THE KIT ARRIVES
After a week-long wait, the day of the kit delivery arrives and I see that it has landed on my doorstep. The excitement has no bounds and I quickly get the box inside the house and begin to unbox it.
Woah…the box is definitely heavy but well packaged. The 3 meals are in their own individual brown recyclable bags, with 3-4 dry ice packs to keep them cool even if left outside (if you are not home during delivery), recipe cards and a few marketing materials (up-sell).
Out of excitement, I decided to cook one meal that same evening, with the same level of excitement shown by my older one as well. Every recipe takes 30 minutes in total to cook, which is the best part (been getting meals for 2 weeks now).
THE FUN BEGINS
The individual meal brown bags all contain respective ingredients and condiments, and whatever that’s needed to get the meal ready to be relished. Some things that they don’t send you are, of course, the pots, pans, salt, pepper, and common household condiments.
Before preparing, I like to set up one side of my island with the meal ingredients and follow the steps as listed out in the recipe card. I have to say, the cooking process was the easiest and took minimal time. The recipes don’t require tons of hard work to prepare and the end result is just delicious!
The recipe card is 100 times better to follow along than the app for recipe directions!
With some baking and cooking on the stove, we were all set to eat in 30 minutes with an amazing and delicious meal. Oh, and did I mention that one of the meals is a healthy meal (less than 300 calories) every week for us to relish as well!
Overall, the experience so far has been awesome. It was a little over the expensive side for 3 meals a week (they even charge for shipping), but it gives me something to anticipate every week. With Hello Fresh, I’ve started to enjoy cooking, and even look forward to it!