December 21, 2013

{review} Hello Fresh

We were so happy to be a part of the Mosaic Reviews campaign for an awesome company - Hello Fresh.  It's a bit of a departure from our normal review - no books, apps or curriculum here.

This is all about food.

Here's the lowdown on Hello Fresh:

- Hello Fresh is a unique subscription-based service. They create menus each week (more on that in a minute) and you sign up to receive a box. There is absolutely no obligation - you can buy one box and pause the rest of your deliveries while you decide if you like it. If you don't, a simple email will cancel the service. (But please note, if you do not pause or cancel your service before the cut-off for the following week you will be charged. Hello Fresh orders fresh ingredients based on how many boxes they have to compile. They cannot refund or cancel an order after their cutoff date.)

- When you sign up for a subscription, you have the choice of either a classic box or a veggie box. With the classic box, you have to choose three of the five entrees available. Let me tell you, it's a hard choice. These meals are amazing - creative spices, fresh ingredients and lean proteins. After you've checked out and paid for your box, go back into you account page to choose your meals. It looks something like this:


Then just save your selections.  For the veggie box, there are only three entrees each week so you don't have any alternatives.

- Since all the ingredients are fresh, it takes a week to get your box. According to the Hello Fresh site, there are several suppliers and farmers that they work closely with. After orders are submitted, Hello Fresh contacts their suppliers for fresh ingredients. The suppliers send over what's needed, Hello Fresh packs the boxes and then they are shipped to the customers.

- Boxes are tightly packed and incredibly well insulated. There are two huge, thick ice packs in the bottom of each box. They are so cold that our package of shrimp was frozen! Everything stays fresh and cold, even in warm climates. You can see some of the thick insulation that covers the inside of the box here:


- In each box you will find a recipe card for each entree and clearly labeled bags with the ingredients for each meal. Everything from the meats to vegetables to spices to yogurt to honey - everything except pantry staples like salt, pepper, olive oil and sugar.




 The recipe cards are large, double sided and sturdy. They show step by step instructions on how to prepare these fantastic meals.

So how did this not even close to a gourmet, busy mom do with making fancy meals while four children hovered around her? Here are the results:

Yogurt marinated Shrimp over Arugula Salad and Basmati Rice.
  I think this one was my favorite. There was fresh ginger and garlic diced into the yogurt marinade that made the shrimp spicy and flavorful. The arugula was tossed with a simple dressing of olive oil and lime juice (from a perfectly fresh lime that was included!). It was zesty, the shrimp was perfect and the rice fluffy. 

Warm Eggplant Layered Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing over Couscous.
 This one might really be my favorite. The couscous is something I've never tried before but really enjoyed. The eggplant is oven roasted, the potatoes and onions sauteed and then it's all blended together over a cucumber and tomato salad that's tossed with fresh parsley, olive oil and lemon juice. The yogurt dressing has garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice in it. It was so, so good. Very fresh tasting, but so filling. The lemon-garlic dressing was tangy and cool. Just delicious.


Sauteed Chicken with Ginger Parsnips and Carrots.
This recipe was made from start to finish by my 12 year old daughter. She thought it was easy to prepare. The parsnips and carrots are zesty from the ginger and garlic, the chicken juicy and simply flavored with salt and pepper to let the vegetables shine. There are also toasted almonds to sprinkle over the top, adding some crunch. Again it was delicious, flavorful and creative.not my favorite but I'm not complaining about having some leftovers for lunch.

My thoughts:
- The food is delicious. Easy to prepare and easy to plate. I've never tried to 'plate' food before but these entrees made it fun. And after your box is gone? You still have the recipe cards so those great meals can be made again!

- The customer service is excellent. Within 24 hours of sending my cancellation email, I had two replies confirming the request. It was easy and took no time at all.

- The portion size is very generous. Each of the meals we received were supposed to be for two adults. When we prepared them, each fed me and Lael - my 12 year old daughter, as well as generous samples for two of my other daughters.

- Allergy concerns. While the folks at Hello Fresh are careful, there are various types of nuts in their menus. These nuts are packaged in the same area as the rest of the food. Also, things like chicken stock cubes are not labeled with ingredients making it impossible for my food allergy girl to sample any of the dishes. I think this is an easy fix for Hello Fresh and really hope that they will consider adding ingredient labels for items such as I mentioned. They could also have a separate area of their kitchen devoted solely to packaging nuts. While this will not work for everyone, I would have felt comfortable letting Alyssa sample some of the food if I knew that the nuts were completely separate from the rest of the food.

- The price. For us, this is not going to be a weekly indulgence. The classic box with three meals can be purchased for two people at $69 or for four people at $129. The veggie box is $59 for two people or $109 for four people. These prices include delivery. Since we are a family of six people and we live on one income, this is not a regular option for us. However, I love the idea of ordering a box once and awhile to use as date nights at home. There is no way you can go out to a nice dinner, pay a babysitter and travel to a restaurant for less than $23. Hello Fresh gives you three gourmet meals, delivered to your home, at $23 for each meal. (You could even go in with two other couples and split the cost of one box, so each couple got a meal for $23!) This would also make a great gift for newlyweds, couples with no children, single friends, empty nesters, a family that has just moved or families where both parents work. I understand that for those of us that are blessed enough to be stay at home moms, this may not be the most frugal option. But there are lots of creative ways these boxes can be used.

I am so glad that I was introduced to this great company. To make it even better, Hello Fresh has a referral program! Using this code - GVKPB9 - you will get $20 off your first box. This code can also be used for one of the Hello Fresh e-gift certificates. Can you say perfect last minute gift?! $49 for three meals is unbeatable! (Disclosure: Each time this code is redeemed, I also get a $20 credit towards my next Hello Fresh box.)

If you're interested in seeing the upcoming entrees at Hello Fresh, head over to their site and look around. They have lots of great information about their process and suppliers. I will definitely be making the recipes that we tried again and am looking forward to trying another box in the future. If you want to read about more recipes - there were four different boxes among our review team - head to Mosaic Reviews!




2 comments:

  1. I'd like to do this for my in-laws as a late Christmas present (we aren't doing Christmas together till later this winter). But, when I went to order, it never asked me which meals I wanted..??? What am I doing wrong?

    Carina

    ReplyDelete
  2. After you check out completely, you go back into the My Account tab to choose your meals. It will be under My Subscriptions, I believe. If I can be of any further help, let me know!

    ReplyDelete