HelloFresh Review: A Detailed Look

By Lydia Noyes
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Feb 26, 2020

If you’re looking for a less stressful way to cook at home, then you’ve likely looked into a meal kit subscription.

HelloFresh is one of the most popular subscription meal services. The company claims to help you put a home-cooked meal on the table in thirty minutes or less—no shopping or meal planning required. Each week, HelloFresh offers more than 20 entrée recipes as well as extras like lunches, side dishes, desserts, and extra proteins.

These recipes are sorted into different levels, designed to give you a sense of how much effort it will take to make them.

  • Level 1: Simple and familiar recipes, most require 1–2 pots.
  • Level 2: Slightly more multi-tasking and concentration, may require experimenting with unusual ingredients or cooking techniques.
  • Level 3: Multitasking required, includes adventurous ingredients and cooking techniques.

Should you sign up for a HelloFresh subscription? This review lays out the facts so you can make the right decision for your family.

Pros
  • 20+ meal options per week
  • Variety of extras, including lunches, desserts, side dishes, etc.
  • Meals sorted by difficulty level
Cons
  • Some complaints about ingredient quality
  • Meals might get monotonous over time
  • Serving sizes may be small

How Does HelloFresh Work?

As with most of its competitors, HelloFresh lets you sign up for weekly meals on a subscription basis. You can choose your top choices from the weekly offerings, or allow the company to choose for you.

Each weekly HelloFresh delivery will include premeasured amounts of all the ingredients necessary for your requested meals. All you’ll need to supply is salt, pepper, sugar, oil, or butter, depending on the recipe.

The meals will arrive in an insulated box packed with ice packs and will include recipe cards. You can expect each recipe to take about 20–45 minutes from starting to when you eat.

Meal Options

HelloFresh offers 20+ changing meal options every week. On average, you can expect about five of these meals to be vegetarian, three to be considered “calorie smart” (about 650 calories per serving), and two or three labeled as quick, meaning they require less than thirty minutes of prep time.

Below is a sample of meals from weekly menu options and their difficulty levels. In cases of add-on items or where the meals cost most more than the standard price, we’ve included the additional charges in parenthesis.

Entrees:

  • (Gourmet Plus, +$7.99/serving) Duck a l’Orange with Duck Fat Mashed Potatoes and Arugula Almond Salad: Level 2
  • (Gourmet, +$5.99/serving) Butter-Basted Chicken Breasts with Candied Bacon Brussels Sprouts and Mashed Sweet Potato: Level 1
  • (Calorie Smart) Apricot Ginger Chicken with Roasted Green Beans and Jasmine Rice: Level 1
  • Juicy Lucy Burgers with Tomato Onion Jam and Potato Wedges: Level 1
  • Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas with Mexican Cheese and Hot Sauce Crema: Level 1

Quick Lunches:

  • Prosciutto-Caprese Sandwiches with Pesto Mayo ($6.99/serving)
  • Butternut Squash Agnolotti ($2.99/serving)

Sides and Complements:

  • Garlic Bread ($3.99)
  • Annie’s Organic Flakey Biscuits ($4.99)

Desserts and Treats:

  • Annie’s Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ($5.49/dozen)
  • Chocolate Fudgy Brownies ($4.99/dozen)

Proteins:

  • Two Chicken Breasts ($4.99/12oz)
  • Shrimp ($6.99/10oz)
  • Bacon ($2.49/4oz)

Note that while HelloFresh advertises three levels of meal difficulty, most are classified as Level 1. In fact, we looked through the menus for several upcoming weeks and couldn’t find any Level 3 meals.

Does HelloFresh Support Dietary Restrictions?

HelloFresh offers a diverse roster of 20+ meals per week, and the selection is curated to provide options for those with allergies or dietary restrictions.

For instance, at least four meals a week will be vegetarian. Each recipe will also indicate whether it contains wheat, milk, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, or shellfish. The company also segregates its stored ingredients to limit the risk of cross-contamination.

The majority of HelloFresh ingredients aren’t certified organic, though the company claims to work with sustainable business partners to source high-quality, seasonal produce as much as possible.

While HelloFresh doesn’t specify whether recipes are low-carb, keto-friendly, or fit other kinds of diet plans, you can find nutrition information for each recipe on the cards that come in each order, or by searching the recipe on HelloFresh’s website.

Pricing and Plans

HelloFresh’s cost per meal depends on how many people you feed and the number of meals you commit to per week.

Recipes Per Week 2 Servings Per Meal 4 Servings Per Meal
2 $10.99/serving ($50.95) $8.99/serving ($78.91)
3 $8.99/serving ($60.93) $7.49/serving ($96.87)
4 $8.99/serving ($78.91) $7.49/serving ($126.83)

The pricing for each plan includes a $6.99 weekly shipping cost.

Beyond these base plans, your cost per week may vary depending on whether you add gourmet meals or other add-ons to your order:

  • Gourmet/Gourmet Plus Meals: an extra $5.99–$7.99 per serving
  • Quick Lunches: $2.99–$6.99 per serving
  • Sides and Complements: $2.49–$4.99 each (may include up to four servings)
  • Desserts and Treats: $3.99-$5.49 per serving
  • Proteins: $2.49–$6.99 per 4-12oz

HelloFresh is currently available across the continental United States. When you first sign up, you will choose your first preferred delivery date. All future deliveries will arrive on that same day of the week unless you request otherwise from your account.

You can pause your account, skip a delivery week, or cancel your subscription up to five days before the next delivery is due. Each action can be performed through your “Account Settings” page.

HelloFresh vs. Home Chef and Blue Apron

HelloFresh is one of many meal kit subscription options. Two other companies will similar services include Home Chef and Blue Apron.

HelloFresh Home Chef Blue Apron
Cost Per Serving $7.49- $10.99 $7.49-$12.95 $7.49-$9.99
Shipping Cost $6.99 $10, free for orders over $49 $7.99, free for orders over $50
Weekly Meal Options 20+ 15+ 11+
Add-Ons Quick lunches, sides and complements, desserts and treats, proteins Lunches, salads, snacks, extra protein, premade meals, etc Wine subscription
Available in Stores? Yes Yes No

As this chart shows, all three services offer meals at a price point between $7.50–$10 per serving, and you can plan on the cost going down the more servings you commit to per week.

With more than 20 weekly options, HelloFresh offers the best variety of meal options per week, with Home Chef not far behind. Both also offer options for expanding your order beyond dinner with options like lunches, side dishes, desserts, and extra protein servings.

Blue Apron doesn’t offer these extras, though it’s possible to sign up for a companion wine subscription. For this program, you will receive six wine bottles per month for $65.99, and they include a wine pairing key to help you match each drink to a recipe. Note that these bottles are 500ml, meaning they are approximately 2/3 the size of standard wine bottles.

Both Home Chef and Blue Apron might be best for larger families because they incentive larger orders by cutting out the shipping fees once you order at least three meals or four servings per meal. Home Chef also offers several premade meals that can be heated in the oven for extra convenience.

Key Takeaways: To decide which meal plan is best for you, consider how many meals you want and whether you still plan to grocery shop as well.

Blue Apron and Home Chef both award bigger orders, though HelloFresh includes the broadest meal selection and the most add-on options. This makes either of them a better choice if you want to spend less time shopping for extras each week.

Likewise, HelloFresh’s difficulty rating system and clear guidelines about how long each recipe should take make it easy to predict what your time commitment will need to be to make them. This rating system might help novice cooks gain some confidence and may make it easier for those strapped for time to plan ahead.

Many people find Blue Apron’s wine subscription a key selling point, as it allows them to mimic more of a restaurant experience at home by making each meal feel like more of an event. If you’re considering signing up for a meal kit to cut down on how often you eat out, this might be a deciding factor.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

Here at HighYa, HelloFresh averages 2.7 stars after more than 130 reviews. The sentiment is slightly different on ConsumerAffairs, where the company averages four stars after 4,300 reviews. Here’s a recap of what readers are saying:

Common Compliments:

  • Great Meals, Clear Recipes: Customers found the food delicious, uncomplicated, and a great way to experiment with new ingredients and cooking techniques.

  • Big Time Saver: HelloFresh saved users time and money because they didn’t have to grocery shop as often and were going out to eat less.

Common Complaints:

  • Poor Quality Food: Some wrote that the serving sizes were too small and that much of the produce was overripe or underripe.

  • Delivery Problems: Many users had the wrong meals arrive, received boxes with missing key ingredients, or continued receiving shipments after they paused or canceled their account.

  • Not Possible to View Meals Without First Signing Up: One common complaint was that HelloFresh didn’t let them view that week’s recipes until they had signed up with a credit card.

Key Takeaways:

Overall, HelloFresh seems to deliver on its commitment to making dinner less stressful. You might run into occasional quality concerns or customer service problems, but if you already know that you like the idea of a meal kit delivery service, then HelloFresh is likely to be one you enjoy.

The Bottom Line

HelloFresh makes sense for anyone looking into a meal kit subscription service. The company offers more meal options per week than its competitors and allows you to add plenty of extras to your order.

We also think that the company has an easy-to-navigate website and makes it simple to pause or cancel your order at any time.

Keep in mind that HelloFresh struggles with the same downsides as many other meal kit companies. Your produce might not always arrive fresh, there might be missing ingredients in your order, and your box may arrive late or unthawed.

If you think it’s worth skipping the meal planning process despite these potential problems, then HelloFresh makes a lot of sense.

Learn more about choosing the best meal kit subscription service here.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of HelloFresh:
  • 136 Customer Reviews
  • 41% Recommend This Company
2.7 out of 5
5 star: 29% 4 star: 11% 3 star: 4% 2 star: 4% 1 star: 50%

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  • Still charge you after you cancel your subscription

    • By J.R.,
    • Feb 13, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We began HelloFresh with a coupon as a gift to try out. It was fine, not a great value even with the coupon, but not terrible. We decided not to continue the service after the first meal, since we couldn't justify spending $23 a meal that we had to cook ourselves, so we canceled the order. The next month another box arrived and we were charged again and a few days later another box of food arrived. We contacted costumer service and they told us they would refund the our account. We were then charged again for the following week and refunded for one of the weeks. Upon contacting costumer service again (which don't bother calling, they don't answer after an hour and then hang up, the callback service does the same), I was told we were refunded for the food that never shipped nor arrived. So I was refunded for nothing.

    Their online cancellation that they claim is easy requires clicking cancel about 9 different times, they change the wording and move the cancel box around each time. They are clearly designed around their leaching business model more than they are about providing a quality product. Avoid this product at all cost. They are not worth the hassle.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Horrible food and service.

    • By Vanessa,
    • Ohio,
    • Nov 5, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    It's not even worth 1 star! I signed up for a FREE box. Wasn't suppose to be charged anything, at all -- I called to verify. We got our first (free) box and it was HORRIBLE. The veggies were wilted and rotting, the recipe was gross, and wouldn't feed three people let alone a fourth person.

    Then, later I look at my bank account to realize they DID charge my account and I called them right away. They told me there was nothing they could do because the box was in route and it was after the time to stop it. They told me if I was to refuse the shipment they would then send me my money back. My husband called, spoke with the manager and they told him they would give him $15 back via our bank account and that was it. Which, still to this day, 5 days later, have yet to see a penny back.

    The box came by UPS, and we sent it back like we were told to do. I called them the following day to inform them I didn't receive the box and wanted my refund like I was told, and they told me they wouldn't give a refund what so ever. I fought with them, went to 2 different managers and they gave me a credit on my HelloFresh account. Which, I informed them SEVERAL times I will not and won't order a thing from them again. They refused any sort of refund other than the credit. Then one manager said she would take the credit back since I didn't want it and deactivate my account.

    All I want is MY money back in MY account! I am not asking for anything extra, or anything, just my money that I work my butt off for.

    They are thieves. They can take your money, even after you do as you're told they won't return the money they took out of your account, without permission.

    They said they are providing fresh food, which they are NOT. They are not there to help you or to make the customer happy. Be careful wasting your money on them. Your better off going to one of the other companies.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Duped & Very Disappointed

    Overall Experience:

    I received a coupon for HelloFresh and thought that I would give it a try. We prepared the meals according to the provided recipes and the food was okay. I tried this for 2 weeks and found that it just wasn't working out with my families schedules. I went on their website to postpone and just decided to cancel altogether.

    Today, I received a box again after canceling. I discovered this when going through my bank statement and saw a new charge for $129. I immediately went online and cancelled again. I also sent 3 emails via their website to cancel. They never replied. I called and talked to a service rep and manager. Neither was willing to refund the charge stating that they only saw the 2nd cancellation which of course, allowed them to ship and charge me again. How frustrating and convenient.

    When I asked if I could talk to someone that could help me, the manager said they'll tell me the same thing. I asked him to please have the manager call me anyway. We'll see if that happens. I asked for someone in their Corporate Headquarters and Joe the manager said they have no direct lines. Roadblocks at every turn.

    I seriously believe they know what they're doing. Way to force your product and take money from the customer. Extremely disappointed. Any good business would have simply apologized and refunded the money regardless. The public should have this information before proceeding with a company who will tell you that you're wrong, you didn't cancel and won't refund your money. By the way, Joe did say that my account is cancelled now (after the delivery and charge), his manager will call me (we'll see) and have a good day. Wonderful! We'll see if I get another order and charge. Stay tuned...

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • They're Tricky

    • By Angela,
    • Seattle, WA,
    • Jul 11, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I ordered a "free" box last week to try out the service. The copy was misleading and indicated I would not be charged for an additional box without opting in. I saw that I was charged for the following week -- a week I was not even in town to cook the food.

    I was considering ordering the box again in the future but the whole experience now feels very predatory. How would I know if I want another box by Wednesday if I just got my first one on Monday? I had not even cooked any of the meals yet. This company should truly consider a real opt-in process after offering the free box week. If people want the box, they will opt in and you will have longer-term customers. No one likes to feel forced/tricked into a $70 weekly box. There are many other services out there offering similar meals so your highest priority should be respecting your customer and providing a transparent experience that makes them want to do business with you. Just my two cents.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Horrible!

    • By Lucas,
    • CO,
    • Jul 20, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I was a subscriber to HelloFresh for 3 months. From April to July 2016. Let me first start by saying the food was good. The recipes were easy to follow. Now the bad. (And there is so much bad.) My first box was scheduled to arrive on a Monday via UPS between 8 and 8. It did not come. I called and they refused to refund. I was offered a credit which I didn't want. However after much debating I ordered the following week to utilize the credit for a free box. That week the box came a week late.

    This became the "norm" from HelloFresh. When I called (and I called a lot) not one customer service agent apologized and empathized or really seemed to care. My credit card was charged for boxes I never ordered. Out of all my deliveries I only received two boxes on time. Several were late and several came days late leaking and unusable. At one point I was hung up on by a rude supervisor at HelloFresh. I was contacted by a manager at one point, but was at work when he called so I asked if I could call him back. He said that was not acceptable and that he would call me back, but never did. Finally when my last box came late, the customer service agent told me "well maybe you should pay UPS for early delivery". I said NO! I shouldn't have to; her reply was "shall I cancel your service then". Which I did.

    I would like to point out that each time the boxes came late I also called UPS. Every time they said the same thing that they did not receive the package from HelloFresh until Saturday and that it was scheduled for two day delivery, and with no delivery Sundays, that makes it Tuesday at best. Had HelloFresh done what they should have and gotten the order to UPS Friday, the box would have come on time.

    It is sad that all my complaining fell on deaf ears.

    As I mentioned, the food was good but as good as that may be, it does not overpower the horrendous, rude, pathetic customer service. I also saw on the BBB countless complaints of similar stories. Customer service and satisfaction should be of utmost priority always and HelloFresh lost a customer because of it.

    I am now with Home Chef. The meals were shockingly amazing and customer service was wonderful the one and only one time I had to call.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Poor customer service resolution

    • By David,
    • Tucson, AZ,
    • Jun 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We started HelloFresh from a friend's coupon, and we really enjoyed the meals. I even had most of my office sign up on my recommendation.

    We started to pause shipments, yet they were still delivered. When we would discover the box on the patio, the food was spoiled. I found out the same had happened to my partner's shipments. HelloFresh told us they had no record and they would not reimburse or send out a new shipment. We then canceled the company, and then shipments started again a few months later. When we called, we got the same response: "we have NO record of you canceling."

    I would NEVER use this company and will make sure people understand what it is!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Extremely disappointed

    • By Joann Doyle,
    • Providence, RI,
    • Jul 31, 2016
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I have canceled after only 3 weeks. Food not cold enough upon arrival and it comes in a cardboard box, not a cooler container like Omaha steals. The veggies soft, almost spoiled, herbs dark and slimy and meats and poultry lacking afresh scent. And they have the nerve to call themselves Hello Fresh. Hello NOT fresh is more likely.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • They charge and send food even though you don't order it

    • By Gina Spiller,
    • California,
    • Mar 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    They offer a discount to try the service, but this is just a way to get your credit card info.

    I responded after the delivery that I did not care for the service and did not want to re-order.

    Three weeks later, my card is charged, and a box of food shows up. When I call they said, "oh, you just suspended the service for three weeks." I told them that I never did, and they said that I did.

    The box of food is going in the trash.

    Don't fall for this; you will be charged for food you did not order.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • First and last time

    Overall Experience:

    I started HelloFresh for the first time this past week, but never again.

    The box came and left out the main ingredients, such as the meat (chicken), etc. I opened the first box and there wasn't meat in it. All of the boxes had everything but the actual meat. This doesn't even deserve a star because I wasted money on this company and never got my money back.

    I would NEVER recommend HelloFresh to anyone.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Good, as long as it was delivered to our house

    • By Jocelyn,
    • Arnold, MD,
    • Feb 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We had a good beginning with Hello Fresh. However, when the delivery service changed, things started going downhill. Sometimes ingredients would be missing, and we'd have to go to the grocery store to buy them. Another time, they delivered the package to our downstairs' neighbors. By the time we got it, there were tons of ants crawling all over the rotten food.

    I called to let them know that it had been delivered to the wrong address, but they insisted that it had been delivered in front of a "red door." I told them I didn't have a red door. When this happened more than once, we decided to cancel our service. It wasn't worth the hassle.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


  • Unethical marketing

    • By Thomas,
    • Greenwich, CT,
    • Apr 11, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I decided to try my first box of HelloFresh after receiving a discount code in the mail. I canceled two days after ordering the first box and specifically chose my last delivery date to be the same date as my first delivery date, as I just wanted to TRY the service first before committing to more meals.

    However, after two weeks, they charged my credit card again (on a 2-week old deactivated account) for the full price and delivered a second box to me. When I called customer service, they said it was my mistake and that I was the one who specified I wanted a delivery of the second time. I don't know what to say to these questionable business practices. Highly unethical.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend


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