Is Hello Fresh a Busy Momma’s Mate?
Prior to writing of my Hello Fresh unboxed know that I am in no way affiliated with the company. I paid for the service just like any red-blooded American to offer you my utmost unbiased sentiments.
Like most red-blooded American mommas, I thrive on healthy and easy morsels delivered to my fam’s mouths. Alas, I loathe saddle-bagging my babe ’round the grocery store where I’m apt to run into anyone and everyone I’ve ever met in my whole entire life. This inevitably leads to me getting out my imaginary lawn chair, and talking to each and every person. And then my babe’s crying/screaming/eating parts of bananas we have yet to pay for. I end up overspending on those ill-fated bananas and anything else he’s thrown in the cart. I just loathe it, and avoid grocer time until my husband is near to eating his family for lack of sufficient nutrients. (#firstworldproblems)
Hello Fresh to every momma’s rescue, right? I heard about the (very flexible) subscription from a fellow momma’s blog, Mary Lauren. She voiced the ease of cooking meals that arrived weekly to her door for her adorable wee fam. When first browsing the app, I thought it sounded grand–too grand. We are crazy budgeters, and I couldn’t fathom spending 99 dollhairs for five meals that fed just two mouths. The coupon was an excellent marketing strategy; that $99 price became $69 for five meals, or $6.90 per person per meal. I decided to try it for a spell. After cooking through a few dishes of my first week, I concocted a formula to weigh the pros and cons before moving forward:
|Cost of Gas/Shipping/Carbon Footprint||Gas: $5.00 to Grocer
*Round trip, with mpg for our vehicle + $1.70 fuel price.
*our local grocer does not provide produce or organic options & brands we prefer. On the rare occasion they do, it’s at a steep price; thus, I traverse to the nearest town that does.
|Shipping: Site reads that delivery is “on [them].” Albeit “free,” Carbon Footprint research is valid, here.||Hello Fresh wins.
(Global Warming suggests I garden more this summer.)
|Cost of Meal per Individual||A crock pot meal breakdown:
Cheese Tortellini – 4.00
Newmans Org. Tomato & Basil – 2.50
Canned Diced Org. Tomato – 1.79
1 Onion – free fr. garden
Seasoning – roughly 0.05 some fr. garden
Italian Sausage, Local Butcher – 4.19
Per Individal Meal: $2.51*Caveat: leftovers, so this is about five meals to Hello Fresh’s two meals (give or take hub’s servings).
|Not including one-time discount; based on Classic Omnivore 5 meals for 2 people box:
Per Individual Meal: 9.90
|Based on this example alone, the Grocer wins by $7.39 per meal.|
|Overall Time||Usual Grocery Trip (including travel time + putting items away) – 3 hrs.
Cooking Time – 30 min. – 1hr. per meal
Total: 4 hrs.
|Putting items away – 5 min.
Cooking Time – 45-30 min.
Total: 45 min.
Since the meals consist of two portions, I still have to make other meals for Husband to take to work (he is not a sandwich guy).And thus, add 4 hrs.
|Based on my personal experience, Hello Fresh actually takes longer to prepare separate meals for dinner/Husband’s lunch. Grocer for the win.|
|EASE||Leftover’s for hubby’s work meals.
Have to cart my terrible-two tot round and have awkward chats w/ every single shopper we meet.
|No leftover’s for hubby’s work meals.
No carting babe, no missed naps, and no awkward talk.
*Caveat: interesting recipes I may not have tried on my own. Points for creativity.Also, the meals are portioned out, which saves prep time, but not dishes as you still cut and cook accordingly.
|Based on my personal experience “shopping” + meal preparing w/ my brood, Hello Fresh wins.|
|Quality of Ingredients||Currently, my travel time & carbon footprint suffer based on my choice to feed my family organic choices that are available the next town over at a significantly lower price.||Hello Fresh indicates that the meals are “farm fresh” but I’ve yet to see an actual organic label. The beef for this week is at a 90% to 10% for fat content, which is what I normally look for at the grocer. Admittedly, the meals have tasted amazing thus far.||Since I am unsure what “farm fresh” truly means, I will have to go with my Grocer-getting ways for the win.|
Based on my personal results, Grocer gettin’ is the win-win-chix-din.
Alas, when Hello Fresh is unboxed, the price outweighs the array of meals offered as well as my efforts to bring my boys the healthiest entrees I can. However I’m glad for the reminder of what a serving actually looks like! We shall have to cut Hello Fresh, for corners are cut, cut, cut on all things in my shoe-box house. A grocer-hunting we will go. For now, I will be using the nifty “pause” feature on the app–wishful thinking that our pockets will have an extra lining to afford it someday! Without this feature, I probably would have never tried the app. Just can’t be tied down like that, you know? (Do a hair flip, girl. You know you want to.)
As mentioned above, another key factor in my decision regards shipping items to my home, which can be damaging to our environment in quantities such as this, especially on a weekly basis. My mode of transportation also negatively impacts my carbon footprint, but I am not equating my miles with FedEx miles. Just like I’m not suggesting that Hello Fresh would not be ideal for you and yours. It just might be your marriage counselor. Serious. If meal prep is disastrous to your health, i.e. the grocer gives you loads of anxiety feels, this may be for you! Along this vein, if all adults travel outside the home to work/school/life, I can see the scrumptious and thoughtful menu that Hello Fresh provides could well outweigh the cost factor.
Regardless if you choose to nibble on Hello Fresh, my hope is to give you this simple, informative table to provide you an alternative when planning your dinner table. They are still running a $20 off your first order online, so be sure to check out with that, and to tell them I sent you. Again, this isn’t a plug–just want you to save that cheddar (Oh, the foodie puns today!).
Have you tried other meal subscription services? I’d love to know what other options are out there (and if they donate to nonprofits as discussed below)!
UPDATE: Tonight I made Jamie Oliver’s Recipe, Curry. While it was nicely textured with the correct amount of thickness for my liking, the green chile was not included in the box. Luckily, I had canned tomatoes with green chiles on hand. I added this and found the dish to be spicier than it may have been with just one chile. Still, it was quite tasty and this issue would not cause me from purchasing boxes in the future.
Also, I did some digging into the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, a registered charity. And GOOD NEWS! The site states that “With every HelloFresh box you buy, we’ll donate to Jamie’s Food Foundation.” I love the impact Jamie Oliver’s having on the way we view nutrition and how best to help others through these measures. Plus, his recipes are just brilliant, jam-packed with goodness.