Stuck in a recipe rut, I was desperate to expand my repertoire of quick and easy dishes to whip up at home. In the hope of reviving my zest for cooking, I decided to give meal-kit company HelloFresh a try.
It’s very straightforward: first, you choose your plan, adding the number of people (two, three or four), and the amount of dishes you’d like (from three to five per week). The next step is choosing your meals — there are options from around the world as well as more familiar favourites.
There are also plenty of veggie options. And if you have dietary requirements, they offer alternative choices for those who don’t eat beef, pork or seafood, although they can’t cater for specific allergies. If you need to lose some pounds, there are calorie-counted and low-carb recipes, too.
I chose three meals: two curries and one meat-and-two-veg option. Once you’ve made your selection, they send you all the ingredients you need. You then prepare, chop and cook everything yourself.
If you’re not confident in the kitchen, don’t worry, their meals are fairly foolproof. They hold your hand every step of the way — right down to teaching you how to tell when your meat is cooked, for example — and I had a satisfying feeling of accomplishment at the end. More importantly, the quality of the food is top-notch, and it tasted lush.
Their food aside, another part of the HelloFresh service I really love is their commitment to sustainability. Their produce is seasonal and regional, cutting out thousands of air miles that most of our store-bought veggies are racking up. They also include just the right amount of each ingredient, so there is zero food waste, which is a huge contributor to CO2 in the atmosphere.
They boast innovative packaging solutions using recycled and recyclable materials, and have stopped using black plastics altogether (which are notoriously more difficult to recycle).
However, I was disappointed to receive individually plastic-wrapped herbs and veggies, as well as plastic sachets of spices. I’d love to see those switched to a stock cube-style solution (I’m sure Greta would agree with me!). Still, thanks to their efforts to offset their carbon footprint, they are the world’s first carbon-neutral meal-kit company.
As you might expect, HelloFresh is a little pricier than going to the supermarket, but all the thinking and leg work is done for you, and it saves you traipsing to the shops and browsing the shelves. Each meal starts from £3.25 per person, plus delivery costs, and when you compare that to a takeaway, for nutrition and price, there’s no competition.
Their meals are delicious, healthy, easy enough for anyone to make — and there are plenty of positive reviews from happy customers. Although it’s perhaps not an option for every day, I plan to kick my takeaway habit and use them instead – I’m sure my body and my bank balance will thank me.