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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hello Fresh | Your Weekly Food Shop in a Box

After getting fed up of never having any food in the house, and constantly making last minute trips to the supermarket to get that night's dinner, I decided something needed to be done to fill our fridge in a more organised way that was also kind to our bank balance.

That's where Hello Fresh came in!

I'd met representatives from the company a while back at a Home Show at Islington's Business Design Centre and, as I'd already heard of the brand (through their various promotions and deals circulating the web and outside tube stations), I decided I might actually give it a go and see how it worked/whether it was right for us.

I was also on a bit of a health kick (which didn't last very long, as with most of my attempts and losing weight) so I was looking for quick and easy meals that weren't high in fats, carbs or other nasties that prevent my weight loss. Something that was convenient and didn't require me traipsing round a supermarket trying to find random speciality ingredient. We also got into the habit of making the same 5 meals over and over again, and as nice as they are, the same often gets a bit boring and with us both great food lovers, and enjoy cooking together, we wanted something that could combine all of the above.

Hello Fresh has convenient ready to make recipes on offer every week and make experimenting in the kitchen something of ease. You can choose between a 3 meal or a 5 meal box for couples or families, which contain a selection of recipes with all the ingredients you need in handy pre-measured quantities suitable for the number of diners. Supplied with a recipe card with easy to follow instructions, dinner preparation is so easy!

We went for the 3 meal box as a trial run, as we had prior dinner commitments 2 days that week so it was very handy. This also meant that for a week, we didn't have to dash to the shops or worry about what we'd eat that night. Everything was set out for us in little containers or packets ready to chuck in a pan. Each box contains enough ingredients for exactly 2, 3 or 4 people, depending on your household size and each meal takes around 30 minutes or under to make!

 Luckily, I'd recently been handed a £25 off voucher outside my work, so we got our box better than half price! Considering our weekly shop is typically £50-£70 per week (for two people) with all the added extra ingredients you have to buy for that one experimental meal you want to try and chocolate, sweets, toiletries etc.. £25 or even the full price of the 3 meals for 2 people box at £39.99 and £49.99 for the 5 meal for 2 people box, it's not a bad price, if you take into account all the organic, fresh ingredients that are on offer!

Not only were the ingredients fresh, but they were also organic, free range and hand picked by the butchers and chefs that work for them. The beef fillets we received were beautifully red and everything had a great shelf life, which enabled us to pick and choose which meal we wanted each night. It arrived in a big box which was insulated with wool to ensure the ingredients stayed cold for 12 hours, in case we weren't in when it was delivered (which we weren't!)

Hello Fresh also offer the ability to be flexible with your dinner choices, giving 3-meal box purchasers the chance to swap 2 of their meals for others on their weekly menu. This doesn't however allow for fussy eaters or those who have allergies, as each week you have 5 choices to pick from, meaning if you're allergic to ingredients in 3 of those dishes and you have a 3 meal box, you're going to end up with at least one meal you won't or can't eat! They do also offer the chance to 'pause' your subscription so if a week goes by which offers meals you don't want or like and aren't a fan of the swap options, you can simply pause it and start it up again when you like the recipes. It is quite flexible.

We chose Sicilian Capanata with Herbed Pork and Garlic Ciabatta, Patrick's Tandoori Take-Down with Brown Rice and Sizzling Steak and Chilli Corn Stir Fry with Bok Choy to cook that week. We were super excited! I love cooking and the food just looked so delicious! On the recipe cards was a photo of what it should look like, along with a picture guide as to what ingredients should be used. They also informed you of any allergy information such as being gluten or lactose free, whether they were spicy and how long they took to make.

I must say, the meals tasted incredible! The recipes were easy to follow and didn't take too much time. The ingredients tasted fresh and full of flavour and above all, the meals were healthy! Needless to say, we kept the recipe cards and have since incorporated the meals into our repertoire which we repeat quite often. Our favourite was by far the stir fry, although sadly haven't taken any photos!

My main suggestion for improvement to the service though, would be to do a similar thing to Graze and allow customers to input their dietary requirements as well as their likes and dislikes and tailor a menu specifically to them. Allowing people to say "I don't like fish" or "I'm allergic to that ingredient" would mean they were only offered meals which didn't contain that item. This would however mean that Hello Fresh would have to source items per customer, rather than sourcing for 5 meals in bulk, but would make the ultimate recipe box, tailored to the customer's needs and wants.
For £20 off your first box, use code 2WJ4V8 at https://www.hellofresh.co.uk
Have you tried these recipe boxes before? Do you like to experiment with your cooking? Tell us in the comments below!
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