Named “Best Recipes” on our list of the best meal kits in Canada, HelloFresh provides an excellent variety of recipes across more than 30 different cuisines to choose from each week. It is great for busy families – especially those with simpler palates as many of the meals have common, recognizable ingredients and aren’t too spicy. Perfect if you have kids and just want to be done with prep and sit down to eat.
Named Best Recipes on our list of the best meal kits in Canada, HelloFresh provides an excellent variety of recipes across more than 30 different cuisines to choose from each week. It is great for busy families – especially those with simpler palates as many of the meals have common, recognizable ingredients and aren’t too spicy. Perfect if you have kids and just want to be done with prep and sit down to eat.
- Minimal cleanup: few dishes dirtied during prep, very little food waste to put in the green bin
- App makes it easy: pick recipes whenever you think of it and follow recipes step-by-step with built-in timers
- Easy to cancel: Skip a box with a click or cancel entirely with a few clicks
- Easy to make
- Tasty and filling
- Included water-only ice packs
- Almost everything is recyclable
- Delivery options were limited in my area
- Box barely held up to the condensation of the ice packs melting
- Everything is individually packaged
What is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that delivers fresh, right-sized produce, ingredients and recipe instructions in a cooled, insulated box to your door on a weekly basis so you can make tasty home-cooked meals without having to meal plan or grocery shop.
You select the meals you want the week before from a list of options and they come individually packaged and ready to prepare. Delivering meals in 13 countries, they are the world’s leading meal kit service.
Where is HelloFresh available?
HelloFresh is available in every province and can deliver to 95% of the population of Canada.
HelloFresh plans and pricing
HelloFresh is slightly more expensive than its main competitors – all of which are in the $10 to $12 per serving range. While this is to pricey for some and definitely more expensive than planning your own meals, especially considering you still have to cook the food yourself, for others its a great way to avoid meal planning, grocery shopping, cutting down on takeout and delivery and having to worry what’s for dinner?
Delivery is free during the initial discounted period, but is $9.99 after that – $19.98 in Newfoundland.
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They do not have specialized diet plans such as Keto, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Halal, Kosher.
As you can see below, HelloFresh offers 22 meals to choose from every week, approximately 5 of which are vegetarian so there is some wiggle room available even if you’re subscribed to 3 or 4 meals per week. Each meal has 500 to 800 calories and is decently balanced between grains, proteins and vegetables. The only add-on they offer is garlic bread.
You can make your picks for up to the next 5 weeks and add an additional meal (or more) to your next delivery at any time. You can choose to skip a week, change your delivery day or your box size any time on their website up until 11:59pm EST on the Wednesday before your next delivery.
They deliver from Sunday to Thursday depending on your area. In my area, they’re only available Tuesday to Thursday from 8 AM to 8 PM. If you’re not home, they will drop the box at your door (or as per your delivery instructions) which keeps your food fresh until you get home.
While this works well enough for me as I’m available in the middle of the day to bring the box in, the very wide time window may not be convenient for people who are away from home all day every weekday. And it may not be realistic during the summer months to leave your food sitting outdoors for hours.
Meal prep times range from 20 to 40 minutes. However, its important to note that this does not include oven preheat time, so if you have an electric oven, you’ll have to remember to start preheating early if you want to meet the expected time.
The recipes we tried required 2 sheet pans or a sheet pan and frying pan. We found that there were few dirty dishes produced thanks to the simplicity of preparation.
The recipes are straightforward and all you need are to provide from your own pantry things like salt, pepper, your favorite type of oil, sugar, milk and butter.
They also have an app that lets you update your selections and preferences and follow recipes on your phone in case you lose the recipe card provided. It also logs your past recipes so you can refer to them if you ever want to make them again yourself!
HelloFresh comes in a cardboard box with a removable insulating liner – both of which are recyclable. Though if you’re in an area with strict rules or limits on corrugated cardboard like I am, it can pile up surprising quickly.
Our package came with 2 types of ice packs – 2 x 100% water ice packs and 2 of the traditional freezer packs. The freezer packs are a combination of water and sodium polyacrylate (a non-hazardous super-absorbent polymer (SAP) that has the ability to absorb 100 to 1000 times its mass in water) which allows them to be cooler than ice when frozen and stay frozen longer.
Once thawed, they suggest pouring the solution into the garbage and then recycling the plastic casing. They include more ice packs during the summer months to make up for the heat.
Each meal is packed separately in its own brown paper bag and the ingredients inside are each individually packaged with plastic baggies, bottles and containers.
While this is a lot of packaging, every ingredient is only as much as you need so there is very little food waste to go in the green bin.
In addition, studies have found that meal kits have a lower over overall environmental impact than grocery store meals thanks to a reduction in trips to the grocery store and there being less waste because the meals are pre-portioned.
They send you an email the morning of the delivery day with a link to track the status from Picked up by carrier, to In transit and finally the time it was delivered. You’ll receive an additional email and text message immediately after delivery.
Our first box was delivered at 12:01 PM and I was able to bring it inside in under 5 minutes, but unfortunately the ice packs had already melted considerably – to the point where the condensation (and possibly a minor leak) had completely soaked one side of the box. However, it was 23°C outside, but the box was not in direct sunlight so I can’t help but wonder how long the box had been out of refrigeration/out for delivery before it reached our house.
Thankfully, they put a divider between the ice packs on top and the bags of food beneath so water did not affect the food.
Unfortunately, things weren’t as smooth for our second box. I received an email and text at 9 AM the morning of stating that my box was IN TRANSIT. Then another text at 9:30 AM stating:
“We’re working to ensure your HelloFresh box is delivered on time. If you don’t receive your box by 8 PM tonight, rest assured it will be delivered tomorrow.”
Which was fine – delays happen. But at 7 PM an email came in to notify us that our box could not be delivered as planned. No reason was given, but they refunded the box and add an additional box worth of credit to my account. I
I personally feel that they should be able give earlier warning and a clearer reason for the non-delivery, but a full refund and free additional box makes up for it in my opinion. That said, this should make it clear that meal kit services are a convenience, not a service you should rely on to provide your food.
Every meal was very easy to put together, each with unique flavors and ingredients, felt healthy and filled us both up. All of the ingredients were fresh and in good shape except the cucumbers which were a bit battered, but still fresh. There was enough for two average dinner portions – no more, no less.
Two of the recipes required 2 oven pans.
So, how did our week of HelloFresh go? I won’t hold anything back – here are the full results including my prep times, taste, fullness and expectation vs reality in the looks department (I did my best with the plating and photos, but I’m not a professional).
Fresh Mozzarella Margherita Pizza
- Prep time: 30 min.
- My prep time: ~25 min.
- Calories: 790 kcal
- Nutrition: 41 g fat (8 g saturated), 89 g carbohydrate, 15 g sugar, 6 g fibre, 7 g protein, 35 mg cholesterol, 1510 mg sodium
Toast naan in the oven, fry the corn, assemble the pizza and heat it in the oven. We left it to broil a bit too long because the mozzarella didn’t appear fully melted which caused it to be a very toasted around the edges. While not pictured, the salad came with cucumber instead of orange pepper as shown on the website.
Important note: The recipe card clearly states: due to order volume, an equivalent ingredient substitution may be received for this recipe. Which would explain the subtle difference.
Fattoush Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
- Prep time: 30 min.
- My prep time: ~35 min.
- Calories: 690 kcal
- Nutrition: 41 g fat (9 g saturated), 63 g carbohydrate, 7 g sugar, 6 g fibre, 19 g protein, 20 mg cholesterol, 1030 mg sodium
This recipe was also easy to make. Chop veggies, roast pita and chickpeas in the oven with spices, toss with dressing and eat. It was tasty and filling and was basically a shawarma bowl. It was a tiny bit on the dry side and would have been even better if we had some hummus to dollop on top. It was more than enough to happily fill us both.
Garlicky Mixed Mushroom Farro Bowl
- Prep time: 30 min.
- My prep time: ~30 min.
- Calories: 710 kcal
- Nutrition: 36 g fat (8 g saturated), 82 g carbohydrate, 23 g sugar, 8 g fibre, 21 g protein, 20 mg cholesterol, 690 mg sodium
While it had good individual tastes (who doesn’t love goat cheese, candied walnuts and balsamic) and the mushrooms didn’t overpower, I wouldn’t say it was a cohesive dish. We thought it seemed more like a nice restaurant appetizer than a dinner meal. That said it was very easy to put together – roast mushrooms in the oven, boil farro, fry walnuts in brown sugar, toss and eat.
You can cancel anytime on their website – no need to call or live chat. However, you’ll have to click the cancel button 3 times and give them a reason for cancelling before the request goes through.
Food, price and quality are excellent. Never had any issue with delivery and the box the food came with.
First box was free and since I had already tried a couple of HF meals with a friend, I decided to give it a try. Loved the meals in the first box, ingredients were all in the box and the quality of the food was good. I missed the deadline for ordering meals for my second box, so the selections were made by HF and I paid full price. The selections were not based on my preferences and so included foods I wasn’t particularly fond of, however my biggest issue with these meals was that the veggies were awful and there was a missing ingredient which was key to the taste for one of the meals. All of the meals were used before the freshness dates, so that wasn’t the issue. The potatoes were shriveled, the beans were brown and spoiled, and the shriveled lemon was not much bigger than an egg. I had a hard time finding a way to give feedback, couldn’t do it through the app and their rating email linked to a blank page. Finally reached them via chat and the solution was to provide a $15 credit. Very disappointed overall and not sure if I’ll use the credit.
Deliver problems and poor customer service
I received a free coupon for my first box so decided to give them a try. I picked out my meals and waited with anticipation to try it out. Delivery day came and went, no box. Called early next morning and waited close to an hour. The rep appologized gave me a small credit and said the box would come that day. He also said they would check the problem and someone would get back to me. Next day came and went, still no box. Called again and waited on hold again. The rep gave me a coupon for another free box, told me someone would look into the problem and get back to me. Next day, late afternoon, my box is dropped on the top step of the porch. Opened it and checked that the ice pack was still frozen and the meat cold. Seemed fine so we used it. The food was good.
When clearing out the boxes I checked the instructions to determine how to dispose of the ice pack. All info I could find said it was just water and to dump it down the drain. I cut the bag open and dumped it in my sink. Well it was not just water. It was the stuff in diapers. This clogged up my drain pipes and we had to cut the pipes and suck out the stuff with a shop-vac and reseal the pipes. This could have been very expensive if we had to call a plumber. Fortunately, my husband can do these things himself. Called customer service again. The rep said “it should be water. Oh, you must have got the summer packets that are filled with non-toxic gel.” There was nothing on the bag to say what was in it. It just said non-toxic. The rep told me someone from management would contact me and gave me a $45 credit. Do not try an flush the ice pack contents down your drain!!!!!
The second box was supposed to arrive on Thursday. Again, no box. Called customer service again! Rep said sorry we will check into it and get back to you. The box arrived one day late. I checked the contents and one of the packages of sauce had leaked and soaked the bottom of the bag. All my veggies were swimming in the sauce. Called customer service again. By now I am ready to quit this service. They gave a my $15 discount this time. At least they have done that. As soon as these discounts are done I am out.
I did find the meals easy to prepare but take longer than the recipe states, sometimes twice as long. The food was mostly good, except the ground beef had a lot of hard bits in it. My last box came on time but one of the veggies was snapped in half. Still usable but was dry where it was broken and had to cut those parts off. I find there is still a lot of packaging that goes in the trash. Mostly the plastic bags that items are packed in but that may be true for other companies as well.
I never got any return calls from management about why the boxes were late or for the drain issue. I will be trying a different company.
Convenient but doesn’t stretch far
I’ve tried a few food boxes at this point. I agree that Hello Fresh is simple and convenient in the moment, which I appreciate at the end of a long work day. However I’ve found that compared to other companies the food volume is less. It’s not enough to provide leftovers for lunch the next day, so I end up with more meal planning overall. At the end of the day I’d recommend trying a few companies to find the right fit for you. For me, that wasn’t Hello Fresh.
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