Written by Jasmine Gurung.
(The following article reflects the writer’s own personal experiences and opinions.)
Overall rating: 4/5
It’s a well-known fact that students can be lazy when it comes to meal preparation and culinary skills. We are all guilty of this. Enter meal box companies like Gousto and Hello Fresh. They deliver recipe boxes to customers, many of which are students or people that aren’t able to go to supermarkets, and include recipe cards and fresh ingredients to make your own meals at home with their help.
I originally heard of Hello Fresh on a rainy day in Leicester. One of their employees was doing rounds of a university student accommodation area and I was the lucky person that opened their front door to them. Immediately, I was sold on their pitch – mainly because they offered a discount for my first four boxes. It was the knock on my door that started a whole year of using Hello Fresh’s quick and easy food service.
Hello Fresh allows customers to adjust which meals they receive, how many people are eating and how many recipes per week you want. Unfortunately, you can only feed two to four people and have three to five recipes a week. I chose three recipes for two people since that would tick off at least six of my dinners a week. Yes, I was too lazy to take myself to the closest Morrisons. This would have set me back £30 per box but thankfully, my discount made the first four boxes £20. The shipping cost £3, so my meals worked out to £2.80 per serving with the discount and £4.50 per serving without the discount.
With all the money talk aside, let’s get into the food options and service. They include a varied range of dishes, from Korean rice bowls to Indonesian laksa and all the way to Middle Eastern koftas. There’s even steaks, burgers and good old fish and chips for all the people wanting to keep their food close to home. This opened me to a world of amazing dishes from different corners of the globe and whilst I wasn’t a fan of all them (sorry Indonesia), I’m happy I tried.
Their outstanding service was evident when they had forgotten to put garlic in one of my boxes. Luckily, I stole some off my unsuspecting housemate and emailed Hello Fresh about it. They immediately offered a discount on my next box, which just goes to show they went above and beyond for their customers. They also allow customers to skip weeks, so if you’re away you don’t need to worry. All of the ingredients were fresh, and they were kept fresh due to the huge ice bags kindly placed in the boxes. Just remember to get home in time for your delivery slot.
The feature of Hello Fresh that instantly stood out to me was their options of ‘Rapid meals’ since I was clearly incapable of making any dish that took more than 20 minutes to create. Among my favourite rapid meals, the halloumi tacos and bacon and mushroom linguine were quick and effortlessly delicious. All of the nutritional information such as protein, calories, fat and sugar content are written on the recipe cards, which you can keep. Personally, this was a great additional feature since it allowed me to easily log in all of this data into MyFitnessPal. There are also vegetarian options for all the veggies out there, but the vegans might have to swap out dairy products for their own non-dairy ingredients.
It’s easy to forget why I cancelled my subscription to Hello Fresh when I recount all the impressive qualities. However, my biggest issues arose when it was time to pick my meals for the week and when I opened the dreaded HSBC app. Whilst it was accommodating that I had a big selection to choose from, I would always forget to log on and pick my dishes. This meant I’d be stuck eating six dinners I didn’t really ask for, but I couldn’t let good food go to waste. Along with my forgetfulness, I quickly realised my student loan was depleting because of the Hello Fresh boxes. £30 a week on six meals sounds like a good idea. In practice? Not so much. It didn’t even include breakfast, so I was paying far too much for what I believe I received.
After evaluating all of the pros and cons, I would definitely recommend Hello Fresh to students, but only for short term. For all the struggling undergrads, steer clear because this will definitely put a dent in your pocket and take away from your nights out. If you’re also guilty of wasting food, Hello Fresh sends only what you need so prepare to become environmentally conscious. Fortunately, they put all of their recipes on their website, so if you don’t know what kind of stir fry to make, log on and have a browse.