What Using a Meal Kit Delivery Service is Really Like

It’s no secret to my family that I’ve never been the best cook (sorry, Dad, for all that burned food).

But living on my own in college, I’ve had to get creative and adapt.

For a lot of us, the tribulations of adulting hit us hard when we leave the comforting cocoons of our hometowns.

Suddenly we’re emerged in the uncharted waters of college.

While we’re following our dreams, we’re bogged down by the stresses of a new environment, new people, classes, extracurriculars and figuring out what exactly it is we want to do with our lives.

With everything going on, it’s easy to get trapped in the cycle of ordering takeaway or heating up a quick meal in the microwave.

But I wanted to switch it up a little, add some diversity to my diet and learn some skills in the kitchen. Enter Hello Fresh

Here are the pros and cons of my journey with the meal kit delivery service. 

Pro: Develops your cooking skills

Don’t worry if you have had little experience in the culinary sphere.

Each ready-to-assemble Hello Fresh meal includes a recipe card that outlines tools needed, cook time, calories, and detailed, step-by-step instructions (with pictures).

I can now say that I feel confident in my ability to navigate successfully my way around the kitchen.

This includes meal prep, implementing techniques for chopping vegetables and herbs and multitasking while simultaneously managing different stages of the cooking process.

I felt a sense of accomplishment for being able to pull off the meals (and snapped a few pics for documented proof of my newfound #adulting abilities, no shame). 

Pro: Unique recipes with flavorful ingredients 

Think creamy cilantro steak bowls with garlic lime rice and charred poblano, gouda pork burgers with caramelized sriracha onion and potato wedges and figgy balsamic pork with roasted green beans and rosemary potatoes.

Hello Fresh showed me colorful cooking combinations that are generally healthy, taste great and made me reminisce on home-cooked meals from my parents.

Pick from the ever-rotating recipes you want each week online a few days before Hello Fresh will ship it out.

And it’s all customizable - the Classic Plan can be changed to accommodate beef-free, pork-free, seafood-free, veggie, family-friendly and calorie smart dietary preferences. 

Pro: Convenience 

A big box with everything you need (minus the cooking utensils, olive oil and salt and pepper) shipsright to you.

This cuts down on time perusing the aisles at the grocery store and might be helpful for college students that don’t have their own car in Gainesville.

The ingredients, despite being shipped, arrive fresh and ripe.

Knowing what I was cooking every night and having it all pre-portioned and ready-to-go even added structure to my nightly routine. 

Con: Environmental Impact 

There’s no doubt that Hello Fresh does its job well to package up and deliver meals that have all the ingredients you need to craft them.

That being said, it takes a lot to keep the ingredients fresh. I’m talking about insulating liners, cooling gel packs and individually wrapped items.

Reported in The Daily Mirror, Daniel Webb, the founder of Everyday Plastic, an environmental organization, said: “This approach to packaging is outdated, careless and dangerous. Plastic pollution is an urgent environmental issue, so their model needs to urgently change to address this.” 

Con: Can be expensive 

Hello Fresh offers different plans. I used the meat and veggies plan for 2 people (individual plans aren’t offered, so maybe go half-in with a roommate or save the rest for later).

The plan I chose delivered four meals a week for eight meals total at $8.99 per serving.

You can opt for fewer meals per week, but the price per serving will go up.

Also: there is a $6.99 shipping fee. Hello Fresh offers a 15% off discount for students through Unidays.

Even so, I found it to be a little more expensive than what I’d normally spend on a grocery haul. And it only covered dinner. 

There was something about seeing the big green box waiting for me each week that sent an enthusiastic thrill through me, a curiosity to see what the next week’s culinary adventures would bring.

Hello Fresh (and its competitors) incentivize new customers with welcome offers.

So, to anyone curious about trying a meal delivery kit, I would recommend doing your research on which company works best for you and using their new customer-deal as a trial period.

While Hello Fresh wasn’t for me in the long-run, it was fun, eye-opening and gave me much-needed confidence in the kitchen, forever transforming the way I approach cooking.