Delivery meal kit review - Dinnerly vs HelloFresh

Joined
Mar 27, 2004
Messages
591
Location
Atlanta, GA
So I recently took the meal kit delivery service jump after seeing multiple of my neighbors with boxes at their doorsteps. I had browsed them before but never really went beyond that until recently when I found out Dinnerly could send me dinner for ~$5/plate which is their regular price. Ordered a 4 meal x 2 person box from Dinnerly and it hooked me to the concept. Since then have signed up for HelloFresh as well (pausing Dinnerly) to give it a whirl as well. Well I have done 2 boxes with both and feel like I can give an honest review of both. Dinnerly: Dinnerly touts itself as one of the most affordable dinner meal kit delivery service, after some research they definitely are. For myself (4 meals for 2 people) it worked out to ~$5/per person per meal. Did not have any packaging or delivery issues over 2 boxes. 2nd was by mistake because I forgot to cancel my membership - will get into that later. Pros: - Price - Dinnerly is ~½ the price of the other brands. Rolling in shipping it ends up being a little under $5/per person. Cons: - Basic. These meals are as basic as you can get. The most exciting you will get with seasoning is salt and pepper. Meals are 1 protein and 1 side. - Packaging. The ingredients are not separated by meal so you have to be very cognizant of what goes where. My second box I had two large potatoes, my first meal called for some roasted potatoes and I was unsure if I needed both potatoes or just one, had to review my other recipes to confirm. I don't memorize the recipes so without recipe cards it was back to the app to see which meals had potatoes. - No recipe cards. They say this is part of how they can keep prices low. It's a pain to have to haul a tablet or laptop and prop it up somewhere where it won't get splashed with food juice/grime/etc. to keep unlocking or waking up to reference a recipe. HelloFresh: Cons: Price. HelloFresh is almost 2x more than Dinnerly. Rolling in shipping it ends up being ~$10/per person. But for a restaurant quality meal at home I am on the verge of justifying this price. Pros: - Taste. HelloFresh has you cook with various herbs and spices they provide and the recipes are much more advanced than Dinnerly. Sounds more complicated but in my experience the HelloFresh meals are no more complicated than the Dinnerly meals. Despite not being a cook at all every HelloFresh meal I have made tastes like something you would get out of a mid-priced restaurant. - Packaging. Unlike Dinnerly, HelloFresh packages all your meal ingredients into a recyclable paper bag labeled with which dinner it goes with. No digging through other recipes to figure out what you need for the recipe. Overall: I don't cook and I have never liked to cook so eating out is a way of life for me. Dinnerly was an experiment for me which then transitioned to HelloFresh. After Dinnerly I was intrigued but still did not want to cook, after 2 boxes of HelloFresh I am getting into this cooking thing because it is giving me more education on cooking with herbs and spices. I have cancelled my Dinnerly and am going to continue on with HelloFresh, the recipes are just so much better and are restaurant quality. Dinnerly the recipes I would equate to a tourist trap restaurant or chain restaurant where food is not bad but not great, just something to fill your stomach.
 
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Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
41,936
Location
Great Lakes
Tried both HelloFresh and BlueApron some time back. My issue with both of them is that it's still quite a bit of work to prepare the meals, so I am basically paying $10 per person per meal for ingredients, and not all of the meals tasted good. Since I go grocery shopping once a week anyway, I can just pick up my own ingredients ( for less). Now, if you despise grocery shopping, I can somewhat understand the appeal.
 
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Joined
Nov 19, 2011
Messages
2,232
Location
Lyndhurst NJ
I love the meal kit services. Once my son was born it takes all of the planning out of food shopping. I can get the basics every week at the food store and know dinner is ok. I started with Hello Fresh but their chicken quality sharply fell off, tons of the leather breasts. I switched to Home Chef about a year ago and find its much better quality. What I like is you can customize the options, like free range chicken, grass fed beef, double portions of shrimp etc. You can also order salads, protein packs of additional meat, and desserts. I usually customize the meals, so 3 meals x2 people a week runs about 65$-70$. I have $35 off coupons if anyone would like one, message me your email.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
27,980
Location
Near the beach in Delaware
We got my wife's daughter some HelloFresh as she was going through chemo and no energy to cook. She enjoyed them. I have a wife to cook and she is a very good cook. Her daughters leaned from Mom and are even better. For lunch I micro something.
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
975
Location
Canadia
We tried HelloFresh and found the protein portion sizes a bit underwhelming, although the meals tasted good enough. My wife found a similar company in Canada called GoodFood, and they have a high-protein option, which is better suited to us, as we don't eat many meals with a grain/potato/rice component. Overall, I find the meals still take a while to cook, so the only benefit I see is on the planning side. I would rather just throw something on the grill and make a quick vegetable side.
 
Joined
Dec 30, 2006
Messages
29,465
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
I've considered doing the Hello Fresh thing. When it's just two people,it's hard to prepare meals where you don't have so much leftover that you get sick of it really fast. Plus we both live a hellaciously busy lifestyle.
 
Joined
Aug 28, 2017
Messages
3,311
Location
near Cincinnati, OH
^ That's exactly what I aim for, to prepare two meals worth at once, and freeze the leftovers. This works great as long as it is something that reheats well. Often I'll thaw the 2nd meal in the microwave (or leave out early in the day to thaw) while preheating the oven to finish heating it. Capture the steam in the microwave so it more evenly heats without rubbery edges, then drive the surface moisture off in the oven so things aren't soggy.

Having a busy lifestyle is all the more reason to do that. Can't tell you how many times I was thankful to be able to pull a prepared meal out of the freezer and be ready to eat in however long it takes to cook a side like steam some vegetables... about 10 minutes.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2008
Messages
10,924
Location
Ontario, Canada
We did a trial run of hello-fresh maybe 2 years ago. Surprisingly good and strong flavors if you pick something interesting, but lots of waste and packaging to deal with at the end.
For us it was also a simpler way to cook with the kids. If you live in a place with poorly stocked expensive grocery stores, and not much restaurant selection, its not a bad way to get some more exciting "exotic" cuisine. Our hello-fresh was coming from the Toronto area which is among the most culturally diverse cities, and restaurants, on the planet, so the menu had lots of options, but I assume they vary it for their expected customers in your area.
We have kept the menu cards and still make some of the favorites once in a while, but don't order it anymore.
 
Joined
Jul 24, 2020
Messages
200
Location
The web
My wife and I do Hello Fresh once or twice a week. There have been one or two here or there where I was like "meh, not that great" but not often, I will say most of them are excellent and the portion sizes are just right, as long as you dont want/need leftovers or arent a monsterous eater. My wife is tiny so she doesnt eat much so there is usually enough for me to get at least a small 2nd portion if I feel glutenous.

And yes some of them (not all) do require a fair bit of cooking, they generally arent something you'll take out of the box and its done in five minutes. Not hours and hours of cooking but they arent just a frozen box you toss into the microwave. On a scale of 1-10 I'd give them a solid 9.
 
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