Meal Subscription services such have been around for ages, advertising an easy and effort free way to have pre portioned ingredients delivered right to your door. But is it worth it?
I tested out two different meal delivery services, Hello Fresh and Green Chef to work out not only if they were worth the money, but which was the better choice.
I have been using Hello Fresh on and off for a few years now but had initial forgotten about it when I came to uni. That was until I received an email offering me a months worth of discounts in return for reactivating my account. After semester one and the January exams, I had run out of motivation to come up with recipes and the extra ingredients pilling up in my freezer that I kept forgetting about due to supermarkets not supplying single serve portions was becoming an issue. I thought why not, and agreed to reactivate my plan. I chose to have 3 meals delivered each week, all serving 2 people (unfortunately there is still no single serve choice but there’s a big difference in having 1 extra chicken breast left over in comparison to three). This also meant I had dinner for six out of 7 days of the week (or slightly less if I wanted to use the leftovers for lunch). The process was very easy where I could select what type of meals I was most interested in: Mostly Meat, Veggie, Family, Quick cook, Calorie Smart or Pescatarian and every week they would give me a variety of recipes delivered right to my doorstep.
Original sign up discounts give you 50% of your first box and 35% of your next three boxes but as a returning customer I received 40% of my first two boxes and 20% of my following two. This meant my first two boxes were only £16.19 – and for 6 fully satisfying meals per box this was definitely worth it.
The recipes I chose to go for were the creamy rigatoni, chipotle spiced chicken and cheesy crusted sea bass (which you can see me make over on TikTok @officialuom). These were all delicious and the portion sizes were largeWithout the discounts, shipping is £4.99 and meals are only £4.50 per serving with the price going down if you increase the number of people the box is for, or the number of recipes you want per week.
Each box comes with pre portioned servings of all the ingredients you will need to make the recipe, along with a recipe card for you to keep meaning even after you’ve cancelled your subscription, you can still make these delicious recipes. The recipe cards are also provided online in case you damage your physical copy.
Overall I would say HelloFresh is real good value for money, particularly if you have issues with food wastage or find it hard to come up with recipes each day. In my opinion the most efficient way to use it is to use all your boxes with the discount, and then deactivate your account for a while. They’ll be sure to send you more discounts in return for reactivating your account, and you can use the time in between to practise coming up with some meal plans of your own or trying out other recipes available on their website that you may not have chosen for your weekly plan but were interested in.
Green Chef was a meal delivery service I came across through an instagram advert. They were offering the chance to win 5 free boxes if you entered your information into a form, so I thought why not.
Within 5 minutes of filling in the form, someone from the company was calling me, not to tell me I had won, but telling me how to sign up for their website and giving me 35% discount. Now I’m not going to lie, on that phone call I did feel immense pressure to sign up against my will… but at the same time I saw it as an opportunity to try something new.
Green Chef is like Hello Fresh but for health aficionados. Their meals consist of Vegan, Vegetarian, Low Carb, Flexitarian and Keto options, definitely not your everyday uni student’s diet. The process was the same as Hello Fresh where these meals are delivered to your doorstep with all items proportioned for ease and less food wastage.
Logging on to the website I was met with much healthier options than the majority of Hello Fresh’s recipes (most of which consist of potatoes as the side dish). A lot of the meals on Green Chef also looked like the premium options on Hello Fresh which you had to pay extra money for, but they were just included with the regular Green Chef package. However, you could say this was offset by their higher price of £5.95 per portion but shipping was cheaper at £3.99 meaning there is only a 45p difference between Hello Fresh and Green Chef overall. I opted for pesto chicken thighs (which you can also check out the recipe for on @officaluom TikTok), steak au poivre and melt in the middle naked cheeseburgers. The quality of ingredients looked much better in the Green Chef although overall taste was roughly the same.
So would I recommend meal delivery services? And which do I think is better?
Well I would definitely recommend meal delivery services, they help keep your diet varied and help combat food waste. You get a range of recipes to try and with all the discounts and offers, I found it cheaper than if I were to do a weekly food shop. However, I did find it boring after getting 3 weeks of back to back delivery services and wanted to choose my own meals for a while. This is perfectly okay, with the subscription services allowing you to skip the delivery for a week as many times as you would like. This is also useful when you don’t like any of the recipes they are offering for the week which sometimes happens.
For me, Hello Fresh takes top spot when it comes to meal subscription services. Their constant deals and offers, along with a wide range of recipes means they are very compatible with student life. They also give members the opportunity to offer free boxes to friends so they can also try out the service which I think is really good. Green Chef is also good, but I think it’s a bit too healthy for me as I found it hard to find 3 options I knew I would definitely eat. However, if you are vegan I would definitely say go for Green Chef over hello fresh as Hello Fresh isn’t the best for catering to vegans.