Is Hello Fresh a viable option for a single adult and small human?

23 July 2022

Six months ago I was getting very tired and uninspired with my mealtime situation, being knackered after work feeling the effects of the cost of living increasing, and not being motivated to cook an exciting meal for one (my kid's diet is beige) left me in a food rut. I was eating the same meal every evening just for the sake of having something to eat, it was boring and bland and I was so deep into the tortellini and cheese rigmarole that I'd forgotten what other food I liked or how to cook and searching for never-ending lists of ingredients on Asda online was overwhelming and draining...and then I spotted someone's Hello Fresh free box offer on social media and wondered...could this be a good idea for me?



I initially signed up to take advantage of the recipes on offer, and get some inspiration rather than make it a long-term commitment. I absolutely wouldn't have considered signing up if I didn't have a code and I wouldn't have thought that Hello Fresh could be a sustainable option for one little adult and half a human, especially during a seemingly never-ending cost of living crisis but I'm six months into this Hello Fresh gig and don't see any red flags large enough to call it quits yet. 

I won't lie, I started this post 5 months ago and can't remember how much of a discount I got, the wording was something along lines of 'have a free box' but as we all know, nothing in life is free unless it's other people's emotional baggage and unnecessary drama and I had to pay postage which, I can't complain about because as I said, I wasn't even in this for the long haul. For those who don't know, Hello Fresh is a meal subscription service, you choose however many meals you need for however many days from an extensive menu and receive it in the post with all the ingredients meticulously measured with instructions so basic that even my mother can follow them, (seriously, she's a shit cook but she signed up and I don't dread being invited for dinner anymore). 


 

As well as the plethora of meal options, there is also the ability to select options in accordance with your dietary preferences, such as mostly meat vegetarian, pescatarian and calorie smart, etc. Would be absolutely fab if there were Gluten and Dairy Free options but we can live in hope. I signed up for 2 meals a week with servings for 2 people thinking that depending on the portion sizes, I could have enough for meals the next day and potentially dish some up for Fred to turn his nose up and demand nuggets. The total cost of my first box way back in January was £30.99, which included the postage fee of £4.00 which I consider to be quite reasonable as it is delivered by courier on Sundays without fail. For the first few months Hello Fresh worked out how to play, and this was by offering an additional meal a week for £1, it was a no-brainer a whole meal for two people for an extra was basically saving money. This extra £1 meal went on for quite a while and I got comfy in the situation but Hello Fresh wanted to keep me on my toes and BANG, an extra meal a week was suddenly £4.70 per serving and here I am paying £38.39 a week and feeling slightly suspicious that Hello Fresh costs are going to creep up on a similar trajectory to my EDF bill, with the only difference being that I can unsubscribe from Hello Fresh and only troll EDF on Twitter. 



Another sneaky tactic of Hello Fresh's is to add additional fees to some of the meal options on the menu, you could be looking at a banging picture of some Crispy Chicken Strip Tacos and then spot that there's an extra £2.99 per serving for this meal and then find yourself questioning all your life choices. So, to save money (I know, the irony of talking about saving money when I am getting boxes of food sent to me for nearly £40 a week is not lost on me either) is to not order meals where there are sneaky hidden costs and skip by the 'Extras' section where you can buy a cheeky Ciabatta for lunch and GU pud and just stick to the basic (but very tasty) meals on offer. The big question is: is Hello Fresh an affordable alternative/addition to a weekly food shop? and the answer (for me and my situation) is yes. I find that the portion sizes are generous enough to be able to provide a meal for myself, enough for Fred (to not eat), and a further adult portion that I can either box up for lunch at work the following day or, heat up for another evening meal which means that I am actually paying nearly £40 for 6 meals per week including Fred. I then pay around £40-50 per week for my general groceries including snacks, bread, milk, etc, and cat food bringing my total weekly amount spent on food to around £70-75 a week considering the current economic climate and the fact that none of us can afford to live anymore, pretty reasonable (again, for me and my situation). 



My Hello Fresh subscription has certainly got me out of my food rut, I've been able to explore new tastes and styles of cooking and can finally cook rice perfectly as well as discover the point in aubergines, uses for crème fraîche, and a passion for cooking and experimenting with flavours. I no longer finish work and dread the palava of cooking dinner. I follow the instructions, whack a podcast on and enjoy spending time in the kitchen. I'm now confident enough to not have to check the menu cards every five minutes and adapt and recreate meals to my own taste. There are weeks when I don't add that additional meal because buying the ingredients from Asda is more affordable or I fancy something else. This newly established enthusiasm for cooking has rubbed off on Fred because despite slating him throughout this post, during the last few weeks he has been willingly eating his meals and genuinely enjoying them. 



Will I keep up with Hello Fresh indefinitely? I can't say, it's an easy option at the moment but whether it's a long long-term commitment will depend on how much more the Tories want to punish single working parents (and everyone else) over the next few months and how rich EDF thinks I am October but for now, HellowFresh, despite the sneaky tactics and hidden costs as exceeded my expectations and served a purpose that has had a positive impact on me and Fred which was an unexpected plot twist. 

 

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