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We at Reviewed love meal kits for the convenience because they deliver tasty meals to your door and help to answer the age-old question, "What's for dinner?" But—and this is a big but—sometimes we're left wanting more of a certain je ne sais quoi. Could it be dessert? Appetizers? Pantry staple? Or perhaps all the above?
The folks at HelloFresh heard our pleas, or perhaps the rumblings in our stomachs, and have launched the HelloFresh Market. As a so-called "snacksperience," we simply had to try to find out if these new add-on items could take this service up a notch.
If you’re new to meal kit delivery services, there are lots of options out there and each one works a bit differently. But when it comes to HelloFresh, you pick a plan—between two to six meals per week, serving two or four people, with the option to specify some dietary preferences—get your delivery, then get to cooking.
HelloFresh allows customers to easily skip weeks, which is a great feature assuming you can remember to skip or unskip a week ahead of time. (If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably want to set a reminder on your phone so as not to forget!)
How does HelloFresh Market work?
Unlike other grocery delivery services, HelloFresh Market items must be added onto an existing meal kit order. You can select as many or a few add-ons as you'd like—choose from basic staples like black beans and orzo pasta or decadent treats like chocolate lava cake and oat milk lattes.
Prices start around $1-$2 for two servings of things like rice or bread, and can reach $15 or more for things like lunch bowls or premium cuts of meat.
I tried HelloFresh Market and here's what happened
In order to get a feel for the full breadth of Market products, I ordered one item from every section: Quick Meals, Quick Breakfast, Sides & Complements, Desserts & Treats, Proteins, Fresh Produce, Grains & Pastas & Breads, Cheese, HelloFresh Flavors, and Pantry Essentials. I added these items onto my order for the week, three pescatarian meals with servings for two people.
The Market items arrived packed in the same box as my meals, which was the same recyclable cardboard box previous add-on-free deliveries had arrived in. In terms of product quality and value, there were some major wins! But there were also some major misses.
What I like about HelloFresh Market
Say hello to dessert
I simply can not and will not eat dinner without quickly following it with a sweet treat (just ask my husband). And while I've enjoyed HelloFresh's offerings previously—particularly its 20-minute meals—I feel like the option to add dessert is the perfect addition to round things out.
The 'quick' options are actually quick, plus they're tasty
More often than not, lunchtime creeps up on me and I realize I'm without food and without a plan. I tried the 10-Minute Salsa Verde Black Bean Bowls and was blown away by how flavorful and truly quick this meal was! I'd like to personally thank whoever invented microwavable rice in a bag (was it astronauts?) because it made a hearty base for my bowl that I made, quite literally, by pushing a button.
There's already a wide variety of products
For this being such a relatively new addition to the HelloFresh world, I was pretty impressed to find such a wide variety of offerings. Plus, there were a bunch of brands I already know and love like Intelligentsia (one of our favorite coffee subscriptions), Annie's, and Mike's Hot Honey.
What I don't like
Not all items were packed properly for shipping
Most items made it to me fully intact, save a few Mike's Hot Honey packets (especially tragic because this stuff is liquid gold) and the shrimp. I was able to salvage a few of the intact honey packets by washing them off with warm water, but the shrimp were a different story. The brown paper packaging was wet, I could feel that the shrimp had defrosted, and since it's never a good idea to eat questionable seafood, I had to toss this item.
It feels important to note that one of my dinner kits included fish, too. This other fish was perfectly chilled—in fact, it was kept so cold by the ice packs that it was still frozen.
You must order meals in order to add on Market items
I know that HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service first and foremost, but if it's branching into the realm of grocery delivery, it would be nice to have the option to order produce and pantry staples à la carte.
Should you order HelloFresh Market items?
If you're already a fan of HelloFresh and you receive regular meal kit deliveries, you should absolutely add some Market items to your next order. Desserts alone were enough to talk me into trying! Quick breakfasts, quick lunches, pantry staples, and produce are the icing on the proverbial cake for this already great service. But maybe skip the additional seafood until HelloFresh irons out a few kinks.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: HelloFresh Market review: The meal kit adds pantry items