You sit at your cubicle at 4:45 p.m., your fingers feverishly type against the ticking of the clock, then boom! It’s 5 p.m.! You grab your bags and you’re off to the races — after-work mixers, daycare pickups, doggy daycare pickups, gas station fill-ups, dancing lessons, what have you. A swirl of dinner options flash into your virtual thought cloud as you move through the chaos of a neverending rush hour, envisioning which beautiful meal you’ll make for everyone for dinner tonight: The go-to casserole? Not enough time. Spaghetti? Easy, but sick of it Burgers? Watch it, sister. Salad?! No one will eat it. As your wheels screech into the grocery store parking lot, you notice that the sun is setting. Your stomach growls angrily at the cruel reality that you are not the working woman-meets-effortless family cook, and the faces in the rear-view mirror seem to sag with exhaustion and groan with disappointment. You sigh in defeat, looking out your window for an answer to this godforsaken daily dilemma. And there it is. You can almost hear angels sing as the reflection of neon lights twinkle in your eyes: Wendy’s. No one’s perfect, you tell yourself. And plus, everyone is happy now! But the guilt remains, like an empty carton of fries on the floor of your car.
Whether you’ve got a posse of kids, a pack of fur babies, passion for a career that demands long hours or a paralyzing fear of cooking, we’ve all experienced this dinnertime despair. Well, despair no more, my time-starved sisters, my chow-challenged chums, my cooking-phobic amigas! Dust off your apron, crank up the kitchen tunes and say hello to HelloFresh! Then, get ready for epicurean magic to arrive at your doorstep: a box of creative, delicious, 30-minute meals, perfectly organized and refrigerated along with recipe cards and calorie counts — ready for you to whip up and enjoy!
HelloFresh is a recipe-planning, grocery-shopping, meal delivery service that not only is bringing a little sanity back into our overly busy lives, but also bringing fresh, home-cooked meals back to our dinner tables. “With the top five causes of death in the U.S. being food-related, there is a huge need to take control over our diets,” says HelloFresh in-house dietitian Rebecca Lewis. “Cooking from scratch at home is absolutely the best way to look after your health. When you’re working with raw ingredients and turning them into a meal, you’re in complete control of what you’re putting into your body. You control the salt, butter and oil.” On top of that, the average American also spends more than 50 percent of their dollars on meals prepared outside of the home, so you’re also taking control of your wallet when you take over in the kitchen.
In 2011, HelloFresh co-founders Dominik Richter, CEO, and Thomas Griesel, COO, found themselves pining for home-cooked meals after months of working late nights and repeatedly resorting to takeout. Realizing they were not alone in their supper struggles, the two entrepreneurs dreamed up and launched HelloFresh. They started packing up their crafty meal kits in early 2012 in Berlin, Amsterdam and London and were faced with the best kind of business problem: enormous demand for their services in other markets. Dominik and Thomas had clearly met a need that resonated with people the world over — literally the world over. HelloFresh now serves nine countries, including Austria, Australia, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the recently launched Canada and Switzerland.
Here’s how it works:
Choose your package and your weekly meals.
First you choose how many meals you would like to receive per week — three, four or five meals — and how many portions you will need to cook per meal — for two, three or four people. Then, you peruse the week’s menu of meal options and choose the mouthwatering dishes that you can’t wait to cook and eat. HelloFresh will send you recipe cards, as well as all of the pre-measured ingredients — meats, veggies, carbs, spices and all. The garlic and beets are even pre-peeled for you! The only thing you might need is some olive oil, salt and pepper. Box options include the best-selling Classic Box, which includes meat; the Veggie Box; and the Family Box, which includes less spicy, kid-friendly fare that the adults will love, too.
HelloFresh plans the recipes and does your grocery shopping.
HelloFresh’s recipe archive includes approximately 4,000 recipes and features such inventive dishes as jerk chicken and peach skewers, seared sesame tuna over rice, heirloom tomato flatbread, hoisin-glazed meatballs, nectarine and zucchini panzanella and black bean and charred bell pepper quesadillas, just to name a few. Rebecca says customers prefer classic recipes with a healthy twist, as well as recipes with new spices and exotic flavors that push them out of their comfort zone. In January 2016, Chef Jamie Oliver partnered with HelloFresh to offer one signature recipe per week.
Rebecca works closely with a culinary team that includes two chefs, a menu planning manager, a culinary product manager and a procurement team, with members focusing in specific food categories, to ensure the recipes are well-balanced and meet the HelloFresh nutritional guidelines and standards. What are their standards, you might ask?
HelloFresh Recipe Standards
All HelloFresh meals are delicious!
“All recipes go through several ‘taste’ sessions, and we review tons of customer comments and adjust the recipes accordingly,” says Rebecca.
The easy-to-follow recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less.
“The recipes don’t require complicated techniques or equipment, so they’re perfect for kitchen newbies and masters, alike,” says Rebecca. “We respect our customers’ limited time and want to short-cut them to the stove-top.” All recipes are intended to be attainable for cooks of all levels but if a recipe is a bit more difficult, it is listed as a “Level 2” or “Level 3.”
The recipes are balanced and nutritious.
All recipes must meet internal HelloFresh nutrition standards, which is, on average, around 650 calories — and every recipe is reviewed by Rebecca. In addition, all the nutrition information — including calories, carbs, fat, saturated fat, protein, sodium, sugar, fiber and cholesterol — is available to the customers prior to making their meal choice, as well as on the recipe card in the box.
The ingredients are seasonal.
“We try to use high-quality, seasonal, farm-sourced produce during it’s peak time, so it tastes the best,” says Rebecca. “When we choose our suppliers, our first priority is to get to know them and their operation inside-out, so we personally take an on-site visit to every meat vendor we work with to ensure the operation is food-safe and the animals are treated with respect. Our meats are primarily sourced domestically and are all natural.”
They are cost effective.
“All recipes must meet internal margins, which keeps costs reasonable for ourselves and our customers,” says Rebecca.
HelloFresh delivers the boxed ingredients to your door.
The box arrives at your door and when you open it, your recipe cards and any special offers sit atop clearly marked sub-boxes, which include the produce, carbs, sauces and spices for each meal. Below the produce, a layer of cardboard sits atop a freezer-packed section for the meats and bread. If one of the meals should be cooked first for freshness, it is clearly marked as such on the box. You choose which 30-minute meal you’d like to dig into first, pop your other meal boxes into the fridge and get cooking!
And we can assure you, the end results are not only extremely tasty, but you’ll also walk away with new cooking techniques and flavor combinations that you’ll be excited to return to on those nights when you don’t have a HelloFresh box waiting for you. You’ll refresh your culinary toolbox and expand your palate in a way that will renew your excitement for cooking and will provide the perfect fuel for new crowd-pleasing, highly complimented party dishes, too! But most importantly, you can forego the frantic rush-hour rat race and guilty fast-food drive-thru scenario and feel good about getting a delicious, healthy dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
Rebecca’s favorite thing about HelloFresh is the knowledge that they really are changing how people eat. “We are reminding people that cooking at home makes a difference – for their health and their pocketbook — and that dinnertime is more than a meal,” says Rebecca. “It’s a time to make and share memories with your family.”
It just makes us a little misty-eyed. We are truly verklempt! Just like Renee Zellweger upon seeing Tom Cruise at her doorstep in Jerry McGuire, we say, “You had us at HelloFresh. You had us at HelloFresh.”
To forego the recipe searching and grocery shopping in your life, sign up to become a HelloFresh subscriber!
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