One of our series of reviews, looking at the benefits and pitfalls of popular diets and meal plans, and talking about how fitnaturally’s approach differs.
HelloFresh was co-founded in 2011 by three entrepreneurs, Dominik Richter, Thomas Griesel and Jessica Nilsson. Together they grew the business from scratch to $50 million (£32 million) in 24 months. In 2017 HelloFresh is valued at $2.8 billion (2 billion pounds) and ships to over 9 countries over 3 continents.
How does HelloFresh work?
HelloFresh is based on a subscription service where customers choose meals from a weekly range of menus. The ingredients are delivered to their home ready to cook following the accompanying recipe cards. People decide how many meals they’d like each week, for how many people, and the delivery frequency and time.
The recipes cover dietary as well as lifestyle preferences, for instance there are vegetarian boxes as well as quick meals for people who are time-poor.
Food is delivered boxes with ice packs designed to keep the contents cool for 24 hours. Food is separated by recipe into brown paper bags and labelled with the meal name and how long the contents will keep. There are recipe cards to use with each meal.
Customers can earn reward points for ordering more boxes, inviting friends to try the service, and for sharing images of prepared meals on social media. Points can be redeemed in the online shop for branded HelloFresh items such as ring binders, oven cloth sets and pepper mills.
How do you access HelloFresh?
Everything is accessed via an online account. All menu selections are made there from approximately 8 meal options each week and payment is online.
HelloFresh does not offer fitness advice; the focus is entirely on the food.
A Family Box with four meals for four people is £63.99, this being the best value plan on offer at £4.00 per person per meal.
A Classic box with four meals for three people is £58.99, which is £4.90 per person per meal, and a Veggie Box with three meals for four people £56.99, that’s £4.75 per person per meal.
The fewer meals/portions you order, the more expensive the portion size becomes. Taking the Veggie box for example, dropping down to three meals for two people portion cost goes up to £5.83.
There are often discount codes for new customers.
- HelloFresh is convenient for people with busy lives.
- All meals come pre-portioned with the right amount of ingredients for each recipe.
- The recipes use fresh food and good quality ingredients. They put emphasis on using quality local suppliers.
- You can try a range of food that you may not normally try. HelloFresh is a learning opportunity for those who may not be confident in the kitchen.
- The HelloFresh website is easy to navigate. There is also an app.
- The meals are expensive (between £4.50-£6 per portion). For two people it can cost £84 a week just for evening meals, no lunches or breakfasts.
- There is a lot of packaging, with ingredients such as soy sauce coming in small phials, whereas normally you’d just keep a bottle of soy sauce in the cupboard and there’d be less materials waste.
- Ingredients are not organic.
- The selections are inconsistent. You can have four meals for two on some plans, but not on others. You also can’t order for families larger than four people, you’d need to order a separate box..
- They don’t cater much specific dietary restrictions.
- There could be more choice – If you are ordering 5 meals in a week, there may only be 7 or 8 choices.
- The meals aren’t chosen to balance nutritionally across the week.
How is fitnaturally different to HelloFresh?
There are quite a few similarities between the two, in that fitnaturally gives its customers choice (up to four choices for each meal) and provides easy recipes for every meal. and fitnaturally will organise a food shop for its customers, from Ocado if they so wish.
Customers get far more choice and value with fitnaturally’s plans, they get recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner whereas HelloFresh is dinner only. They can shop wherever they choose; benefitting from supermarket prices or shopping at farmers markets and local suppliers. They learn how to choose quality ingredients.
Qualified and experienced
fitnaturally is a small, professional, company employing qualified nutritionists and personal trainers who are available for all clients to consult with and learn from. Its meal plans are perfectly designed to provide all the nutrients that healthy people need and to teach them how to eat well for life.
fitnaturally is about great food as well as nutrition and health. The food is easy and delicious and weight loss is the by-product on some of fitnaturally’s plans. fitnaturally promotes whole and delicious foods in the right amount to achieve fantastic health. It believes in eating by healthy instinct, and nurturing that instinct in its clients by working closely with them and teaching them how to choose, cook and eat great food and enjoy the whole food experience from supplier to plate, for always. There are plans for weight loss, just great health, sport, pregnancy, diabetics, families and students. fitnaturally also creates bespoke meal plans for anyone who needs a more tailored approach.
Education and support
fitnaturally educates people about correct portion sizes, timing of meals and how to get all the nutrients they need. It reconnects them with natural hunger and fullness feelings so they learn instinctively what their body actually needs. It teaches people how to cook from scratch and by instinct, while it provides recipes people are also encouraged to freestyle once they get the hang of healthy cooking.
Its clients are encouraged to ask questions about cooking, healthy eating and nutrition and in 2018 there will be a fitnaturally Graduate scheme whereby people can reach a certain level of recognition for their progress, nutrition knowledge and healthy behaviours. There is a warm and friendly Facebook support group exclusive to clients, where there is always a qualified nutritionist on hand to answer questions.
fitnaturally even provides free online sourdough making workshops to its clients, which commercially cost up to £300 a day.
fitnaturally works for single people to couples to families, it’s a way of life for everyone, from all walks of life. There are plan variations for vegetarians and vegetarian/fish eaters and people can swap and change between dietary preference as they choose.
Its plans are used right across the world from Australia to New York to Colorado to Italy to Thailand to New Zealand, as well as across the UK.
It’s a change of lifestyle, for always, rather than something people try for a few weeks and then move on. It has to be enjoyable, sustainable, inspirational and something the person will eventually be able to do without thinking. It’s not a novelty, it’s a sustainable, affordable, lifestyle.
No hard sell
fitnaturally does not knock door to door to sell its plans, like HelloFresh does to sell its boxes. Most of fitnaturally’s customers come by word of mouth and many of its customers have been loyal since fitnaturally started in 2012. It doesn’t rely on hoardes of people joining, it provides exclusive, professional healthy eating support and plans to as many people as it can look after thoroughly.
With fitnaturally people get meal plans written by qualified nutritionists, and continual support from the same. They can email, call, Skype or text their nutritionist and they get free nutritionist advice in the facebook support group as well as support and encouragement from peers. Plans start from just £18 a month. Clients say they save a considerable amount on their usual weekly shop and waste is virtually non-existent.
Professional fitness advice
fitnaturally knows that good health means great food as well as activity. It is fully qualified to advise on and deliver exercise and fitness training and provides online plans to suit individuals, with safe and effective exercise and activity. It also encourages people to be generally more active by taking just ten minutes here and there during the day to walk or move however they can, with no huge expectations beyond good health. People learn to love being outdoors; stepping outside brings easy health benefits and is free!
So, finally, what about HelloFresh, is it any good?
HelloFresh is fine for a while but the dropout rate is high. It’s a good novelty for a few weeks or on special occasions and the food is very nice, but it’s an expensive way to eat, especially for families. You also still have to sort out your own breakfast and lunch so it’s not really a whole lifestyle change to improved eating, nor is it a significant time saver as you still have to shop for the rest of the week’s meals.
fitnaturally works in the short and long term because it addresses all aspects of eating, from food choice to cooking, to good nutrition. it provides support and advice on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle including good sleep and reduction of stress. It suits everyone because it’s good old fashioned healthy eating and the food is gorgeous, with loads of choice. It’s less expensive than HelloFresh and offers far more long term value and better all-round health.