Express.co.uk tried and reviewed meals from Hello Fresh, Gousto and Green Chef to see which brand offers tasty meals, from a variety of cuisines, that are easy to cook at home.
Meals tried: Creamy Prawn and Courgette Sauce with Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli, Chicken Breast Tinga Burrito Bowl, and One-Pot Beef Meatball, Tomato and Pepper Orzo.
Packaging and delivery: The box arrived swiftly, and unlike other food subscription services, most items come in recyclable packaging. The ingredients were divided into the fridge and cupboard, and those that needed refrigeration were kept in ice bags, so no need for customers to worry if they don’t open the box immediately.
Cooking the recipes: The shortest recipe took 20 minutes and the longest 45 minutes, but I found all the recipes took 15-30 minutes longer. A lot of recipes included steps that allowed you to multitask, eg. boiling ravioli whilst frying prawns, but this required a lot of concentration, and re-reading of the instructions, which added to the time. The recipe cards, however, were a convenient A5 size, detailed and easy to follow, and all of the dishes looked like the images on the front.
Taste: While taste is subjective, we thoroughly enjoyed every Gousto recipe, especially the Chicken Tinga Bowl, and it’s a clever idea to “pimp up” the rice with beans or peas for extra portions of veg.
Portion sizes: A little on the small side for those with big appetites as we felt we were left wanting more for each dish, and packed out the meal with an extra side of veg.
Price: Box price ranges from £29.50 to £48.27 depending on the number of recipes/number of people, including delivery.
Meals tried: Chive Butter Sea Bream, Pan-Fried Sea Bass in a Creamy Pesto Sauce, and Pesto Chicken Burger and Onion Marmalade Steak.
Packaging and delivery: All meals were individually packaged in bags with numbers on for convenience, whilst meat, fish and dairy were in an iced compartment. There seemed to be a lot more plastic in the box, unnecessary small packets of sauces, miniature blocks of cheese, and some vegetables like asparagus were wrapped in plastic.
Cooking the recipes: The recipe cards are A4, but the instructions and pictures are extremely small and difficult to follow. Almost one element of each recipe also required using the oven in conjunction with the hob, which in the current energy climate is not very efficient. Similar to Gousto, the dishes took longer to cook than the suggested times.
Cook a jacket potato in just 20 minutes with chef’s teaspoon method[VIDEO]
Nutella compared to supermarket chocolate hazelnut spreads in a taste test[EXCLUSIVE]
Storage solution to stop avocados going brown and mushy for 10 days[GUIDE]
Taste: The sea bass with a creamy pesto sauce and salad cheese over the vegetables were unusual – the flavours did not marry well and overpowered the delicate flavour of the fish.
Portion sizes: It depended on the dish, the chicken burger, steak and salad, for example, was a huge portion, but overall, they were good plate-fulls. The calories per recipe were accurate for an evening meal: 578, 603 and 844 respectively per portion.
Price: Boxes start from £47.50 for three meals for two people. Meals start from £5.94 per serving.
Meals tried: Zesty Sea Bream and Mango Salsa, Hoisin Pulled Beef Bao Buns, The Buffalo Blue Chicken Burger and Mac and Cheese, and Seared Duck Breast in Redcurrant Sauce.
Packaging and delivery: Similar to Green Chef, all meals were individually wrapped, which could reduce the amount of plastic.
Cooking the recipes: The instructions were difficult to follow, with too much information on the cards and small pictures. They ideally need to be simplified. All the dishes took longer than the suggested times too.
Taste: Hit and miss; some of the recipes were delicious – the Zesty Sea Bream and Mango Salsa for example, but then the Buffalo Blue Chicken Burger and Mac and Cheese lacked in flavour. The buffalo-inspired sauce needed major improvement, as did the mac and cheese sauce.
Portion sizes: Most of Hello Fresh’s dishes are bulked out with the same potatoes which can get a little boring. There are also question marks over the portions of vegetables in the dishes. A Hello Fresh spokesperson told Express.co.uk that for a fruit or vegetable to qualify as one of your five a day, it must weigh 80g. The Duck Breast in Redcurrant Sauce is accompanied by wilted spinach, but because the spinach isn’t an 80g portion, it’s not qualified as one of your five a day. So this particular evening meal doesn’t provide any of your five-a-day portions, which is disappointing.
The Zesty Sea Bream and Mango Salsa, on the other hand, claim to be packed with four portions of fruit/vegetables. The tomatoes and mangos are two, and the pea shoots and spring onions are meant to be the other two, but the quantity given is not enough for the latter to count.*
To add to this, the size of the sea bream was disappointing. One piece of fish was 64g and the other 126g. On the flip side, The Buffalo Blue Chicken Burger and Mac and Cheese were a hefty portion, containing 1432 calories each.
Price: Box price ranges from £36.97 to £77.94 depending on number of people and recipes.
- Gousto is the cheapest, and the dishes were really tasty, but the portions were slightly too small.
- Green Chef was hit and miss in terms of flavour, but offered healthy portion sizes and calories.
- Hello Fresh is claimed to be the number one recipe box delivery service in the UK, but we were disappointed. Some recipe’s nutritional value needs to be improved, as does the recipe card instructions.
*Hello Fresh calculates ‘5 a day’ portions of fruit and veg using software developed in-house, using UK government guidelines and additional guidance from the Institute of Grocery Distribution and the Advertising Standards Authority. A spokesperson said: “Customers can be assured our specifications ensure we are above the required weight with the necessary ingredients.”
Source: Read Full Article