‘I tried Gousto and Hello Fresh – it was a very bad idea’

MEN test meal kits from Hello Fresh and Gousto

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Every year, we find ourselves bombarded with ads for new fitness regimes and “healthy, easy and quick” meal kits. Two big names are Gousto and Hello Fresh – the meal kit providers that promise to make all our lives easier – by delivering everything we need to cook tasty meals straight to our doors.

Intrigued to find out whether they’re as good as they make out, Manchester Evening News reporter Emma Gill decided to give both a go. Here’s how she got on.

As Emma explained, with both offering deals including 60 per cent off your first box from Hello Fresh and 50 per cent off Gousto, she was sure she was not the only one enticed by the discounts.

“The concept is simple – you sign up for however many meals you want for however many people. And when you’ve picked which dishes you want, you get everything you need to make those dishes delivered in a box on your doorstep.

“When I say everything, I mean everything.

“Typically cooking something new for the family would involve writing a list of ingredients – some of which you’ve never heard of and don’t even know what they look like – and heading to the supermarket in search of them all. It can be a painful, lengthy task and the result is usually five jars of spice that you use just the once, before finding them three years later covered in dust at the back of the cupboard. You see the main point with these is to reduce that waste. To get precisely what you need for that one meal and no more.

“It works a treat. We had little packets of all sorts in both boxes to bring the food to life without having to waste money on bay leaves and paste and goodness knows what else, when such a small amount is all that’s needed.

“Part of the reason we often end up eating the same meals time and time again is because it’s simply not affordable to buy so many ingredients and use so little of them.

“The boxes are separated so that you know exactly what is needed for which meal, with the fresh stuff chilled and packed separately for you to stick straight in the fridge.

“And you get the recipe cards for each one, with simple step-by-step instructions that I have to admit are pretty foolproof.

“The meals from both were delicious. The clue’s in the name with Hello Fresh isn’t it, but the veg from both seemed so much fresher than what you’d get from the supermarket, even when it was eaten a couple of days after being delivered.

“Trust me, I’m not one to rave about any sort of vegetable, but the fine green beans with Gousto’s garlic and herb stuffed chicken with sweet potato mash, were something else.

“And I can’t say I’d any even heard of bacon jam, but I doubt I’ll ever want a different accompaniment to a chicken burger ever again.

“The children didn’t like everything – of course they didn’t, they’re kids and when one likes something you usually find the other doesn’t. It’s a brutal fact of parenting simply to make it that bit more difficult. But there was plenty they did like, with Hello Fresh’s honey and mustard sausage traybake and Gousto’s big flavour beef lasagne, particular hits.

“With over 44 recipes a week to choose from at Hello Fresh and over 75 a week at Gousto, there’s something to suit all tastes.

“Price wise there isn’t much in it and you’re looking at around £50 for a box of four meals for four people, so around £3 per person, per meal. You can make it cheaper if your children are younger and only on small portions of course.

“While for some people that’s no big deal, with the way many households are struggling with budgets right now, it would be a luxury for many.

“I generally wouldn’t spend £12 on a typical home cooked meal for the four of us.

“But then generally they’re not as nice as these either and it was so refreshing to be eating different foods to what we’d typically eat week in, week out.

“It’s definitely something we’ll do again. It was too nice not to. And I can see why it’s a no brainer for couples who perhaps have a little more money to spend and don’t have to worry about the little people not liking the food.

I’m glad we gave it a go, but in some ways it was a bad idea, because when I’m defrosting a pack of mince for our next bolognese or cottage pie or whatever – meals my friend amusingly refers to as ’50 shades of mince’ family meals – now we know what we’re missing out on.

The meals we sampled included:


  • Haddock & Mangetout Noodle Stir-Fry
  • American style chicken burger with bacon jam
  • Big flavour beef lasagne
  • Garlic and herb stuffed chicken with sweet potato mash

Hello Fresh

  • Thai Style Beef Bowl
  • Honey and Mustard Sausage Traybake
  • Rosemary Chicken on Pea Risotto

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