The battle of the boxes: Gousto vs HelloFresh

8 mins read

Who likes food shopping? Certainly not me. Here’s the good news; there’s a way to get out of it.

A good few companies have emerged that let you order your food online, by recipe. They then deliver a “box” filled with the ingredients, and also provide a recipe card to show you how to prepare and cook what you’ve ordered.

For me, at least, it’s hugely helpful – I always struggle to decide what I want, so having a menu full of recipes certainly gives me some inspiration. It also encourages me to try new things which is always great.

And, most importantly, it saves me a trek to the supermarket.

The frontrunners among these companies are Gousto and HelloFresh – but which is better? That’s the question I’m here to answer. I’ve compared each aspect of the culinary process with these two, and here are my findings.

It’s maybe just worth noting that I haven’t compared the price of each – that’s because they are pretty much the same and the price of your box will depend on what you order.

What’s on the menu?

The first part of your new culinary experience centres around choosing your recipes for your first delivery. The good news is that both Gousto and HelloFresh offer dishes designed to suit a variety of needs; calorie-controlled, family-friendly, rapid recipes, oven-free recipes. Chances are there will be something from both menus to match whatever it may be that you need from them.

Gousto has a great variety of stuff – so, no matter how fussy you may be, there will likely always be something for you. HelloFresh is much more limited, their menu only ever seems to have about half of the offering from Gousto.

The HelloFresh selection is also a lot more limited in the sense that their recipes are very similar. If you’re like me, and you could eat pasta every day for years, then great – because that’s most of what there is. A few rice dishes and noodle dishes, but not a lot more than that.

Gousto, by contrast, has some bangers – their chicken goujons went down a treat, as did their fish fingers. For a while they partnered with Pizza Express which was fantastic.

Overall, Gousto’s menu week-on-week is far superior to HelloFresh’s offering, meaning they win this round.

Winner: Gousto

Keepin’ it fresh

I’ve got a confession to make; sometimes the allure of JustEat is just too much (other delivery services are available). When that happens, the boxes are quickly forgotten and it’s straight to McDonalds or a Chinese.

Which brings me onto my biggest gripe about HelloFresh. When it arrives, the meat in the box expires five days after the delivery date. Which means that if you do decide to order in, you either have to have two dinners one night, sacrifice a meal, freeze something (which is a total pain) or go out and replace the meat which seems to make the whole thing a bit pointless.

Also, when we were ordering HelloFresh there were some weeks where the box didn’t arrive till after dinner time – which meant we lost a meal right off the bat.

By contrast, the food from Gousto goes out throughout the week – the first will usually expire a couple of days after delivery, but at least a couple will last for around a week. They’ll also send you an email with the expiry dates that’s hugely helpful.

That gives you a lot more flexibility to have “cheat days” or to just be lazy. You still need to do a bit of meal planning to get the most out of the box, but I found it a lot easier with Gousto than HelloFresh.

So, it’s another win for Gousto.

Winner: Gousto

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

That being said, when the HelloFresh box arrives all of the ambient ingredients are separated by recipe – whereas, with Gousto, they’re all just in the box. It seems like a small thing but it is a nice touch, and saves you having to hunt your cupboards for them.

The recipes for both Gousto and HelloFresh are really easy to use – the only thing I would say is they could both do with making it clearer and bigger what ingredients you need to supply yourself.

Sometimes, with Gousto, you’ll need to buy your own milk but it can be easy to miss that until you’re halfway through cooking. In my experience, this sort of thing happens far less with HelloFresh.

The fight is back on for HelloFresh, they win this one.

Winner: HelloFresh

All about the taste

The biggest, and maybe the most important, question of them all is who is tastier? It’s a hard question to answer – both Gousto and HelloFresh had a couple of amazing recipes, and a couple of absolute duds.

I suppose, though, that would be largely dependant on what you like. If I had to choose one I would probably say HelloFresh was slightly more consistent.

But, and this is a huge but, I could never get five recipes that I liked with HelloFresh – whereas I could with Gousto. I’m not a hugely fussy eater either – it was just that a lot of the HelloFresh stuff was either very similar or just didn’t appeal to me.

That makes it hard to choose a winner – on one hand, HelloFresh was more consistent but Gousto’s wider selection meant that I was way more likely to get five recipes that I liked, instead of only ever having two or three from HelloFresh.

So, I’m going to call this a draw.

Winner: It’s a draw

So, who’s the winner?

Overall, I found that I massively preferred Gousto over HelloFresh. In terms of taste, there wasn’t much between them.

That being said, Gousto offers a lot more flexibility – both in the sense that you a wider range of recipes to choose from, and also because you’re not tied to using those recipes in the five days following your delivery.

HelloFresh has some unique elements that win out over Gousto – but, in my opinion, these just don’t overcome the things that Gousto does better.

Featured Image Credit: Gousto

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