***UPDATE: Because Illico Fresco is no longer in business, I recommend Hello Fresh instead. You can read my full review here and get 30 euros off your order here with my Hello Fresh coupon code!***
Meal kit delivery companies are all the rage in the USA. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and more advertise all over the place and it’s hard not to be intrigued. Does France have a similar service where you have a selection of recipes and their ingredients shipped to your door? Why, yes, yes they do… and the one I tried is called Illico Fresco. What did I think of this meal kit delivery service in France?
Read on for my full Illico Fresco review and be sure to watch my video at the end! (and get 20 € off your first box with my link!)
Illico Fresco review
Note: This review is not sponsored. I paid for my box with my own money and any meal kit delivery reviews are my own opinions, as always.
Let me get straight to the point. I lack major motivation in the kitchen. There, I said it. I like to eat. I’d love to cook with you if you come over and we cook together. But actually planning my meals ahead of time, shopping for the ingredients, making new recipes, cleaning up, etc. has never been a routine I’ve been able to keep.
I’m not a lazy, unmotivated person in other areas of my life (no problems staying motivated to exercise), but when it comes to dinner, I often make the same things over and over in favor of planning in advance and trying something new. No matter how much I try, I fall into my old habits of the boring same old food and opting for meals out of convenience.
So to add variety to my dinners and hopefully infuse them with a bit of energy, I decided to order from Illico Fresco. It’s a French meal kit delivery company where ingredients for a selection of delicious, easy-to-make recipes are delivered to your door.
Yes, you’re paying a premium (more on that later in the review) for the service — duh! — but for someone who needs a bit of inspiration and a little kick like I do, I think it’s absolutely worth the cost.
Let me tell you why.
We’ll start with the basics.
What is Illico Fresco?
It’s a meal kit delivery service company in France where you get a meal box delivered to your door each week, or as often as you’d like. Inside the box are all the ingredients you need (aside from salt, pepper, and olive oil) to prepare your meals along with a recipe booklet that has step-by-step instructions for each recipe. You’ll get only the quantities you need for each recipe so there’s no waste.
They deliver to mainland France for free.
Why did I choose a meal kit delivery service, specifically Illico Fresco?
Meal kit delivery companies are super popular in the USA, and after hearing family talk about their experiences, I turned to Google to see if there was something similar in France. There were a bunch of similar concepts, but after looking over each company’s website, I felt Illico Fresco was best able to give me what I was looking for.
Simply put, as I mentioned above, I lack motivation when it comes to cooking and end up making the same types of things over and over. I always find fun recipes online, but when it comes time to shop and prepare them, I opt for something I’ve made 10 times before. Or I don’t even think about dinner until 10 minutes before I want to eat.
To add some inspiration to our dinners, I ordered my first Illico Fresco delivery box for the first week of August.
Here are some of the reasons why I chose Illico Fresco:
- Professional, easy-to-navigate website
- Quality photos that accurately showed the food
- Good selection of recipes including 3 different box types depending on your meal preferences
How does Illico Fresco work?
To place an order, you first choose how many meals you’d like and for how many people. We chose 4 meals for 2 people. You also choose the delivery date (Monday through Saturday with a 5-hour delivery window). Each week’s selection is available to browse well in advance on their website so that way you get a feel for what you’ll receive, including an ingredient list, which is helpful if you have allergies.
There are 3 types of boxes:
Tradi: Combo of meat/fish/vegetarian fare
Example meals: Chorizo zucchini tarte, apricot filet mignon of pork, stuffed shrimp tomatoes, pancetta risotto
Végétarien: No meat
Example meals: Pizza with green tapenade and fresh goat cheese, eggplant and cherry tomato sauteed vegetables and rice, penne pasta with red peppers and feta
Weight Watchers: Lighter fare
Example meals: Grilled chicken with lentils and spinach, sesame cod kebabs with a potato salad, shrimp and vegetable noodles
Out of the 3 box options, I chose the Weight Watchers box for my first order because it’s most closely aligned with how I regularly eat and I liked the meal options for that week the best. I’m not looking to lose weight, but if you’re trying to shed a few pounds, the recipes do correspond to Weight Watchers points so you can easily track what you’re eating if you belong to that program. If you like eating simple, healthy food, the Weight Watchers box is a great choice. The food tends to be a little lighter in terms of calories and fat, which means there’s a little extra room for wine and dessert. 😉
For future boxes, I think I’ll absolutely try the other 2 options depending on that week’s recipe selection.
While you can’t choose the exact meals you’d like delivered for any of the boxes, you will receive a selection of what you’re seeing online for that week. If you don’t care for any of the meals on a particular week, you can skip that delivery.
You can pause the subscription or cancel at any time so you aren’t locked in, but be aware that if you do not go into your account to pause the upcoming week, you’ll automatically be charged, so be sure to stay on top of things if you don’t want a weekly box of food. It’s quite easy to pause, so they’re not being sneaky about it, but it’s easy to overlook the fact that you’ll be charged automatically if you do NOT pause or cancel.
My delivery was on time and arrived at 10:40am. The box of food is kept at 0-4° C and I found that even on hot days, the box is well insulated with gel ice packs. I liked that Illico Fresco cuts back on plastic packaging wherever possible by using paper bags that I can then reuse at the marché. They also give you entire packs of ingredients (noodles, choriza, and ricotta cheese, in my case, instead of using plastic containers to repack the exact portion the recipe calls for).
Who is Illisco Fresco for?
It’s for anyone who wants to easily prepare their family’s meals and is maybe looking for a little cooking inspiration, like me. It’s a great service if you’re short on time and/or don’t enjoy grocery shopping. Or you just want to try something new!
How much does Illico Fresco cost?
Here’s the price for each type of box (4 meals for 2 people, so 8 servings total):
Tradi: 63.50 € (7.94/serving)
Végétarien: 59 € (7.38/serving)
Weight Watchers: 69.50 € (8.69 serving)
Yes, of course it’s more expensive than if you were to buy the ingredients yourself at the supermarket à la carte, but that’s just it. I wouldn’t go to the supermarket and buy all of this stuff, so for me, the price is worth it because I’m trying new things and getting excited about spending time in the kitchen. It’s a service so you’re paying for convenience (get 20 € off your first box by using my link). You’re only getting the quantity you need, so if you will never use green curry again, you’re not stuck with an entire container.
Also, I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to waste money. So if I know I’m paying for a premium meal service, I’m going to make every meal and use every ingredient down to the very last broccoli floret. It’s a surefire way to get me in the kitchen doing what I want to do — cook more inventive meals and be more intentional when it comes to cooking.
I will note that Illico Fresco is generous in how much they send. If a recipe called for 6 slices of chorizo, for example, there were 12 slices in the pack, so they do send entire packages and don’t skimp and send you exactly what the recipe calls for. I like that. More food.
What I loved about Illico Fresco:
— Their website is top notch — professional and user friendly.
— The portions were reasonable and even generous. This is a major plus. For example, a recipe may call for 350 grams of something and the quantity provided was a pack of 500 grams, so there’s extra. I was worried the portions would be small but this wasn’t an issue at all. The shrimp recipe had about 3-4 portions instead of the two we expected, so that was a welcome surprise!
— Recipes were simple to prepare and tasty. Total win and exactly what I was looking for. Recipes don’t take longer than 30 minutes from start to finish (although Tom helped me peel shrimp, which takes time). Anything too complicated or time-intensive would have turned me off and stressed me out, so the simplicity aspect is a huge positive and a motivator for getting me to experiment in the kitchen more often.
Note: Keep in mind if you’re a more advanced cook looking to learn new techniques, you may be disappointed by the simplicity of Illico Fresco. You’re not going to perfect your knife technique or learn complicated new sauces.
— Food has a reasonable expiration date. For the meat/fish, I had at least 4-5 days to cook everything, if not more, so there’s no chance of not having enough time to make the recipes before the food spoils.
What I’d like to see Illico Fresco improve upon:
— Allow customers to select the actual meal they want or at least their top choices from each week’s selection of options. That way if there’s one meal they definitely don’t want, they’re sure to get the other options that they do want. This isn’t a problem if you like to eat everything, though.
— Allow customers to specify ingredients they are allergic to and then adjust meal selection accordingly. I’m allergic to citrus and there was no way for me to filter by ingredients without citrus. Luckily, I could click each recipe to see the ingredient list but I could see that getting tedious if someone had to do it each week for their family with multiple allergies.
— It might be a good option in the future to be able to mix and match meals from different boxes within the same delivery week. So 2 traditional meals and 2 vegetarian. Often family members have different preferences, so it’s just something for them to consider.
— Possibly add a dessert recipe option. It’s very French to eat dessert, so why not build in a dessert recipe option to each meal delivery box.
— Expand the delivery time window. You can choose the day but 8am until 1pm is a big time slot. People who work during the day might find the delivery times prohibitive (although there is a Saturday delivery option).
Have you tried a meal kit delivery service? Tell me about it below!
Get 20 € off your first kit via my link here.
Meal kit delivery reviews in France