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jca2's avatar

Have you ever tried Hello Fresh or other meal plans?

Asked by jca2 (15744points) November 28th, 2021

I have a promotional card for 14 free meals, including shipping, from Hello Fresh. I figured why not so I went on the site to try to order it, and it’s asking for credit card information. I backed out of it. I’m not unwilling to pay for it, but was just surprised because if it’s free meals and free delivery, it’s not clear what they’re going to need card info for, and I didn’t want to put the info in if I’m not going to utilize the service.

Have you ever tried a meals plan service such as Hello Fresh and if so, how was it?

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27 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

I am using it right now.
It is tasty, the dishes are varied, and the recipes simple.

Of course, with all subscription services on the internet, it is only a free trial, and it naturally assumes that the subscription continues after you get the freebies, hence them wanting your payment information.
Of course, you can specify how often they deliver you the boxes, and as far as I know, you can pause it indefinitely.

product's avatar

We tried it for awhile a couple of years ago. Our goal was to force ourselves out of our normal eating routines by having to make new dishes. It wasn’t cheap, and we struggled with the fact that we have people with very different taste in our family. We didn’t find any real winners, although I think we found some good pairings/ingredients that we liked.

I wouldn’t use the service again, however. I found the food to be less than fresh on many occasions, there were too many recipes that were too similar because they leaned on a few key ingredients, and I really didn’t like the shipping. The boxes and ice packs felt very wasteful, and breaking them down for recycling was just another task we had to take on.

That said, I’d say that the free trial is most definitely worth it. You’ll be able to tell if it will work for you.

janbb's avatar

I haven’t but I have some friends…...really! They used it during the pandemic and enjoyed it very much. Another friend uses Blue Apron and likes that very much. She had retired and wanted to learn more cooking techniques and thought it helped. My impression is that Blue Apron is more gourmet than Hello Fresh.

And @ragingloli is right as usual. They are no doubt enrolling you in a trial subscription which you will have to cancel after your 14 free meals. Hence the credit card info.

snowberry's avatar

Whenever I consider such a program, I always look up their reviews. Hello Fresh has great reviews, but I always look at the negative ones. They are revealing.

“I can’t cancel. The app keeps closing on me before I can select meals – so I’m being sent foods I can’t eat. I open the app – it tells me I’m getting a box shipped and then shuts down. No way to contact anyone. No way to cancel or pause since the program shuts down the minute I try and click on anything.”

It’s great if everything works perfectly, but what’s their customer service like? Do they even have a phone number or email? How easy is it to resolve problems? There are ALWAYS PROBLEMS in any business: that’s to be expected. But how the company deals with those problems is what matters.

Bottom line, after I read that they don’t have a phone number readily available would be a deal breaker for me.

ragingloli's avatar

Recently, one of the boxes wasn’t shipped, so I contacted support. It was a live chat on their website. I got a refund for the box within the day.

snowberry's avatar

@ragingloli Hmmm, is that live chat inside the app? If so, it’s possible some customers still wouldn’t be able to contact customer service (see my quote above).

I imagine this type of service would really appeal to senior citizens (and if they’re like me, they aren’t all that computer savvy). It would need to be idiot proof! Ha!

ragingloli's avatar

I do not actually use the app. I despise small screens. I use their website.
And I do not think that the service is targeted at elderly people, but at younger people that have no time for grocery shopping, who want to try out new things, or are just plain too lazy to go through the hassle of meal planning and shopping (like me).

ragingloli's avatar

Also just checked: no access to the live chat from the app.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would have done the same thing @jca2.
I once tried to look around an online clothing shop, but they wouldn’t let me until I gave them my credit card info. I backed out and didn’t see any clothes.
It seems to me the company just shot themselves in the foot.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, several years ago when I was recuperating from a hospital stay. I signed up for a couple of weeks with them.

1) the food was good, tasty, timely.
2) Portions were on the small side
3) For the portion size, expensive.
4) Easy to make – which was good for a person hobbling around.

No problem stopping the service after a couple weeks, which was all I needed.

Summary: a luxury, expensive for what it is, but convenient. But I have no further need of their services,

JLoon's avatar

No I havent.

I refuse to give in to another robot service that wants to make me more “efficient”. I’m not a great cook, but good enough that friends enjoy what I make as much as I do – And cooking keeps me grounded to what’s left of my personal life, and connected to my home & neighborhood through the shopping that goes aling with it.

Also, I gotta agree with @snowberry & @janbb that collecting credit card and other personal info raises privacy concerns.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I had Meals on Wheels. Great price at $8/meal cnd/$480/month. Was great while I was socially isolating. I will cancel on Monday. Some meals are better then I can get anywhere else. Desserts where excellent. Is great if you can’t cook for yourself. I will get groceries delivered and some in person with a taxi.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Update Instead of canceling the whole service, I will give meals on wheels vegetarian meals a chance. Should cost $240/month. One meal a day.

zenvelo's avatar

I tried Blue Apron for about 18 months. I liked the variety of meals, and that all the ingredients were included in the box. For me, by myself, it made enough for my dinner and for the leftovers to be my lunch the next day.

When my son was home, the meals did not provide enough for two adult men, I had to supplement with more vegetables and maybe dessert after.

My girlfriend has been using hello fresh. The portions are perfect for her and her daughter. She did have problems with one shoipment, but they were quick to resolve it and replace it.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I used Blue Apron for a long time and loved it. The recipes were good, and every shipment included plenty of fresh produce. It was fun trying unusual and exotic ingredients; for example, I’d receive a small packet of some seasoning, which is much more practical than buying an entire container of something I might never use again.

I had to stop Blue Apron about 5 years ago, when I began a stronger commitment to veganism (B.A. offers vegetarian, but not vegan, choices). I tried Purple Carrot for a while but wasn’t satisfied. The recipes ran the spectrum from delicious to inedible; when you’re paying all that money for a meal service, the klunkers should be rare outliers. Also, P.C. leaned on canned and boxed ingredients, with very little fresh produce.

A general thought about meal kits – they all have a great deal of packaging. There’s a large shipment box, containing items in plastic bags and containers, plus bulky insulation, in addition to freezer packs to keep the food cold. Even though most of the packaging is recyclable, I was never comfortable adding all those materials to the refuse system every week.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

They don’t have vegan meals. So I cancelled my subscription , and went shopping and bought groceries for the week.

ragingloli's avatar

I thought you were going to freeze a couple of rotisserie chicken?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@ragingloli I bought two rotisserie chickens today. I ate one and will keep the second one in the fridge for tomorrow. I will compare them. Was just interested in trying vegan meals, and not being vegan. I will experiment with freezing rotisserie chickens after I get paid in December.

ragingloli's avatar

So why do you care if they have vegan meals?

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

@ragingloli Because it seems an easy way to learn how to make my own vegan meals. Just in case I want to test the waters and go full vegan again. First time was in university and I lost 100 lbs and went down to 129 lbs. I am 198cm tall and I had the extra height to weight ratio, so that I had lots to lose before I get into the danger zone.

Also I would like to experiment with different types of meals to complement my low FODMAPS diet.

I also would like to save money and eat healthy, by streamlining my meals.

I would hope ideally that eating healthier (vegan or low FODMAPS, or other plans), could possibly help my concentration and test taking ability.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

Sounds fishy to me. If it’s free than there should be no requirement for credit info. Maybe consult your local BBB about this outfit? At any rate, sounds more like a brand of laundry detergent to me.

product's avatar

^ It’s legitimate and literally how every free trial of a service works. Every single one. You’re signing up for a subscription, therefore you need a credit card. You can cancel before the free trial ends without a problem.

It’s also extremely popular, and many of us here have already stated how we’ve had good experiences with them. Hello Fresh is huge. Back in 2019 (even before the pandemic), they had 1.5 million US customers. Nearly everyone I know has tried them. I’m really surprised you haven’t at least heard of it.

canidmajor's avatar

@Love_my_doggie, my friend has been teaching her son to cook with and has been very satisfied with their vegan options.

LuckyGuy's avatar

See if your bank offers a single use or single vendor credit card numbers. You set a limit of $5 or any other value and give it to the vendor. when they see the number is good that makes them happy. But if they try to use the card they are cut off.
Later, if you like the service, you then pay for it.

JLeslie's avatar

A real life friend of mine is really happy with Hello Fresh. She posts photos of the meals on facebook all of the time. They look good.

snowberry's avatar

@LuckyGuy It’s best to read the fine print. If you can find a bank to agree to that stipulation, but the agreement you have with the meal company could still result in you being charged if your bank doesn’t allow payment. I’d hate to end up in court about something like this.

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