Mert Bulan

Dear HelloFresh, where is my pepper?

| reading time: 4 min(s)

Hello Fresh Logo

I have been ordering a HelloFresh box for the last six weeks. I am happy with the experience but some small things are annoying me.

I don’t know you but for me, I enjoy cooking but cooking is hard. It is not hard the cooking process itself, but it is hard because it requires too much thinking process before starting to cook. You have to decide what to cook from thousand of options. You can plan what you are going to cook daily or weekly. Then, you need to buy the ingredients and at this point, you also have to make sure that you don’t buy more than what you need. Otherwise, the extra items that you are going to buy will get wasted. Then, you are going to use one of the recipes that you find on the internet that are not written by professionals most of the time. Then, you will try, and probably on the first try, it won’t be delicious.

This whole process is something that I would like to avoid as much as I can. Don’t get me wrong, I like to try new recipes but I don’t want to have this thinking process every day. Especially, when I am preparing my lunch and dinner every day. So at this point, I just want to delegate this whole process to someone. This is where HelloFresh comes to my help.

Thanks to a colleague, I tried my first HelloFresh box for free. I liked how they pack the ingredients, the way that they write their recipes, and (most importantly) how delicious they are. Before you get your box, you have around 30 recipes that you can select for your week. If you are vegetarian like me, the options go down to 10 which is still good. I order five meals for two persons and I eat the first portion as my lunch, then I warm it up the second portion as my dinner. In the end, I don’t have to think during the process besides selecting what I want to eat from the menu. Since there are only ten options, it is much easier to decide. (and also it is fun)

Problems

The problems are started since my first box and they are still not resolved. That’s the reason why I wanted to write this blog post. The most important one is pepper. From my first order to the last one, I have never received a single pepper from HelloFresh and at least one of the meals always included pepper. Instead of getting pepper, I got mushrooms, eggplant, or zucchini as a replacement. Before receiving my HelloFresh box, every time I got the replacement email and there they say:

Unfortunately, due to the extreme weather conditions at the beginning of the year, there were many crop failures at our suppliers and we have to replace the ingredient at short notice.

If this happened one or two times, it would be okay for me but they still can’t provide me pepper. When I visited the supermarket next to my home, I saw pepper from different brands. I also saw that the price of the pepper starts from 5€ per kg to 10€ per kg. Seems like because of the weather conditions, the supply of pepper is reduced, and the price is increased and HelloFresh has only one supplier or they can still get pepper but that would reduce the profit margin of the box. So instead of putting pepper, they are putting a replacement which is cheaper than pepper.

This is annoying for me. Because, first, the recipe changes when there is a replacement in the box. So you can’t follow the recipe card that is sent to you. Then, the most important thing for me, the taste changes too. As you know, pepper is something that has a dominant taste, and the replacement that they send doesn’t have that much taste. (think about zucchini and mushroom) So, in the end, the experience that you would normally expect from a HelloFresh box changes. Of course, I can buy pepper from the supermarket but that also changes the whole experience and I would need to spend extra money on that. As a solution, I would expect HelloFresh to have an option for getting a few Euros back instead of getting a replacement. Even though this is still not a good experience, I can still follow the correct recipe and eat my delicious meal.

There a few other problems that are annoying me:

  • Sometimes, they forget to put the item into the box. So far, I didn’t receive one eggplant, one package of Aioli sauce, one package of sugar. That’s annoying for me because, during the day, I decided to cook one of the meals, then I realize that one item is missing. If I don’t have the item at home, I need to buy it or cook my meal without that item. This would change the taste as you can expect.
  • Sometimes, they are sending more than what is needed in the recipe. For example, they sent 500ml coconut milk instead of 250ml and so on. This is annoying because I have no idea what to do for the rest of the item, and in most cases, they will get wasted but that’s one of the selling points of HelloFresh, so they are conflicting with their promise.
  • Sometimes, they say that you can find sugar or balsamic vinegar at home but sometimes they send them. So I assume that there is a profit margin for each meal and to be able to reach that margin, sometimes they are putting these items and sometimes they don’t and this is annoying.
  • Normally, if I buy something from the supermarket, I always try to buy Bio certificated products but I didn’t see anything about Bio certificate on HelloFresh’s website. They mention many times that the products are high quality but there is not mention to any certificate.
  • The maximum number of meals per box is limited to 5. I would prefer to have 7 meals in my box so I wouldn’t need to think about what to cook in those 2 days.

I like HelloFresh. I will probably keep ordering and recommending it to my friends. (You can get 25€ discount for your first box if you register from this link) I hope they will solve the issues that I mentioned soon so I don’t get annoyed every week while cooking. #FirstWorldProblems

UPDATE (6 May 2021):

Today, I received my HelloFresh box for this week. There were two interesting things that I would like to share:

  • HelloFresh gave me 7€ credit because of the missing peppers. (My two meals include pepper, they put eggplant and zucchini instead)
  • Seems like HelloFresh started to replace pepper on their recipe card. In the pictures, you can still see pepper but in the recipe, you see the replacement vegetable and how to cut it, etc.

I don’t know if someone from HelloFresh read my blog post but it is really nice to see that they are aware of the issues and they are working on them.

© 2020 by Mert Bulan.