At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, meal kits became all the rage for those stuck at home.
“According to GlobalData, HelloFresh saw 122.6% year-over-year revenue growth in the second quarter of 2020, a trend the company was positive would continue for the rest of the year. Similarly, Gousto saw sales increase by 129% over the year and achieved ‘unicorn’ status, after losses in the previous year,” explains Verdict Food Service.
Now, however, the hype seems to be dying. At the end of last year, Blue Apron laid off 10% of its head office. The company has since received a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that the stock could be delisted after falling below $1.
In the case of HelloFresh, the company’s shares are already down more than 50% in the past 12 months.
Now a user on TikTok has sparked discussion after mentioning a perceived declining standard of quality and quantity from HelloFresh.
@alexz.a4 @hellofresh you have some explaining to do…. #hellofresh #mealdeliveryservice #ripoff #majorfail #customerservice #walmartsalads #notworthit ♬ original sound – Alex “the tall blonde”
In a video with more than 23,000 views, TikTok user Alex (@alexz.a4) shows off a recent delivery she received from HelloFresh. She claims she was charged $175 for 4 servings of 3 meals, which works out to just under $15 per serving.
“Normally I’m fine with that,” Alex explains. “Except, I just took these bags of salad out of this box.”
Alex then waves two bags of Taylor Farms chopped salad. One is a sweet kale packet; the other is a Caesar meat package.
“These are from Walmart,” says Alex. “They are valued at $2 each. So how do you charge me $175 for this box?
For context, Taylor Farms doesn’t just supply Walmart, as their vegetables can be found in stores and restaurants across the country. Therefore, it is unclear whether the products actually come from Walmart.
Alex also somewhat underestimates the cost of each of these bags. For a consumer, a Taylor Farms Sweet Kale Chopped Kit costs about $5. The Caesar Salad is about the same price.
Still, even with HelloFresh’s additions, there seems to be a significant difference between the cost of these ingredients and the total box cost of less than $15 per meal.
In another video, Alex claims that HelloFresh sent portions that were too small to be considered suitable for 4 people.
@alexz.a4 @hellofresh part 2 #hellofresh #mealdeliveryservice #ripoff #majorfail ♬ original sound – Alex “the tall blonde”
In the comment section, users voiced their own complaints about the service.
“We’re on a Hello Fresh break,” one user wrote. “They’ve raised prices and apparently every meal is premium now.”
“I have had so many problems. They forget about our meat, our meat has holes in it.. we are done lol,” another shared.
“Our HF package came with the chicken open, the juice covered everything in the box,” a third claimed. “They only refunded us the chicken. After that we did not extend.”
The Daily Dot contacted HelloFresh and Alex via email.
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*First published: March 7, 2023, 10:28 AM CST
Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.