Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The real product sold by Meal Kit companies

I while ago I started using HelloFresh because I wanted to simplify the process of eating healthy meals without having to leave the house.

I really enjoyed the recipes. I had just minor objections, like the limitation on how many ingredients we could mark to be avoided. I have several food allergies and being able to select just one ingredient wasn't enough, specially because I can't eat pork and there are so many recipes with pork in it.

I liked most of the recipes, the easy of use of the app, the reminders, the fact we could skip weeks, the instructions that even my husband could follow.

But when the gel packs and the boxes and the styrofoam and all the packing material started to pile up, I had to rename the service HelloTrash. Even though their information is that the gel pack content is non-toxic, it is still a pollutant and we were generating lots of it every week. Yes, we can recycle the plastic, the cardboard boxes, but not the styrofoam (the Texas heat sometimes requires) but if I was going to buy the ingredients locally, I would be generating a lot less trash and recyclables.

Unable to throw the gel pack content in the trash, I started accumulating them up to a point that I had to cancel the service.

Several months go by and a friend tells me about this new service, EveryPlate, that was very similar to HelloFresh, but cheaper, with simpler recipes and less packaging. I decided to give it a try.

I found out the both HelloFresh and EveryPlate belong to the same company. While HelloFresh costs about $7.99 per serving, EveryPlate costs $4.99.  The recipes are simpler, with less ingredients and we can't customize our plans to the same degree we can in HelloFresh. We can't mark ingredients to avoid, for example. But the offerings are varied enough, that we can manage avoiding ingredients by selecting the recipes wisely.

They indeed use less packaging, but I still get at least 2 gel packs per week, that I'm still accumulating in my garage thinking about using the content as replacement for water in concrete mix to make stepping stones. I did one so far and the result was questionable...

What $4.99 per serving buys you is not the food ingredients or the recipes, or the convenience. The most important thing it buys you is the decision making process. They plan your meals for you. They make it very easy to change plans before the cutoff date and once you made your selections, they do the shopping, the chopping, the packaging and deliver everything for you in a box. You also hardly need to measure anything and most of the decision making during preparation is either made for you by packing exact portions, indicating the time, showing a picture of the step. 

Believe me, cooking is easy, the decision making involved is what makes it hard.