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HelloFresh ups shipping fee by $1

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

Meal kit delivery service HelloFresh has announced a modest bump in shipping costs.

Starting with Dec. 27, 2021, shipments, HelloFresh will increase its shipping fee by $1 to $9.99 per shipment, according to an email sent to members.

HelloFresh is, like other meal kit companies (and the food industry as a whole), facing increased costs for food, labor and shipping.

Struggling competitor Blue Apron started tacking on a $9.99 shipping fee in August 2021, which will bring the two companies’ shipping fees on par with each other, though Blue Apron hadn’t charged anything for shipping on shipments of three or more meals prior to that and partially explained the fee as a way to offset food costs in additional to shipping expenses.

Some legacy members of HelloFresh have not been paying any shipping fees with qualifying orders, though it’s not clear if they will be impacted.

In the same email, the company also highlighted key changes it made during 2021, including increasing weekly menu and market options to 50, adding quick and easy and low prep recipes and an increase in selection in the HelloFresh market that sells a variety of ingredients, packaged foods and grocery items.

“We know that price is an important consideration in your decision to cook with us, so we’ve worked hard to address these adjustments thoughtfully. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer care team,” HelloFresh wrote in the email.

Meal kit companies already have to walk a delicate balance between price, quality and selection.

Most have opted not to increase the per meal cost, since this is often the metric that many customers use when comparison shopping and budgeting for the week.

Many meal kit providers also offer special introductory offers to new members, including steep discounts spread out over multiple weeks and free shipping for a limited time. For example, HelloFresh offers up to $110 off to new customers.

Instead, however, meal kit aficionados have noticed strategic changes that appear to be aimed at saving money — such as an apparent increase in recipes with lower cost ingredients, including potatoes, rice and carrots.

Most meal kit companies tend to feature many of the same ingredients in multiple meals offered each week as a way to cut down on the number of items in their inventory and take advantage of potential bulk pricing from distributors.

However, that can sometimes cause customers to eat multiple meals with the same or similar side multiple days in a week.

Other strategies have included adding features such as the HelloFresh market that can include higher margin items that can help increase order totals while having a relatively minor effect on shipping costs.

HelloFresh has also started letting customers upgrade protein options or entire meals that come with upcharges, another strategy that helps boost order totals. While many of these recipes do include at least one premium ingredient, it’s likely that the premium upgrade cost gives the meal kit companies a bit more profit margin.

Meal kit companies are also often faced with the challenge of shipping highly perishable ingredients, which typically requires extra packaging and expedited shipping methods, all of which add to the cost of doing business.