HelloFresh is Part of a Modern Cancer

We had a door-knocker today from HelloFresh (not giving them a link) – a company that is marketing itself as an alternative for shopping and preparing food. You choose from a handful of recipes, order on-line and get a bunch of portioned ingredients delivered which you then combine. I was aware of American versions (Blue Apron being one), but wasn’t aware that this disease had spread to Australian shores. As I said to the woman (in an apron):

  1. I already have a lot of recipe books
  2. I enjoy shopping for fresh food – choosing the right fruit and vegetables that suit my needs when I need them.

Also, I like the time spent preparing food. Chopping, peeling etc. makes me part of the process, and my efforts make me understand the ingredients better, how to use them better and I appreciate the result more. Food isn’t just a commodity and cooking isn’t just a chore, but a skill or an art and you can share that art with people around you to enrich your life and their lives. It’s also a time I spent mentally recharging. Time in the kitchen in a timeout from work worries etc. and is a zen moment, whether it’s at the sink or the stove or the chopping board.

I appreciate that there are people who are house-bound due to disabilities etc., and who would require food to be delivered and meal preparation to be made easier. However, too often we pander to the modern managerial desire to keep workers chained to their desks 18 hours a day. Rather than asking why  we can’t create a proper work/life balance and aiming towards people having time to shop/cook, we continue to slave-drive workers and then monetise the “boring stuff” they would otherwise be doing by creating secondary slaves through Task Rabbit or shopping services etc.; workers pay double in that they run themselves into the ground through overwork, and then they pay others to complete personal tasks that they couldn’t find time for.

It’s also part of the American and/or Silicon Valley obsession with technology and the market being the solution for all society’s problems (and ignoring the fact that they’ve caused many). Another company that delivers food is one that wants to sell you a $700 Wifi-enabled juicer. Everything needs an app these days, apparently, and you can now use your smart-phone to tell your juicer to make you a drink before it joins the bot-net army, but only if you’ve spent extra money ordering pouches of specially pre-cut fruit and vegetables that are loaded into the machine. Buying ingredients, preparing ingredients and actually making the drink yourself is all too messy and “IRL” for Silicon Valley types and wastes time they can spend making money by selling apps to people. And don’t even get me started on Soylent!

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