The Lesson Hello Fresh Learned Painfully

Crafting their images from artful to messy.

October 18, 2017

May Parsey, Hello Fresh’s graphic designer shared with Entrepreneur a valuable learning – that HelloFresh has come to an important realization … that there can be a big gap between how a company talks to its customers and how customers want to be talked to. 

How did they learn that lesson? Their photography portrayed meals that didn’t reflect its customers’ reality.  And effected sales. “It’s easier to make food look as nice as possible,” Parsey says, “but then we have to remember that Barbara in Kansas has five kids, and she isn’t wiping down the plate before serving.” 

HelloFresh promoted their meal kits with restaurant-­quality images. When a user would search meals online, they’d find a menu of meticulously crafted photos. Then the food arrives with recipe cards, also bearing those photos. 

Entrepreneur reports that Hello Fresh’s U.S. team, the company got their start in Europe, began playing with the photo compositions -- putting some of the food slightly out of place, including a hand in the shot, and so on. Then they’d run different versions online to see which one did better. The results were consistent: Sales went up when the photos were messier. 

Why? They say the meals look more realistic. People can imagine themselves actually cooking something imperfect. Edward Boyes, HelloFresh U.S.’s CEO, says it goes deeper than that. “The photo we’ve provided sets the expectation of how the finished dish should come out,” he says. “If there’s a mismatch, we find that the home chef feels they’ve somehow failed to create the perfect meal for their family.”  

Hello Fresh meals now look approachable, not artful. Boyes didn’t share data with Entrepenuer but says the change has increased customer retention as well as boosted weekly orders.  

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