Confession: I Fell for HelloFresh’s ‘Free Breakfast’

A reminder to be careful about ad claims that may seem too good to be true.

| Anastasia Micich

Anastasia Micich is an intern at

I’d like to think I’m pretty ad literate. I have a degree in advertising, and a good grasp of common marketing tactics, including some of the deceptive ones.

That’s why I’m embarrassed to admit HelloFresh’s “free breakfast” lured me in. I was a stereotypical college student – virtually broke and constantly busy. I could count on two hands the number of meals I could actually cook (and most of them involved a microwave). Mornings were often hectic as I rushed to early classes, so a free and potentially easy breakfast was appealing to me. HelloFresh was also a familiar brand. My parents had considered trying it for our family, I had friends at school who liked the meal variety it offered, and I would constantly see ads for it.

Though I had received mailers offering me “free meals,” the majority of ads I saw for HelloFresh were through my Peacock subscription and for “free breakfast.” In between episodes of “Modern Family,” I watched Keke Palmer again and again upgrade someone’s mediocre dining plans with HelloFresh.

To get an idea of how “free breakfast” would work, I visited the HelloFresh website with the discount code from my Peacock subscription. The website was filled with claims of financial savings, like how the meals were cheaper than takeout, and flowery descriptions of the fresh ingredients used in its meal kits.

I began the process by selecting how many meals I wanted per week. Then I was taken to a page with the total cost of the subscription where the discount was already applied. I was prompted to put in my billing information, and continued to the next page to select my meals. What I didn’t realize was that this action autoenrolled me in the weekly food delivery service before I had finished my order or had time to change my mind. Boom – with just a few clicks, I had entered into a significant commitment with this company.

I was shocked. I wondered, how did this happen? I decided to immediately cancel. But it turned out to be much easier to start my subscription than it was to end it. When I clicked “cancel my subscription,” I was asked if I was sure if I wanted to cancel (yes, I was sure). Then I had to complete a survey about why I was canceling (because I didn’t realize I purchased it in the first place!). After jumping through these hoops, my membership with HelloFresh was no more, or so I thought.

While writing this post, I logged back into my HelloFresh account to refresh my memory with regard to my short-lived membership. Within a minute of logging in, I accidentally clicked something that restarted my membership, and had to cancel, again. And HelloFresh made it just as hard to cancel the second time around.

Other former customers have similar stories to mine – with claims ranging from being charged for boxes they did not order to being re-enrolled for the weekly subscription after canceling. A Reddit user even claimed that a customer service associate warned him not to log into his canceled account because even logging in will reactivate the subscription.

So if you also fell for HelloFresh, you’re not alone. My experience with the meal kit company was a reminder to be careful about ad claims. “Free breakfast” sounded too good to be true – turns out it was.

Anastasia Micich

Anastasia recently earned her bachelor's degree in advertising from Boston University. She is interested in ethical and fair advertising practices, which led her to become an intern at Her main responsibilities include researching false claims in advertising and writing articles for's website.

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