Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gobble Green Vegan Meal Delivery Service

I got an email coupon a few weeks ago from Groupon for 50% off a one week meal plan from Gobble Green.  Who?  I know.  Me too.

From the Gobble Green website:
WHAT IS GOBBLE GREEN?
Gobble Green is a 100% vegan and 90% organic online marketplace and food delivery service where you can purchase individual meals, merchandise, a virtual fitness training program, or a complete gourmet vegan diet plan.


It was out of curiosity more than a need for convenient pre-made meals, (I enjoy cooking too much to totally surrender my meal preparation to someone else), that I plunked down my $125 and waited. Plus, half price for anything and free shipping is also an irresistible combination.  Since everything was vegan I decided to give the Gluten Free option a try. I don't avoid gluten but thought it wouldn't be a bad thing to have a bunch of meals without gluten and also wanted to see what freezing and shipping food under the more restrictive culinary rules would produce on the plate.  I figured if they could wow me with the gluten free they were sure to get another order for the regular vegan meals.

My order was completed online on November 12.

[Order Confirmation from Gobble Green

Thanks for shopping with us today!
The following are the details of your order.
------------------------------------------------------
Order Number: ###
Date Ordered: Friday 12 November, 2010
bxxx???xx??49JuX

Products
------------------------------------------------------
1 x GROUPONSocialBuy/BAB -- Vegan Starter Kit - Gluten-Free = $0.00
------------------------------------------------------
Sub-Total: $0.00
FREE SHIPPING! (Free Shipping Only): $0.00
Total: $0.00]

I waited, and waited. Then finally 20 days later on 12/3 a 45 pound box arrived, frozen food packed in dry ice and styrofoam.
Right out of the box it's just a pile of frozen bags but the meal plan is included.
This company is in California and I was wondering about the shipping. When I saw the fedex shipping notice I was doubtful that I'd get anything but mush, (it was a 3 day ship), but sure enough, everything was rock hard frozen.  I'm not sure if this was a delay due to the holidays, Groupon processing or just the way the company operates but a quick email about a delay would have been appreciated.

A couple of the labels on the food packages came off so I'm still not sure which is the veggie soup and the tortilla soup but really, no big deal.
7 days of meals plus one pile of snacks.
I planned on doing a meal here and a meal there to fit into my cooking schedule so today we tried the breakfasts from 2 of the days.

Banana Pancakes.

I had pretty good luck freezing my own pancakes so thought this would be quick and easy and fluffy. It wasn't.


After 2 minutes on high the pancakes were still frozen in the center and stuck together. I separated them with a knife, laid them out on the plate and zapped them for 1 more minute. I added some Earth Balance and maple syrup and they looked beautiful.

They tasted intensely of banana but the consistency was like a cross between undercooked potato and cardboard.

The camera makes these look darker than they were.  The color was actually quite nice.
One of the nice things is that all the products have a nutrition label (but no ingredient list!), on the website:


It would be about a thousand times more convenient to have a copy of these come with the menu plans.  I meticulously complete my food log with my Bodybugg program and since these require specific input, (you can't choose these foods from a preloaded list in the food logging program), it would be a lot  less work if I didn't have to go online, look up, cross reference, input, etc.  I think this is a change that would be welcomed by a company whose emphasis is weight loss and health since logging of food increases success in this area by over 50%.

On to the Scrambled "Eggs" w/Hash Browns

I put the hash browns in for 3 minutes and sat down to blog about the pancakes and I became distracted by the smoke pouring from the microwave.  Yes, pouring.  I guess the instructions to "Microwave tofu eggs and hashbrowns separately for 2-3 minutes," should have have suggested a little less on the hashbrowns. I was a little disappointed because I'm a starch junkie and really looked forward to these...

Looks full of yummy potential.
but not these!
I didn't think a microwave could do this.  See, this is what keeps getting me up every morning ... I learn something new every day.
But ... the tofu eggs were still frozen after their 3 minutes so there is balance in life.

Frozen on the plate before microwaving.
Still frozen on the plate after 3 minutes.
I smooshed them around the plate and reheated for a minute and they were at the perfect temp. They looked pretty enough with onions and peppers and yellow from turmeric
Post smooshing.


but needed a little salt and pepper, (which is ok...you can't preseason for everyone), and a few dashes of El Yucateco Chipotle sauce, but they were sitting in a little pond, (pool?), of water.

My new "go to" sauce.
The flavor was ok, I mean it's a tofu scramble after all, although I cook mine with more colors. The consistency needs work though as we found them a bit on the rubbery side.
Diving board anyone?





With 5 more breakfasts to go I'm thinking, (hoping), that they get better but breakfast being the most simple meal of the day isn't where I'd be looking to

save time, effort and energy ... at least where freeze dried food is concerned.  Saving 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes on a cooked breakfast is a pretty insignificant amount of time.  If I'm that pressed I'll just boil water and make oatmeal or pour some cold cereal.  I'm looking forward to saving the one hour chunk of time that dinner often eats up so keeping my fingers crossed that the remaining meals rock.  Well, stay tuned, 2 meals down 19 more to go.

22 comments:

Marty said...

Gobble Green promises a comment. Perhaps a flour change in the works? If you encounter a technical difficulty please let me know via email and I'll see what I can do or post your comment directly.

Marty

Jennifer said...

We think that some people aren't fans of our pancakes' texture, which is due to our use of gluten-free rice flour. As Marty pointed out, he didn't care for the pancakes but his daughter actually enjoyed them. Our staff has the same issue--one person will love the pancakes while another can so clearly distinguish the grainier rice flour that it interferes with their enjoyment of the meal. The grainy texture of rice flour can be off-putting and it certainly doesn't make for fluffy pancakes. In fact, we've been toying with the idea to possibly try oat flour in the near future as a replacement. We always welcome all opinions as they help us to improve our product line. Thank you for your feedback and patronage, Marty!

Wendy said...

Thanks for the review! I have been contemplating using this meal service just to see how it worked.

English Vegan said...

I find the idea of not having ingredients lists to hand very weird, can't imagine having to go online to discover what is *in* the dinner!

miguel said...

Nice article! I wish I had the same success with GobbleGreen as you did though: Ordered $100 worth of items, they shipped after 6 days and from California to Chicago it was scheduled to be a 5 day trip. Delay ensued with FedEx so 5 days turned into 8, and I knew the products would be spoiled, which they were. There was not a single gel pack in what they refer to as a box (just pieces of styrofoam laid together to form the shape of a box, so no air seal) and nor was there any dry ice. Just a blue plastic bag sitting loose at the bottom of the 'box' (did the dry ice melt away? doubtful) containing the individual packages, warm to the touch. I emailed them before the order arrived as I had received notice from the shipper regarding the delay. No response. I emailed them once it had arrived asking what to do in this situation of spoiled food. No response. Another 3 days pass and I email the only other address they have listed, No response! Finally 8 more days and I can't take it, since I was nothing but pleasant and professional in previous emails, I decide to let them know if I do not receive a response soon I will be forced to reverse charges on my card and possibly file a complaint with the BBB. Wouldn't you know it? 43 minutes later I finally get a response which basically states: Take it up with FedEx, we shipped when we said we would. They never addressed my concerns regarding the packaging, were no where to be found when I needed help, and it took a threat to get any form of response. I love their idea, was really excited to try, but no such luck. Extremely poor communication and attitude regarding customer satisfaction. I hope others have better luck, but I for one will never attempt business with them again.

Anonymous said...

I too purchased a coupon and then purchased over $100- worth of products at full price. Told it would be shipped 2 days Fed-X. They shipped it regular Fed-X and it took 5 days from Ca to Pa. Food was frozen with dried ice. Several items were missing. Some of the items were good but others not so good. The customer service is VERY POOR. I wrote and called about the missing items and NOTHING. I think a threatening email or call like the previous writer did might be in order. I wrote that I would order again (the items I liked) if I could just get the items that were missing replaced. One would think they would want the business. I guess as long as they get coupons sold they are happy not to get returning customers.

Marty said...

I'm going to send GG an email and ask if they would like to comment. This post is my most searched post. My order took 20 days to get to me but it was frozen solid. I have mixed opinions of the gluten free food and do intend to review the regular vegan food one day. There is no excuse for poor customer service though. Let's see what they say.

I personally don't think they make much money on selling half off coupons and a lot has been said about the retention of customers when offering these deals but this isn't a business website.

Also folks, if you want a response from someone on here you may want to consider leaving publicly, (or privately to me so I can forward anything that comes in), an email address.

Angela said...

I was really excited to try Gobble Green. I signed up for 2 months, which they make you do if you want one of the special plans. I chose one of the weight loss plans.

I'm in the middle of my second month and I can't wait to cancel!

I've had six shipments of meals so far, and I think only one of them was complete. They come with a packing slip telling you what your menu is for the week. I've been missing complete meals several times, but what is more common is that the accompanying items are missing. For example, the hash browns that come with the scrambled "eggs" or tempeh bacon. The side of veggies or rice that is supposed to come with many meals is missing more often than it is included!

Some of the food is OK. A few things are really good. The Sicilian Pizza and Kung Pao "Chicken" are probably my favorite.
Some of the items I find to be edible, but not enjoyable, and then there was a lot that I just didn't like at all.

The quality of the food is often poor. I've been sent burnt food, under cooked food, and food missing ingredients. I got a Seitan and Bean Stew that didn't have a single piece of seitan in it. The serving sizes appear to be very inconsistent, especially when it comes to the soups. I was also sent a Festive Seitan Stir Fry which they apparently forgot to add the seasoning to. I've gotten others that had the seasoning, but this one was just plain seitan and veggies with not a bit of flavor to it. So gross.

The customer service is terrible. I've emailed and called and had the hardest time getting someone to get back to me. No one ever answers the phone and when they have gotten back to me, they have made minimal effort to address my concerns, if at all.

As for my weight loss, well I haven't lost weight, but that may be because I didn't stick to their plan. If I only eat what they send for a day, I am very very hungry. Also, I'm not sure how they expect you to lose weight eating pizza, mac and cheese, fettuccine alfredo, muffins, pancakes, and cookies. I assumed I wouldn't be getting things like that when I signed up. I suppose if I had stuck to it exactly, I may have lost weight solely based on the reduction in calories.

I do not recommend Gobble Green.

Anonymous said...

Well, I ordered a week supply of Gobble Green food from a Living Social deal…$125, I believe. And Day 3 of my food choices and I must say that I am NOT impressed. I am a vegan and have been for over 15 years, so I know good vegan food. This stuff was hard, cardboard like and most dishes tasted really vinegary. I even got a tummy ache twice. The desserts were like 3 day old bakery goods, with an apple or banana undertone. I had to throw pretty much everything I ate. Even my kid, who loves food - esp desserts - would not eat it. I am sadly disappointing. I really wanted to like this and support what they are doing, but I just can’t stomach the food. Sorry.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marty said...

Hi,

First, I just deleted you post which came up twice.

Second, yes, sadly this sounds like a great idea without both the quality and followthrough. I still have stuff in my freezer from my original order.

I have asked the folks at Gobble Green to comment about these negative posts and they haven't said a thing.

Too bad as this could have been a fantastic product had it been done right ... or at least if the customer service area tried a bit harder to make and keep satisfied customers. I'm surprised that they didn't even bother to respond. Gobble Green is my most searched blog entry.

I wouldn't expect someone to like everything they make but after a week or two I'd suspect one could tweak their order.

I'm not impressed.

Marty

Anonymous said...

Okay. I accidentally posted my comment twice, but not sure why you had to delete it? I was just trying to help inform people.

Marty said...

Anonymous,
I only deleted the duplicate. There's still one there.

I appreciate your input. Thanks!

Marty

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this article! I have to say I was super excited when I purchased this on Groupon BUT after reading all the negative posts and not being impressed with your photos and experience, I cancelled the order. I can't afford to be paying $$ for poor customer service and poor quality of food!

Sam said...

I actually thought the food and service were both very good. aybe the gluten free meal are different, but I found my food to be easy to prepare and generally very good. I didn't like certain things but most of the food was much better than I can find premade anywhere else. I hope that some of the other complaints were one off problem but I will certainly be ordering again.

Marty said...

Hi Sam,

I appreciate your input. It's nice to see someone with a positive experience with Gobble Green. After every negative comment I did send emails to Gobble Green and after their initial comment back in December I haven't heard anything from them.
I recently saw another 1/2 off offer from one of the discount services, (Groupon?) and was contemplating ordering again, this time not the gluten free stuff, but I'm sort of not really happy about them not getting back to me to answer some of the questions/problems some people have had.
I certainly hope you have continued good experiences with them as I really don't want to see any company lose business, especially a vegan company, but I think their lack of response to these posts is just a silly business practice.
Marty

Anonymous said...

I've been a vegan for about 4 years, but I don't really like cooking (or vegetables) all that much. I ordered the basic package with the Groupon just to see what someone else could do with vegan food. It wasn't much of an improvement on my own occasional attempts and some things (like the tempeh bacon) were just BLECH! I thought, too, that the fat and calories were pretty high for the portion size. Everything, including the soups, were 300+ calories and about a 4 oz serving of one dish (vegetable curry?) was over 500 calories - and I was still hungry! Great idea but not something I'll be doing again.

Marty said...

Thanks for the comment. I am so unenthused by the product and the lack of response by Gobble Green. I still have some frozen stuff in my freezer from my original orders.

I hate to pan a vegan business but I really had hoped to have a freezer full of this stuff come every week.

I guess there are still enough happy customers to keep them going. I would like to see a few positive comments if anyone is out there ...

Kevin Tierney said...

After purchasing the same coupons others have mentioned on this blog I called GG to ask some questions. I left a message with their "customer service" and got no response. I have since left numerous voicemails and e-mails and have never gotten a response. If they are still in business they shouldn't be! I have never received any food and am left to assume they are no longer in business. They took my money and I haven't heard anything from them since.

Pat D said...

Apparently they are still in business - I just received a Living Social deal for them today. I'm really glad I researched this so thanks so much for the article and everyone for all the comments. Totally enjoy your blog btw!

Marty said...

Hi Kevin and Pat. Thanks for checking out the blog. I'm glad it was helpful and enjoyable. I just don't know what to say about Gobble Green. I can't tell you how much I hope the next comment is going to be from them saying, 'Hey everyone, we had some issues and now they've been resolved and we're ready to rock and roll!!"

But it isn't.

Since you bought a discount coupon perhaps you can contact the company that sold the coupon and let us know what they say.

Marty

Katy said...

I too ordered from Gobble Green back in August 2011 with a groupon and was told my shipment would be around Oct.5. I finally received a shipment notice and tracking# from FedEx on Oct.17. The tracking information stated that it should be here on Oct.21. Today is Oct.24 and no food. I'm worried that it will be defrosted. I was so excited about GG, but now, after reading other blogs, I'm becoming discouraged. What have others done? Can I get $ back? Katy