Greenlite Meals Saga: The Emails

Okay, as promised, these are my emails with a rep from Greenlite Meals. It’s really not that exciting, but you can get an idea of their customer service. So here’s the one I sent last Wednesday, a few days into my meal plan.

“Hello,

I received a Groupon for Christmas for a 7-day Greenlite meal plan. When I placed the order, the details of the plan noted “The price of this plan is based on a 2,000 calorie or less meal plan. While this covers most of our customers, should you require a meal plan with a higher calorie count, additional fees may apply.”

I’m on day 3 and the food has been wonderful so far, but I do have one concern. I didn’t look at the calories per meal when I received the order, but after the first day I felt like I was starving. When I added everything up, all the meals for that day totaled only 920 calories. Even after adding olive oil to one dish and drinking a bottle of kombucha, I was under 1200 calories for the day. I am an active person and need at least 1400 to 1600 calories to lose weight at a safe rate of 1 to 2 pounds a week. It is my understanding it’s unsafe to consume fewer than 1200 calories, especially if you’re exercising regularly. I’m wondering if I received the correct plan, or if this is some kind of extreme diet plan?

For example, I think my menu for today only totals around 840 calories. I know the description says “2,000 calorie or less”, but under 1000 seems a bit much. I’m having to prepare additional food myself, which kind of defeats the purpose – not that I mind cooking, I’m actually a food blogger and just wanted to try this out.

I will say again the food itself tastes great and the quality is mostly excellent, I just can’t figure out what kind of a meal plan I have here. Everything I read on the website seems to indicate I should have everything I need for each of the seven days.

Any additional information you can give me would be great.”

After three days without a response, I called the Customer Service hotline. I offered to give the rep my order number so she could just look it up and tell me what plan I ordered. She didn’t even bother to respond to that, but instead asked for my name, phone number, and email address and said someone would get back to me. I did let her know about my email from three days earlier, and my concern about the low calorie count, and she said she’d make a note of it.

At 1am I received the following reply:

“Hi X,

I recieved yor message regarding your question about what meal plan you ordered. Our records show that you ordered one week of our 7 day weekly meal plan.

Y”

(I am calling myself X and the rep Y, and the text and any typos are copied directly from our emails.)

I responded at 2am, admittedly tired and grouchy.

“Hi Y,

I actually had a specific question which I mentioned when I called, and also described at length in an email I sent about four days ago. The 7 day weekly meal plan says it’s for people on a 2,000 calorie or less diet, that makes it sound like each day’s food supply should be right around 2,000 calories worth.

With the meals I received, I’m getting about 1,000 calories or less each day – today, for example, the meals added up to only 820 calories. I have to prepare additional food in order to get a safe number of calories, defeating the whole purpose of this program. Is that standard practice, or was I accidentally sent some sort of extreme diet plan instead of the regular 7 day plan?

Sorry if I sound harsh, I wrote a nice, polite email a few days ago and am too tired to rewrite. Perhaps you can find it.

Thank you!”

1am Sunday morning – at least they don’t mind working late on weekends to help a customer. But…

“Hi X,

I did recieve your email and was checking with the shipping department and the nutrionist before respondng. You can supplement your meals with fruits and vegetables however, if you want more calories you can try our custom meal plan (the My Plan) and we can send you a csutomized meal plan. Each meal would be a more suitable amount of calories for you. That plan is a 4 week minimum.

Check it out: http://www.greenlitemeals.com/shop/my_meal_plan/

Hope this helps!”

In other words, I can pay more to ensure I get at least 1,200 calories a day for a meal plan that was supposed to be 2,000 calories or less.

“Thanks for getting back to me, Y. I’m aware of the custom meals, I know about them because they’re referenced in the description of the plan I ordered. The last paragraph reads, “– The price of this plan is based on a 2,000 calorie or less meal plan. While this covers most of our customers, should you require a meal plan with a higher calorie count, additional fees may apply.”

While I suppose my plan does fit in the “or less” part of the description, it would be more accurate to say “1,000 calories or less” since only one day’s menu hit 1,000 calories. That way customers will know upfront they cannot be sustained by the meal plan alone. The way it’s worded seems deceptive.”

Okay, I have to admit here, this was not totally correct. I looked over my notes again (where I went through each menu and added up the calories for the day) and there are three meals that are over 1,000. Day 2 was 1,060, Day 4 was 1,060, and Day 6 was actually a whopping 1,240 calories! So I did have one day I could go without supplementing.

I got a response bright and early the next morning:

“Hi X,

Sorry for the misunderstanding. I have communicated your concern to my manager. The wording may appear deliberately ambiguous but it is not intended to mislead our customers rather to allow for caloric range. Our chef’s menus are created weekly and there may be fluctuations withing that range however they never exceed 2.000 cal/day. I’m sorry that the meals came up under your daily caloric needs, I’ve yet to encounter this particular issue and have discussed it with our chef and my manager. For the time being, they suggest that you do supplement your meals with vegetables and fruits as there is no reason for you to consume less calories than you need. I hope this helps! I hope that you are enjoying the meals thus far and hope that you consider another meal plan option and continue to remain a Greenlite customer. I

Y”

“I’m sorry that the meals came up under your daily caloric needs.” That’s an understatement! The daily calorie count averages out to about 978 calories, or 222 calories short of the safe minimum of 1,200 calories – which would be safe for an “average” woman who’s trying to lose weight but not bothering to exercise.
So exactly whose caloric needs could be met with this meal plan?

“Hi Y,

I really do appreciate you bringing my concerns to your manager, but unfortunately I don’t think this is a service I’d continue with. I will admit I was incorrect when I stated only one day’s menu reached even 1000 calories. After looking at my notes, there are actually three days – including one that reached 1240. That’s a much better number. However, if you add up the total calories for the week and divide it by seven days, that’s an average of just over 978.5 calories per day. I can’t imagine any adult whose caloric needs could be met by that amount. Even a 100 pound person who spends 23.5 hours a day sleeping, waking only to gorge herself on a day’s worth of Greenlite meals, will burn at least 1057 calories just by laying in bed asleep.

I do hope your nutritionist, chef, and manager can get together and work this out for your remaining and future customers, either bulking up the menus or at least advising in the description that the plan could be anywhere from 800 to 2000 calories. That would be fair, if any of the menus ever actually reach 2000 calories.

I have had fun trying the food and sharing it with the readers of my blog, and we’ve had some good laughs at me starving trying to survive on this plan as-is (which did not even last one day). I guess all I can do now is give people a heads-up about how the program really works.

Thanks for your time,
X”

By the way, I just came up with the easiest weight loss plan ever. All you have to do is become a 100 pound girl and sleep 23.5 hours a day, waking only to gorge yourself on Greenlite Meals averaging 978.5 calories a day. That doesn’t even take into account the extra calories you’ll burn crawling out of bed to go to the bathroom (no time to shower, though). You should lose about 2 pounds a month just by laying there – it’s easier than walking!

They never did reply to my last email.

8 thoughts on “Greenlite Meals Saga: The Emails

  1. Wow, what a negligent attitude from that company. I guess it’s a calculated risk on their part that most customers won’t analyse the content like you have, they’ll just be pleased with the weight loss (not realising it’s unsustainable). Sad.

  2. This should be reported to the FDA or the BBB, or somewhere. It was their response to you that makes it clear that they are not responsible and not trust-worthy. I know now that I will never spend one dime on their product. Buying and eating prepared food is always an act of trust, and I wouldn’t trust that outfit for one second. Words that come to mind are “racket” and “con-artists”. And yes, someone can suffer serious health effects from dangerously low-calorie diet over a period of time. Maybe they’ll get sued.

    • Yeah, at first I thought maybe as a new company they’re somewhat ignorant and once it’s brought to their attention they’ll try to fix the problem. But. No, they just plain didn’t care. You’re right, I should find out who I can report it to.

  3. I ordered through the Groupon as well. At least you got some food. My order was supposed to ship 3 weeks ago but the status still says “processing” I have called twice, and both times got the answering service, and have sent 3 emails. I have not received a call back or email in 3 weeks. I was hoping to support a new business but 3 weeks is just too much. Needless to say I am calling Groupon for my money back.

    • I’m so sorry, but if Groupon gives you a refund you’ll be getting a way better deal than I did! I sure hope they do. Based on the comments I’ve seen on Greenlite’s facebook page, they don’t seem to be able to keep up with orders or customer contact (if they’re even trying).

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