Trying new things can be scary, especially when it comes to foods, so when I heard about Try the World, a new service that lets you try different cuisines from all over the world, I was curious.
The idea of having foods from all over delivered to my door-step (and yours) sounds great, but a good idea doesn’t always translate to a good experience so I decided to investigate.
I did some research and tried the service myself and discovered that while it really is a great idea, there are some flaws with the program that prevent me from giving it 2 thumbs up at this time.
Below, you can read my full review and decide for yourself if you want to try Try the World.
How It Works:
The premise of the service is pretty simple: the company ships a box of 7 or 8 gourmet foods and cultural items to your door-step every 2 months.
The items chosen are USFDA approved, but ones you won’t find locally and are picked by Try The World’s staff of travel experts.
In addition to the items, you also get a feel for the city’s cultures and traditions, as each box also includes a history of the products, city maps and travel advice.
You can pay for the service, which costs $45 per box, in bi-monthly, 6-month or yearly installments.
In the U.S. shipping is included in the price, Canada residents pay an additional $20 per-box shipping fee, while Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico residents will pay an additional $5.
Right now they are offering a free $30-day trial- you just pay $5 for shipping.
The boxes they offer are as follows:
• Paris – Jams, traditional hot chocolate powder, snacks, and other French items.
• Tokyo – Traditional bamboo chopsticks, red bean jelly yokan, Morinaga milk caramels, and other items.
• Rio – Jabuticaba jam, senhor de bonfim wish ribbons, passion fruit tea, and other items.
• Rome – Orange pastille candies, spaghettata mix, Cantuccini biscotti, and other culinary items.
The site itself gives a breakdown of the service and payments, along with a picture and description of the expert who put it together- which is a nice touch.
There are some problems with the site, but I will address those in the next section.
Refunds are available, but you must cancel and request a refund within 5 days of ordering.
What Works & What Doesn’t
Now that you see how the process works, it’s time to break down the good and bad aspects of the service.
Let’s start with the positive.
To begin, the boxes are nicely packed and offer a variety of items; some subscribers have complained they received broken items but I didn’t experience this.
Furthermore, the experts used are well-established, like Chef Jet Tila, who is a judge on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and the one who put together this month’s Thailand box.
It is nice to have someone who knows put together an array of items that can create a meal I myself would never think of.
It also eliminates the hassle of looking up recipes and shopping for them.
The pricing is also reasonable and it is an easy and convenient way to sample a variety of cuisines.
That being said, I did have some issues with the site and process, as have other users, which I will address now.
What Doesn’t Work
First and foremost, the site is frustrating to use, with many of the tabs not giving the information they promise.
For instance, when you click on the Our Boxes tab, it takes you to a page that shows this month’s box and payment plan options- no pictures or descriptions of the boxes you get.
So in order to see the boxes they offer you have to sign-up, which I found annoying and a bit deceptive.
Yes, you can cancel if they offer cities that don’t interest you, but why put consumers through the hassle when you can avoid it?
As for the service itself, my main issues are the choices and customer service.
In terms of the items, they are picked by individuals who do not know you, so the choices don’t always work because it does not take into account dietary needs.
Therefore, those with food allergies or gluten issues, like my son, may find themselves with items they can’t use, rendering the box useless.
It would be smarter to have a list of items from the cities in question and have the subscriber choose from a list of limited but diversified items to avoid these issues.
This would also allow for greater diversity in terms of the overall experience, as some of the items I received, like Olive Oil, are neither rare or hard to find.
Speaking of which, I did not like that the boxes are in a set order that cannot be changed or picked, further limiting options.
Many subscribers also complained about this, noting they had to wait months for the box they had most anticipated.
In addition, others, including me, were disappointed that cities they wanted to try are not offered.
Finally, they need to improve customer service.
I called to inquire about my order and after being on hold for 40-minutes I was met with rude, terse answers by an operator who could not tell me if my order had shipped.
A second inquiry by email was not answered, which to me is a major problem.
Customer service is paramount to a successful company and business 101: to ignore request or not know the information is a major no-no.
Many other subscribers have told me they also have gotten little help from customer service, with request being ignored or not answered correctly.
Even more telling, several users have reported boxes never arriving, refunds slow or non-existent and damaged goods.
Based on all of these findings, and my own experience, I can’t in good faith recommend Try The World at this time.
This young company has a lot of potential, but they also have a lot of growing pains to go through before it can make good on their promises.
My advice? If you want to sample new cuisines try a new restaurant- there are more offerings and more chances of you getting what you pay for.
What do you think of Try the World?
Tell us if you have used them and what your experience was and be sure to follow all my latest consumer news reports on Twitter!