'Yeah, nah': Kiwi startup defies German giant's order to stop saying 'hello'

A New Zealand business has used Kiwi slang to put a German multinational in its place. HelloFresh had issued a cease-and-desist order to try to prevent the meal kit provider from saying "hello."

New Zealand startup My Food Bag, which delivers fresh ready-to-cook ingredients, issued a tongue-in-cheek response to a cease-and-desist notice from Berlin-based Hello Fresh. Hello Fresh had taken issue with its Kiwi competitor using the phrase "Hello Fresh." The letter, published in the New Zealand Herald and other domestic media, is replete with Kiwi colloquialisms and phrases in the country's indigenous Maori language.

The response, from Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, begins with a Maori greeting, to HelloFresh executives Thomas Griesel and Dr. Christian Ries. "Kia ora" is translated as "hello."

"Kia ora Herr Griesel and Herr Ries, Greetings from Aotearoa. We don't often get heavyweight German multinational corporations taking the time to write to us Kiwis."

The letter includes the phrase "ka pai" which means "good," however according to the Maori dictionary it is often used to indicate a lack of sympathy.

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HelloFresh delivers fresh ready-to-cook ingredients to households

"Ka pai. It's pretty cool that you've heard of our awesome Fresh Start program down here in NZ. What's not cool is you fellas trying to stop us saying "hello" to our Fresh Start family. That's just not the Kiwi way. In fact, we thought you guys must be pulling our leg?! Down here in God's Own, all of us have the right to say hello, kia ora or g'day. Just ask Winston."

"Winston" is probably a reference to New Zealand's acting prime minister, Winston Peters, who is also the country's foreign minister.

The response continues: "It sounds like something is weighing on your mind, so we're sending you our Hello Fresh Start pack, so you can kick start your health goals and say hello to a new you. So in short we've decided "yeah, nah", and we wish you fellas a good day."

According to Urban Dictionary, "yeah, nah" is Kiwi slang which "can be used in many ways and can easily confuse non kiwis." The three main uses are yes, no and maybe. The phrase is also Australian slang for, "I'm hearing what you're saying but, no, you're wrong."

"Otherwise our lawyers, Gumboot & Gumboot, are always good for a yarn" (in other words, contact our lawyers if you wish to talk more).

The letter ends with another Maori phrase, this time for "goodbye."

"Haere rā , The My Food Bag Family."     

My Food Bag has grown under the leadership of entrepreneur Cecilia Robinson from an idea to one of New Zealand's biggest food retailers delivering a million ready-to-cook meal kits a month.

HelloFresh is leading the US billion-dollar meal kit market and, according to the Financial Times, is one of Europe's fastest growing companies. It describes itself as "the leading global provider of fresh food at home" and, similar to My Food Bag', delivers fresh ready-to-cook ingredients.

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