I’ve always wanted to be a smoothie person: someone who starts the day on a healthy note with a cup of blended vegetables. Instead I usually settle for toast.
But all that changed this week when I worked my way through a box of Daily Harvest’s smoothie and meal cups. The company is a subscription service that sends pre-portioned cups of frozen healthy food to your door, from smoothies to overnight oats, matcha lattés, grain bowls, and even soups.
How it works
To get Daily Harvest delivered to your door, you first have to select your subscription level: either weekly (6, 9, 12, or 24 (!!!) cups per week) or monthly (24 cups per month). Next, you select your cups from Daily Harvest’s selection of sweet and savory pre-prepped options.
Subscriptions can be an issue when it applies to food that can go bad (case in point: meal kits). However, this issue doesn’t really apply to Daily Harvest since all their food is frozen, so consumers can choose exactly when they want to make their kale smoothie or harvest bowl. They can also stop or pause their subscription whenever their freezer gets full or they want to take a break. Bonus: pre-frozen ingredients means you don’t have to dilute your smoothie with ice.
When the order arrived at my door I was initially concerned about the excessive packaging — a blight for many meal delivery services. But, at least according to Daily Harvest’s website, the cardboard delivery box is recyclable, as are the meal cups themselves. The liner holding the dry ice is biodegradable and purportedly made of recycled denim, which is pretty cool. So props to Daily Harvest on the packaging front!
My box had a mixture of sweet and savory options, including:
- Matcha + Lemongrass Latte
- Cacao + Avocado Smoothie
- Ginger + Greens Smoothie
- Sweet Potato + Wild Rice Hash
- Cauliflower Rice + Pesto
- Brussels Sprouts + Lime Pad Thai
The preparation itself couldn’t be easier. For the smoothies, you fill the cups of pre-chopped ingredients to the top with the liquid of your choice, dump the whole thing into a blender, and blitz into oblivion. My one small critique is that I found a few smoothies too thick and had to eventually add more liquid to thin them out.
The savory bowl options were even simpler: just dump the cup into a bowl, microwave, and eat.
Another benefit is that you can pour the smoothies/bowls right back into their cup container for transport or on-the-go consumption. There’s even a little opening on the lid for a straw.
I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. The smoothies taste “healthy,” but not in an undrinkable way. The ingredients were clearly fresh-frozen and the caliber was about as good as I’d get at an artisanal smoothie bar. There were a few misses in the savory options — undercooked sweet potatoes or mushy cauliflower rice — but overall the flavors there were also pretty delicious.
My biggest qualm with Daily Harvest was the size of some of the portions. The smoothies were pretty hearty, filled with good fats from avocados and almonds, and always kept me full throughout the morning. However, the savory cups usually only filled up half a bowl at most topped out around 300 calories. If I ate one for lunch, I typically ended up hunting for a snack by 3pm.
Daily Harvest’s pricing is also pretty high. Weekly delivery shakes out between $7.49 and $7.99 per cup, while monthly delivery will set you back $167.76 ($6.99 per cup).
That said, if you buy a smoothie at a fancy-pants juice bar it’ll likely cost you around 10 bucks, so Daily Harvest’s options are actually slightly cheaper. And since you don’t have to shop or prep any of the ingredients yourself, you’re certainly paying a premium for convenience and flexibility. But it still feels pretty expensive to me, especially since you can buy pre-chopped frozen fruits and veggies at the supermarket on the cheap. For the savory bowls, the cost doesn’t seem worth what you got.
Though Daily Harvest probably isn’t for me — I like doing my own shopping and cooking too much, and am a real cheapskate — I think it merges a few trends we’ve been seeing a lot of lately.
First and foremost, Daily Harvest nails it on convenience from every aspect. Its meals are pre-prepped, pre-cooked, and ship directly to your door. The company also capitalizes off of the recent boom in frozen food, which gives consumers access to healthy food with flexibility around when and what they want to eat. Lastly, with its bright hues and prominent avocado imagery, Daily Harvest really pops on Instagram and other social media sales channels.
Then again, the cost aspect is a real issue. I can’t be the only person who would balk at the thought of spending that kind of money for someone else to chop my vegetables and assemble them into smoothie-ready packages.
In the end, I think Daily Harvest’s pre-prepped meals are a smart offering. By combining ease and convenience, they’re sure to attract a contingent of busy millennials who wants to take the guesswork out of healthy eating. The question is if those customers will stick to their Daily Harvest subscription plan even as the costs add up, especially if the offerings don’t alway satisfy.
Me? I’m sticking with toast.
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