Hungry carrot ($65+) is essentially an online grocery store. You take a quiz about what you like to eat, and the service delivers groceries to your door, along with recipes based on what’s in the box of the week. For example, one of my boxes contained chickpea pasta shells and a superfood tomato sauce, but I was free to dress it up with whatever I wanted or use the ingredients separately. It’s a fantastic way to replenish your pantry. You can choose to pick out groceries yourself, or Hungryroot will do it for you based on your nutritional profile. Allergen and diet filters are plentiful. There are plans for one person, two people or three or more people. You can view available messages here to get an idea of what’s on offer.
imperfect food (prices vary) is one of the best known “ugly food” grocery boxes. Misshapen products, non-perishables that are perfectly fine but have passed their expiration date, dented boxes… none of these things make food dangerous, but they do make it difficult to sell. Imperfect Foods is anything but traditional. After logging in, you can share your dietary preferences and view your assigned delivery day. Fill your box every week from the changing selection. You can choose weekly or biweekly deliveries. Ingredient prices vary and shipping ranges from $6 to $9.
Sun basket ($11+ per serving) offers a plethora of meal plans with an emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients. A wide variety is offered in each weekly menu, so there is something for everyone. Some of the other meal plans I tried had wilted produce or subpar flavor – Sun Basket had neither. The dinners were packed with ingredients similar to the ones I’d pick at the store, including unblemished fruits and vegetables of the season. In addition to nutritious dinners, you can also add things like coconut yogurt, seed butter, sous vide egg snacks, soups, and snacks like chocolate nuts and crickets. (If you’re wondering, yes, the crickets were great.) Diet filters allow for options like Mediterranean and pescatarian, plus allergens. You can also add things like jerky, dips, sauces, and candy to your weekly shipment. For meals and groceries combined in one service, Sun Basket is a safe bet.
Crowd cow (prices vary) is a grocery box that’s all about the meat. (You can also order sides and desserts, but I haven’t tried those.) From ground beef to Waygu steaks, from fish selections like lobster tails and salmon to staples like chicken and charcuterie, Crowd Cow offers it all. You can even get bison, duck, or other hard-to-find animal protein. The packaging is 100 percent compostable and recyclable and the shipping is climate neutral. The company also strives to make its meat that way sustainable as possible. Boxes are available a la carte, or you can opt for recurring deliveries to save 5 percent and get free shipping. Prices vary, but Crowd Cow can be a good option for landlocked seafood lovers like myself (or anyone who wants view the supply chain of their flesh).
Farmbox Direct ($41+ per box) only offers product boxes. There are a few varieties to choose from, but all contain only fruits and/or vegetables. You choose the size you want, but content customizations are limited. You can make up to five substitutions per week based on the rotating menu. I was able to use most of my mixed fruits and vegetables, but I had a few stragglers that went unused (like a giant bunch of kale that wilted before I could get to it). This service may not be for everyone, but if you’re a produce enthusiast or an avid juicer, it could be worth it. Bonus: Delivery is free.
Beautiful spoon (prices vary) offers a plethora of smoothies, soups, noodle bowls, grain bowls and shots. Every item I tried tasted very natural – so yes, those lemon juice shots will taste exactly as you expect them to. Aside from a really tart experience, I liked everything I tried, and I especially liked the brand’s smoothies. The ingredients are also clearly listed so the Lemon Fiasco could have been avoided. All meals are plant-based and free from both gluten and GMOs. Plans contain combinations of many different offers and deliveries can be scheduled as infrequently as once a month. Make sure you have some space in your fridge – the produce is a bit bulky.
Topsail steamer (starting at $120) isn’t like some of the other meal delivery services in this roundup because it’s not a subscription. It’s still the best seafood-focused option we’ve tried (including those with subscriptions). It’s basically a seafood concoction shipped straight to your door via Goldbelly. Choose your seafood, choose your spice mix and follow the foolproof instructions to prepare yourself a feast. Everything cooks quickly in the included steamer bucket and you even get paper to put down for easy cleanup of the dish. While the prices may seem high, the portion sizes and ingredients offered are reasonable and probably below what you might find in a restaurant. As a landlocked seafood lover, many of the “fresh” seafood delivery services were fishy – both figuratively and literally – leaving me disappointed. Topsail Steamer just left me blissfully full.