March 7, 2017
Whether you’re short on time or uninspired in the kitchen, there is no doubt that the likes of Blue Apron and HelloFresh have done wonders to the food you eat. However, the more popular food delivery services have two common issues: they are not super healthy and they produce a lot of waste. Sure, many of these meal prep services are cutting back on waste and do a great job with offering recyclable packaging, but there is still some ways to go.
Enter Terra's Kitchen, a meal prep delivery service that is tackling both the reduction of delivery waste and healthiness of food. According to the company, an average competitor’s meal prep kit creates 500 pounds per year of cardboard, ice packs, plastic, paper, and styrofoam waste. Beyond the standard recipes, they offer food choices for those who are gluten-free, prefer lower calories, eat paleo, are trying to lose weight, or are vegetarian.
Unlike the basic box/ice pack combo, Terra's Kitchen send ingredients in a reusable cooler vessel that can be reused around 100 times. It also does a much better job of keeping the food cool, whereas some of the other delivery options don’t quite hold up in the South Carolina heat. According to the company the vessel keeps “food refrigerated to levels of 33 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit until 9pm on your delivery day on even the hottest days.”
After unloading the ingredients, you simply place the cooler back in the box, peal off the original shipping label to reveal a return label, and place it outside. The box is picked up and now all you have to worry about are the recyclable containers and bit of waste. The company of course sanitizes the cooler between each send.
To see firsthand how their system works, we created a custom delivery package and tried three of their offerings across their pricing spectrum. Unlike our typical tech reviews, this is more so a mini-one that focuses on the delivery vessel, reduced shipping materials, and quality of ingredients.
Reducing Waste: Shipping Vessel
The shipping container isn’t anything crazy, but did a great job of keeping the meal prep ingredients cool for a full work day and then some. Regrettably we didn’t check the temperature within the unit, but upon opening the cooler it was abundantly clear that the food was still chilled. Points to Terra’s Kitchen on this as we’ve had countless food delivery offerings end up warm by the end of the day.
The vessel itself uses a metal shelving system, contains a few reusable ice packs, and has a hard door to retain the temperature. Food is spread across each shelf and is easy to unload. The ice packs stay within the until once unloaded, the cooler is sealed, and put back in the original box. That in itself is a great deal of waste saved in place of a reusable system.
Ingredients and Healthy Options
Like other meal prep services, Terra’s Kitchen is competitively priced at about $63 for six servings, but because you select each meal in the delivery that price can go up a bit. The shipping is built into the price, so it doesn’t cost more to be a bit nicer to the environment. As far as the food options go, there is a lot to choose from.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, trying to lose weight, or avoid gluten, there are quite a few meals for each category. They also use proteins that are non-GMO, hormone and antibiotic-free, and seafood that is sustainably sourced. Produce is also typically organic, and come direct from farms.
Another standout area for Terra's Kitchen is that produce comes pre-chopped. If you’ve ever done one of the other meal prep kits, you know dealing with produce typically adds the most time to getting food in your belly. However, this also means the ingredients probably won’t stay as fresh for as long either. The recipes also take much less time to cook because of the pre-chopped produce, coming in at 15-30 minutes at most. Some recipes do use a slow cooker though.
Yum! Not only does Terra's Kitchen make it easier to reduce waste and diversify your weekly meal prep, their solution is competitively priced, healthier, and takes less time to cook.
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