Going to the grocery store is an enormous time and energy suck. It’s the reason so many meal kit subscription services exist. Companies like Blue Apron have simplified things quite a bit, but they can also nuke a lot of your creativity.
If you miss the aisle-strolling of a grocery store, Hungryroot offers a little bit of both worlds. With access to curated recipes and grocery delivery, the delivery service is sort of like if Instacart provided you with recipe ideas for all the stuff you can buy.
How does Hungryroot compare to similar services? I decided to try it and find out.
Hungryroot provided a sample box for this review.
What Is Hungryroot?
Though Hungryroot’s delivery boxes are similar to Hello Fresh and other meal delivery services, it’s a lot more like grocery shopping than any of the others.
With a typical meal delivery service, you’d receive pre-prepped ingredients to make very specific meals. Hungryroot offers more of a grocery delivery service, and though recipe ideas are available, you have a lot more flexibility when shopping for ingredients.
The grocery options are vast, too. The company offers everything from produce to snacks available as a la carte delivery options. The whole thing is very much like a virtual grocery store.
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How Does Hungryroot Work?
The system runs on credits, and the amount of credits you get each week depends on how many “servings” you’re eating. It’s hard to tell exactly what constitutes a serving, since the ingredients range from sous vide chicken breasts to meat-and-cheese snack packs, but my box had 27 individual items in it.
Small snacks like olives can be as little as one credit, yet curated recipes that include three to five ingredients can come bundled together for as many as 13 credits. There's a lot of customization available, so how you spend your credits is entirely up to you.
How Much Does Hungryroot Cost Per Week?
For my 12-serving week with six recipes, I was afforded 75 credits. This shakes out to about $170 for the week, though the first box is eligible for a discount and would have been only $118.
With the average cost of groceries ranging between $120 and $190 a week for a two-person household, this feels exactly right. It's definitely more expensive than most people can afford on a weekly basis, but I think of it like Postmates: A once-in-a-while treat. And in this case, you get what you pay for.
The website, though very busy and a bit overwhelming at first, was actually pretty easy to use. Setting up your dietary preferences can take a little time, but I think that this is actually a good thing. It helps in the long run, as Hungryroot tailors its recipes to the way you eat.
Are you gluten-free? Dairy-free? Interested in plant-based foods? This is the time to get all that into the system. Once you give it a starting-off point, you can continue to rate and review the meals you've eaten, and Hungryroot will adjust its suggestions accordingly. Not a fan of that black bean stir fry you had last time? You won't see it pop up in your grocery list again.
My order arrived a week after I placed it. It was packed with cold packs that mostly held form, though the inside of the box was pretty wet from condensation. The good news is that none of the groceries were affected.
The most fun aspect for me was mixing and matching the ingredients I received. I had enough stuff for tuna melts, chicken bowls, pastas, and more. I’m too much of a spoiled brat for meal prepping (I like to eat different foods all the time when I’m meal planning) and I found this to be a good time. Like a "Chopped" challenge, even.
For the most part, the ingredients in my box were of substantially high quality. I really liked some of Hungryroot's own sauces, like the spinach-artichoke purée and basil pesto I recieved. As an elitist West Coaster currently living in North Carolina, it was nice to see interesting brands that are hard to find (like Somos and Kevin’s Natural Foods) in my neck of the literal woods.
This deep dive into new products made the entire experience for me. There are even a few brands I’ll continue to hunt down in the future (hello, Roth cheddar cheese). The whole thing is honestly excellent, but I’d consider Hungryroot a luxury, rather than a traditional meal service. You can’t outrun that price point. Do I love the idea of spending $170 on groceries for the week? Not particularly, no.
But will I do it again some time? 100%. This is good stuff.