Hungryroot Is Like No Meal Kit Service You’ve Had Before, and That’s Why It’s the Best

published Feb 18, 2020
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Credit: Hungryroot

I first noticed ads for Hungryroot on the subway in New York City a couple of years ago … and then it slowly started taking over my Instagram. People raved about the black bean brownie batter (more on that later), and how easy it was to add healthy, prepared ingredients to your everyday meals. I was intrigued. But what was it all about? Was it grocery delivery? Or was it a meal kit? How did it all work?

I’ve tried many meal kit services, and a handful of grocery delivery options, but I’ve never tried anything like Hungryroot before. Because Hungryroot somehow manages to be both of these things. You can order just groceries if you want, or you can opt to get specific groceries that make a meal (or you can do a combination of the two!). The company also focuses on whole, nutrient-dense ingredients and meals that are easy to make. In other words, it sounded pretty dreamy.

I finally got a chance to try Hungryroot for the entire month of January, and I was not disappointed. Here’s what I learned.

Credit: Ariel Knutson

How Hungryroot Works

There is no fee for starting Hungryroot. You simply sign up for weekly deliveries that you can pause at any time. You have the option of three different sized boxes: small ($69/week), medium ($99/week), and large ($129/week).

  • The small size is three or more two-serving meals, plus snacks.
  • The medium size is four or more two-serving meals, plus snacks.
  • The large size is five or more two-serving meals, plus snacks.

Based on the box you choose, you get a number of “coins” to shop for what’s available. You can shop ingredients for that week’s recipes, or you can go a la carte and just buy your favorite groceries. You can also do a combination of the two (my preferred way). If you don’t customize your order, Hungryroot will just send you the ingredients for pre-selected recipes.

  • Pricing and fees: Pricing depends on the size of your box of groceries. There are three sizes: small ($69/week), medium ($99/week), and large ($129/week). The type of shipping you get depends on your zip code. Orders that get ground shipping are sent for free, while air shipping is an extra $10.
  • Where it’s available: Everywhere in the continental U.S.
Credit: Ariel Knuston

What I Like About Hungryroot

Hungryroot checks all the boxes I’m looking for in a meal kit/grocery service. First of all, compared to all the other meal kits I’ve tried, these were the easiest meals to make. I love cooking (I’m a food editor, after all!), so what I personally want from a meal kit service is time back in the kitchen. For the most part, everything from Hungryroot comes prepped and ready for you — even the chicken is pre-cooked. All the meals I made came together in 20 minutes or less.

Hungryroot is all about whole, nutritious ingredients, and I was super impressed by their offerings. All the ingredients are free of artificial preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and high-fructose corn syrup. Many of the ingredients you find in the boxes are made and prepared in house, which I thought was very cool. If they used outside products, they were things I already loved like Banza and Beyond Meat. If I had to choose, my three favorite products were:

  • Kohlrabi Noodles. These were delicious as a base in quick vegetable stir-fries topped with their peanut sauce.
  • Broccoli Rice. Oh boy. Who knew the stems of broccoli could taste this good? My favorite recipe with this product was Hungryroot’s flatbread, topped with garlic parm sauce, sautéed broccoli rice, and chicken sausage.
  • Black Bean Brownie Batter. For the past decade — DECADE — I have loathed the idea of black bean brownies. Why not just eat a regular brownie? I thought. Why does diet culture have to take everything delicious away from us? Oh, but I was wrong. The black bean brownies from Hungryroot are so fudgey and delicious, I ended up getting a tub every single week. You can bake them, or eat the batter right out of the tub — I highly recommend the latter.

Because Hungryroot sits in the fuzzy space between a meal kit and just grocery delivery, the way the recipes are written and the amount of ingredients you get is pretty unique. Whereas a traditional meal kit would walk you through step-by-step in how to make something, including the exact amount of oil needed to cook something on the stove, Hungryroot is way more relaxed. The recipes kind of read like how a friend would tell you how to cook something: chop this up, put it in a pan with some oil for five minutes, and serve.

In my month of trying Hungryroot, I also noticed that there were always leftover ingredients from the dishes I made — usually a fair amount of sauce (and they have GREAT sauces) and some protein, like their sausages. I personally really liked this, because it meant I could bulk up other meals outside of what I was making with Hungryroot.

What I Wish Was Different

The cost of the Hungryroot boxes is definitely more than I can spend on a weekly basis. Based on some rough calculations, the meals sit at around $10-ish per serving. This is high when you consider what it would cost if you went to the grocery store, but compared to other meal kits, it feels about average. I’m not saying that products and ease aren’t worth the cost, just that it’s definitely prohibitive to a lot of people.

Besides cost, the only other drawback to Hungryroot is the lack of variety. All of the dishes you can make are kind of comprised of the same things. Most of the meals are just four ingredients: a starch-y thing, a vegetable, a protein, and a sauce, and there’s only about a handful of options for each of these categories. Everything I had was good, but if I was getting a box from Hungryroot every single week for an extended period of time, I might get a little bored.

Credit: Ariel Knutson

Other Things to Know

Something that always comes up whenever we talk about grocery delivery or meal kits, is the waste. There can be a lot of plastic and necessary shipping packaging. But I thought — at least amongst their competitors — that Hungryroot did an awesome job in trying to mitigate waste. All of the shipping packaging they send you is recyclable. The cooler is even wrapped in this fluffy biodegradable material that I had never seen used before in other food services. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

The customer service at Hungryroot is also excellent. I was missing an ingredient from one of my boxes one week, and they responded within 24 hours, apologized (even though I said it was no big deal!), and sent me a small credit for my next order.

Credit: Ariel Knutson

My Final Thoughts

Hungyroot is designed for people who love food, don’t have a ton of time time to cook or grocery shop (and can afford to outsource), and want everything to be on the healthier side of things. While it’s not something I would want every single week, I’m already planning on using it again in the near future when I know I won’t have a lot of time to cook. If you are even a little curious about Hungryroot, I highly recommend trying it out. And please: Make sure you try the black bean brownie batter.

Have you tried Hungryroot? What’d you think?