Hungryroot Review: Healthier Than Cooking at Home?

Hungryroot Review: Healthier Than Cooking at Home?


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Hungryroot is a hybrid between a grocery delivery service and a meal delivery service. The brand delivers groceries with recipes included, and describes itself as "The easiest way to eat healthy."

But is Hungryroot actually healthy or is this just a marketing claim? What does a Hungryroot meal look like? Are there any unhealthy additive ingredients like presrvatives? And how do real users rate and describe the taste of Hungryroot meals?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in some Hungryroot meals to give our take on whether they're actually healthy or not.

We'll also explain why the brand was recently sued, and feature real, unsponsored Hungryroot customer reviews. 

Ingredient Analysis

Here are a few randomly selected recipes from the Hungryroot menu at the time of updating this article:

Turkey + Roast Potatoes

Hungryroot Turkey & Roast Potatoes ingredients

Hungryroot's turkey and roast potatoes meal contains a large amount of broccoli which is nutritious. 

It's made primarily of whole foods which is a good thing, however we have a few complaints about the additive ingredients.

The turkey contains citric acid, which is a food manufacturing additive shown in a 2018 medical review to cause whole-body inflammation in a small number of individuals. It also contains added sugar.

We'll also assume the turkey is sourced from conventionally-raised animals (since there is no mention otherwise), which is a less nutritious option than animal products from pastured animals as we documented in our Freshly reviews article.

Lemongrass Tofu

Hungryroot lemongrass tofu meal ingredients

Hungryroot's lemongrass tofu meal is a vegetarian option.

It contains a "Superblend Salad" with kohlrabi (which was shown in a 2014 medical review to have anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects) and kale which provides a significant amount of minerals like potassium and calcium per serving according to the USDA.

Our only (minor) complaint is that the coconut curry contains citric acid. But that is one questionable additive ingredient among 30+ ingredients in this meal.

We consider the tofu meal to be healthier than the turkey meal due to the improved nutrient density, lack of added sugar and lack of meat from conventionally-raised animals.

Shrimp Alfredo

Hungryroot shrimp alfredo ingredients

Hungryroot's shrimp alfredo is made with cauliflower pasta which we consider a much healthier option than wheat-based pasta. Cauliflower is much higher in fiber than wheat (this meal provides 6 grams of fiber in only 330 calories), and optimizing fiber intake can support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels according to a medical review published in the Nutrition Reviews journal.

Our complaints are three-fold: the cheese appears to be sourced from conventionally-raised animals, citric acid is included, and natural flavors are included.

Natural flavors is a broad categorical term that fails to describe the specific flavoring agents used. A meta-study on natural flavoring compounds documented toxicity concerns regarding some flavoring agents.

Real, Unsponsored Hungryroot User Reviews

A YouTube creator named Theresa Kettler shared what a week on Hungryroot looks like and gave her thoughts on the taste and healthiness of the meals:

A TikTok creator named Kesha Ames has a time-lapse video showing her week's worth of meal prep using Hungryroot:

@ready.set.ames Still meal prepping to stay healthy… Recovery @justlalab @mcyk8891 #h#h#hungryrootrecipes #mealservice #plantbasedmeals ♬ I'm So Hungry - Karter Zaher

Why Was Hungryroot Sued?

In January of 2023, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Hungryroot due to their auto-renewal practices, according to ClassAction.org.

The plaintiff alleges that Hungryroot did not make it clear to consumers that they were signing up for an auto-renewal service as opposed to a one-time purchase, and that it was made intentionally hard to cancel.

This lawsuit appears to be ongoing, but we don't believe there's anything here that should really concern consumers. Be sure to check the terms on your subscription to know what you're signing up for, but at least it's not a product quality lawsuit which would be more concerning.

Why Are Hungryroot Customers Complaining?

There are a number of Hungryroot complaints on the brand's Better Business Bureau (BBB) page, including customers complaining about food arriving spoiled or not arriving at all. The brand has a 1.29 out of 5 star rating on the BBB site.

A customer named "Jenny R." complains about a refrigeration issue:

"Terrible. The foods that are supposed to me cold were warm and the food that did not need refrigeration were cold. They sent me the wrong items and when I emailed them about it they said it was my fault."

In Hungryroot's defense, the brand does respond to the majority of the complaints and offer a resolution, which is a sign of a high-quality brand in our opinion. 

A YouTube creator named "Totally Forkable" has a video that explains some frustrations she's had as a Hungryroot customer in regard to meat being shipped (she's vegetarian), substitutions, customer service, payment and more:

How Much Does Hungryroot Cost?

Hungryroot has an individualized pricing plan so the cost isn't very clear on their site unless you express interest in signing up.

On the brand's support page, it states that the smallest plan is $70 which consists of three meals of two servings each. Hungryroot describes most of their meals as having two servings even though they only contain around 400-600 calories, so we consider this more like one serving for an average adult.

Assuming each meal is actually one serving for most customers, this equates to a per-meal cost of $23.33 which is relatively high, even for luxury meal delivery brands. Certainly the cost will scale down with larger orders, but this is still a high starting point in our opinion, and is comparable to eating at a restaurant.

Our Take: Is Hungryroot Healthy?

Most of the Hungryroot recipes we reviewed are relatively nutrient-dense, and we certainly consider them to be healthier than the average American diet.

Hungryroot meals are typically high-protein, relatively high in fiber, and contain moderate calories. This suggests they may be effective for weight loss.

The meals contain much more veggies than the typical American diet, and the majority of ingredients are whole foods. We consider Hungryroot to be relatively healthy and to be healthier than the average meal delivery service.

However, due to the inclusion of certain questionable additive ingredients like citric acid and natural flavors, along with the fact that all animal products appear to be sourced from conventionally raised animals, we do not currently recommend the service.

Hungryroot’s Sustainability Initiatives

Hungryroot has taken significant steps to ensure that their packaging is fully sustainable, which we commend because this is logistically challenging for a national food delivery company.

Their packaging is made with cardboard and is fully recyclable, and even their ice packs are non-toxic and recyclable. 

Hungryroot also donates excess food to food banks so none is wasted.

As a Benefit Corporation, we take corporate governance seriously and it’s great to see other companies with similar values.

We don't believe that Hungryroot is "greenwashing" and we consider the brand to be a more environmentally-friendly option than most meal delivery companies.

Our Clean Meal Delivery Pick

Trifecta Nutrition is our top meal delivery service pick because of its nutritious options.

Their meals are created by chefs, and most importantly, the meals are rich in vitamins and minerals because they're primarily made with vegetables and grass-fed meats. 

Unlike most commercial meal plans, Trifecta doesn't use filler carbs for most of the calories.

Interested consumers can check out Trifecta Nutrition at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Hungryroot is a high-quality meal delivery brand, and would likely improve the health and nutrition of most Americans. Their meals contain a high quantity of vegetables, decent food diversity, and healthier alternatives to many standard items (like cauliflower pasta instead of wheat pasta).

We don't currently recommend the service due to the inclusion of a few questionable additive ingredients that make their meals more "processed" in our opinion, such as citric acid and natural flavors.

Hungryroot is also quite expensive, with their smallest meal delivery option costing over $20 per meal assuming that the average consumer eats both of the two small servings.

Hungryroot does a great job in regard to sustainability, and is superior to most meal delivery brands in this regard. Their packaging is cardboard and they minimize use of plastic. The brand may be a good option for environmentally-conscious consumers.

There are a number of complaints about Hungryroot on the BBB site, but most brand reviews on that site are negative, and Hungryroot addresses most of the customer complains so we don't think it's really much to worry about.