Daily Harvest Review: Healthier Than Other Meal Delivery Brands?

Daily Harvest Review: Healthier Than Other Meal Delivery Brands?


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Daily Harvest is a plant-based meal and smoothie delivery service. The company claims to be "on a mission to make it really easy to eat more fruits + vegetables every day."

The company has beautiful branding and a great website, but many other meal replacement products we’ve recently reviewed such as Kachava make similar claims but fall short in terms of ingredients.

Is Daily Harvest really as nutritious as the brand claims? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? How do real users rate the taste of their products? And is it worth the relatively high prices?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in Daily Harvest's most popular products: their smoothies, meals, Mylk (milk alternative), and Scoops (ice cream). We'll share real user reviews of each product and explain if we approve of the product from a health perspective.

We'll also highlight information about a voluntary recall of Daily Harvest products due to food-borne illness and whether consumers should be worried.

Daily Harvest Smoothie Reviews

Daily Harvest Smoothies

Daily Harvest Smoothies are very nutrient-dense, and almost free of filler ingredients.

The smoothies provide a wide range of fruits and vegetables that are likely not in the typical American diet, including dragon fruit, acai, passion fruit and many others. We know from medical research that dietary diversity is associated with optimal gut health, which is why we recommend that consumers eat a wide range of different fruits and vegetables. Daily Harvest smoothies appear to make this convenient.

A few of their smoothies, like their top-selling Strawberry + Peach smoothie, contain citric acid.

While this flavoring agent can be sourced from citrus fruits, 99% of the world’s citric acid is manufactured from an allergenic fungus called Aspergillus niger, as detailed in this medical review of the ingredient published in the Toxicology Reports journal.

The above-linked review highlights how citric acid may cause inflammatory reactions in a small subset of individuals, so we recommend avoiding products containing this ingredient.

In several Daily Harvest smoothies, like their Watermelon + Dragon Fruit smoothie, Daily Harvest uses organic psyllium husk powder as a thickener, which is a great choice from a health context as this ingredient is very high in fiber. 

We’ve recommended psyllium husk powder in several of our research reviews, including as an alternative to cornstarch, because many Americans don’t consume enough fiber daily, and this ingredient can also benefit patients seeking weight loss, as high fiber intake increases the feeling of fullness without increasing calories.

Daily Harvest Smoothies currently cost $8.49 each.

We recommend all Daily Harvest Smoothies that are free of citric acid (which is the majority of them). Interested consumers can check out Daily Harvest Smoothies at this link to the Smoothies page on the brand's website.

A YouTube creator called Figures and Frames published an unsponsored review of Daily Harvest smoothies:

Daily Harvest Recall -- Is The Brand Unsafe?

In the summer of 2022, Daily Harvest issued a voluntary recall of one of their meals (French Lentil + Leek Crumbles) that was causing food-borne illness in some consumers. The majority of the adverse reactions appear to be relatively minor like stomach upset, but a few individuals reported side effects as serious as gallbladder issues.

Daily Harvest issued a press release where the brand claimed this issue was due to the use of tara flour, which is a plant-based protein. It's unclear whether that specific batch of tara flour was contaminated, or whether tara flour is inherently toxic. We cannot locate any medical research on this botanical compound.

In any case, Daily Harvest has removed this ingredient from their production process so this should not be an issue going forward. We continue to recommend the brand, because food-borne illness is always a risk when purchasing food products (think of the constant salmonella outbreaks involving spinach), but we understand and respect if this makes some consumers want to avoid this brand.

Daily Harvest Meal Reviews

Daily Harvest Forager Bowls

Like their smoothies, Daily Harvest meals provide a wide range of different nutritious whole foods.

A few of the Harvest Bowls contain citric acid, and we would recommend avoiding these until Daily Harvest, but we recommend any Daily Harvest meal that's free of citric acid.

Daily Harvest’s Spinach + Shiitake Grits bowl is a good example of how healthy these offerings are. It contains 15 different whole foods ingredients like organic millet, organic portobello mushrooms, organic cashew butter and much more. The meal provides 15% of the Daily Value (DV) potassium and 20% DV iron in only 200 calories.

Instead of bleached white flour that most brands use to save money on bread, Daily Harvest flatbreads are made with organic cassava flour which is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and magnesium according to the USDA.

Our only criticism of the meals is that many of them are relatively low in calories. This isn’t a bad thing in the context of an overall healthy diet, but some of the offerings on Daily Harvest would not satisfy the caloric requirements for one of three daily meals. 

We see most Daily Harvest meals as more of a healthy and nutritious snack than a meal replacement due to the relatively low calorie levels.

From a health perspective we recommend all of Daily Harvest’s meals which are free of citric acid. We find that in all categories of products they sell, the company prioritizes nutrient-dense whole foods.

The cost of Daily Harvest meal depends on the offering. Harvest Bowls cost $9.79, Harvest Bakes cost $11.99, and soups cost $8.49.

Interested consumers can check out Daily Harvest meals at this link which goes to the brand's Best Sellers page and features a wide variety of meals.

A YouTube creator named The Confused Mom published a review of Daily Harvest Forager Bowls that includes a taste test of several products:

Daily Harvest Mylk Review

One of the categories where Daily Harvest really stands out in comparison to the competition is their plant-based milk alternative called Mylk.

Their marketing materials suggest that most commercial nut milks are full of questionable filler ingredients and they’re right. Almond Breeze’s original almond milk contains the following ingredients: almondmilk (filtered water, almonds), cane sugar, calcium carbonate, sea salt, potassium citrate, sunflower lecithin, gellan gum, Vitamin A palmitate, Vitamin D2, D-Alpha-Tocopherol (natural Vitamin E).

So one of the most popular almond milk products contains a relatively large amount of added sugar (7 grams per serving), emulsifiers and fillers like gellan gum and sunflower lecithin, and a ton of synthetic vitamins.

Daily Harvest’s Mylk only contains ground almonds, water and himalayan sea salt. Their Almond + Vanilla Mylk contains ground almonds, water, himalayan sea salt and vanilla bean powder. 

Both options are significantly healthier than most commercial alternative milk products, and Daily Harvest Mylk is the only milk alternative product we have recommended to date. It’s also affordable in comparison with their other offerings, costing less than $1 per serving.

Interested consumers can check out Daily Harvest Mylk at this link to the product page on their website.

The Daily Harvest YouTube channel has a 16 second video showing how easy it is to prepare Mylk:

Daily Harvest Scoops Review

Daily Harvest Scoops

Daily Harvest sells ice cream called Scoops, and we find it impressive that they're sweetened naturally rather than with added sugar.

The Scoops contain a variation of maple syrup, organic coconut cream and sweet potato puree to provide the sweet taste, which is a much healthier alternative to regular grocery store ice cream which contains significant amounts of added, processed sugar.

Maple syrup is shown to have significant levels of phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium and is a great processed sugar alternative when used in moderation.

Coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels when added to the diet.

Sweet potato was reviewed by medical researchers in the Advances in Food and Nutrition Research journal and the study authors concluded that “The sweet potato could be considered as an excellent novel source of natural health-promoting compounds, such as beta-carotene and anthocyanins, for the functional food market”.

We recommend all Daily Harvest Scoops products, and this is the first sweet or ice cream product we’ve recommended to date. We find these to be excellent and healthy options for consumers who have a sweet tooth, and it’s uncommon to find a brand actually willing to experiment with an ice cream ingredient formulation to make their products healthier rather than just use processed sugar.

Daily Harvest Scoops cost $8.99 per serving.

Interested consumers can check out Daily Harvest Scoops at this link to the product page on their website.

A YouTube creator called OH HAPPY MEI published an unboxing and review video of Daily Harvest Scoops:

Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Daily Harvest is one of the best meal delivery or meal replacement services from a nutritional standpoint. We recommend all of the brand's meals without citric acid, and we recommend the brand overall.

The products are relatively expensive so it may not be the best option for a budget-conscious consumer. For those consumers we would recommend cooking at home. But for higher-income consumers who have the means, Daily Harvest provides excellent and varied nutrition and is cheaper than eating out at a restaurant.

One of Daily Harvest's products was recalled in mid-2022 and the brand has removed the offending ingredient. We do not have an issue continuing to recommend the brand, but understandably some consumers have chosen to avoid them entirely due to this issue.

Daily Harvest Scoops are the brand's most impressive formulation in our opinion, as it's challenging to make sweets like ice cream taste good and be healthy. Daily Harvest got it right with that product, and it's the only ice cream product we recommend from a nutritional standpoint to date.




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