Ten years ago, the idea of a subscription box for groceries didn’t even cross most people’s minds. Now, even for top dietary preferences, like keto, they’re becoming enormously popular. The reason is both simple and complex. Americans, crunched by the time or lured by convenience, are changing the way they shop for and prepare meals.
While grocery shopping in stores has by no means died out, there’s no doubt that brick and mortar stores have had to adapt. According to an analysis by Global Data, under 2 percent of groceries sales were made online in 2010. By 2022, that number is projected to increase to nearly 10 percent.
While that share might seem insignificant, the exponential increase and long-term impact are not. This year, Kroger’s and Walgreen’s, national grocery and drug store chains announced they would offer customers to pick up online orders. Kroger went a step further and even started offering home deliveries.
And while home delivery is one major competitor to traditional grocery shopping, there’s also an arguably more formidable competitor, one that catered to special diets like keto: subscription boxes. The subscription box industry is worth an estimated $2.6 billion and growing. Competition is stiff, in part because of new boxes being offered so frequently; there’s been a 40 percent increase in new subscription box services just from last year.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the subscription box industry, keto specific boxes, and the best options for you and your lifestyle. First, we take a look at some frequently asked questions.
- 1 What’s the difference between grocery delivery services and subscription boxes?
- 2 Who is a subscription box service right for?
- 3 What are the best keto subscription boxes?
- 4 Best Keto Snack Boxes
- 5 Best Keto Meal Boxes
- 6 For Weight Loss (Honorable Mention)
What’s the difference between grocery delivery services and subscription boxes?
Online delivery and subscription boxes save customers time, plus they offer more flexibility to fit a busy schedule. Even if you don’t feel well, or are having transportation issues, online grocery delivery services and subscription boxes offer a way to get what you need without even leaving your home.
While grocery delivery services work more or less like traditional grocery shopping, in that you select individual items, subscription boxes cut back on meal preparation time, too. Most subscription boxes:
- Offer different plans based on taste, dietary preferences, size, and price point
- Come with ingredients partially prepped
- Come with step by step recipes
- Are delivered straight to your door
- Come with blog and website inspiration and support
Who is a subscription box service right for?
While there are countless reasons someone might opt to purchase a subscription box service, the best reasons are if you’re low on time, inspiration, or ability when it comes to making meals. With almost any subscription boxes, signing up for a plan means you’ll receive at least partially prepped fresh ingredients (such as diced vegetables), a specific recipe, and prep tips.
If you find yourself always struggling to come up with meal ideas, or even want to learn cooking gradually and easily, it doesn’t hurt to at least look into subscription boxes.
The great news for keto followers is that, since more and more subscription boxes become more available, so too have options specially formulated for keto diets. Because of this, a final reason you might want to take a look at subscription boxes is if you’re new to keto. Starting keto can be exciting, but also overwhelming, Opting for a meal subscription box gives you the opportunity to get an idea of what delicious and balanced keto meals look like.
What are the best keto subscription boxes?
And what’s best for me? Keto subscription boxes offer high-quality ingredients and packaged foods shipped directly to you. The best ones offer a range of prices, plans, and some even cater to your individual needs and preferences.
But what’s the best keto subscription box is up for a matter of debate. It depends in part what your dietary needs are, how much you can spend, and what kind of box plan you’re looking for.
We’ve broken down keto subscription boxes in three categories–read on to see which kind, and which of the boxes, should make the top of your list.
Best Keto Snack Boxes
As the name implies, snack boxes are not your typical meal subscription service. If you’re not looking for a full meal prep service, these offer smaller samples of packaged keto products.
The idea is to introduce you to snacks that can keep you on track with your keto diet. Not only does it save you a trip to the grocery store when you’re in a pinch, but these subscription boxes offer specialty items they may be hard, or even impossible to find in a regular store.
If you think snacks aren’t important for maintaining a healthy keto diet, think again: as long as you don’t go over your nutritional needs, healthy snacks help satisfy you in between meals, can help you stick with your diet, and even added something important nutrients.
And since so much of the snack market is centered on simple carbohydrates, these boxes give you some great snacks to take on the go–without derailing keto.
1. The Keto Box
If you’re looking to have healthy and convenient snacks delivered to your door, The Keto Box is one of your best bets. The subscription box delivers 8-11 keto snacks a month with free shipping in the United States and an option to ship to Canada ($15.99 shipping fee).
You can track when you’ll receive your next box by consulting the “Where’s my box?” page. It gives an estimate based on when the order was made. Renewals and subscriptions can be done on a month to month basis: renewals begin on the 15th of each month; you can cancel up to the 14th for the following month.
Other customer-friendly options include a variety of subscription plans: select from month to month; 3 month; 6 month, or 12 month.
There are some downsides to this subscription box service. What you get is randomized: while there are some sample pictures, there is no way of knowing their inventory unless you directly contact the company. You also don’t have an option as of now to personalize what items you want. You are encouraged to send feedback each month, so the company gets an idea of what you liked or didn’t like, but it isn’t clear how things would be adjusted based upon your feedback.
Because of this, we recommend going for a one-month subscription initially to see if you like it. This is the best pick if you want something to surprise you and enjoy sampling new products, or if you have the tendency to pick the same things over and over and want to branch out a little.
It’s fairly few snacks for a month, so it’s more of a sampler, low-commitment subscription, but that might be exactly what some people want.
- Pricing: $40.00/ month; $114.00/ 3 month; $216.00/ 6 month; $408.00/ year
- 8-11 keto snacks/ month
- Random selection
- Choose from four prepaid plans
- Easy cancellation & renewal
- Free shipping in the U.S.; Canadian shipping for a fee
- Monthly coupons for featured products
- Send feedback each month to improve services
Keto delivered, like The Keto Box, offers subscription boxes for keto snacks. But instead of on-the-go packaged snacks, this service focuses on what it terms “artisan keto friendly products’.
What that means is that the products you receive, rather than larger name brands or companies, are primarily from smaller businesses and even farmers. You’ll receive slightly fewer products–5 to 7 per month–, but you’ll also be sent some ‘exclusive recipes,’ which may or may not be related to the products.
As for what kind of products you can expect? Like The Keto Box, you don’t have many options to customize, so it’s the luck of the draw, but products you can expect to include cooking products (such as spices, herbs, condiments), beverages (coffee, tea), snacks (jerks, nuts), and ‘artisan goods’ (it is not specified what this might include).
Since you can’t customize, it’s also important to note that the products you receive will not necessarily be gluten free or vegan. But a plus side is that this service also offers free shipping in the U.S. Subscriptions can be canceled by the 1st of every month.
While it doesn’t offer the customization we’d like, the emphasis on baked goods and ingredients, along with snacks, make this a good pick for someone who’s interested in trying a variety of products, as well as supporting small businesses.
- Pricing: $39.99/ month, continuous (the only option; can cancel at any time)
- 5-7 items/ month
- Random Selection: Snacks and Baking Items
- Exclusive Recipes
- Free shipping in the U.S. (International not available)
- Support smaller companies
- Artisanal Items
Best Keto Meal Boxes
Just what exactly are meal subscription boxes? This is the bulk of the subscription box market, and what most people think about when discussing subscription boxes. These are more full-service boxes, meant to reduce the bulk of your grocery shopping and give you an edge on meal prep, too.
While snack boxes are fun samplers and can help introduce you to new products, these are focused on helping you get dinner on the table. The best options include pre or partially prepared ingredients and detailed but easy step by step recipes with each batch of ingredients.
While you might have to supplement with some grocery items (for snacks or if you only order for one meal a night, etc.), these greatly cut down on time you’ll spend both shopping and making meals.
Convenience doesn’t always come at a cheap price, and though it’s great there are now keto offerings, you may end up paying more than you would at a grocery store. But many are affordable for a variety of budgets. Plus, this kind of service is excellent if you’re just starting keto and need some meal ideas.
GreenChef is a fairly well-known subscription box service, and now they offer a line catering specifically for keto.
GreenChef is unique in that all of its ingredients are certified USDA organic, GMO-Free, and also sustainable in that they work with food manufacturers and farmers who commit to helping protect the environment.
Consumer Reports, Forbes, Self, and Vogue have all provided positive endorsements for the company as a whole. Each box contains organic ingredients, recipes created by chefs, and is carefully separated in temperature-controlled packaging.
You can select from 2-person or family plans (4 servings). Plans are generally for three meals a week, and you’re given the option of selecting a delivery day. While you’re able to select the keto plan, you can’t do much else regarding customization. Subscriptions renew every week, with the option to skip days or weeks. You can cancel at the beginning of any week.
You can, however, get a peek at the meals you’ll likely get. Every week there’s a new menu, so there’s little chance you’ll get tired of the meals. You can see the current week’s menu under a “what’s cooking” section of the site. Per writing this review, the current dinners for keto include Greek Lemon-Basil Tuna Steaks, Seed-Crusted Chicken over Spaghetti Squash Noodles, and Philly Stuffed Pepper.
Prices are per serving, though you should get a final price at checkout.
- Price: $12.99/ serving
- Organic, GMO-Free, Environmentally Sourced
- Select your Delivery Day
- New Weekly Menus
- Reviewed and Rated by Consumer Reports, Forbes, and Others
- Weekly Automatic Renewal, with Easy Cancellation and Ability to Skip Days
4. Keto Fridge:
KetoFridge makes our list of top subscription boxes for keto because of its incredible customization. While there is much to be said for GreenChef’s commitment to organic and sustainable ingredients, Keto Fridge allows you to order exactly the meals you want. If you’re a picky eater, this is a great option.
While it in some ways puts more work on your part to select meals, this is also excellent for a variety of dietary needs. Select from pizza, lunch, dinner, breakfast, dessert, and beverages. Hovering over each item will provide full nutritional information, as well as a complete list of ingredients–yet another great feature for anyone trying to hit specific macronutrients.
The menu changes every week, but includes items such as Chicken Parmesan, Bacon-Pecan Crusted Salmon, Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork, and seasonal items like Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Pancake Bites.
Prices average about $15 per meal.
The biggest downside? This is more mimics a grocery delivery service than a traditional subscription box. You’re essentially ordering ready-made meals, which you only need to heat. While that might be a plus for some, it also means it’s up to you to order–there are no subscriptions as of now. There’s also a caveat of a minimum order of $69.99–though meals can stay fresh for a whole week, or even frozen and used later.
If you don’t want to deal with a subscription service, want plenty of selections and don’t mind scheduling weekly ordering yourself, this is a good hybrid option to go with.
- Price: $15 on average per item; must make a minimum delivery of $69.99
- Customization/ Individual Menu Selection
- Delivery Any Time
- No Obligations or Subscriptions
- Suitable for Range of Specific Dietary Needs
For Weight Loss (Honorable Mention)
We’re only including one for this category, in part because technically any subscription box could be used for weight loss. Keto itself, of course, leads many to weight loss. But for our purpose, we’ve included a service that is specifically catered to your individual nutritional needs and weight loss goals.
By offering portioned meals and nutrients designed for your body, this takes out some of the guesswork if you’re looking to lose weight. And as opposed to some other options, like diet shakes, this is a real-food approach for anyone following keto.
But our option is more of a meal planning service.
5. Keto Diet
The Keto Diet is personalized and offers a 60-day plan to jumpstart your weight loss or nutritional goals. You’ll be asked your gender, level of physical activity, protein preferences (select as many or as little as you’d like), vegetable preferences, additional ingredients you’d like (eggs, nuts, cheese, butter, coconut, cottage cheese), your lifestyle during the day, sleep habits, physical stats, and weight goal.
From there, a plan will be calculated for you. You’ll also be given a report about your current caloric needs (based on your weight goal), metabolic age, and breakdown of nutrient percentiles for your ketogenic diet.
The scientific approach and ability to include dietary preferences is outstanding. There are, of course, a few drawbacks. For one, all ingredients are raw, which means they’ll likely be fresh, but you’ll also have more work to do. For another, there does not appear to be a way to preview your meals before you sign up.
The price is not for an ongoing subscription, but rather a 60-day plan intended to help you hit your weight and health goals. If you have allergens, they will work with you.
The cost covers a 60-day plan and lifetime access.
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