Is Daily Harvest Worth It? – The Vegan Subscription Review Round 1

You’re about to read my Daily Harvest smoothie review! As a vegan, I’m hunting for easy and convenient ways to eat vegan on the go, so I figured I’d try out Daily Harvest. So far, I’ve ordered a couple smoothies, a cauliflower rice bowl and most recently, some veggie dinner bowls which I haven’t tried yet.

My Favorite Daily Harvest Smoothie So Far

My favorite smoothie was the Dragon Fruit + Lychee Berry smoothie bowl, but I noticed a major difference in flavor when I didn’t add Tone it Up Vanilla Protein to it.  When I added a scoop of the protein and used an almond milk base, my smoothie tasted just like a strawberries and cream milkshake. Sheer, creamy, decadence.

Without the protein powder though, the smoothie was a bit sour and almost watery, which I think is due to the strawberries. (Frozen strawberries can be a trick to blend in smoothies.)

So are Daily Harvest smoothies worth the high price?

Organic watermelon and cucumber smoothie

So the cost of a Daily Harvest smoothie runs $6.99-$7.99. I still have to evaluate the cost it would take to make different Daily Harvest dinner bowls versus making those bowls from scratch, but I have evaluated the cost to make two different Daily Harvest smoothie packs at home and concluded that:

Daily Harvest smoothies are absolutely worth it it if you’re committed to eating all-organic and highly value your time.

If you’re fine with non-organic products and find food prep and planning relaxing like I do, then stick to homemade smoothies with alternative recipes and ditch the pricey Daily Harvest.

How I decided whether or not these smoothies are worth it…

The reasons are largely outlined below with the cost comparison, but a huge consideration is the fact that Daily Harvest makes their smoothies with fruits and veggies that might be:

  • Hard to find in certain regions of the U.S.
  • Difficult to prepare (um, who likes chopping up a whole pineapple?)
  • Hard to find in an organic option

If you love living an organic lifestyle, hands-down, the ease of these pre-packaged meals makes a Daily Harvest subscription worth it. But if you’re good with Aldi produce or want to buy from your local farmer’s market to support the local industry, you’ll see that you’re not missing out on some amazing price deal.

The Estimated Cost of Making Two Daily Harvest Smoothies at Home

Daily harvest lychee smoothie

To make the Dragon Fruit + Lychee Berry smoothie, you’d need to purchase the following ingredients, and this doesn’t include purchasing a liquid base, but you’d need the liquid base either way:

  • 16oz organic strawberries from Kroger – 2.99 (on sale), but normally 5.49
  • Lychee berry 6oz package from Sprouts (not organic specified) – 3.99
  • Pink dragon fruit (fresh) from Sprouts (not organic specified) – 3.99 each
  • Peaches (not organic specified) from Kroger – 2.49/lb or 1.15 each (@ Sprouts Farmer’s Market, 1.99/lb or around 1.00 each)
  • Organic banana from Kroger – around .33 each
  • Organic frozen pineapple chunks from Kroger 10oz – 2.79
  • Spectrum essentails whole flax seeds 15 oz bag from Thrive – 4.49
  • Organic beets (1 bunch) from Kroger – 2.99
  • Navitas organic hemp seeds from Thrive 8 oz – 8.99

So, I guesstimated the measurements of different ingredients for one smoothie and calculated the cost of making the individual drink:

  • 4 oz strawberries = .75 or 1.37
  • 3 oz lychee = 1.33
  • ¼ dragon fruit = .99
  • ½ a peach = .55 (from Kroger)
  • 1/3 a banana = .11
  • 2 oz frozen pineapple = .558
  • 1/2 oz flax seed is 1 TBS = .15
  • ¼ beet (assuming 3 beets in a bunch) = .25
  • ½ oz hemp seeds = .56

Your total for the Dragonfruit + Lychee smoothie would be around $5.24 or $5.89 when the strawberries are not in season/on sale.

To make the Frozen chai latte smoothie from Daily Harvest, you’d need to purchase the following ingredients, and again, this doesn’t include purchasing a liquid base:

  • Organic yellow squash/zucchini from Kroger – 1.57 a squash
  • Coconut chips/shreds from Thrive 8 oz – 3.49
  • A head of cauliflower from Kroger(not organic) – 3.49
  • Organic Medjool Dates 16 oz from Thrive – 8.99
  • Organic lite coconut milk from Thrive 13.5 oz can – 1.99
  • Organic hemp protein from Thrive 16 oz vanilla – 13.99
  • MCT oil listed on Thrive 32 oz – 15.69
  • Chai spice aka cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, ginger, organic cloves etc. – ? Hoping you have all these on hand already!

So for one smoothie:

  • 1/3 of a squash = .52
  • 1/3 cup of coconut (.9 oz according to cookitsimply.com) = .39
  • ¼ head of cauliflower = .87
  • The hemp protein container says 15 servings, so 1 serving = .93
  • ¼ c of dates – 2 pitted dates close to 2 oz = 1.1
  • 2 oz of coconut milk = .29
  • MCT oil – 2 tbs – 1 fl oz = .49
  • Misc spices – .40

The total for your homemade chai smoothie = $4.99.

Making the Daily Harvest chai latte smoothie at home is definitely cheaper…up front. But keep reading!

All the Cost Catches

Daily harvest smoothie subscription

  1. Buying all the ingredients up front

To make these smoothies, you’d have to buy all the ingredients up front, which means a hefty price for an initial shopping trip.

You’d also need to use up your produce pretty quickly so you’re not throwing money away. For example, if you base the number of smoothies you’ll make on the fresh produce you now have at hand with the chai latte smoothie and make 3 smoothies to finish off your yellow squash, you’re still left with ¼ head of cauliflower. What will you do with that?

And will you have storage room for a somewhat large hemp protein container as well as a jar of MCT oil and all the miscellaneous spice jars? As with bulk food purchases, to get the best cost savings means planning so that you use all your fresh ingredients and then also having the physical space for other dry goods.

  1. How much do you really value your time?

You really have to figure out how much your time is worth to you! I think the biggest factor in making Daily Harvest Smoothies worth it is how much you value your time. So consider all of the following.

Time crunch 1: You still have to go to the grocery with Daily Harvest

No matter what, you still need a liquid base to make your smoothies, which should be either a plant based milk or coconut water. That means you have to run to your local grocery store which could add an extra 10-15 minutes to your day just for the liquid base! I’d love to assume it would take less time, but who knows how long lines are or how traffic will be…

Time crunch 2: The actual value of your time spent shopping and prepping for your smoothies

So, let’s say we make a monetary value for your time based on how much you make per hour at work. And let’s say you earn about $40,000, the average yearly salary of U.S. 25-34 year olds. That would mean you make about $19 an hour. And let’s say it takes about 45 minutes of time to retrieve groceries and cut up fruit and portion out everything you need for one smoothie.

45 minutes = $14.25

So you’ve spent $14.25 of your time on getting the smoothie ingredients, and you have to add that to the cost of the actual smoothie ingredients.

At first this sounds exorbitant, but if you’re already shopping for groceries and meal prepping, you could be efficient and make two or three of the same smoothie at once. Suddenly, you’ve distributed your cost in half or thirds. Now each smoothie could be as low as a $4.75 investment of your precious time + cost of the ingredients.

Time crunch 3: But consider how your meal prep and shopping time is distributed beyond smoothies:

But is this really accurate? You’re probably already shopping for other ingredients as you retrieve smoothie ingredients, so you’re splitting your valuable time up over other meals too. So the time spent is probably much more marginal in cost since it’s split across multiple meals throughout your week.

Let’s take it down a notch and say 15 minutes of your time was spent on grocery shopping for smoothie ingredients alone and 5 minutes spent on prepping, but that can be split over 3 smoothies. Suddenly, the 20 minute cost ($6.33) split by 3 smoothies is ($2.11).

Add $2.11 to each of those smoothies and you get a final at home cost of:

  • Dragon Fruit & Lychee = $8
  • Chai Latte = $7.1
  1. Availability of Organic or Tropical Products

When I lived in Knoxville, certain fruits like dragon fruit, guavas and papayas weren’t available at my local grocery. I didn’t know of any local international stores with these fruits (although they could have been there) and they weren’t available at the typical Kroger or WholeFoods in Knoxville. I ended up ordering a costly box of fruit from Miami Fruit when I finally got tired of no tropical options.

Variety of tropical fresh fruit dragon fruits

There also seemed to be a lack of organic produce in general. Even creating the comparison shopping list above, it wasn’t clear if certain produce would be organic or not.

So, if you can’t access certain foods or organic ingredients, then a Daily Harvest Smoothie might be worth it.

In Conclusion…Daily Harvest is a Viable Organic Option

When you account for the cost of the time it takes to hunt down fruits and vegetables at the local grocery store, Daily Harvest is a solid organic smoothie choice. It ends up costing about the same in the end as making your own smoothie and saves you time. And considering you may not even be able to find those ingredients at your local store, why not pay about the same in the end for the organic guarantee?

My thing is that I am not totally sold on all my ingredients being organic all the time. And I can make delicious superfood smoothies with alternative ingredients to the Daily Harvest recipes that will cost less.

*shrugs* It’s up to you, but now you have the vegan review and a cost comparison!

 

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