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The Short Version: Some meal plan subscription services create substantial waste because they package each ingredient individually. Cooking-based meal plans can also be time-consuming for couples who simply want to eat well. Territory Foods solves those problems by offering sustainable products and meals that can be ready to eat in 90 seconds. Couples can choose from 10 menu options and select meals that fit their dietary preferences and restrictions.
Many busy couples want to simplify eating healthy, home-cooked meals after work or on weekends. A handful of subscription delivery services have popped up to meet that demand by offering prepared meals or ingredient kits in the last few years.
Unfortunately, many of those services have a problem with excessive packaging.
“[Meal kits] generate enormous amounts of paper and plastic waste. Every ingredient is packaged separately, resulting in absurdities like a single scallion arriving in its own plastic bag,” wrote Chef Amanda Cohen in a New York Times Op-Ed.
Pricing and time are two other issues people consider when choosing a meal delivery service. Some couples, especially those who work full time, don’t want to spend half an hour or more cooking elaborate meals when they get off.
Territory Foods is a refreshing alternative to meal kits that solves those dilemmas. The company launched its unique meal delivery service more than a decade ago. Not only is its packaging sustainable, but each meal comes prepared and only requires 90 seconds in the microwave before it’s ready to eat.
Nearly all of the packaging the company uses is both recycled and recyclable, or compostable. Even the individual meal lids are compostable, and customers only need to dispose of the ice packs that come with each order.
Territory Foods meals are also nutritious because couples still want to eat well without spending all night in the kitchen.
“Territory grew out of the paleo movement in the early 2010s. People were beginning to understand the importance of nourishing their bodies with real, whole foods,” said Dani DeCesare, Territory Foods Senior Manager of Press and Affiliates. “After realizing this, the business was founded as a way to address the gap in healthy, prepared meals services delivering high-quality nutrition.”
The healthy, tasty meal delivery service started in Alexandria, Virginia, and has expanded to serve 38 states. Territory Foods is not a meal kit, and couples don’t need to assemble any prepackaged ingredients or cook anything based on a recipe. Instead, meals come pre-cooked, and couples can heat them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
That option provides customers with more alternatives. For example, couples can cook meals with store-bought ingredients some nights and eat Territory Foods meals on other nights. Or they can order Territory Foods lunches every day and cook dinner together.
The company aims to create a marketplace of better options that never sacrifice taste. Territory Foods has meal plans that fit many dietary preferences, including gluten-free, Whole30, and vegan offerings.
Territory Foods also offers a highly customizable experience. Customers can build an order that excludes ingredients based on their allergies or dislikes.
“Our proprietary recommender will select a menu for you based on your choices, and each time you make adjustments or changes to your menu, our system gets smarter and offers you more customized menus,” said Dani.
When customers place an order, Territory Foods schedules their meals to ship over two weekly deliveries. That ensures the company sends fresh, never frozen meals.
Couples who decide to order prepared meals for at-home date nights may worry that their healthy meals won’t be tasty.
That isn’t the case with Territory Foods, as each meal is flavorful and nutritious. Dietitian-created menu items are free of refined sugars, dairy, and gluten. The ingredients are sustainably sourced and only contain healthy fats and clean protein.
“This chef-created meal delivery service will actually get you excited about eating your greens,” notes Women’s Health magazine. The meals have also been recommended by SELF, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.
Another unique aspect of Territory Foods is that the company works directly with small businesses across the country. Those partnerships include chefs, caterers, and restaurants that develop and produce meals in collaboration with the company’s staff of registered dieticians.
Each Territory Foods market offers, on average, more than 30 meal choices each week, and the company has more than 5,000 rotating recipes in its database.
“Territory’s rotation is powered by a proprietary AI recommender, which analyzes customer data explicitly stated by the customer or implicitly shared based on their ordering patterns and feedback,” Dani told us. “We couple that with our local market insights and curate menus based on the likes and preferences of our customers.”
Territory Foods’ meals are also far more complex than what the average home cook could come up with on their own.
For example, the service offers a Key West-Style Chicken with Pineapple and Butternut Squash Fried Rice that comes with “citrus and spice grilled chicken over fried rice studded with grilled pineapple and squash.”
Its popular Mediterranean Chicken with Zesty Lemon Dill Sauce includes “chicken seasoned with garlic and allspice, served with curried mashed cauliflower, sautéed spinach and a tangy lemon dill sauce,” according to the website.
Couples enjoy meal delivery services because they are often too busy to plan meals, shop, and cook each week. But some meal kits ended up being too time-consuming and unsustainable.
As other services have entered and left the market, Territory Foods has maintained loyal customers for more than a decade. Dani said she understands why the company’s client base is so faithful.
“We’re consistent in delivering the highest quality and the best tasting food in the market. In one recent review, a customer told us how much they loved eating again because it finally felt like they weren’t forcing down diet food,” she said.
And couples don’t have to worry that their Territory Foods subscription contributes to environmental problems.
Instead, it helps minimize food waste as the company’s local chefs only buy what they need each week. That reduces food waste and cuts meal costs for customers. The company also donates a portion of its proceeds to Feeding America, a network of more than 200 food banks.
The meal delivery service can save couples time while improving their health.
“Territory makes healthy eating easy. Our customers get back the time it would take to plan meals, shop, prepare every ingredient, and get a meal on the table,” Dani said.
After more than a decade in business, Territory Foods has evolved from focusing on paleo meals to offering customers a variety of customized eating options. The company also plans to roll out technology in 2022 to make additional eating preferences more accessible.
“We plan to develop interesting partners and integrations this year — stay tuned if you’re interested in the health space,” Dani told us.