Quality packaging and presentation
High-quality specialty ingredients
Balanced and thoughtfully composed meals
Recipes challenging to recreate at home
No customizations or substitutions
Only single servings
Sakara Life was founded in 2012 by two childhood friends as a healthy New York City meal delivery service and quickly grew into much more than that. It can now ship meals nationwide and offers a range of additional services, products, and guidance for a total wellness and lifestyle makeover.
The meal programs come at a premium cost due to the company’s commitment to organic products, specialty “superfood” ingredients, sustainability, and labor costs, but in comparison to other meal delivery services, Sakara Life manages to set itself apart in many ways. Read on to learn if this service is the best fit for you.
How It Works: Choose Program Length and Frequency
There are three programs to choose from: Signature Program, Detox, and a Bridal Program. For the purpose of this review, we are sharing information about the Signature Program.
The first step to sign up for Sakara Life is to enter your ZIP code to ensure it delivers in your area, then choose two or three meals to be delivered per day from breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. The next step is to select the number of days you would like to receive meals (two days, Thursday–Friday; three days, Monday–Wednesday; or five days, Monday–Friday). There is an option to sign up for a recurring weekly subscription or place a one-time order. Lastly, select your start date from three or four options starting about one week from when you place the order.
Meals are all freshly made and delivered ready to eat in single-serving portions. There will occasionally be optional instructions to reheat, but this is not required. All meals are organic and 100% plant-based.
Choosing Meals: Preset Weekly Menus
Menus are pre-determined weekly and, unlike other meal delivery services, customers do not always have the opportunity to select specific meals or make customizations. The only exception is that sometimes two or three meals can be swapped depending on the duration of your meal program. The number of meals delivered is impacted by the selections made when creating your plan. Customizations to exclude certain ingredients may be requested through customer service but accommodation is not guaranteed and may come with an additional charge.
What We Made
We ordered a two-day meal delivery that included breakfast, lunch, and dinner for both days which included:
- Sexiest salad in NYC (dinner): Green salad with peaches, berries, almonds, chickpeas, and a cinnamon vinaigrette
- Pink pistachio dream mousse (breakfast): With pitaya powder, dried rose petals, and mint chlorophyll
- Kimchi Banh mi dumplings (lunch): With sushi rice, garnet yams, and sunflower seeds
- Spiced sunset stew with coconut-lime chickpeas (dinner): With brown rice, dark purple potatoes, turmeric-infused chickpeas, spinach, and asafetida
- Raspberry tea cake with french lemon curd (breakfast): With fresh raspberries, sliced almonds, and lemon zest
- DIY Margherita flatbread (lunch): With macadamia “ricotta,” garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, and spirulina
Support Materials: Abundant
While there are no recipe cards, a variety of support materials that promote overall wellness can be found in the box, online, and via automatically delivered emails. Within the box, we received a welcome kit that included a lengthy brochure about the Sakara Life Program, the box contents, recycling directions, and FAQs. There is also a virtual guidebook on how to shop and eat mindfully on the days you don’t receive Sakara Life meals.
Packaging: Recyclable and Sustainable
All items come in recyclable hard plastic bowls or jars made from repurposed plastic bottles. Meals can be easily eaten directly from the containers if desired. The meals were packaged in a curbside recyclable cardboard box made with post-consumer recycled materials. The box was insulated with recycled paper and corn starch liners that are also 100% curbside recyclable. Ice packs are filled with non-toxic gel and are designed to be reused. If not reused, they can be drained and recycled with other plastic bags.
The Cooking Process: Optional Reheating
All meals arrive ready to eat, chilled in a refrigerator or at room temperature. Some items had optional instructions for reheating in the oven or stovetop. For example, the spiced sunset stew, kimchi dumplings, and raspberry tea cake all tasted best after being warmed, but this was not necessary.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Fresh and Flavorful
Although there was no option to select meals in advance, the six meals that arrived for the two days were all made with high-quality fresh ingredients and were packed with flavor. We really liked the diversity of international flavors—from a French tea cake and Korean kimchi dumplings to a South Indian-inspired coconut curry chickpea stew and an all-American summer berry salad. There was an impressive range of flavors within one box of meals.
The shelf life is shorter than other meal delivery services, so these meals are really intended to be eaten on the days they are labeled and most cannot be frozen due to the abundance of fresh raw produce. For example, we did notice the salad greens began to wilt and the berries began to soften by the third day of refrigeration, but other ingredients retained their quality and flavor well.
Nutritional Value: Organic, Plant-Based, Gluten-Free
Calories are intentionally not provided for the meals at Sakara Life because the founders believe that lifestyle wellness should not be about counting calories but rather feeling good. The program is also designed so that all of that meal planning is done for the consumer and you can trust that what you're eating is nourishing, balanced, and energizing.
Sakara Life commits to providing meals that are organic, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and without any refined sugar. Meals are built using whole foods, hydrating ingredients, and nutrient-dense “superfoods.” According to Sakara Life, one week on the Signature Nutrition Program will provide more than 15 cups of leafy greens, 100+ different phytochemicals and antioxidants, over 100 unique ingredients for “ultimate health," and more.
Sakara Life Is Good For
Sakara Life is great for individuals or couples with a generous budget looking for a meal delivery service to help maintain a nutrient-rich, plant-based lifestyle with the convenience of ready-to-eat meals. It's also a good fit for those looking for support and guidance to reboot their health with high-quality, preselected nourishing meals.
Sakara Life Is Not Good For
Sakara Life is not good for those on a budget or families interested in receiving meal kits with larger portions.
Add-ons: Wellness Support
In the actual box, we received a reusable branded cooler bag; a small pack labeled “Your Daily Essentials,” which included two bags of Detox Tea and a pack of 10 probiotic supplements; a snack “Super Bar"; and a Palo Santo incense stick.
As far as other add-ons to each order, customers can shop from the Sakara Life Clean Boutique, which contains a variety of wellness products, supplements, snacks, chocolates, and teas. These items can be filtered by function (Beauty, Detox, Gut Health, Energy & Focus).
Included in each subscription is a free, one-time consultation from a Sakara Life wellness coach. After filling out and submitting a health questionnaire, the coach conducts a 20-minute call with the customer to go over their health goals. According to an email we received, the coach would help you "maximize your results while on the program ... discuss specific health goals that you would like to accomplish and receive recommendations to help you achieve your goal."
Customer Service: Multiple Options
Customer service for Sakara Life can be reached by phone, email, or online form during regular business hours Monday through Friday. There is also an FAQ page on the website and in the welcome pamphlet that you receive with your first order. We reached out to customer service with a question via the online form after regular business hours and received a detailed response via email by noon the following day.
Making Changes and Canceling: Online or via Email
Any changes to your account or your meal program can be easily made on the Sakara Life website through the online portal or through customer service. Meal swaps can be made depending on the number of days and meals you sign up for. These must be done by Wednesday at midnight ET the week prior to delivery.
Although there are no prompts when ordering to make customizations to weekly meals, according to the FAQ section, Sakara Life may be able to exclude certain ingredients from your meal program for an additional charge. According to customer service, depending on your location (whether it is close to a kitchen able to make these accommodations), up to three ingredients can be omitted for an additional weekly “meal modification fee” ($60 for the five-day program and $40 for the three-day program). These change requests can be made by contacting customer service or entering this into your profile.
We really liked the diversity of international flavors—from a French tea cake and Korean kimchi dumplings to a South Indian-inspired coconut curry chickpea stew and an all-American summer berry salad.
The Competition: Sakara Life vs. Factor
Sakara Life and Factor are two meal delivery services that market themselves as designed for nutrition and wellness, but their food could not be more different. Both companies offer the support of wellness coaches, but Factor has a team of licensed registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs), whereas Sakara Life employs certified holistic health coaches, who are not necessarily board certified in clinical nutrition. But despite the large team of RDNs, the food at Factor is perceivably less healthy. It is overall much richer and greasier and less “clean” tasting than the meals at Sakara Life.
However, if you are interested in following a keto or paleo eating pattern, want primarily hot meals, and minimal fresh raw produce, Factor would be a better fit. Sakara Life is designed for plant-based eaters wanting a lot of fresh hydrating produce, good fats, and high fiber foods seasoned with a variety of internationally inspired herbs and spices. Note that the price point for Sakara Life is significantly more per serving than for Factor and any meals that are not consumed from Factor can be frozen to extend their shelf life. Thus, Factor offers the better deal based on price alone.
Sakara Life is a premium meal delivery service with thoughtfully crafted meals packed with flavor and nutrition. The meals do come at a premium price, so subscribers who make this commitment would benefit the most from taking advantage of the plethora of supplemental education material that Sakara Life offers to promote and support wellness.
We spent numerous hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.
The criteria we used to evaluate each company included:
- The ordering process
- Meal selection
- Packaging and support materials
- The cooking process
- The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
- Nutritional information
- Customer service
- Product Name Sakara Life
- Lowest Price per Serving $26.50
- Number of Diets Served 4
- Number of Recipes 15
- Delivery Area 48 states
- Serving Sizes Available 1