Macronutrients are clearly displayed
Filtering options for sorting and selecting meals
Meals created by local chefs
Lists farms the company supports
Time and temperature indicator included
Does not deliver nationwide
Some meals needed more sauce
Some may not like the dairy-free alternatives
Territory Foods is a meal delivery service that focuses on healthy, pre-made meals that are free of gluten and dairy. Everything on the menu is created by dieticians and local and regional chefs in several areas.
The company focuses on sustainable packaging, responsibly sourced produce and meat, and a philanthropic arm that's activated by company donations with every order made that go to individuals facing food insecurity. We assembled a tasting panel to try and test six meals for a week. Here are our findings and insights.
How It Works: Dietician-Created, Chef-Driven, Locally Sourced
Territory Foods focuses on curating and creating inflammation-free foods so all of your meals are gluten-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free. The meals are designed by dieticians and created by regional chefs in commercial kitchens or restaurants, so there isn’t a huge warehouse shipping thousands of meals across the country each week. Meals are typically fresh for three days after the delivery. Delivery locations include the Washington, D.C. area; Richmond and coastal Virginia; New York City; Philadelphia; the San Francisco Bay Area; Southern California; Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston, Texas; and parts of the New England coastal region.
To view the weekly menu, you must share your ZIP code to see if the service delivers to your area. Local customers have the option of ordering once or twice a week, while regional customers will receive their deliveries once a week. There are also two plans: a recurring plan, which saves you 5 percent every week (as of August 2021), or a one-time status plan, in which you can order at your leisure whenever you want.
Choosing Meals: Lots of Filtering Options
Once you’ve shared your ZIP code, you’re free to peruse the weekly lunch and dinner menus. On the left side of the screen, you may filter by diet type: any mix of paleo, keto, mixitarian, plant-based, vegetarian, vegan, whole30, low fat, low carb, Mediterranean, and all meals. The weekly menu page includes a photo of the finished dish; the title of the meal; the chef or company; the number of calories and amount of fat, carbs, and protein.
When you click on a specific dish, the meal page includes the following: a larger picture of the dish with the title, a brief description including the regional influence, a macronutrient ratio pie chart featuring fat, protein, and carbs, a full ingredient list, a nutritional breakdown of a standard portion (approximately 400-650 calories a serving) and boost portion size (approximately 250-450 calories a serving), customer ratings, and any extra helpful notes on the dish.
When you’re ready to place an order, you fill out your name, email address, and ZIP code. Territory Foods will then ask you if there are specific foods that you’d like to avoid—peanuts, tree nuts, soy, sesame, fish, shellfish, and eggs. It’s important to note that a meal may be crafted in a kitchen where that allergen is used. So for example, the gluten-free meal you select may not be certified gluten-free.
After selecting any food preferences, you can select six, nine, or 12 meals a week. We chose six standard meals, which cost $88.70 for the week. Territory Foods then curates the meals, with an option for the consumer to edit. When editing the meal selection, you can filter by meal preferences, such as paleo or vegetarian; nutrition info, where you can sort and search by fat, carbs, protein, calories, and sodium using a sliding scale; meal style of breakfast, lunch/dinner, or a la carte; chef; and ingredients to avoid, which allows you to drill down to such detail as avoiding cilantro or seitan. Utilizing the addition and subtraction tools, you can easily add or subtract your selection of meals for the week.
It’s worth noting that our tasting panel resides in New England, so we were not able to have meals delivered twice a week. We also did not see any breakfast, a la carte items, or boost options for the week we ordered.
What We Made
To get a sense of Territory Foods’s offerings, we selected beef pasta, two chicken dishes, a turkey, a vegetarian, and a vegan meal. For our week, we did not see any seafood options.
- Chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and zucchini-corn relish
- Peanut tofu noodle stir fry
- Sage beef bolognese with cavatappi
- Sesame ginger chicken with sautéed Napa cabbage
- Veggie enchiladas in salsa Roja with black beans and peas
- Zesty jalapeno-lime turkey patty with chipotle sweet potato wedges and grilled zucchini
Support Materials: The Basics
Each meal is individually wrapped in a paper sleeve with the logo, and a sticker with the name of the dish, ingredients, best-by date, and preparation instructions. Full nutrition facts are also included. A standard packing list rounded out the support materials in our delivery.
Packaging: Recyclable and Compostable
The company places a lot of emphasis on sustainability. The packaging is 100% compostable, the gel from the ice pack can be disposed of into your trash bin, and the cardboard delivery box, interior liner, meal sleeve, and ice pack liner can all be recycled.
Upon opening our delivery box, we first saw a packing list with a list of all of our meals. The box was insulated with a TemperPack paper liner. Beneath the liner was a PacTemp ice pack, which could be defrosted and emptied into the trash, and the liner could be recycled. Under the ice pack were our six meals and another ice pack. Each meal comes in a recyclable paper sleeve. The tray itself is made of black plastic that is sealed with a plastic film. A meal safety card was also included, which shows a real-time temperature indicator. Ours was green, so we knew it was safe to consume. The delivery box also outlined how to recycle, and what materials needed to be thrown in the trash (the gel from the ice packs and the plastic film seals of the trays).
The Cooking Process: Pop in the Microwave
We found the heating instructions to be quite clear and on point. The first meal we made was the sesame ginger chicken. The instructions specified to peel back the plastic film about two inches, remove any sauce packages, and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until the meal tray was steaming. We decided to start with 2 minutes and our meal tray was steaming, so we let it rest for a minute before removing all of the plastic film and eating the meal. We found 2 minutes to be just right.
For the veggie enchiladas, we began with 2 minutes of microwaving as well, but the cheese hadn’t melted completely. We added another minute in order to see if the cheese would be more fully melted to our liking. It helped a bit, but since the cheese was actually plant-based feta, the melting properties might have been different.
The rest of our meals indicated the same cooking instructions, so we stuck with 2 or 3 minutes of microwaving and we did not come across any heating snafus. We also found that all of our meals were cooked quite evenly, which can be a challenge in a microwave.
Flavor, Freshness, and Quality: Very Fresh for Microwave Meals
One feature we particularly liked was called the “Timeline,” which was accessible by logging into our account and visiting “order history.” There, we found a list of our past orders and were able to easily mark if we enjoyed our meal by clicking on a happy, neutral, or sad face. The more meals you rate in your timeline, the better your weekly recommendations become.
Our tasting panel enjoyed the sesame ginger chicken. The chicken was very tender and easy to cut with just a fork and was well-seasoned with ginger and a touch of spice. The broccoli had a nice char, despite being microwaved, and the cabbage was crunchy. We loved seeing so many colorful vegetables. The only thing we would have liked was to have more sauce throughout.
The veggie enchiladas didn’t look as appetizing, but we did enjoy the meal for the most part. We identified a ton of vegetables, including peas, carrots, zucchini, yellow squash, and green and red peppers. We enjoyed the Roja sauce, al dente black beans and peas, and corn tortillas. However, we couldn’t get past the plant-based feta. It had a mushy and unnatural texture that we didn’t love. We would have liked a squeeze of lime for a touch of acidity, cotija, or cheddar cheese, and a scoop of sour cream for the dairy-tolerant tasters on our tasting panel.
The next meal that we tested was the chicken enchiladas, which we thought would provide us with a good comparison to the veggie version. We preferred the chicken enchilada with salsa verde to the vegetarian enchilada with Roja sauce. We loved the tang of the salsa verde and appreciated how the chicken was shredded and tender. The corn tortillas had a little bite to them, but they were still soft, and you could tell by the texture that they were homemade. We really liked the sweet corn, which included large, fresh, flavorful kernels. The only criticism we had was that some of our tasting panel did not love the non-dairy cheese, but others on the panel did not mind it.
We also enjoyed the peanut tofu noodle stir fry. It had large chunks of tofu that heated up quite nicely. We liked the texture of the noodles, tofu, and the crunch of the scallions and vegetables. We noticed a lot of heat in the dish and had wished there was a tad more peanut butter and soy sauce in the sauce to counteract the spice. A squeeze of lime and some crushed peanuts on top would also have been nice.
Our Italian-inspired dish of sage beef bolognese was also enjoyable. We did find the noodles to be slightly overcooked and wished we had some parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top, but overall, we thought the sage flavoring came through nicely in the sauce.
The tasting panel was impressed with the turkey patty entree. The turkey patty was full of flavor and we liked the subtle sweetness of the almond flour and coconut aminos, although we would have liked a tad more jalapeno and lime seasoning. The meat was tender and not too dry, despite being microwaved. We also enjoyed the cilantro jalapeno sauce—we wished there was more of it—and the well-seasoned zucchini and sweet potatoes. All in all, we really enjoyed this dish and felt full after eating.
Nutritional Value: Nutritious and Satiating
As noted, Territory Foods places emphasis on gluten-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free meals. There are also foods for vegan, vegetarian, and paleo diets. Nutrition details are prominently featured on menu selection pages and the actual meal page. Macronutrient pie charts are included, breaking down protein, fat, and carbs in a very clear manner. The company even includes a fuller breakdown of nutrition facts for a standard portion and a “boost” portion.
We couldn’t find an option for a boost protein during our order process, so we reached out to customer service to find out more. The response was that “Our meals come in two different sizes: Boost and Standard. The Boost sized meals are approximately 2/3 the size of the regular Standard sized meals so they are a little bit smaller.”
It’s important to note that boost portions are only available in certain delivery locations that are closer to the cooking hubs. Our order did not qualify for any boost portions.
Nearly all of the meals we had were around 600 calories or less. We observed high fiber and satiating protein, too.
Here’s a look at the nutritional breakdown of all of the meals we tried:
- Chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and zucchini-corn relish: 669 calories, 30g fat, 13g saturated fat, 61g carbohydrates, 43g protein, 7g fiber, 5g sugar, 97mg cholesterol, 616mg sodium
- Peanut tofu noodle stir fry: 385 Calories, 23g fat, 11g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrates, 21g protein, 5g fiber, 9g sugar, 174mg cholesterol, 696mg sodium
- Sage beef bolognese with cavatappi: 608 calories, 30g fat, 7g saturated fat, 69g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 9g fiber, 12g sugar, 100mg cholesterol, 804mg sodium
- Sesame ginger chicken with sautéed Napa cabbage: 305 calories, 9g fat, 2g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrates, 33g protein, 8g fiber, 10g sugar, 125mg cholesterol, 548mg sodium
- Veggie enchiladas in salsa Roja with black beans and peas: 639 calories, 29g fat, 16g saturated fat, 94g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 20g fiber, 14g sugar, 0mg cholesterol, 1102mg sodium
- Zesty jalapeno-lime turkey patty with chipotle sweet potato wedges and grilled zucchini: 528 calories, 33g fat, 7g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrates, 25g protein, 9g fiber, 11g sugar, 76mg cholesterol, 699mg sodium
Territory Foods places emphasis on gluten-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free meals.
Territory Foods Is Good For
Territory Foods is good for individuals or adults who are looking to eat healthy, nutritious, and inflammation-free food that takes 3 minutes or less to prepare.
Territory Foods Is Not Good For
Territory Foods is not good for couples or families who enjoy the act of cooking and executing meals or for those who prefer richer diets with gluten and dairy.
During our tasting panel testing experience, Territory Foods did not offer any add-ons.
Customer Service: Chatbot and Email Is Great
In terms of customer service, Territory Foods offers an email, phone, detailed FAQ, and chatbot.
To contact customer service, we used the chatbot in which we input our name, email address, and question, and were told we’d receive a note shortly. Within minutes, we had an email from Territory asking us how the company could assist. When we replied to the email an hour later, we received a friendly response within minutes.
Making Changes and Canceling: Done Online
After you have placed your order, you have until Thursday at midnight local time to make changes; otherwise, your credit card is regularly charged on Fridays. If you’d like to make changes, you can do so by clicking the “customize menu” button. To make changes to your account, click your profile icon and select “manage plan.” There, you can skip, pause, or cancel your order.
The Competition: Territory Foods vs. Urban Remedy
Territory Foods and Urban Remedy offer customers health-centric meals that are organic whenever possible. Territory Foods creates single-serving meals that are crafted near your region by local chefs, whereas Urban Remedy is more of an offshoot from the brick and mortar health food stores in Northern and Southern California that showcases salads, wraps, nut milk, and juices. Urban Remedy is a great option if you’re looking for healthy light bites, but we think Territory Foods fits the bill for weeknight dinners and meals.
We found all of our meals from Territory Foods to be enjoyable and tasty. The heating times were well accounted for, and all of our meals were heated thoroughly throughout. We appreciated the variety of flavors and styles of meals and felt satiated and content with a diet that is geared toward avoiding inflammation-causing foods. We would definitely order from Territory Foods again.
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 Territory Foods
- Lowest Price per Serving $13.95
- Number of Diets Served 5
- Number of Recipes 35
- Delivery Area 12 states
- Serving Sizes Available 1