For those of you thinking of signing up for NatureBox or Graze, I offer this independent, unbiased comparison review to help you choose between the two leading providers of mail order snack subscription services. I think it’s important to present a bit about myself first, to help you better understand my perspective. I’m a foodie with a clean-living philosophy who really digs snack food. I’m always eating, crunching on something at home, work or on the go. I’m more than willing to try something new as long as it doesn’t have a long list of ingredients I can’t pronounce! I’ve been a self-paying NatureBox subscriber for over a year now; my self-paying subscription to Graze started more recently, back in January 2014. I enjoy these snack subscription services because they offer products that you can’t find on supermarket shelves, they’re convenient to take on the go, and are fun little surprises to get now and then (even more surprising if you’re not pre-selecting the contents of your box.)
In this article I will compare and contrast these two services, rather than go into details about each company separately. I've already published reviews on NatureBox and Graze here on InfoBarrel. Disclaimer: You should know that both companies offer benefits to existing customers (me) for referring new customers (you). At the time of writing these reviews, I have yet to receive any referral benefits what so ever. The opinions expressed here are based on my own food and customer service standards and preferences. I’ve passed on my referral discount codes on in the hopes that you can save some money should you choose to sign up.
What's in a Subscription?
Both companies market the same concept: healthy nutritionist approved snacks ready to take on the go. The idea is that you will reach for these healthy snacks instead of heading to a vending machine stocked with processed foods with little if any vitamin/mineral content. Once you sign up online, boxes will arrive at your desired destination on a regular basis, on an auto-bill system. NatureBox only offers monthly shipments; Graze gives you the choice to receive shipments either on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
For One or a Few
All NatureBox snacks come in small resealable bags; the contents are enough to share with another friend or two. Each snackbag is enough to fill a small dish, e.g. a bowl of spiced nuts for a party. I’ve often used their snacks as a lunchbox side dish suitable for both kids and adults. You can expect to get 2-3 servings out of each bag depending on the snack. The snackbags are easy to take on the go: just toss in the beach bag or picnic basket.
Graze’s boxes are meant for one person. One box contains single-serve portions of four different snacks. No sharing here. I’ve found Graze boxes to be perfect for the office. The box is slim enough to fit in a desk drawer and the snacks are individually wrapped so they will stay fresh until you’re ready to enjoy them. Their boxes are also good to keep in the car so that a healthy snack is available in a pinch, eliminating the need for a convenience store or drive thru run.
How Much Are You Willing to Spend?
The subscription prices listed on their websites are all-inclusive. They already include any processing, shipping and delivery fees. Graze comes out cheaper, at USD $6 a box, but NatureBox’s offerings (the cheapest box is priced at USD $19.95) give you a better value per serving.
For the Calorie-Conscious
Graze is a better option for those watching their calorie intake. Subscribers can opt to receive their “calorie counter box” which features a selection of snacks in the 50 to 150 calorie range. There are over 50 varieties of calorie counter snacks, so you can be sure to get different combinations in each box. The nutritional content on each single portion snack is clearly labeled. Naturebox’s snackbags, on the other hand, rely on you to do the portioning.
The Power of Choice
Both companies have a wide variety of snacks, but they operate with a different philosophy when it comes to customer choice. Graze is more receptive to customers’ preferences, but they do not let you pick the contents of your box. Customers can record their specific snack preferences on their online account page. If you happen to get an item you don’t like, you can blacklist it so you never get it again. You can even indicate which spices (e.g. curry) or ingredients (e.g. coconut) you dislike and they’ll modify future shipments accordingly. Their website lists all their offerings; so you can see what snacks they have (and indicate which ones you’d like to try) but – and this is the thing with Graze – you can’t pick your own snacks. If you’re ok with surprise, then this is company is for you. NatureBox, however, gives its customers the option to choose any or all the snacks they receive. But your account page doesn’t allow you to record which snacks you don’t like. So, if you decide to leave it up to chance and let them choose your selections, you may get something you don’t like. Although NatureBox has expressed intent to change this in the future, currently customers are unable to note preferences in their account. If you’re super particular about your likes/dislikes, you might be better off going with NatureBox and selecting all of your snacks each month before the shipping deadline.
NatureBox is a better choice for those with dietary restrictions or allergies. Their website has an excellent search feature which allows customers to sort through the offerings based on criteria such as gluten-free, non-GMO, nut-free, vegan, etc. Snackbags are also labeled accordingly so customers can be sure that a product selected meets their dietary requirements. Graze is the exact opposite. They cannot assure customers that snacks are free from contamination from potential allergens, such as nuts and/or gluten. The company is very forthcoming with the fact that all of their products are prepared in the same kitchen; therefore, their products are not appropriate for people with certain food allergies.