I love random surprise boxes arriving at my front door. I am also a penny pincher, so inexpensive boxes are the quickest way to get to my heart and wallet. Here is where I meet Graze.com, a weekly subscription service that delivers healthy snacks for $5/box. I found a sign up code that gave the first and fifth box free, so how could my cheap ass say no?
Graze has established itself in the UK for the past few years and is now available in the U.S. I can’t speak much for the UK service, but I can provide some details about the US service.
Currently, U.S. Graze subscribers can choose from 1 of 2 subscription box types: a nibble box (over 100 snacks to choose from) or a light box (less to choose from but all snacks are between 50-150 calories). The snacks available include flap jacks (aka granola bars), dips and dippers (such as a wholemeal shortbread cookies with a berry compote), variety mixes of rice crackers and a ton of trail mixes which are just varying combinations of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and/or chocolate. UK subscribers have more snack choices available that include all of the above plus
olives, healthy popping corn and the all new graze brownie. But, you know...I’m not hatin’ or anything. #BrownieEnvy
Here is an example of what a Graze box looks like:
Each comes with 4 individually wrapped snacks, a card detailing nutritional information and product expiration date, and a napkin...because they know you’re going to sit right there and eat the whole thing. My initial impression was surprise because I didn’t realize the box would be so small. This picture should give everyone here an idea of how small I’m talking about:
Yes! It’s a box perfect for shipping a game in. And here is a size comparison between that and my current $7/month Goodie box:
Ouch! At this point, I have to ask myself if that is honestly a big deal. You get four snack packs that are roughly the size of a pack of playing cards each, which is actually a pretty convenient size for throwing in a lunch bag or a purse. But how do the snacks taste?
It seems like “healthy” is thrown around liberally in this country and half the time the item isn’t good for you. Or if is truly healthy, it tastes bad. I have to admit that graze has opened my eyes to how good a healthy snack can be. For instance, one of the snacks they sent me was the toffee apple - one of their “dips and dippers” products.
I am not a huge fan of dried fruit. I can do banana chips and a few others, but I absolutely abhor dried apples. I expected these to be brittle and crispy and taste like paper, but they were soft, a little spongy but had a slight tart and sweetness to them. They were dehydrated Granny Smith apples, and you can tell they had no sugar or artificial anything added to them. I really enjoyed them - more so than the caramel sauce, which was sweet and tasted like any other caramel sauce that I’ve ever had. It totally overpowered the flavor of the apple which I disliked. I was most surprised that the whole snack was only 68 calories. I would have expected way more than that.
Another snack I recently tried that I thought I would hate was the pear tatin.
This snack falls within the “health snacks, yogurt covered” group and is a mixture of dried pears, whole almonds, raspberry infused cranberries, and yogurt covered sunflower seeds. Again, I thought I would hurl eating dried pears but I ended up liking them. I think the appeal lies with the fact that these don’t have that sugary sweet, overly processed taste of standard grocery store dried fruit. It’s actually inspiring me to drag out the food dehydrator and try my hand at drying some pears myself. The other components in this snack were good as well - the almonds tasted like almonds (big surprise), the cranberries tasted like raspberries and weren’t overly sweet, and the yogurt covered seeds were an absolute home run. But eating these together so the flavors blended was definitely the way to go. Not bad for 143 calorie snack. I rated this one as a “love”. If I could buy bagfuls of this, I would.
But that is one caveat about Graze - if you like a product, there is no option to buy more of it. Plus, you only have partial control over what they send you. Each item can be rated as ‘trash’, ‘try’, ‘like’ or ‘love’ and during sign up, you are encouraged to peruse their snacks and rate them. I made the mistake of going through and marking a bunch of items as like/love when I had never tried them. I would suggest trash canning stuff you know you’ll hate, leave everything at “try” and mark the ones you really want to try first as “love” so you have a better chance of getting it. Also, for any vegans, celiacs, or individuals with dairy/lactose intolerance, I would definitely check out the FAQ section. There are search links for helping those individuals find the snacks they should exclude, although it probably would have been nice if they had those as categories associated with the user’s account so those snacks would be automatically excluded considering new snacks are continually being added.
The major issue with Graze right now for US subscribers is shipping. They use USPS and it is super slow. This site really sold me on the whole weekly subscription idea, and I thought I would get boxes in quicker than what actually happened. Just to give you an idea, I signed up for my first box on Jan 31st ( a Thursday). New boxes get billed at 2 am EST on Friday and new processing starts. I expected to get a shipment sometime during that next week (Monday - Saturday, February 4th - 9th). I got the box February 11th, the Monday after that first week (10 days after processing). Ok, so that wasn’t horrible. The second box started processing on February 8th, and I expected to get it the week of February 11th - 16th. I received it February 23rd (15 days after processing). :( I delayed my third shipment to February 22nd, so no clue when I’ll get that. But I do think this is one of those kinks in service that will get worked out eventually.
Overall, is Graze worth it? This is a hard call. When I have the snacks, I love them. When I’m waiting, I hate them. Are 4 healthy snacks worth $5? This is up to the individual. I can easily blow $1 on a vending machine, so paying $1.25 isn’t that big of a stretch for me. Would it be more economical to make your own? Definitely. But I don’t see this kind of quality in your standard grocery store. But it’s not so unique that the components couldn’t be found at a Whole foods or similar store. I like the convenient packaging, but I dislike that you only get four snacks. Five snacks would work out better because I take these to work. Overall, I like the variety they offer and the opportunity to try things I normally wouldn’t. I just wish shipping was a bit more timelier.
- Actually healthy snacks that taste good.
- $5 price isn’t a wallet killer.
- Convenient nutrition card with each box
- Each snack can be rated, which determines the frequency you receive it (Love - most often, Trashcan - never)
- Service can be set to weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. Very easy to postpone a week or more.
- The website is super easy to use and very interactive.
- FAQ section offers search links to help vegans, celiacs, and those with dairy/lactose intolerance to exclude certain snacks
- Shipping is currently sloooooooow.
- Snacks have a “best by” date printed on the Nutrition card that can be easily overlooked. I had a box arrive on February 23, and one of the items had an expiration date of February 25.
- If you find a snack you really like, there isn’t an option to purchase separately.