Territory Foods Review: A Prepared Meal Delivery Service with Local Flavor

Territory Foods is a prepared meal delivery service that does things a little differently. Unlike most operations that produce meals in one central kitchen or production space, Territory sources from local chefs and restaurants to give your prepared meal subscription some local flavor.

The service sports a sprawling menu of dozens of rotating meals, sometimes as many as 50 depending on where you live, with both regional and global cuisines represented. Some meals are made by restaurants, while others come from individual chefs who work out of Territory Foods’ regional commercial kitchens.

Like

  • Supports local chef chefs and restaurants
  • Food is prepared locally and not in one central production kitchen or warehouse
  • Most meals were good or better
  • Portions were substantial
  • Tons of meal options for special diets

Don’t Like

  • Meals are expensive, on par with takeout
  • Does not deliver nationally
  • While most were great, one of the meals was just plain bad
  • The website is a little confusing

Territory Foods’ meals are all gluten and dairy-free, but there are meals to accommodate just about any diet or nutrition plan, including vegan keto or low-carb, free, paleo, Whole30 and even meals that support pre- and postpartum nutrition needs. According to the website and in keeping with the healthy eating theme, all meals and menus are created with guidance from a team of nutrition experts and dieticians.

To see how this service stacked up against the rest of the field, I tried a week’s worth of meals from Territory Foods.

tf-box-2

All my meals showed up on time, fresh and neatly packaged.

David Watsky/CNET

Limited delivery zones and menus are specific to each region

Because the menu is sourced from local restaurants, the menu changes drastically from region to region. This review is based on the menu available in New York as of spring 2022.

Territory Foods is also not available throughout the entire US. The brand currently services the following regions: New York City; the Washington, DC area; Richmond and coastal Virginia; Philadelphia; the San Francisco Bay Area; most of Southern California; Dallas/Fort Worth; Houston; and parts of the New England coastal region.

How Territory Foods works: Signing up and ordering meals

Your meal options in New York will look much different from those in Philadelphia or on the west coast. To sign up, you’ll enter your ZIP code and a menu of meal options will populate. You can choose meals (at least four per week) for the next two weeks of deliveries. Each meal is priced individually.

The website lets you easily filter meals in or out according to your diet preferences. Filters are plentiful and include vegan, vegetarian, keto-friendly, mixitarian, Whole30-approved, low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean diet, pre- and postpartum and others.

territory-meals-boxes

Of my six meals, most were either good or better, with one big miss.

David Watsky/CNET

Territory meals are priced à la carte with no meal plan or subscription level to choose, but you must choose at least four meals per week. All of the ingredients, allergens and nutritional information — calories, fat, carbs, protein, sodium — are listed clearly with each meal.

Boxes of meals are delivered fresh and not frozen on Sunday or Wednesday, depending on how late in the week you place your order. Some meals can be frozen if you’re not planning to eat them right away, but others, including meals with fresh salads, sides and slaws, would not fare well in the freezer and are best consumed within a few days of arrival.

Some parts of the website were a little confusing to me. For instance, before you sign in with an email, there is an option to change each individual meal’s portion size. Once I signed in and began adding meals to my cart, no such option was apparent to me. I was also hoping for a little more information on the chefs. Each meal is produced by a specific entity such as “Migrant Kitchen” or “Chef Rachelle” but there is very little backstory or information on them.

screen-shot-2022-04-18-at-7-29-20-pm.png

Some things on the website were not intuitive. Before signing up, there appeared to be an option to change the portion size. When I started adding meals to my order, no such option could be found.

Territory Foods

Territory Foods pricing

Prices vary by meal, but most of the options in New York were between $14 and $18 a meal, making it one of the more expensive services we’ve tested. There are also some bulk or family-style items, including desserts and savory meal-starters such as four portions of grilled salmon or lemon pepper chicken with no sides. These range in price from $13 for an order of roasted potatoes or carrot cake muffins all the way up to $34 for the salmon.

screen-shot-2022-04-19-at-11-01-53-am.png

The chicken katsu with carrot slaw was outstanding.

David Watsky/CNET

What I ate and how I liked it

I ordered five meals and one dessert, a batch of carrot cake muffins. Overall, the meals were good and some were great, with one big miss. I also didn’t care for the muffins. Here’s a breakdown.

  • Fried chicken katsu over rice with carrot slaw: This dish was excellent and one of the better prepared meals I’ve had from any service. The chicken was coated and fried perfectly and the sweet and umami-packed sauce was balanced and delicious. The carrot slaw had a good crunch.
  • Cauliflower curry over rice: This one was also very good. The cauliflower wasn’t overcooked. The curry had mild heat but was still plenty flavorful.
screen-shot-2022-04-18-at-7-32-40-pm.png

The cauliflower curry had mild spice but was still full of flavor.

David Watsky/CNET

  • Chimichurri steak with roasted potatoes and chimichurri: The steak was cooked well and still fairly tender considering it had been prepared earlier and elsewhere. The roasted potatoes were also very good. The sautéed kale was a bit plain on its own, but the bright chimichurri sauce helped.
screen-shot-2022-04-18-at-7-36-21-pm.png

Cooked steak doesn’t always travel well, but this meal remained surprisingly tender, even after reheating in a skillet.

David Watsky/CNET

  • Harissa chicken meatballs: Not as spicy a harissa as I’m used to, but the flavors worked nonetheless. The side of tabouleh tasted fresh.
screen-shot-2022-04-18-at-7-42-33-pm.png

Chicken meatballs with harissa, tabouleh and pickled onions.

David Watsky/CNET

  • Sesame chicken over fried rice with bok choy: This was the biggest miss of the bunch. The chicken itself was rubbery and unappetizing. The fried rice was fine but not very exciting. I didn’t finish this one.
screen-shot-2022-04-18-at-7-38-19-pm.png

This (rubbery) sesame chicken with (boring) fried rice and bok choy was my least favorite by a country mile.

David Watsky/CNET

  • Carrot cake muffins: These muffin add-ons were far too sweet for my taste.
screen-shot-2022-04-18-at-7-43-48-pm.png

The carrot cake muffins were moist but too sweet.

David Watsky/CNET

How I prepared my meals

While any of these meals can be heated in the microwave, I always try to avoid it. For the steak, chicken, meatballs and rice dishes, I simply removed the cold sides — slaws, salads — and tossed the rest in a nonstick skillet for a few minutes, covered over low heat along with the sauce before serving. Yes, doing it this way means you’ll have one pan to rinse, but I promise it’s worth it. The muffins I heated in a toaster oven until warm.

Who is Territory Foods good for?

Because all of the food is gluten-free and dairy-free, this is a good service for anyone avoiding those foods. There are lots of options for vegans, paleo dieters and other special eating plans, so it’s a good pick for anyone with particular restrictions. Portion sizes were also generous, so big eaters may like this meal delivery service.

Who is Territory Foods not good for?

The meals are expensive, so this is not a good choice for anyone trying to cut costs at mealtime. I wouldn’t recommend this service for families for the same reason — it would be very expensive to feed a group of three or four with these meals. The food is also not particularly kid-friendly.

Packaging and environmental friendliness

My six meals arrived in one box with recyclable insulation and ice packs, all of which are mostly recyclable, although the gel from the ice packs must be disposed of in the trash. The individual containers were packaged in a compostable bamboo and fiber tray. The trays were encased in paper sleeves, which are also recyclable.

tf-box

Territory Foods’ shipping materials and meal containers are all mostly recyclable. The box has instructions on how to dispose of everything properly.

David Watsky/CNET

Final verdict on Territory Foods

Overall, the meals I had from Territory Foods were above average and some on par with the best I’ve had from any service. Among the great meals were some that were just good and one that was quite bad. While I love the sprawling selection of healthy meals that fit into any eating plan, and that Territory Foods supports local chefs and restaurants, including immigrant chefs and up-and-comers, it’s still rather expensive.

For me, there’s no prepared meal service that can beat truly freshly prepared takeout from my favorite local restaurants. At $15 to $17 per meal and with no discount for subscribing or ordering more, I would probably opt for that over these meals. That said, if the takeout options in your neighborhood are slim, Territory Foods will open up a range of options from regional restaurants and chefs that may not operate in your Uber Eats or Grubhub delivery zone.

In this price range, I would still recommend Fresh n’ Lean, which is a few dollars cheaper per meal and had an extremely high hit rate of delicious meals. Another service that sources meals and recipes from chefs around the country just like Territory Foods is CookUnity. It’s also cheaper — between $11 and $14 a meal — and all the food I tried was excellent.

More on meal delivery

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.