Established in 2011 around the San Francisco Bay area, NatureBox is a food membership service that offers hundreds of healthy snacks for home or office delivery. Though the company used a subscription-based service before 2016, it has since pivoted to a traditional retail model with annual memberships.
According to the company representative we spoke with, NatureBox was founded by Gautam Gupta, a business advisor whose addiction to junk food left him overweight for much of his childhood. Gautam felt inspired to create NatureBox as a business that helped others improve their diets.
There’s no question it’s advantageous to eat healthier, but is NatureBox a smart way to do so? Let’s look at the details to determine whether it's worthwhile to consider buying snacks from NatureBox.
How Does NatureBox Work?
NatureBox is a primarily e-commerce company that offers over 100 snack varieties at the time of writing, and their website indicates that they regularly add new ones to the mix.
The company states online that they work with a variety of vendors to develop their snacks, most of which are composed of ingredients sourced from the United States. According to the company website, NatureBox snacks don’t contain artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners, and they are free of high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.
The brand also offers various snacks that qualify as vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO.
About the Membership
When you make a purchase on NatureBox’s website, you are automatically signed up for the brand’s membership program, which is free for the first thirty days.
Costing $30 per year, this membership lets you save up to 40% on select snacks, qualify for free shipping on orders over $25, and receive $5 worth of in-store credit each month. The plan auto-renews after twelve months unless you choose to cancel it beforehand.
If you want to opt out of a NatureBox membership, you need to cancel it within 30 days of your first order. Otherwise, you will be charged the full year’s amount of $30 at the start of the second month.
This annual membership also qualifies subscribers for NatureBox’s ‘Don’t Like It, Don’t Eat It’ guarantee. If you aren’t happy with a sample you receive, you can contact the company within 90 days of purchase and they will reimburse you with store credit.
What is NatureBox Subscribe-to-Save?
For those who prefer a subscription system for their snacks, Subscribe-to-Save lets you receive any snack or combination of snacks as a regularly scheduled shipment that saves you 5% off each order.
If you need to skip or pause your subscription or have any other questions, you can contact the company directly at support@NatureBox.com or through the Contact Us page.
Where Else Can You Buy NatureBox Snacks?
At the time of writing, NatureBox is transitioning from solely e-commerce company to offering their snacks in retail locations across America. Current options include Target, Safeway, and select Costco, Cost Plus, Sprout’s, Barnes and Noble locations and more.
About NatureBox Office Snacks
NatureBox has begun offering a new form of subscription service: Office Snacks. This plan allows businesses of more than 20 employees to received unlimited snacks for a fixed monthly price per employee.
The Office Snacks program offers two pricing systems:
Included in the base program are nut mixes, pretzels, dried fruit, cookies, granola bars, popcorn and more. The Boost program adds on single serving packets of different chips, cookies, and nut mixes, as well as medium, breakfast, and dark roast coffee from Counter Culture.
Along with a subscription purchase, the company also offers free kitchen setup supplies like jars, scoops and trays, as well as free shipping for every purchase. Office Snacks are provided on an unlimited basis, meaning that the company can request more snacks once the current supply is 75% gone.
What are NatureBox Snack Options?
NatureBox snacks promise to transform your between-meal relationship to food, but what does the company really deliver?
Some of the snacks available at the time of writing included the following:
Dark Cocoa Nom Noms: Filled with dark chocolate, almonds and rolled oats, these dense treats are meant to satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you satiated, and they contain ten grams of protein per serving. Price $9.99 per eight ($7.99 with membership).
Big Island Pineapple: Containing no ingredients but dried Hawaiian pineapple, these chewy rings are purportedly full of flavor that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Price: $11.99 per approx. 15 rings ($8.49 with membership).
Hickory Smoked Turkey Jerky: Each one-ounce serving of this savory smoked jerky contains ten grams of lean turkey protein, meaning it might help you stave off hunger in the mid-afternoon. Price: $7.99 per 3 ounces ($6.99 with membership).
Mini Belgian Waffles: These lightly-sweetened waffle cookies are designed to add indulgence to your afternoon without too much sugar content- each serving has just nine grams. Price: $9.99 for approx. 15 waffles ($8.49 with membership).
Crunchy BBQ Twists: These airy twists are designed to satisfy all salt cravings with a light seasoning of sweet and smoky BBQ sauce. Each batch contains half the fat of standard potato chips due to the addition of lentils. Price: $7.99 per 3 ounces ($6.49 with membership).
Sriracha Roasted Cashews: If you like some spice with your snacks, these siracha cashews offer a low-carb, low-sugar, high-protein option. Price: $11.99 per cup ($8.49 with member discount).
Allergies and NatureBox Snacks
According to the brand’s website, NatureBox snacks do not qualify as safe for allergy sufferers.
All of their food is packaged in the same facility, which creates a risk of cross-contamination. For this reason, the snacks can’t be certified as gluten-free, even they are made with ingredients that are free of gluten.
Knowing all this, is NatureBox worth committing to? Looking at customer reviews can help us answer that question.
What Are Customer Reviews of NatureBox Saying?
Twenty-four HighYa readers have rated NatureBox, giving the service 1.5 stars out of five, and only 8% of users stated that they would recommend the service to a friend.
The primary complaint was about NatureBox’s customer service. Many people reported that they had frequent problems with late packages and missing products. Others felt that the terms of their membership service weren’t clear and that they had no idea that they were joining a membership program when they first ordered a snack sample.
Some reviewers stated that they were billed for future snacks even after they had seemingly canceled their account. One person also noted that the company advertised “out of stock” products as available, so when he ordered them he was sent random foods. Instead of a full refund, he only received store credit.
Saying this, some reviews on HighYa and other websites were positive. NatureBox’s nut mixes seem to be a hit, as many people specifically mentioned their appreciation for the mocha almonds and Siracha cashews.
To have success with NatureBox, these reviewers make it clear that you need to read the membership terms carefully and cancel your account within 30 days if it isn’t the right fit.
How Does NatureBox Compare to Other Snack Subscriptions?
Does NatureBox offer snacking incentives that beat the competition? We created this chart of subscription and luxury food companies to make a meaningful comparison:
NatureBox is the only brand we looked at that doesn’t sell a discovery subscription package (the brand’s “Subscribe to Save” program sends you only snacks you specifically request).
This is a change from their previous model, and a possible reflection on the fact that their customer base likes to choose precisely what they receive each month.
If you’re more interested in the surprise factor, a company like Graze, MunchPak or HealthPak might be a better fit.
Graze and HealthPak both offer subscribers a collection of healthy snacks, but Graze also promises to adjust the items you receive based on your feedback. MunchPak also lets you request specific categories of snacks in each box for an extra $1 each.
For those whose goal is more about experimenting with new snack varieties than gaining energy during the midafternoon slump, MunchPak and Yummy Bazaar both offer a curated collection of snacks from around the world that fall more under the category of junk food, as they often include chips, sodas, gummy candy, and baked goods.
Which box is best for you? That depends on your needs. If you’re less interested in the subscription process but want to receive discounts on a precise type and amount of healthy snacks each month, then NatureBox is a brand to consider.
Our View: Is NatureBox Worth Considering?
Since NatureBox changed their business model from a discovery subscription to a membership service, many people are wondering if this is the right time to sign up.
According to our research, NatureBox is presenting itself as a premier snack option for those who want convenient choices for snacking on a regular basis but don’t want to deal with a “discovery subscription” and would instead prefer to choose precisely what they get in each order.
Likewise, NatureBox is targeting itself towards corporate culture by offering an unlimited office subscription service with a flat price per employee. Companies pay for the service monthly, and NatureBox promises to refill all snacks whenever they request it.
Compared to the competition, NatureBox offers more autonomy for consumers than subscription services like Graze or HealthPak, and it provides subscription savings for those committed for the long term.
For those who decide to try NatureBox, you need to be aware that your first purchase will enroll you in their $30/ year members plan that gives you $5 of in-store credit each month. If you wish to opt out of this plan, you will need to message customer service directly within the first 30 days of ordering.