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Daily Harvest, the NY-based, subscription meal delivery service aims to change the preconceptions about frozen foods by providing customers with a convenient, healthy alternative.
Make way traditional tater tots and TV dinners typically found in freezers for something fresh from Daily Harvest. Nutrient dense, pre-portioned, freezer-ready, Cup-of-Soup style smoothies, overnight oats, chia parfaits, soups, ice cream sundaes, and starting today, stir fry bowls are available for home delivery. Each cup includes whole fruits, vegetables & superfoods – free of preservatives and artificial flavors with minimal cooking and cleanup.
“Our most common piece of customer feedback is that we’ve filled a need in the health food space that wasn’t previously being met”, says Daily Harvest Founder & CEO Rachel Drori.
Roughly 19% of Americans, mostly Millenials and Gen-Xers, have tried a meal-kit delivery service such as Blue Apron, according to a study by Time Inc.’s Money. The primary complaint has been lack of quick prep for busy people and healthier options, so it is no surprise Daily Harvest has attracted high-profile health conscious investors like tennis star Serena Williams, actress & entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, and Net-a-Porter Founder Natalie Massenet.
Prior to founding Daily Harvest in 2015, Drori was a marketing executive and branding specialist at Four Seasons, American Express, and Gilt Group’s Jetsetter. She earned her MBA from Columbia University and BA in Political Science at University of Pennsylvania.
Kristina Moore: What market are you targeting?
Rachel Drori: Daily Harvest is for anyone who wants to eat better without compromising the convenience of readily available foods. It works for the busy-bee or if you’re just looking for more nutrients in your diet but are unsure where to start. The best part about Daily Harvest is that all of your superfoods are already selected, paired, and prepared for you. Our customer wants to eat the way he or she knows they should, but struggles with the challenge of making it happen.
How does Daily Harvest distinguish itself from other food delivery services?
Drori: We aim to completely reimagine what it means to eat real food and maintain a clean diet. We’re creating modern food for the modern lifestyle, which usually means a busy schedule and lots of multitasking. That’s why a main focus is to have essential nutrients in all of our collections, so that customers don’t have to think twice about filling their daily quota of fruits and veggies. All of our food is made with whole, unrefined superfoods and the best part is that everything can be prepared in minutes without giving anything up. And it’s delicious!
We farm-freeze our ingredients to lock in nutrients right after they’re harvested. Our produce is picked at peak ripeness and frozen within hours to lock in all the good stuff.
What role do superfoods play in Daily Harvest’s philosophy?
Drori:A lot of superfoods have healing qualities that most people aren’t aware of typically because the superfood is not readily accessible. Ingredients that we use like Blue Majik are known for a myriad of health benefits, as it is jam-packed with amino acids, B12 vitamins, and has 22 times more iron than spinach, a common ingredient in other health smoothie blends. Our nutritionists and chefs do the research to include superfoods that give our customers optimal benefits of consuming our food. Tasting good is always important, but having the added benefit of your food doing good as well is where our selected superfoods come into play.
We choose our ingredients to be complex in both flavor and nutrient profile, not chemicals. Superfoods are nature’s most nutritionally dense foods. Freezing them on the farm ensures they actually stay this way when you eat them. Our team of chefs and nutritionists work together to develop recipes that unlock the health benefits of superfoods and also make sure that they taste great. Oftentimes, consumers feel their options are limited because convenient, accessible, good tasting, healthy foods are far and few between. When you add the desire for superfoods into the mix you first have to find them, then figure out what to do with them and they don’t always taste so great on their own. We develop flavor combinations you may never have thought of, like Dragon Fruit and Mulberry Oats or Sweet Potato Nice Cream, to develop nutrient-dense recipes that taste amazing
How does Daily Harvest address different dietary needs/requirements? If I have an allergy, can I alter ingredients?
Drori: We have total transparency with our ingredients and a limited number of ingredients in each of our cups, so it’s easy to know exactly what you are eating – no hidden anything here! Customers can filter through our collections to target different nutrition and functional needs in their diet. All of our ingredients are also listed on each collection description on our website. Allergies can be tough, and in order to make sure our customers are eating safely, we do not want to risk their health with making alterations to our collections at this time.
How long is prep time? What do I need to add to my smoothie, soup, activated bowl, and sundae cup?
Drori: Prep time varies depending on the collection, and each of the collections are made to last in your freezer for a minimum of one month when properly frozen at zero degrees or less. Time beyond 30 days depends on how frequently you open your freezer and let warm air in.
• Smoothies can be blended by picking your base (milk, almond milk, water etc), filling the top of the cup with the liquid, pouring into a blender and refilling your Daily Harvest or preferred cup with the final collection.
• Soup cups can be filled to the top with water or your favorite broth, empty the content into a microwavable bowl or heat on your stovetop, and then pour back into your Daily Harvest cup with a lid to bring your soup with you on-the-go!
• Activated bowls are super easy to make. You can just add milk and let it soak overnight, stir it up in the morning and you’re all set.
• Sundaes can be made through a couple of quick steps. Remove the toppings pack and set them aside. Pour the cup’s contents into your blender and add your milk of choice. Then start your blender and keep it going until your content resemble soft-serve. Scoop out the deliciousness back into your cup, sprinkle on your toppings, and enjoy!
How do they taste? Will Daily Harvest’s serving size satisfy my hunger?
Drori: One of the most popular types of customer feedback emails we receive is about how good our food tastes! We’re pre-conditioned to think that eating healthy means sacrificing taste or feeling full, but that is totally untrue. We want to debunk those myths by packing our foods with ingredients like chia seeds known to keep you hydrated and full, and having our chefs wave their culinary wands to make sure that every additional ingredient either serves a functional purpose or makes the recipe completely crave-worthy.
What prompted your decision to collaborate with a Michelin Trained Chef and nutritionist Sara Jane Mercer?
Drori: There are two very simple questions that customers ask of any health-focused food collection: does it taste good and what is the nutritional benefit? The complicated part is finding a balance between the two to make a collection that is both delicious and nutritious. We chose to utilize a Michelin-trained chef, who knew a thing or two around what flavor combinations work and combine their knowledge with a nutritionist. Both our chef and nutritionist work together on recipe development to overlap their deep knowledge on functional superfoods that can best benefit our customers.
Tell us about Daily Harvest’s customer service. How do I alter or cancel my subscription or simply get help?
Drori: We are a company built on customer centricity. We give our customers the ability to connect with them in the channel that best meets their needs…chat, email, social, phone. We also have a robust self-serve account dashboard that allows you to change your order, skip any week of delivery and manage the details of your plan at any time. Our help desk help page contains everything you need to get help, whether it is searching for a question on our FAQ or getting on the phone with a real human to help you out. We’re dedicated to be available and be just as convenient to our customers as our eats are.
Is shipping included with my subscription fee?
Drori: Yes, shipping is included with all orders.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced and how did you overcome them?
Drori: When I started Daily Harvest, I was producing and hand delivering smoothies from my car while I was eight months pregnant with my first child. Standing on my feet for 10 hours/day and then driving around the city was totally exhausting, and persevering through that was challenging at times. The reception we got from our first customers really kept me going and is often still where I source my motivation from today. Just keeping positive and reminding myself that we are bringing something good to make people’s lives easier helps me work through any challenges thrown our way.
Why do you think Daily Harvest resonates with investors? How did you get Gwyneth Paltrow and Serena Williams on board?
Drori: I think a lot of investors recognize the gap in the food market space and can see how Daily Harvest is working to fill it. There is enormous potential for growth, but we are taking things at our own pace to perfect each and every collection. We eat the soups and slurp the smoothies as well, so putting out a collection that has all the nutrients but tastes bad just isn’t something we would ever want to do.
Serena actually tried a smoothie on a recommendation from her husband, Alexis Ohanian [Reddit Cofounder], who had been a customer prior, and Gwyneth was shown the collection by an editor for a publication that she owns. I think both women, and every other investor in our company, truly believe in what Daily Harvest stands for. Collectively, we want there to be a collection that is natural, unprocessed, and nutritious but still accessible. We all recognize the need in the market, because we were all looking for something like Daily Harvest prior to our launch.
What’s next? How do you see Daily Harvest continue to make a difference in how people eat?
Drori: We are always cooking up new menu items to continue to change perceptions around frozen food. We have some exciting new additions in the pipeline to expand our collection offerings so that Daily Harvest customers will always have a healthy option no matter what they’re craving. Freezers have been underutilized and overcrowded by the never-eaten vegetable medleys for way too long. In the future, you can expect to head right to your freezer when you’re hungry and find everything you need. We’re so excited to introduce what’s to come!
How do you replenish your creativity and energy?
Drori: As busy as things can get, our main objective is to keep our customers happy and healthy, which is why it’s important that we take the time to take care of ourselves too. That includes all facets of well being, from physical to mental health. Just being with my family re-centers me after a busy day – simple things like going for a walk on a nice night or signing myself up for a yoga class really make all the difference! I also get a lot of energy from my team – we feed off of one another and are always throwing around ideas and generating excitement for the future.
Kristina Moore is a style expert focusing on visual presentation as a dynamic professional tool. She is the founder and editor of Corporate Fashionista.