Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's a Nature Box and Is It Worth My Time/Money/Promotion on Facebook

I’m experimenting with boxes. I’ve tried two – Conscious Box and Nature Box. These boxes are delivered to your door (free shipping) every month for a mere $19.95. I’m willing to gamble twenty bucks in the name of research and a blog post or two, so I signed up for both.

The Nature Box full of 5 bags of relatively healthy snacks arrived promptly. I wasn’t aware that you could choose which snacks you want in your box, so my first selection was randomly chosen by the Powers That Be at Nature Box.

Our box contained Cranberry Almond Bites, French Vanilla Almond Granola, Whole Wheat Blueberry Figgy Bars, Baked Peppery Potato Fries, and Flax Fortune Coins. The sales pitch claimed that these would be “full-size” bags of snacks. And they were. If you’re a toddler. My kids are teens, so each bag had about 2 servings (except the Flax Fortune Coins which may last us a month).

If you do the math, that’s $4 a bag. I suppose this is about the average price for gouchi all-natural snacks, which these definitely are. I’m sure you can find a knock-off of every one of them at Wegmans. These snacks contain no high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, artificial colors, or trans fats. That’s all good. A few of them do have their fair share of sugar, but how else will you get kids to eat them? Sugar is the second ingredient listed on the Flax Fortune Coins but I’m the only one brave enough to eat them. This I attribute to their unfortunate name, but more about that later.

When I factor in that I didn’t have to drive to the store and pick out these snacks, I feel comfortable with the price tag, especially since from here on out I can select what we want in our box. But when I consider the environmental cost of bringing these products to me (packaging, shipping, marketing), I feel a pang of guilt. The figgy bars were individually packaged inside their re-sealable bag. Even my kids were offended at that amount of waste.

I decided to un-sign myself up for the next scheduled Nature Box. It’s not necessarily the food itself or even the price. (My first box was only $9.98 thanks to a promotion on Facebook and I could get further discounts by passing along that Facebook discounts to my friends.) The main problem is that my kids didn’t eat it on principle. The principle that says that if it’s good for you and Mom wants you to eat it, it will taste nasty. The uniform packaging didn’t help my case. All five bags have the same color/shape/look/logo so I couldn’t try to sneak one in under the radar a few days later. My two older kids tried the snacks out of desperation and under duress. (I hadn’t bought them any Cheez-its). They ate the Cranberry Almond Bites and the Blueberry Figgy Bars. They wouldn’t touch the Flax Coins or Peppery Fries and had no interest in more granola. Of course they labeled them “kind of gross” – they had to save face here. 

I tried all of them and thought the Figgy Bars, granola, and Almond Bites tasted fine. Maybe not worth $4 a bag and a hit to the environment, but not bad.

My one recommendation for Nature Box is to reconsider the names and packaging of these snacks. No matter how delicious the Flax Fortune Coins may be, there ain’t no way my kids are interested. Using the word “fortune” in the name is misleading; there is no fortune offered. Hey- maybe if they added a few fortunes hidden down in the bag (or better yet the cookie), that might lure them in.  Better to call them Vanilla Sugar Coins or Yummo Cookie Treats or Eat-These-When-Your-Mom-Isn’t-Looking Cookies. If this box is marketed for kids (and it very well may NOT be, but I’m not privy to such info), it is sorely lacking. 

And Whole Wheat Figgy Bars? Unless Fig is followed by Newton, best to leave the word out all together. And Whole Wheat is the kiss of death on any kid-snack. Peppery Fries? Fries imply that these will be hot and crispy and peppery is not a word you’d want to put on the packaging of anything you offer a child.

I checked out the other offerings at Nature Box and saw a few things my kids might eat – if I put them in a bowl first and gave them a different name. Sad to say, while there may be some nutritional benefits to these snacks, my kids were turned off before they even tasted them. At such a premium price, it’s not worth the risk. In the end, I ate the Flax Coins and the chickens loved the Peppery Fries. Alas, back to the Cheezits.

Coming Soon: Conscious Box review


  1. It sounds like the problem isn't necessarily with NatureBox, but rather, with you and your children's eating habits.

    1. Ouch. But you're absolutely right.

  2. No. I've tried NatureBox as well and the problem is, they are full of sugar and very expensive for what you are getting. It's an instance of something being marketed as healthy and good for the environment and being none of the above. By the way, I tried some of their other options and they had sugar listed as the second ingredient on both the fruit and nut options.

    1. Thanks Elaine - you said what I was trying to say much more eloquently and succinctly.