It's hard to argue with the convenience of food delivery subscription services — especially during the pandemic — but if you’re wondering how the quality & value compares to standard supermarket products, you're not alone.
That's why when we got the chance to try ButcherBox, a name we kept hearing about, we couldn't resist. (FYI, we received a box for free to test.) Here's our honest ButcherBox review.
What is ButcherBox?
ButcherBox is a meat delivery subscription service that works with family farms & claims to offer quality (100% grass-fed AND grass-finished beef, free-range organic chicken, heritage-breed pork & wild-caught seafood — including salmon), value (a range of high-quality cuts) & flexibility (free shipping and the option to cancel at any time.)
What did we think about ButcherBox?
Our senior social media producer, Matthew, tried the Classic Curated Mixed Box (with that free turkey — see offer below!) — and here's what he thought.
Shipping & Packaging: "Everything came in this cool insulated cardboard box. It's all recyclable. No styrofoam coolers here. Easy to break down."
Individual Packaging: "All the meat comes frozen and pre-packed in useful sizes. Chicken breasts in 1-2 breasts a package. Ground beef in 1-lb packages. Same for steaks and pork chops."
Quality: "Quality seems good! I've made steak fajitas and grilled the chicken breast and I think the sizes were perfectly average (I mean that in a good way) and I have received quite a few compliments on each."
Quantity: "I'd say that it seemed like a good amount for a small family. It's a lot for me just cooking for myself, but I got three steak cuts, four large pork chops, four chicken breasts and two one-pound packages of grass-fed ground beef."
Convenience: "Having all this just delivered and not having to go to the grocery store or specialty meat market for it was really nice, especially during the pandemic." Not to mention he lives in NYC and everything in the Classic box fit nicely into his (TINY) freezer!
How does ButcherBox quality compare to grocery meat?
"I wouldn't say that I've noticed it being better than other higher-quality meats I've purchased," Matthew says, "but certainly not any less."
"It's tough for me to gauge [freshness] because it's all frozen," he continues. "I always feel like you lose some of the 'freshness' no matter how good the quality is when you freeze/thaw something. But I will say that the sirloin cap steak seemed well cut and left a nice fat cap on, which I appreciated. The coloring of the meat all looks great — even though it's frozen. The ground beef in particular looks really good." The steak was less marbleized than some supermarket steaks, Matthew notes, but that is probably because grass-fed meat tends to be leaner.
How do ButcherBox prices compare to grocery prices?
We did a lot of number crunching, but since the prices & quality of meat vary widely by location and fluctuate, it's impossible to an exact apples-to-apples comparison that would apply to all our readers across the country. In general, though, the prices seem about the same as prices we've seen at high-end grocery stores and farmer's markets for organic & free-range chicken, grass-fed and grass finished beef, and heritage pork products.
So, while it doesn't offer savings, per sé, the subscription's convenience and flexibility is definitely worth noting. Especially if you live in an area where these healthier and more sustainable options aren’t easy to find, being able to order them online and have them shipped directly to your door is pretty cool. Shipping is free, you can change your delivery frequency (if you don't get through all of your meat in one month) and you can cancel at any time.
Interested in giving it a try, but still have some questions about how it all works? Let's break it down.
How does ButcherBox work?
You have a few decisions to make!
First, you choose between two types of boxes: Custom (starting at $129) or Curated (starting at $149)
The main benefit of Custom boxes is that you can choose the cuts of high-quality meat you receive such as premium steak tips, filet mignon, ribeye steak or boneless skinless chicken breast. But if you love the thrill of a surprise (we do!), the Curated box is for you.
With that said, if you choose a Curated box, you can still choose between:
- Mixed Box
- Beef & Pork box
- Beef & Chicken box
- All Beef box
Then, you choose between: Classic Box or Big Box
If you opt for a Big Box (which is about double the amount of meat and meals), the price then ranges from $238 to $270 per box. For reference, a Big Custom Box is $270 for 60 meals (18-26 lbs of meat), whereas a Big Curated Box is $238 for 48 meals (16-22 lbs of meat).
Classic Boxes are recommended for individuals and small families and Big Boxes are recommended for mid-size families and large freezers. We live in NYC and everything in the Classic box fit nicely into our (TINY) freezer!
We can't forget to mention that members can also select add-ons for their box, like ButcherBox Bacon or breakfast sausage, for example - which are recurring and can be changed month to month. As for exclusive member deals - those are additional cuts of meat that you can add to your order that do not renew automatically. They change each month based on season and availability.
The boxes are then delivered to your door for free on your schedule (Every 4 weeks? 6 weeks? 8 weeks? Your choice!) — and you can cancel anytime.
How is ButcherBox's customer service?
We can only speak for the experience we had — which hasn't been extensive thus far, since, as we let you know, we received one free box to test. But in the spirit of full disclosure, we wanted to address some discussions we saw online between customers who said they have experienced some issues with delivery or account settings. ButcherBox's BBB accreditation was previously removed due to unanswered customer reviews on its page, but it appears the company has resolved these problems and now has an A+ rating, which is why we are happy to recommend them. YAY!
If you'd like to give ButcherBox subscription a try, they're currently offering new members a 10-14 lb, free-range, all-natural turkey for FREE in their first ButcherBox order (no basting or artificial ingredients, minimally processed). Hurry, the deal ends on 11/15/20, so act quickly if you're still in the market for a Thanksgiving turkey!