Update 12 June 2022: Nutrition Kitchen recently released their new "veggie" menu. Read my review of their new meals and my new ratings of their meal plan overall.
There has been one name in Singapore's selection of meal-plan providers that has cropped up time and time again since I arrived in Singapore: Nutrition Kitchen. I hear about them when meal plans crop up in conversation, I see fitness companies partnering with them for "challenges", and I am hounded by them on social media. I know I'm not the only one as I was recently added by someone on Instagram who had this meme saved on her Instagram (yes, I laughed out loud).
So, naturally, Nutrition Kitchen has been on my list to review at some point. I was keen to try them and planned to order a week's worth of meals until I became aware that they only offer meal plans for omnivores. Yes, you can choose to exclude meals and that does give you a certain level of customisation but you're left with a repetitive menu that almost has to include pescetarian meals.
But I'm persistent and felt it would be poor to not review one of (if not the) market leader for meal plans in Singapore, so I turned to my (omnivorous) friends to see if anyone would like to review them for me – fortunately, a pair of them did.
Guest reviewers: The Hartmanns
My guest reviews are Fabian and Lara Hartmann, married expatriates who are both fitness enthusiasts and my very dear friends. They both regularly order FitThree (a meal-plan provider I previously reviewed) and both eat anything (although Lara's not a big fan of fish).
The plan was for them to order a week of 10 standard Nutrition Kitchen meals, which they would eat, review and then send on to me to write the blog you're currently reading.
I massively appreciate their help and the opinions shared in this blog are their own.
Nutrition Kitchen offers 4 different meal plans for less active females (regular low-carb meals averaging 330kcal), less active males (large low-carb meals averaging 440kcal), highly active females (regular balanced meals averaging 415kcal per meal), and highly active males (large balanced meals averaging 560kcal per meal). If you are unsure what meal plan to order, they have a short quiz on their website to help you "find your plan", which I think is a great idea.
You can choose to subscribe to a weekly, fortnightly or monthly meal plan, and customise what combination of meals you receive: breakfast and lunch, breakfast and dinner, lunch and dinner, or all 3 meals.
You are then presented with 3 meals for each day of your plan, which can be customised to include more or less of each meal option (breakfast, lunch and dinner). For example, if you chose to receive lunch and dinner on Monday, it will select Monday's lunch and dinner options by default, however, if you don't like the sound of the dinner that day then you can remove it and choose to receive the breakfast instead.
There are a lot of things to love about Nutrition Kitchen's website – its simplicity, its ease of use and how nicely the nutritional information is displayed – however, if you're a pescetarian like me then it's all for nothing since meal plans only cater to omnivores. Regardless, let's pretend that I did want to purchase a meal plan from Nutrition Kitchen and see how much it would cost.
The "find my plan" quiz suggested I order the Large Balanced meal plan totalling an average of 1,120–1.250 calories each day (assuming I would choose to receive lunch and dinner). Depending on how many weeks I chose to receive meals, I would receive an increasing discount per meal:
1 week of meals for S$198 (S$19.80 per meal including free delivery)
2 weeks of meals for S$300.80 (S$18.80 per meal including free delivery)
4 weeks of meals for S$606.90 (S$17.85 per meal including free delivery)
The experience of ordering my fictional meal plan was very smooth and the user experience feels both slick and professional. Once you've picked your meal-plan options and clicked checkout, you are brought to a final page where you can purchase your meal plan, which is then confirmed via email. Note that the cut-off time for orders is every Friday at midday.
Here are my observations and opinions on some specifics that contribute to the overall experience: user experience and customer service, packaging and delivery, and cost and rewards.
User experience and customer service
I think Nutrition Kitchen's user experience is one of the best I've used. They've stripped the process right back to the bare minimum required to quickly get you through the selection and purchasing of your meal plan.
The highlights for me were the quiz to help first-time customers find the best plan for them, the clear images of each meal and the one-page website design that puts everything you need in one place.
The Hartmanns reported that the customer service was professional and fast, with responses to queries arriving within just a few hours.
Packaging and delivery
Meals arrive each day in a recyclable paper bag containing the meals you ordered. The Hartmann's said that the packaging was good and looked and felt like it was made from sustainable and recyclable material. After checking the comprehensive FAQs on Nutrition Kitchen's website, it does say that "meal boxes are made from sugar cane and 100% bio-degradable".
The label on each meal is clear and provides all the information you could need: ingredients, calories and macros, and cooking instructions.
The feedback on delivery was not as good as other meal-plan providers (I mentioned before that the Hartmanns usually receive FitThree). There is no communication about when you will receive your orders, you can just either select "morning delivery same day" or "evening delivery the day before" and they will put it at your door with no advance notice. While this is fine for some, it's not quite as attractive as the SMS notifications you receive from other meal-plan providers.
Cost and rewards
I think the sweet spot for the cost per meal is the fortnightly meal plan discount, which prices each meal at S$18.80 with free delivery.
While I didn't order a meal and therefore do not have access to all Nutrition Kitchen's account features, there doesn't seem to be any reward scheme. This was a surprise to me given the size of the company – I thought a basic rewards scheme would have been a no brainer.
Note that you can save S$18 on your first order, which is offered to you when you go to Nutrition Kitchen's website.
Full-day calories and macros: 865kcal, P78, C66, F32
I was sent Lara's feedback for each meal in bullet points, so that's how you'll get her review of each meal. The Hartmanns purchased 1 week of lunches and dinners from Nutrition Kitchen's Regular Balanced meal plan (averaging 415kcal per meal).
Lunch – Tandoori Chicken:
The chicken was nicely flavoured but a bit dry.
The rice was well-cooked and not too soft.
The cauliflower was a bit soft (I prefer more firm textures for vegetables).
The green sauce was nicely flavoured and helped marinate the chicken.
Everything was mixed to create a classic "Indian food taste" with a small amount of spice that wasn't overwhelming.
Dinner – Greek Omelette (Chicken):
Note: Switched the dinner for the breakfast option.
This was a nice omelette! I liked the texture of the ingredients, which were all very firm and not too soft.
The meal lacked seasoning overall and some bigger flavours would have been welcome from the individual ingredients.
The enjoyable filling was indeed very "Greek" with zucchini, olives, feta, dried tomato and chicken.
This meal was low in calories and not a huge portion but for me, it was sufficient as I prefer lighter dinners.
Full-day calories and macros: 934kcal, P69, C48, F52
Lunch – Japanese Ginger Pork:
This meal included too much pork and the number of vegetables suffered because of it. The pork was nice and soft and overall had a good taste.
The sweet potato had a nice texture but wasn't flavourful.
The highlight was the crunchy base of white cabbage. This was nicely flavoured and I would have loved to have more of that.
The side salad was a mix of seaweed, sesame and spice. I couldn’t eat a lot of it because of the seaweed taste but that's just my preference.
Dinner – Pumpkin Spinach Frittata:
Note: Switched the dinner for the breakfast option.
I could only taste the egg and none of the pumpkin or spinach flavours.
There was a slightly spicy taste in there and the overall texture was good but the whole meal lacked any robust and diverse flavours.
Full-day calories and macros: 991kcal, P86, C87, F34
Lunch – Korean Chicken:
This meal tasted better than it looked. It was a slightly spicy meal that tasted fine and included well-cooked noodles and vegetables.
For people who like big meat portions, it’s a good fit; the meat is tasty and nicely flavoured with spices.
Dinner – Haddock Piccata:
The haddock had a strong citrus taste because of the lemon placed on top of it for so long. If you like lemon then that's fine and it hides any perceivable fishy taste (which I liked).
The fish and vegetables had a good texture but the overall balance between fish and vegetables was quite poor.
Full-day calories and macros: 892kcal, P76, C65, F37
Lunch – Peranakan Chicken:
Finally a proper balance between carbohydrates, vegetables and protein!
The macros on this meal were good (P41 C51 F16) from what I can tell.
The vegetables and rice were well cooked but the chicken was dry again.
The taste was much more flavourful than other meals I received and this was probably the best dish I received all week.
Dinner – Poached Eggs Florentine with Mornay Sauce:
Note: Switched the dinner for the breakfast option.
The egg was well cooked but that's the only positive thing I have to say about this meal. The meal was not good and was devoid of any flavour.
I don't understand why they included 3 big servings of ham – no wonder the fat macro is so high (F21). I think they could have substituted the ham for some more carbohydrates, such as a piece of bread or a muffin.
Full-day calories and macros: 993kcal, P80, C98, F31
Lunch – Kung Pao Chicken:
This meal looked nice and I spoke too soon about the Peranakan Chicken, this was my best meal of the week. Everything was cooked well.
The meal smelt so good when I pulled it out of the microwave and it got even better once I opened the container.
The meal included lots of peppers, which gave it a good punch but could be overpowering for some.
The chicken had a great texture but I would have liked more spice or seasoning on the meat to hide the "raw meat" aftertaste I experienced.
Dinner – Beef Rendang:
This was another case of a meal tasting better than it looked.
I mixed the whole thing which created a nice mix of flavoursome beef, flavoured rice and crunchy cabbage.
Overall, I enjoyed this meal a lot and it was a good end to my week.
Full-week calories and macros: 4,675kcal, P310, C364, F186
Average daily calories and macros: 935kcal, P77, C73, F37
In my (Rory) opinion, Nutrition Kitchen is a meal-plan provider that has grown quickly and has the hallmarks of a slick operation: a great user experience, competitive meal pricing and great marketing. However, it also has signs of a company that doesn't put its customers at the centre of what it does: no customisation for dietary requirements, no rewards scheme and impersonal delivery.
But what did the Hartmann's have to say overall, I'll let Lara tell you in her own words:
"For people with no special dietary needs that eat everything, Nutrition Kitchen is a fair option. However, a lack of meal-plan customisation and a lack of flavour and taste from most of the meals I received means that I won't order from them again. For the mass market – those that order Nutrition Kitchen every week and don't know any better – I expect they are generally happy with what they receive. I think the price is too high; FitThree is less expensive (regular FitThree meals cost S$13.40, which is S$4–6 cheaper than Nutrition Kitchen) and that extra cost is not justified considering there is less flexibility, lower overall quality, and worse service."
Finally, I (Rory) want to mention that the average calories for this week of meals came to 467.5, which is 52.5 calories more than the 415 calories per Regular Balanced meal that Nutrition Kitchen lists on their website. Is this a dealbreaker? No, but it's something to be aware of if you're specific about your daily calorie and macro totals.
Some areas where I think Nutrition Kitchen could make improvements are:
Create a non-omnivorous meal plan. In a market becoming increasingly saturated with competitors, you must be willing to move with the times and cater to diverse dietary requirements. It's not only good for your new customer acquisition, but it's also better for the environment to get people to consider non-meat or fish days.
Update the average calories listed against each meal plan. While I cannot speak for other meal plans. there was a 52.5 calorie discrepancy between what Lara thought she would receive and what she received on average per meal.
Launch a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat orders. This won't only make them feel better over time since they're getting a "kickback" but it'll also aid customer acquisition and retention.
Meal variety ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Plan options ⭐️☆☆☆☆
Packaging & delivery ⭐️⭐️⭐️☆☆
Ease of use ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thanks for reading and I hope you find this review (as well as the reviews of other meal plans I've tried) useful when choosing your plan. If you'd like to keep up to date on the workouts I do and the meals I receive, you can follow me on Instagram.