Thistle and Splendid Spoon are two healthy meal delivery companies that focus highly on the power of plant-based nutrition.
We put them side by side and compared them on every level, from taste and quality of ingredients to customer service. In the end, Splendid Spoon is the overall winner, but Thistle is certainly not without some serious strong points. Let’s take a look.
Splendid Spoon was founded in 2013 partnering with a team of chefs and nutritionists to make sure every meal is packed with the macro and micronutrients you need. Their meals are 100% plant-based, their ingredients are whole and unprocessed, and they prioritize choosing organic ingredients for the Dirty Dozen.
Thistle was also founded in 2013 with the vision of making wholesome, fresh foods more accessible to both improve the health of people and the health of the planet. While not completely plant-based or vegan, Thistle leans that way heavily in both areas.
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Thistle and Splendid Spoon are two healthy meal delivery services that are better suited for people with special dietary needs or preferences than most of their meal delivery companies. Both focus on healthy meals that are primarily plant-based and full of nutrition.
Thistle doesn’t claim to be entirely vegan, but its menu is heavily loaded with plant-based meals. So, they’re naturally dairy-free, and Thistle meals are completely gluten-free. They use high-protein, superfood grains that don’t contain gluten. Thistle’s food philosophy focuses on wholesome clean eating that doesn’t give in to food trends or dietary extremes.
What you will find with Thistle is a healthy food that’s transformed into primarily plant-based meals full of nutrition and healthy fats. Because of their food philosophy, Thistle appeals to a wide range of dietary preferences, including vegan, weight loss, diabetic, and Mediterannean lifestyles (although none of Thistle meals are designed for these types of diets specifically),
Splendid Spoon offers meals and smoothies that are designed to be incorporated into your healthy living lifestyle. All of their meals and smoothies are plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free. You can filter your Splendid Spoon meal choices by categories such as high-fiber, high-protein, low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-carb. Keep in mind that choosing any of these options will reduce the size of the menu Splendid Spoon offers, but only to a degree. Many of their meals and smoothies fit naturally into most of these categories.
Meal Prep & Variety
When you choose a meal delivery service, one important detail to consider is if you want meal kits, where you prepare pre-portioned ingredients according to an accompanying recipe card, or ready-to-eat meals where the maximum effort you need to put in is opening the microwave or oven door. Both Thistle and Splendid Spoon offers ready-to-eat meals that make it super easy to stick to your healthy eating habits.
Thistle’s weekly menu is set up a bit differently than other meal delivery services. Their menu is set up to offer one breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack per day. Each week they offer six days’ worth of these menus. The reason for this is that Thistle is smaller than some of the other major meal delivery services. If you live within their local shipping area, you can choose whatever meals you want. If you live outside of their local shipping area, then you’re committed to the pre-set menu they’ve developed. Thistle shipping areas will be discussed in the Customer Service part of our review.
Thistle’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner selections include great-tasting healthy meals like smoothie bowls, oats, salads, pasta, curries, and more. Even though you have less choice with Thistle, they do a good job of making sure there’s a decent amount of variety throughout the week.
Splendid Spoon offers a nice diverse selection of plant-based meals. Each week Splendid Spoon customers can choose from a menu that offers about twenty smoothies, two dozen soups and grain bowls, eight to ten noodle bowls, plus a selection of cold-pressed juices and wellness shots.
Like Thistle, all of Splendid Spoon’s healthy meals are prepared. All you have to do is heat them up, or in the cases of options like smoothies, all you need to do is grab and go.
There’s nothing worse than ordering food from a healthy meal delivery service, only to find out that the ingredients are sub-par. It really doesn’t matter how healthy the meals are. If the quality of ingredients isn’t there, then it’s just a waste of money. Fortunately, both Thistle and Splendid Spoon meals are on point when it comes to quality ingredients.
Thistle makes a commitment to use organic ingredients whenever possible. They are also equally committed to the ethical and sustainable sourcing of their ingredients. Because Thistle is smaller and local, they’re able to work with only local purveyors who they’ve had the opportunity to develop a relationship with and who they know share their same standards of ingredient integrity.
Splendid Spoon vegan meals are created with the mission to put the freshest, highest quality ingredients in front of their customers. Splendid Spoon claims that their smoothies and wellness shots are 95% organic, although that percentage is likely lower for their other healthy meals. When deciding whether or not to use organic ingredients, Splendid Spoon prioritizes fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list. All of the ingredients that Splendid Spoon uses are also non-GMO.
Taste & Sample Meals
With SplendidSpoon and Thistle both offering plant-based, healthy food, they’re both already off to a good start in the taste department. A quick glance at both menus shows a selection of meals and snacks that are just bursting with fresh, natural flavors.
Thistle does a really good job of taking plant-based ingredients and weaving them into meals with flavors that most people would enjoy. They’re not loaded with heavy sauces, so the real, natural flavors shine through.
A few examples of meals that Thistle offers include Sweet Potato Hash for breakfast, Blueberry Buckwheat Salad for lunch, and a Panang Peanut Stirfry Bowl for dinner. These dishes all come from a single day of Thistle’s menu and are a good representation of their offerings overall. Thistle also offers a selection of cold-pressed juices and a few sides to compliment your meals.
Splendid Spoon offers a greater variety of flavors on its menu. With about twenty options for smoothies, you can choose from flavors Orange Hibiscus, Blueberry Coconut, Green Matcha, Carrot Ginger, and Raspberry Cacao.
Other selection on Splendid Spoon’s menu includes grain bowls, like Kimchi Fried Quinoa, Brown Rice Taco Bowl, and a Coconut Curry Rice Bowl. There are also noodles and soups in a range of wonderful flavors.
PRICE PER WEEK
PRICE PER SERVING
Cold-Pressed Juice Box
Lite Bites Box
2 x Snack
Vegan Essentials Box
Essentials Box with Meat
Vegan Enhanced Box
2 X Snack
Enhanced Box with Meat
2 x Snack
PRICE PER MEAL
Range of Bundles
$8.00 - $11.00
$85.00 - $175.00
5 Smoothies (16 oz)
5 Soup & Grain Bowls (16 oz)
Breakfast + Lunch
5 Smoothies + 5 Soup & Grain bowls
Breakfast, Lunch + Reset
5 Smoothies, 5 bowls, 5 light soups
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner + Reset
5 Smoothies, 5 bowls, 5 noodles, 5 light soups
Both Thistle and Splendid Spoon are a bit unique in how they structure and price compared to other food delivery service options. Thistle prices their plans based on a set number of meals per day, and customers can choose if they want 3-6 days worth of meals per week. Thistle’s meals start at about $42 per week, which averages out to about $11.50 per meal. This pricing is for their largest meal boxes. You will pay more per serving for smaller orders.
Splendid Spoon is a healthy food delivery service that offers a meal plan that’s really only designed for a single person. Splendid Spoons plans include just breakfast, breakfast + lunch, another for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they also offer On-Demand Boxes. The On-Demand Boxes are quite varied and include everything from a 15 pack of smoothies to one or two-day resets.
Because Splendid Spoon’s meal plans and boxes are so varied, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact “per serving” price. It really depends on what type of plan or box you choose. To give you an idea of how much Splendid Spoon costs, the five-day breakfast, lunch, and dinner plan, which also includes five light soups for a dietary reset day, costs $195 (when not on sale). For the five days, plus the reset day, that averages out to $39 per day.
Packaging & Recycling
The packaging your meal box comes in needs to be efficient at protecting your meal from spoilage, and also easy to recycle, and hopefully, make a minimal impact on the environment.
Thistle is a strong supporter of sustainable and recyclable packaging. All of their packaging containers are 100% recyclable, made from post-consumer recycled materials, and they’re made using at least some solar energy. For local deliveries, Thistle also uses insulated coolers that can be picked up and reused.
Like Thistle, Splendid Spoon’s packaging materials are 100% recyclable, and their boxes are packed with dry ice, which can be left to evaporate. Splendid Spoon has made a commitment to keep making forward strides until its packaging is 100% sustainable.
Splendid Spoon doesn’t offer a free trial for their meal subscription service, but they like to make things easier for their customers by offering a no-commitment policy. Once you sign up for Splendid Spoon, it’s easy to pause deliveries or skip weeks as wanted. Splendid Spoon is also quite flexible, offering customers the opportunity to customize their orders each week.
With Thistle, you can also cancel your subscription or pause weeks from your account page without needing to contact a customer service representative directly. There are fewer customization options for Thistle customers unless they are based locally.
While Thistle being more locally based is a positive for them in many ways, there is a significant portion of you who might be reading this who aren’t eligible for Thistle deliveries based on your location. Customers who live in the San Francisco Bay or Greater LA areas benefit from greater flexibility and customization options. Customers in their local delivery area can also choose the option to have meat protein added to their meals. Thistle has also expanded their local delivery areas to include parts of Las Vegas, Portland, and Seatle.
For those who don’t live in any of those areas and want to try Thistle, their delivery range is currently limited to parts of California, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. You can check location eligibility on the Thistle website.
Choose Thistle if you:
- Live in Thistle’s local delivery area and can take advantage of their customization options.
- Like having breakfast, lunch, and dinner all planned out
- Like the idea of being able to add cold-pressed juices and healthy sides
- Aren’t super rigid in your plant-based lifestyle
- Appreciate a company with strong sustainability and ethical sourcing standards
Choose Splendid Spoon if you:
- Like a broad range of flavors
- Like the idea of having a week’s worth of healthy food
- You love smoothies and wellness shots
- Have specific health goals you want to address with their “reset” days
- Appreciate a greater level of flexibility and like choosing your own meals