We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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Author Mirela Niculae
Mirela Niculae
Updated on Apr 4th, 2024
Fact checked by Emma Vince

Thistle vs. Sakara 2024: A Side-by-Side Showdown

At first glance, Thistle and Sakara have lots of similarities. They both feature a plant-rich diet and offer ready-made fresh meals that can be served cold. In both cases, the focus is on good nutrition that helps you stay healthy and energized throughout the day.

Upon closer inspection, I realized Thistle is a better fit for regular diners like you and me. Its offer is tailored for flexitarians without leaving vegetarians and vegans on the side. Additionally, the menu is inspired by a wide range of cuisines, and you can enjoy new fragrances and textures every week.

Sakara has its strong points as well, like being 100% plant-based and mostly organic. However, I think the menu lacks variety, and I wasn’t convinced by the brand’s reliance on supplements. Plus, the price tag is a bit out of my league.

If I’ve piqued your interest, make sure to check out my Thistle vs. Sakara showdown and decide which suits your needs best.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Thistle ($12/serving for local deliveries and $14/serving for shipped deliveries)

🍔 Menu Variety:

Thistle (24 choices per week)

🥦Ingredient Quality and Nutrition

Thistle

⏰ Prep Time:

It’s a tie

🍴 Customization:

It’s a tie

👍 Ordering and Delivery

It’s a tie

📦 ​​Packaging and Eco-Friendliness

Thistle

🙋 Customer Support:

It’s a tie

👑 Overall Winner

Thistle

Menu Variety

Winner: Thistle

Both Thistle and Sakara prioritize plant-rich, nutritious meals designed to support a healthy lifestyle. However, Thistle’s offer includes plant-based and meat options, which makes it a great choice if you want to balance plant-based and animal proteins.

Thistle offers ready-made breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks for the entire week. Its meals are free from added sweeteners and preservatives and are designed to meet your macronutrient needs with ingredients sourced from whole, organic foods.

Thistle's menu for 2 days, with meals arranged on plates

Sakara has a similar offer but focuses on weight loss, detox, and wellness. The menu is 100% plant-based and includes nutritionally designed, plant-rich organic meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), snacks, and supplements.

Sakara's menu options for 2 days with meals arranged on plates

Thistle's menu is diverse, offering fully prepared meals, snacks, cold-pressed juices, and sides. Since all the meals are 100% gluten- and dairy-free, Thistle caters to various dietary needs, including vegan, vegetarian, and others. The menu changes weekly, providing a fresh experience with each order and including globally inspired cuisines.

You can expect to find a multitude of interesting recipes, including a plant-based take on a traditional recipe like Red Thai Curry, made with tofu and seasoned with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and lime.

Thistle's Red Thai Curry recipe in a bowl

Thistle's specific attention to protein variety and the inclusion of complex, protein-packed carbohydrates like quinoa, lentils, and chickpeas is quite appealing if your main goal is to balance your macronutrient intake.

Sakara's offerings are similarly health-focused, with prepared meals, snacks, and supplements designed around various wellness goals. However, most of the recipes on the menu look and feel like salads. Even a dish like Japanese Rainbow Medley doesn’t look too filling. Also, the soups on the menu are quite simple and a bit bland.

Sakra's Japanese Rainbow Medley recipe on a plate

I like that the menu is 100% plant-based and that vegans have (finally!) some real options, but there are other brands, like Purple Carrot, that do a better job at creating delicious and satiating meals.

Furthermore, Thistle also caters to vegans and vegetarians. The company offers several meal plans that include dishes rich in fiber and plant-based proteins that look better than Sakara’s offer.

Both menus are inspired by global cuisines. Sakara’s menu features Indian, Mexican, and Asian influences, while Thistle’s is more versatile, with influences from Jamaican, Moroccan, Indian, Thai, Chinese, and other impressive cuisines.

Overall, Thistle's approach provides a more expansive taste experience, which is appealing to a wider audience.

Sample Meals

The Thistle menu is pre-defined, with meal options for each day of the week except Sunday (you’re on your own for the 7th day of the week). Each day includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 1 snack.

Nutrition facts and ingredients are available for each recipe – you just have to click on it to access the information. Also, you can only browse the current and future week’s menus. Even so, you can see the menu is varied and the dishes interesting.

Thistle's  Lemon Hazelnut Pasta on a plate

Here’s a list of some of the meals that made me want to try Thistle:

  • Best breakfast option: Patatas Bravas Scramble

  • Best lunch option: Miso Squash Bowl (plant-based and meat options)

  • Best dinner option: Lemon Hazelnut Pasta (plant-based and meat options)

  • Best snack: 24 Carrot Gold Muffin

  • Best side dish: Crunchy Thai Peanut Salad

Sakara uses a similar structure with pre-defined daily menus. Each day, you have options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks, smoothies, or supplements are treated as extras, so they’re not included in the main menu.

Unlike Thistle, Sakara doesn’t offer other details besides the list of ingredients and possible allergens for each dish. But you can see the offer 4 weeks in advance, which is quite nice.

Image of Sakara's Barcelona Bowl recipe aesthetically arranged in a bowl

Here are some of the most interesting meals I found on Sakara’s menu:

  • Best breakfast option: Apple & Royal Cinnamon Pancakes with almond flour, pecan pieces, date syrup, and cashew-Royal Cinnamon spread.

  • Best lunch option: Middle Eastern Bowl with barberries, roasted eggplant, hydrating cucumber, and preserved lemon hummus.

  • Best dinner option: Barcelona Bowl with green chickpeas, cassava “orzo,” hearts of palm, smoked paprika, and cumin.

  • Best snack: Classic Superfood Granola with Gluten-Free Oats, Goji Berries, Almonds, and Coconut.

Meal Customization

Winner: It’s a tie

Both Thistle and Sakara offer ready-made meals tailored to specific dietary needs. Both feature 100% gluten-free and dairy-free menus, with a focus on plant-based, nutritious meals. Sakara offers 100% plant-based meals and extras, while Thistle caters to vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets.

The weekly menus are pre-defined for each day of the week, so there isn’t much customization possible. However, you can decide what goes into your box (in some cases).

Thistle’s customization possibilities depend on your location. If you live in an area where Thistle delivers locally, you’re in luck! You can choose which recipes and how many of each go into your box. You can even combine meat and veggie dishes in the same box or add extra meals.

On the other hand, if your zip code falls into an area where the food has to be shipped, you’re stuck with choosing between 6 pre-defined boxes. Thistle says you may be able to swap some of the meals around after the checkout.

Printscreen of 4 of the 6 Thistle predefined boxes for shipped orders

Sakara is even less permissive, as its menus are not open for debate. Your only option is to choose 1 of its 8 pre-defined programs or create your own. When you create your own, you can choose breakfasts, lunches, or dinners (all or just 1 option) and add-ons. You can also choose the length of the length of the program (2, 3, or 5 days per week).

Screenshot of Sakara's Customize Your Program window

If you choose a pre-defined program, you can only choose the length of the program (5, 20, or 40 days) depending on availability. On the bright side, you can add as many pre-defined and customized meal programs as you want in 1 order. You can supplement with add-ons or shop a la carte. As a Sakara customer, you also get access to its team of Wellness Coaches.

While Thistle is a bit more flexible, I don’t like the fact that it doesn’t offer the same level of customization for shipped orders. When put side by side, I find both companies offer similar levels of customization.

Ingredient Quality and Nutrition

Winner: Thistle

Both menus are designed around the idea of good nutrition, which helps you stay healthy and energetic all day long. However, I think Thistle is more focused on providing delicious meals packed with locally sourced organic (when possible) and high-quality ingredients. Plus, you can choose between veggie and animal proteins.

Thistle meals include an average of 5.8 unique fruits and veggies, whether you choose plant or meat options. The weekly menu features over 40 superfoods, such as ginger, chia, or turmeric. Most lunches and dinners have over 20 g of protein and range between 450-650 calories per serving. Breakfasts contain around 10 g of protein per serving.

Side-by-side view of a Thistle recipe's nutrition profile for the plant-based and meat versions

I also like that Thistle offers full nutrition facts for each recipe, for both plant-based and meat versions. All Thistle’s meals are rich in plant fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system. The cold-pressed juices are made from whole organic fruit and veggies and don’t contain any added sugars.

Sakara features plant-rich organic meals designed using the principles of whole foods nutrition. The weekly menu is packed with over 170 plant ingredients, and each meal ensures you get the right carb-to-fiber ratio to keep blood sugar levels balanced.

Image showcasing Sakara's wide range of supplements

Based on Sakara’s description, its breakfasts, lunches, and dinners include organic ingredients and are designed to fuel your body and brain. While I don’t doubt this is true, I think the brand relies a bit too much on supplements and add-ons.

Ordering and Delivery

Winner: It’s a tie

Ordering is straightforward with both Thistle and Sakara. With Thistle, you can either build your meal plan (if you live in a local delivery area) or choose a predefined one. Sakara only offers pre-defined plans, but you can buy a la carte.

Thistle offers 6 predefined plans called boxes: 

  1. Cold-Pressed Juice Box – it contains 9 juices and is 100% plant-based

  2. Lite Bites Box – is 100% plant-based and includes salads, soups, and 2 snacks

  3. Vegan Essentials Box – includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners (all vegan)

  4. Essentials Box with Meat – includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners

  5. Vegan Enhanced Box – includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 snacks (all vegan)

  6. Enhanced Box with Meat – includes 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and 2 snacks.

Screenshot of 2 of Thistle's pre-defined boxes for shipped orders

With predefined meal plans, you can choose 1 box per week, and you can change it whenever you want. If you’re lucky to be in a local delivery area, you’re free to customize your plan, and you can set up multiple subscriptions under 1 account.

Sakara only offers predefined plans, add-ons, supplements, and the possibility to buy a la carte. If you choose predefined plans (called programs or systems), you can choose between 5 main options:

  1. Signature Nutrition – breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner plus add-ons 2 to 5 times per week

  2. Metabolism Reset – Metabolism Revving smoothies, lunches, dinners, and add-ons

  3. The Fresh Start Cleanse – Signature Green smoothies, breakfast, lunch, and add-ons

  4. The Gut Health Reboot – Signature Green smoothies, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and add-ons

  5. The Performance System – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and add-ons

Besides the Signature Nutrition program (which is the most flexible), all the other plans are available as a 1-, 4-, or 8-week program.

Screenshot of 3 of Sakara's nutrition programs or systems

Sakara also offers 2 limited edition programs: The Bridal Program and Level II: Detox. The Bridal Program is a 4-week program that includes premium nutrition, fitness, and gifts designed to prepare you for your big day.

Level II: Detox is a 5-day whole-food cleanse created in collaboration with Sakara’s Registered Dietitian and Culinary Team. Its main purpose is to “flood your body with potent plant nutrition” (as Sakara puts it) and help temporarily reduce inflammation.

As you can see, both brands provide you with a range of options. All you have to do is decide which 1 you want to try and place your order. Sakara even offers a quiz to help you choose.

With both Thistle and Sakara, you can make changes to your subscription as long as you respect the cutoff date. Thistle’s deadline is 11:59 pm PST on Thursday, and Sakara lets you make changes until midnight EST on Wednesday. All changes must be submitted prior to the week in which you want the update to apply.

However, keep in mind that Sakara only allows changes to its Signature Nutrition plan. The other ones are pre-defined and set in time, so you can’t skip or make changes. Also, you can’t make changes to the first week of your subscription program.

Thistle delivers locally in areas on the West Coast, East Coast, and the Chicago metropolitan area. The company ships across California and to parts of Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The best way to check where your area fits in is to enter your zip code when you place the first order.

Printscreen of Thistle's Choose Delivery Day window for shipped orders

Thistle delivers locally 1 or 2 times per week, depending on the plan you choose. Shipments arrive by 8 pm PST on Monday or Thursday, so you have the option to choose your delivery day. You can also choose to receive text updates about the status of your delivery.

Sakara delivers across the continental United States, and your deliveries will come weekly (with the Signature Nutrition Program) or bi-weekly (with any of the pre-defined Systems). Every System comes with an additional first delivery, separate from the meals, that includes the essentials and System guide.

During checkout, you can specify a preferred delivery time window, and the delivery carriers will do their best to respect it. Sakara works with third-party services such as FedEx, UPS, and hand-delivery partners.

Unboxing

Winner: Thistle

Both Thistle and Sakara use recyclable packaging materials, but only Thistle reuses its thermal cooler bags and cold packs. This makes Thistle a more eco-friendly service, and there’s less for you to do in terms of recycling.

To return the bag and cold packs, all you have to do is set them outside at your next delivery window. The driver will pick them up. The food and soup containers are 100% recyclable at your local facility.

Image of  Thistle's recyclable food containers stacked on top of each other

Each recipe arrives in its own container and is labeled with the necessary information (ingredients, nutrient facts, best-by dates, and so on). Keep in mind that most containers aren’t microwavable or dishwasher-safe.

Food and juices arrive fresh and ready to consume. To keep them fresh, you must place everything you’re not eating right away in the fridge. Also, keep in mind that soups may arrive frozen at times – you can leave them to thaw in the fridge and enjoy them as indicated.

Sakara delivers its food in insulated boxes made from corrugated cardboard created with recycled materials. The box is insulated with liners made from recycled materials and includes ice packs.

Sakara's recyclable meal containers neatly arranged in the fridge

The packaging materials, including the meal containers, can all be recycled curbside. The ice packs are also recyclable and water-soluble. You can simply pour the gel down the drain or into your trash when preparing the ice packs for recycling.

All Sakara’s recipes are delivered fresh, and it’s best to store them in the fridge as soon after delivery as possible. 

Meal Prep

Winner: It’s a tie

Both brands feature ready-made meals that don’t need heating most of the time. Even the soups are designed to be enjoyable cold (although they may be a bit tastier warmed up). Overall, you just get the container with the recipe you want to enjoy out of the fridge, sit down at the table, and start eating. It’s that easy!

Customer Support

Winner: It’s a tie

Both customer service teams are professional and try their best to provide useful and speedy replies. Plus, Thistle and Sakara are active on social media and have well-designed FAQ sections. This means that you may be able to find most of your answers with a bit of research. 

Should you need to get in touch with a human representative, Thistle offers an email address and a contact form. There’s also a call-back service where you can leave a message, and a member of the customer service team will get in touch as soon as possible.

Sakara also offers an email and a contact form and will reply within hours if you send your inquiry between 9 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday.

Pricing

Winner: Thistle

I have to admit that both companies have complex (and confusing) pricing systems. However, once you untangle the many options available, Thistle is the only possible winner. Sakara’s prices fall into the far end of expensive, even for what’s supposed to be a weekly subscription. 

Thistle uses 2 pricing systems – for local deliveries and for shipping. With local deliveries, you can order as many meals as you want, while shipped orders come in pre-defined boxes. The biggest box for shipped orders includes 8 meals.

Prices per meal start at $15.49 for a vegan lunch or dinner, $18.48 for a meat lunch or dinner (+$2.99 for each meat dish), and $12.99/serving for breakfast. Prices go down the more meals you order but are capped at $12/serving for lunches and dinners and $9.50/serving for breakfasts. Snacks cost $6.50 per item (fixed price).

Image of Thistle's Create Your Plan system for local orders

At the time of my comparison, you had to order 16+ items per week to get the lowest price per serving. If you’re looking for the bare minimum, 3 meals will do (it doesn’t matter if they’re 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners, or 1 of each). 

If you order 3 plant-based breakfasts, it’ll cost $37.50/week ($12.50/breakfast), but if you order 3 plant-based lunches or dinners, the price is $45/week ($15/serving). You have to add to this a delivery fee, depending on your location. For instance, the delivery fee for the California area was $4.95.

For shipped orders, prices start at $14/meal for the Vegan Essentials Box (breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 2 days) or $15.50/meal for the Essentials Box with Meat (6 meals) without snacks.

If you want a bigger box, you’ll pay $12/meal for the Vegan Enhanced Box, which includes 6 meals and 2 snacks ($96/week). For meat meals, the price is $13.12/meal (also 6 meals and 2 snacks), and the total cost is $105/week.

You can also order 1 Cold-Pressed Juice Box (6 juices and 3 wellness shots) for $60/week or 1 Lite Bites Box for $76/week. In this case, there are no additional shipping fees.

Sakara, on the other hand, has 3 pricing systems. The first is for buying a la carte. Here, you can purchase anything from a bag of granola to one of their pre-defined System programs. To get an idea of prices, a bag of granola is between $16 and $18, while a pack of protein bars is around $100. You can also buy supplements, protein powders, and accessories.

Image of Sakara's a la carte shop with some of the available accessories

The second pricing system is for the weekly subscription called The Signature Nutrition Program. Here, prices start at $28/serving for the largest available order – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – 5 times per week (a whopping $420/week).

Ther’s also the option to order lunch and dinner 2 days per week, but it’ll cost you $29.75/serving ($119/week). And if you limit yourself to breakfast 2 times per week, you’re back to $28/serving ($56/week). If you want to opt for the beverage add-on, it’s an additional $39/week, and the sweet treat add-on is another $20/week.

Lastly, the third pricing system is for Sakara’s Systems, which are paid upfront and in full. For a 1-week plan, prices start at $460 (Metabolism Reset) and go as high as $595 (Gut Health Reboot). The 4-week plan ranges between $1,610 and $2,275, while the 8-week plan starts at $3,710 and goes up to $4,500.

If you want to try the Limited Edition Programs, it’ll cost you $450 for 5 days of Level II: Detox and $1,735 for The Bridal Program, which is 4 weeks. Lastly, depending on the size of your order and your location, you may also have to pay a $10 shipping fee.

Thistle vs. Sakara – Quick Overview


Thistle

Sakara

Best for

Healthy eating, energy boosting, flexitarians

Weight loss, cleansing, plant-based diets

Starting price

$9.50 per item

$26.83 per item

Shipping cost

Depends on your location

or 

Free for shipped orders

Free to $10, depending on your order value

Minimum order

1 box with 6 food items for shipped orders

or

3 meals

1 item for a la carte shopping or 

breakfast for 2 days for a weekly subscription

Menu variety

24 choices per week + juices and sides

14 choices per week + snacks and supplements

Prep time

0 to 10 minutes

0 to 10 minutes

Low-prep options

Ready-made meals, cold-pressed juices, ready-made soups, snacks

Ready-made meals, smoothies, ready-made soups, snacks, supplements

Allergies catered to

Gluten, dairy

Gluten, dairy

Special diets

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian 

Gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan 

Customer support

Email, contact form, and call-back service

Email and contact form

Promotions

Enjoy 9 free meals with $100 off over 4 weeks!

25% Off Sitewide - Holiday Sale

And The Winner Is: Thistle

Thistle is the clear winner of this showdown due to its menu variety and flexible offer that caters to several dietary needs. I like that the menu is rich in plant-based protein, but flexitarians also have options.

Both Thistle and Sakara are gluten- and dairy-free. However, Sakara’s meals are entirely plant-based, and most ingredients are organic. In comparison, Thistle features plant-based and meat-containing meals and includes organic ingredients whenever possible.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a plant-based, organic service, Sakara may fit you better. On the other hand, the price tag is quite high, and the menu variety could be better. Also, the brand encourages you to add supplements, teas, and snacks to an already costly order.

When it comes to comparing these 2 brands, I lean toward Thistle. However, keep in mind that neither made it on our 10 best vegetarian meal delivery services list. So, before making a decision, go check it out!

FAQ

Are Thistle meals good for you?

Thistle stands out for its commitment to health and nutrition, offering meals that are not only convenient but also packed with superfoods, antioxidants, and healthy fats. Its menu is rich in salads, soups, stir-fries, healthy snacks, juices, and more.

Why is Sakara so expensive?

Sakara is a premium meal delivery service that focuses on plant-based, organic meals designed to enhance overall health, energy, and well-being. The premium price tag comes from using organic ingredients from, often, organic-certified farms.

How does Thistle accommodate dietary restrictions?

All of Thistle’s meals are gluten-free and dairy-free, and the brand uses organic ingredients whenever possible. The menu features flexitarian, vegetarian, and vegan options, but diets aren’t indicated on the menu, so you have to check each dish’s list of ingredients.

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We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links.Advertising DisclosureThis is a user-oriented comparison website, and we need to cover hosting and content costs, as well as make a profit. The costs are covered from referral fees from the vendors we feature. Affiliate link compensation does not affect reviews but might affect listicle pages. On these pages, vendors are ranked based on the reviewer’s examination of the service but also taking into account feedback from users and our commercial agreements with service providers. This website tries to cover important meal, coffee and pet food delivery services but we can’t cover all of the solutions that are out there. Information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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