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Mosaic Foods, a frozen meal delivery service, stands out in the BA review

Here’s how the meal plans work along with helpful information to know before signing up.

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Being a lazy cook, I’ll try almost any meal kit, subscription delivery service, and/or cooked meal that is offered to me. However, I also have high expectations for the food I eat, so I’m typically really dissatisfied. I’ve tried Mosaic Foods’ frozen dinners a few times in the past year, and they do a number of things better than the rivals. In fact, Mosaic’s offerings are all vegetarian and even include some vegan meals. They also provide more variety, larger serving sizes, and actual vegetables as a starter. However, given the price, they are sometimes flavorless and, in my honest opinion, are not always as convenient as a frozen meal should be. I can say that after tasting goods from every category of Mosaic, including oat bowls, smoothies, veggie bowls, soups, and pizzas, I’d order specific foods from Mosaic time and time again, but I wouldn’t depend on the service more frequently than a few times per week. Read on for my whole Mosaic Foods review, including information on how the meal delivery service operates, my favorite and least favorite dishes, and what you should know before signing up.

7 out of 10

Pros:

options galore from a wide variety of cuisines

Mosaic+ (chef-designed items that are a cut above the other offerings in terms of flavor)

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serving sizes

a lot of nourishment

complete vegetarianism with vegan choices

Cons:

Unreliable taste

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Dishes vary in how uniformly they heat and how long they take to heat.

reasonable price tag

What’s the problem these days with frozen meals?

When I was a child, frozen meals suited to one of two stereotypes: 300-calorie, low-fat recipes for dieting ladies, or meat-and-potatoes-style dinners for ravenous, inexperienced males. Think about freezer-burned veggies and mystery meats that never completely thawed when describing neither group as being very nice. Today, there are dozens of ready-made options available in the freezer aisles for all types of diners, and meal delivery services like MagicKitchen.com and Mosaic Foods bring them right to your door. At the beginning of the pandemic, the American population’s desire for frozen foods increased by 21%, and this trend has only continued, with the market for frozen foods expected to reach $69 billion in 2021.

It is well knowledge that freezing increases food longevity and preserves nutritional value when the food is still at its freshest. Each year, over 40% of the food produced in the United States is wasted, a large portion of it being produce that is past its prime. A lot of the new frozen food companies, like Mosaic, are founded on the idea that if we used freezing more, we could decrease food waste and make the entire food system more effective and less harmful to the environment.

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Mosaic’s workings

In 2018, Brooklyn-based Mosaic Foods was established at the nexus of family-friendly and health-conscious meal delivery businesses. They provide pre-made meals in sizes aimed to keep you satisfied (no 200 calorie “lunches” here), draw inspiration from a variety of cuisines, and utilize largely vegetables and no artificial additives. Although Mosaic doesn’t promote itself as a vegetarian restaurant, all of these dishes are vegan, nut-free, wheat-free, and/or contain egg.

Although they now operate a pop-up shop in Brooklyn, Mosaic is primarily an online store. Its delivery area includes the majority of the major metro areas in the Eastern and Western U.S. Like many of its rivals, a membership is necessary, but the terms are quite flexible. You select your meal plan (six, 12, or 18 items) as well as the frequency of your deliveries (weekly, or every 2, 3, or 4 weeks). And there are no fees associated with changing, pausing, or ending your subscription at any time. The food is sent in a durable cardboard box with recyclable packaging, on dry ice, and ready to be placed directly into your freezer. Shipping takes just one or two days.

The menu at Mosaic includes single-serving oat bowls (sweet and savory), smoothies, soups, and veggie bowls. There are also mini pizzas that serve two people and Family Meals that serve four people. Then there is Mosaic+, a line of single-serving bowls created by well-known New York City chefs like Greg Baxtrom, Pierre Thaim, and Einat Admony. (The + in Mosiac+ denotes additional taste and intriguing ingredients as well as increased cost.)

All single-serving foods are designed to be heated in the microwave or on the stovetop in a matter of minutes (except for the smoothies, of course). Pizzas cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, while family meals require at least an hour.

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According to the website for Mosaic, the business collaborates with the charitable organization City Harvest to contribute two pounds of food for each box sold.

The new line of just-add-liquid-and-blend smoothies, which are vegan (unless you prepare them with cow’s milk), robust, and more delicious than comparable frozen smoothies I’ve tasted, particularly caught my attention when I began my Mosaic Foods review with breakfast. Mango Lassi was the ideal wake-up drink, while Strawberry Tahini was decadent joy. (I added a scoop of vegan protein powder to make it a more substantial breakfast.) The oat bowls, which cost five times as much and took longer to microwave than my regular quick-cooking oats, left me less than impressed. Is it just me, or do microwaved nuts seem a little odd?

Moving on to lunch, I enjoyed the variety of taste characteristics in the veggie bowls from Mosaic and they did a good job of keeping me satisfied. However, Mosaic hasn’t entirely addressed the long-standing issues with frozen food, such as wateriness and inconsistent heating. The peanut tofu bowl with pineapple and broccoli resembled a pineapple-juice soup once it was heated. To whichever brand borrows that tagline: you’re welcome. The products that were successful tended to be spicy by nature. The Pepper, Feta, and Olive Ragout over buckwheat and kale was delicious, while Greg Baxtrom’s Mac & Greens from the Mosaic+ menu, which substitutes puréed rutabaga for the traditional bechamel, produced a pasta dish that was surprisingly creamy and delicious. The one soup I sampled was a hearty, superbly spiced pozole verde with tomatillo, jalapeo, black beans, and hominy. The Spicy Dan Dan Noodles, however, was too different from the original meal and wasn’t even that spicy.

The newest category of pizzas, wheat-free, did experience some cauliflower syndrome, or the need to replace a perfectly good food item, like pizza dough, with cauliflower. Although soy sausage isn’t really my thing, at least the cheese is genuine. Pizza is pizza, after all, so I ate it.

The idea that eating a frozen supper is a compromise, something you do when the spouse isn’t home, you’re on a diet, or you’re lonely and depressed, has long dominated the frozen-meal market. That is why I was particularly interested in trying the Family Meals, which are intended to serve four and are heated in the oven. These aluminum trays convey the idea that feeding your family a frozen meal is nothing to be ashamed of.

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The family meals I tested ranged from “wow, that’s very wonderful” to “needs a little help” (BBQ “Meatloaf” & Sweet Potato Mash, cooked with lentils instead of beef) (Enchilada Verde Bake, which did just fine after some hot sauce and sour cream on top). I ate the soy crumble-based Italian “Sausage” and Pumpkin Lasagna after generously seasoning it with salt and olive oil. Several of the meals, including that lasagna and the Broccoli Cheddar Mac, are high in protein despite not containing any meat, which I found to be a nice touch.

My major complaint about the Family Meals is that they take a long time to prepare, which may be inevitable. You’re looking at a solid 90 minutes from starting to eating, including preheating the oven, the hour-plus cooking time, and additional rest time at the end. Yes, the time is utterly idle, but I couldn’t help but think hungrily of the meals I could have prepared and consumed while waiting for my frozen dinner to cook.

The four-person serving size may technically be appropriate for two adults and two children, but my always-hungry household of two could consume a whole tray in one sitting. You might stretch it further by serving it with some bread or a side salad.

Does Mosaic merit its price tag?

Although the meals at Mosaic are on the pricey side for frozen food, they are still more affordable than, say, ordering in. Despite the subscription-box business model, products are priced individually, with prices for oat bowls starting at $5.99 and going up to $19.95 for the Family Meals ($4.99 per serving). Additionally, none of these meals will go bad if you forget about them for a few weeks, unlike groceries or takeout, so you’re probably saving money there.

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Having said that, I won’t be able to make Mosaic a regular occurrence due to the uneven quality of the meals. However, I have yet to come across a frozen meal that lives up to that high standard, so it’s comforting to know that I always have a few hearty, hassle-free vegetarian dinners on hand for times when I don’t have the energy to prepare a single thing.