Do you want to enjoy homemade meals, but don't have time to cook? Then Tovala might be your perfect match!
Tovala's concept is simple: this is the meal service for those who are too busy to cook. Excitingly enough, Tovala claims to have reinvented home cooking so that you can have time for all the other things you love! Sounds intriguing.
At a closer look, it turns out that you indeed get more than just meals from this innovative company to get the heat up in the kitchen.
In this review, we've taken a closer look at Tovala and how exactly they have reinvented what seemed to be the wheel called home cooking. Ready to know their secret?
Tovala At A Glance
- Best Match For: Those who don’t like cooking, and want to try a new way of eating with fresh ready-to-eat meals and a smart oven designed to bring out the best in them.
- Commitment Level: Subscription
- Availability: The contiguous US (No Alaska or Hawaii)
- Value: $11.99+/meal; Free shipping for weekly orders with six or more meals; $5.99 shipping fee otherwise; $299 for Tovala Starter Kit
- Type: Unique smart oven and fully prepared fresh meals
How Tovala Works
Tovala is a monthly subscription service sending you weekly packages of food.
What sets them apart is that with your first delivery, you also get a smart oven in which the meals cook themselves to perfection!
The prep is quick – in just 1 minute, the meal goes from closed box to ready to enter the oven. No chopping, washing, or peeling needed!
When you open the meal kits, the ingredients are already pre-chopped and prepped by the Tovala chefs.
Then, information about cooking time, temperature, and steam oven settings is pulled from the cloud when scanning the QR-code.
So... How Does the Tovala Smart Oven Work?!
As futuristic as it may sound, each meal kit is equipped with a QR-code holding the specific cooking instructions for that meal. Cooking it couldn't be easier.
Once you've taken out the meal of its packaging – you still have to do something, it doesn't (yet) come with a robot – place the meal in the oven and scan the QR-code on the integrated QR-reader. The meal will cook to perfection in 20 minutes or less.
How? The toaster oven uses a combination of heat and steam during the cooking process, mimicking the way top chefs prepare their meals.
This is allegedly the only oven in its kind that uses steam in the preparation! You can cook 2-4 meals at a time, granted they're of the same type.
Works for 750+ Meals
Giant online publication Business Insider was "blown away" by this smart oven that can allegedly replace all your kitchen appliances – or almost. It works via wi-fi connection.
The toaster oven doesn't only cook Tovala meals. It's programmed to cook 750+ groceries! Scan the barcode, lean back – and dinner is served.
For the days when you have more time and feel like cooking, the Tovala app comes with over 85 recipes that are easy yet delicious.
Note that you can also use it like a regular oven, adding the flavor-enhancing concept of steaming that most conventional ovens lack.
Sounds too good to be true? Don't worry – the Tovala oven comes with a happiness guarantee. Try it for a generous 100 days and get your money back if you're not satisfied.
Number of Meals
The weekly subscriptions are flexible – you can order 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, or 16 meals. Remember that you can cook up to 4 meals of the same kind at a time in the oven!
What You Can Expect From Your Meal
Technology aside – what really matters with a meal is how it tastes! So what can you get on your plate with Tovala?
Meals arrive at you fresh. And with their ingredient selection, Tovala shows that they care about more than tech: they use only real ingredients. Expect no artificial preservatives or additives – just fresh, high-quality produce, meats, and pantry staples with names you can pronounce.
Besides, they source locally whenever possible, and you can often find seasonal fruits and veggies on the menu.
They offer meals in the following categories:
You can find all information about nutritional values, allergens, and to which category each meal belongs on their website.
Freedom of Choice
With this meal kits delivery company, you can choose your own meals or let their culinary team select for you. Freedom at its best! In need of some inspiration? Look for the labels Fan Favorites, Chef's Pick, and Best Seller.
New Meals Every Week
Every week, the culinary team adds 14+ new meals so that you can be sure to get out of a cooking rut and conveniently try unexpected, exciting flavors.
Examples of meal kits in the different categories:
Diets and Allergies
Tovala has at least 3 gluten-free and 2 vegetarian meals per week. Also, for the health-conscious, they have the calorie-smart and carb-conscious options. They also regularly have nut- and dairy-free options on the menu.
Meals are delivered Monday through Wednesday.
What exact day you'll get your meal depends on how close you live to their production facilities in Chicago.
Once you have ordered your Tovala steam oven, it's usually delivered within 2-5 business days.
The deadline for ordering meals for the following week is Wednesday the week before.
So if you order on a Thursday, for example, you'll have to wait almost 2 weeks to get your first meal delivery.
Skip Weeks or Cancel
It's easy to skip weeks, pause your subscription indefinitely, or cancel.
Simply log in to your account and take the necessary actions – no need to call customer service!
- Open up the ordering screen on the web or in the app and press Skip/Update at the top. Here, you can skip the weeks you want.
- If you want to pause or cancel, go into your account's settings and go to your Meal Plan.
All Tovala meal kits are prepared with clean ingredients, meaning no preservatives or additives. Foods are also sourced locally and seasonal whenever possible.
Plus, they are all made up of high-quality ingredients, including a protein source – not stuffed with mostly starches such as pasta and rice. If you're following a specific diet, look for the labels Calorie Smart, Carb Conscious, Gluten Free, and Vegetarian.
All food is delivered to you fresh and has never been frozen. A Tovala meal contains between 400 and 800 calories.
Yes, you can cook the meals in a regular oven. However, Tovala doesn't guarantee good results when using any other oven than their steam oven.
The Tovala smart oven in itself is $299. However, if you sign up for buying 6 meal deliveries within the first 6 months, you'll get the oven for $199.
Which meal delivery service is the best ultimately depends on your personal preferences. In this review, we've covered the ins and outs of Tovala.
With this company, you get the Tovala steam oven that is able to steam, bake, broil, and toast without you having to know anything about these cooking methods.
The code attached to the Tovala meal or the barcode on ingredients from your grocery store intelligently provides all information this second-generation oven needs to cook your food to perfection!
While the oven sets Tovala apart, other meal delivery services might be a better fit if you:
- want premade meals ready to eat
- are looking for a wide selection of gluten-free meals
- are vegan
- see the price as your main concern.
The culinary team of chefs at Tovala has done all the work for you by figuring out the right setting for each product.
To know if a certain product is programmed into the Tovala oven, you can search their database. If you're at the store, you can also get an instant response by scanning the product's barcode using the Tovala app.
Tovala is constantly updating their database with new brands and products, so chances are if your favorite isn't yet there, it will be in the near future!
Also, note that even if the foods have a barcode, it's advised that you should still follow any action instructions for the best results. This includes instructions for removing or puncturing film, flipping, stirring, rotating, etc.
Tovala is not the cheapest option out there, and it requires you to buy a starter kit that costs $299. However, it is super easy and convenient and can save you a lot of time. So, if that’s what you are looking for, then Tovala is worth the money.
Yes, Tovala food is way healthier than most microwave dinners you can find at your local supermarket. Plus, it’s a super-easy way to cook.
Yes, the Tovala smart oven is easy to use, and those meal kits are designed for it. With Tovala, you can enjoy healthy and delicious meals in no time.
You should refrigerate your Tovala meals, and they’ll last 3-7 days.
Yes, Tovala smart oven has many features that can replace most of your cooking appliances, including a microwave.
No, Tovala meals are for once. However, you can cook two servings of the same meal at once.
No. Tovala uses many organic ingredients, but it’s not 100% organic.
Yes, but they need to be the same type of meal.
Yes, Tovala meals are single serving.
No, Tovala meals are fresh.
Tovala ships their meals from the facility in Chicago.
Tovala meals are packed with cold packs in an insulated box to remain fresh during transit. That allows them to arrive safely at your door, after which you should place your meals in the fridge.
This subscription is truly unique as you need to purchase a Tovala Starter Kit with a smart oven that should help you prepare your meals. The price is $299, and the dishes start at $11.99 per serving. If you order six or more meals, you receive free delivery; otherwise, there is a $5.99 shipping fee.
Pros and Cons
Their packaging is as futuristic as the steam oven – it's 100% recyclable. The second-generation countertop oven can steam, bake, broil, and toast in the same way top chefs do so that you can cook a restaurant-class meal in less than 20 minutes! With this oven, Tovala has found a unique concept that sets them apart from the countless meal delivery services out there.
What really sets this countertop oven apart is the use of steam in the cooking process.
Raving reviews talk about baking things like muffins and bread to a whole new level of perfection.
This is also what could make the Tovala oven worth considering – it can be used to cook any type of food and not only their own meal kits.
The conditions are generous: the second-generation oven comes with a 100-day trial, so if you don’t love it, you aren’t stuck – simply send it back and get refunded.
The oven also includes a two-year warranty, while many other countertop ovens typically offer only one year.
Tovala makes it very easy to order accessories such as muffin racks and extras of the included items – like the baking tray and oven rack – and even a larger roasting pan.
You have a whole 14 days to return any unused items in case you change your mind.
The Tovala app has a built-in chat feature.
So if you have any issues and questions of any kind about your new oven or meal kits, you can easily access the chat and talk to a member of their customer support team.
Big ups to Tovala for this feature that's rarely seen with kitchen appliances!
There's an upfront investment in getting the smart oven and some time required to learn how it works. Sure, scanning a QR-code is simple – but when you've invested in the futuristic oven, you'll wanna know how to use it for making more than the Tovala meals.
You’ll also need to connect your Tovala steam oven to a 2.4 GHz wi-fi network with a smartphone that has their mobile app.
As for delivery, you can't currently select what day you want your Tovala meals. They don't deliver to Alaska or Hawaii.
There are currently no vegan Tovala meal options. While they do have a few vegetarian and gluten-free options, if you follow a specific diet or are allergic, you might wanna look elsewhere.
Food for Thought
Tovala definitely takes a unique position on the market with their smart oven.
The oven has been praised by giant publications such as Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.
However, you need to be ready to pay for the oven and learn how to use it together with your smartphone.
As for the dishes, Tovala offers more than 10
Tovala is the perfect match for someone who's hungry for the latest kitchen tech and wants a new, innovative way of prepping their everyday dinners, requiring little to no cooking skills.
Because why keep the smart to your phone?