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Welcome to our Orgain review!
With protein bases ranging from vegan to keto and collagen to whey, and flavors including the standard vanillas and chocolates to the more exciting Horchata and Chai Latte, Orgain has something for everyone.
In our Orgain review, our team settled on an overall B+ grade—with our major concerns being related to delayed customer service responses and few channels with which to reach them.
On the plus side, we loved Orgain’s commitment to providing organic products at a good value, high-quality ingredients compared to other nutritional shakes, and abundant philanthropic and sustainability practices in place.
Let’s dive into the factors that led us to this grade.
Organic Protein™ Plant Based Protein Powder – Creamy Chocolate Fudge
One of their best-selling products, this Orgain powder is loaded with 21g of plant-based protein from pea, chia, and brown rice, and with no added sugar.
Orgain Organic Protein Blend (Organic Pea Protein, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Organic Chia Seed), Orgain Organic Creamer Base™ (Organic Acacia, Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Rice Dextrins, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Organic Rosemary Extract), Organic Erythritol, Organic Natural Flavors, Organic Alkalized Cocoa, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Acacia, Organic Guar Gum, Organic Reb A (Stevia Extract), Xanthan Gum
Pros and Cons
- Great value for organic and high-quality products
- Better-for-you ingredients
- Plenty of sustainability and philanthropic efforts
- Low transparency on sourcing and manufacturing processes
- Customer service issues
From Cancer Diagnosis to Crafting Clean Nutritional Shakes
Diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, Andrew Abraham underwent extensive treatment and had to rely on liquid nutrition to get his calories in—but he found that the so-called nutritional shakes didn’t have much in the way of actual nutrition.
Rather than providing cancer patients with the nutrition they need to heal, most mainstream “nutrition” shakes were loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, genetically modified soy, and artificial flavors and sweeteners—not to mention, they did not taste good.
This experience led Andrew to not only found Orgain in 2009, but also enter the medical field, becoming Dr. Abraham, an integrative medicine specialist.
With Orgain, Andrew aimed to make a great-tasting nutritional shake—that was actually nutritious—that could help cancer patients or other people needing the caloric assurance from liquid shakes.
What started with Andrew making smoothies in his kitchen led to the first Orgain product—the Organic Nutrition Shakes—several years later.
Now, Orgain has expanded to many other products, including organic protein powders, protein bars, kids’ shakes, supplements, and rehydration powders.
Everything we assess when reviewing brands falls under these six major categories (complete with Orgain’s scores):
- Quality (A-)
- Transparency (B)
- Website Experience (A-)
- Customer Service (C+)
- Value (A)
- Brand Value (A)
Orgain earned an overall rating of B+ in our review—let’s dive into the details, starting with the all-important issue of quality.
Orgain’s products offer mostly clean and organic ingredients, plus a handful of certifications that contribute to their good quality score.
As for what’s inside, Orgain—as the name suggests—offers all organic (almost all products are Certified Organic) and mostly clean ingredients.
For example, the protein powders utilize organic pea, brown rice, chia, grass-fed whey, or collagen.
But, most products also have a few so-so ingredients, like natural flavors, sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, and erythritol (the jury is still out on that one).
While these ingredients aren’t necessarily bad, some have been linked to gut issues and others we just don’t know enough about.
However, if you want a super-clean product, Orgain offers a few with minimal ingredients, like their Keto Collagen Protein Powder, which just contains collagen peptides, organic cocoa, MCTs, acacia, sea salt, and organic stevia.
Overall, Orgain is a step above many other protein products—especially their flagship item, the Organic Nutritional Shake.
Compared to mainstream nutritional shakes, Orgain swaps the high-fructose corn syrup for organic cane sugar and ditches the processed soy, artificial preservatives, and sucralose.
Plus, Orgain has a handful of impressive certifications—the majority of their products are Certified USDA Organic by QAI and all plant-based products are Certified Vegan and Certified Plant-Based (administered by NSF International).
As far as their facilities go, all have a third-party Food Safety and GMP certification from either NSF or other Global Food Safety Initiative-benchmarked certifications such as SQF, BRC, or FSSC.
However, we couldn’t find much information about sourcing and manufacturing processes other than the (vague) fact that sourcing is done both domestically and globally, and all manufacturing facilities are in the US.
Overall, Orgain makes a compelling, albeit not perfect, case for quality across most major factors, earning a score of A- from our team.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the products that Orgain has to offer.
Orgain Product Catalog
The flagship products that Orgain began with are their nutritional shakes, which are designed to provide easy-to-drink liquid nutrition with protein, fat, carbs, fruit and vegetable powders, and dozens of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to the Sweet Vanilla Bean flavor, Orgain also carries Creamy Chocolate Fudge, Iced Cafe Mocha, Strawberries and Cream, as well as their Kid’s Nutritional Shake line, which provides milk-based or plant-based protein for picky eaters or kids just needing an additional nutrient boost.
Orgain offers protein powders with several different protein sources, including grass-fed whey, pea, brown rice, chia seed, and collagen.
Grass Fed Whey Protein Powder
With chocolate or vanilla flavors, this powder contains 21g of grass-fed whey protein, a complete amino acid profile, and no gluten, soy, additives, or preservatives.
Whey Protein Concentrate, Organic Erythritol, Natural Flavors, Organic Alkalized Cocoa, Orgain Organic Creamer Base (Organic Acacia, Organic High Oleic Sunflower Oil, Organic Rice Dextrin, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Organic Rosemary Extract), Contains 2% or less of: Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Organic Acacia, Organic Reb A (Stevia Extract), Organic Guar Gum, and Xanthan Gum.
Keto Plant Protein™ Organic Ketogenic Protein Powder
Although “keto” and “plant-based” don’t normally appear in the same sentence, Orgain has the first ever certified organic, plant-based keto protein powder made with a coconut oil and pea protein base.
Orgain Organic Keto Plant Creamer™ (Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Acacia, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter), Organic Pea Protein, Organic Erythritol, Organic Alkalized Cocoa, Organic And Natural Flavors, Organic Rice Bran Extract, Organic Guar Gum, Sea Salt, Organic Reb A (Stevia Extract), and Xanthan Gum.
Orgain provides a clear breakdown of what’s in the products and how it was founded, but back-end info, like sourcing, manufacturing, and supply chain transparency, could use some extra details.
In this section, we’re not exactly requesting extensive proprietary information or itemized vendor lists, but many customers appreciate knowing details about where ingredients come from and where they are produced.
We also assess product information accessibility, brand background, and ease of finding shipping and return policies.
However, we had to dock some points for vague details on sourcing, manufacturing, and third-party testing.
All we know is that the products are created in GMP facilities in the US and the ingredients come from domestic and global sources (so, anywhere).
Although Orgain does say that they carefully source for purity and undergo third-party testing for heavy metals, we weren’t able to access any of those test results.
As they state, “All of our ingredients are subjected to testing and if the ingredient does not meet our strict specification we simply do not use it.”
While that is great, we—and customers—would love to see the data to back it up.
Shopping is a seamless experience on the Orgain site and there are plenty of educational materials to browse.
Orgain’s website is clean, minimal, and well-organized, making it easy to find and shop for products.
While it’s not over-the-top high-tech, it gets the job done, and the e-commerce experience is straightforward.
The “Shop” drop-down menu offers a few broad categories, including Powders, Drinks, Bars, and Supplements, with the option to click over to a “Shop All” page.
The site performed smoothly on both mobile and desktop devices, with no noticeable bugs or annoying pop-ups.
Orgain also offers a blog filled with recipes, brand news, and educational resources about health and wellness.
They also have a link to their podcast, The Good Clean Nutrition Podcast, hosted by integrative dietitian Mary Purdy, MS, RDN, where she interviews health experts and makes nutrition information accessible to the public.
While the return policy is generous, there are only two contact options, and the customer service response time was slow.
Orgain offers just two lines of communication—chat and email, which requires filling out a form rather than directly emailing—and no phone numbers were to be found.
While this is fine if the live chat is responsive, one of our inquiries was quoted at a 12-minute wait—but we didn’t hear back for over an hour.
Another question was quoted as “greater than 15 minutes,” with a reply coming back in about two hours (if we’re getting technical, they weren’t wrong!).
Overall, most people don’t enjoy waiting up to two hours to resolve a customer service question—especially if you have to stick around your computer and wait.
However, they do get points for their generous return policy.
Orgain offers a satisfaction guarantee, with free returns and exchanges with all return costs covered, as long as it’s within 30 days.
Shipping is pretty standard with free shipping over $75, although the standard shipping charge of $9.95 is a bit high.
Orgain beats many protein shake and powder competitors when it comes to price—and they have better or comparable ingredients, too.
Considering the fact that Orgain uses organic and, when applicable, grass-fed ingredients, most of their products are very reasonably priced—especially when compared to other protein brands.
The nutrition shakes are about $3 per bottle, which is affordable, considering they can act as a small meal replacement.
Plus, the protein powders were similarly comparable to other brands—let’s take a look.
|Protein Per Serving
|Orgain Nutrition Shake
|Whey Protein Powder
|Protein Per Serving
|Orgain Grass-Fed Whey
|Pure Protein Whey
|Garden of Life Grass-Fed Whey
|Vegan Protein Powder
|Protein Per Serving
|Orgain Plant-Based Protein Powder
|Garden of Life Sport Plant-Based Protein
Overall, Orgain offers a good value with better-for-you ingredients than many brands, awarding them an overall A in this category.
Orgain’s benefits to public nutrition, sustainability, and philanthropy efforts and their B Corp certification contributed to their A in brand value.
Last but not least, this category encapsulates how much impact the brand has in the world, including philanthropic efforts, innovation, impact on public nutrition, and industry disruption.
Orgain definitely has some good things going for them here, including extensive charity work and beneficial moves for sustainability.
Some of their past philanthropy programs include Shakes for Heroes, where they donated over 100,000 Clean Protein shakes to healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two other projects include the Grants for Greater Good program, offering $50,000 grants to food- or health-related start-ups, and the non-profit connecting kids to healthy school meals, Food Corps, where they donated money to the organization for each Instacart order of Orgain, totaling $250,000.
They also recently got their B Corp certification, an impressive and not-easy-to-get designation that verifies high standards of performance, accountability, and social and environmental performance.
On the environmental impact front, Orgain reduced their plastic use by 40% in 2020, which translated to 30,000 pounds of plastic and 4,900 trees saved annually.
And although protein powders are certainly nothing new, the original founding of Orgain—healthier nutritional shakes for cancer patients—was definitely innovative back in 2008.
Lastly, Orgain has some extra scientific cred, due to Dr. Andrew being an integrative medicine specialist and the multiple Registered Dietitians on the team.
Overall, these impressive factors led us to award Orgain with an A in brand value.
Our team received a few products from Orgain to sample, including:
- Orgain Nutrition Shake (Chocolate)
- Orgain Protein Shake (Chocolate)
- Orgain Plant-Based Protein Powder (Vanilla)
The liquid nutrition shake and protein shakes were both easy to open, tasted like chocolate milk (yum), and made for a very filling snack.
However, it was hard to get away from that indescribable “protein powder” taste when we mixed the vanilla protein powder with water—perhaps a different flavor or blending it up with some almond milk would have solved the issue.
Overall, the protein shakes were quite tasty, and the vanilla protein powder was pretty much what you would expect from a vanilla protein powder.
Is Orgain Protein Drink Good for You?
Yes, Orgain Protein Shakes are good for you, containing 20g of protein (either vegan or whey), with 130 calories and 2g of fat.
Each protein shake does have 3g of added sugar in the form of organic agave.
What Is Orgain Organic Protein Good For?
Orgain’s protein (both the shakes and powder) is beneficial for anyone needing to ensure they are getting enough protein in their diet.
The original Orgain Nutrition Shake was created for cancer patients who need to get in enough calories and nutrients, but anyone can use the protein products.
Is Orgain Plant Protein Safe?
Yes, Orgain plant protein is considered safe.
According to Orgain, they test all products for heavy metals.
Is Orgain Good for Gaining Weight?
Orgain could be helpful for gaining weight—especially the Nutrition Shakes, as they are higher in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar.
Drinking the regular Orgain protein shakes or powders would likely not cause weight gain, as they are lower in calories (about 130 calories).
Can You Drink Orgain as a Meal Replacement?
You can drink the Orgain Nutrition Shakes as a meal replacement.
However, the regular Orgain protein shakes and powders would more likely work as a small meal or post-exercise drink, as they do not have enough calories to constitute a full meal.
Overall, Orgain receives a B+ rating from our team, with high points awarded for their good value, high-quality ingredients, institutional knowledge, and commitment to philanthropy and sustainability.
Although we didn’t sample everything, we did like the chocolate protein shakes and can completely see how someone requiring liquid nutrition could enjoy those daily.
The only areas of improvement we would recommend would be their somewhat vague transparency with ingredient sourcing and product manufacturing and the subpar customer service responses.