I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always enjoy cooking meals. There’s the planning, the shopping, the prepping, the cooking, and then the cleaning. To add insult to injury, most of the time my kids don’t even eat what I make (#toddlers).
Luckily, we don’t have to cook all our meals anymore. There are meal subscription services for just about any kind of eating style or diet you may follow. These services allow for a healthier, simpler form of takeout.
If you’re looking for a healthy, delicious alternative to frozen dinners, and are ready to take back some of your time each week (hours per day!), then Freshly might be a great option for you.
In this review, I’m breaking down everything you need to know about Freshly, how it works, what it costs, and what the pros and cons are so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not this service is the right choice for you.
Why Choose Prepared Meal Delivery Over Meal Kits?
If you’ve been looking around the meal subscription market, then you’ve likely noted that there are two different types of meal deliveries: kits which contain everything you need to prepare a meal at home or pre-prepared meals that are ready to be eaten. Which is right for you?
If you're living in Canada, you'll want to check out chefs plate. Our dietician wrote a review to see if chefs plate is worth it.
Either way, you’re going to save time and probably money on grocery shopping and meal planning (anyone else always come up blank when it comes to dinner ideas?). The real deciding factor can be ascertained by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I enjoy preparing and cooking meals?
- Do I have the time to cook my meals?
If you answered yes to these questions, then a meal subscription kit might be a great option for you! However, if you answered no, then you may want to consider a prepared meal delivery service.
Don’t worry, you aren’t going to be compromising the integrity and experience of having a home-cooked meal. Today’s meal delivery services send you fresh, chef-inspired meals that are expertly crafted and then packaged to preserve freshness and taste.
Personally, if I’m going to go with a meal subscription service, I like to go with the ones that take all the guesswork (and cleanup!) out of the equation.
Next, I’ll dive into what Freshly is and what they offer.
What is Freshly?
Freshly is a prepared meal subscription service that provides you with everything you need to enjoy a delicious meal at home, without spending any time preparing it. With this service, you simply grab a meal out of your refrigerator, place it in the microwave for three minutes or less, and dinner is served!
Freshly delivers gourmet, chef-inspired meals right to your doorstep each week. They are dedicated to making eating healthy and achieving your health and fitness goals easier and more convenient than ever.
The Chefs at Freshly utilize locally-sourced, all-natural ingredients to create fresh, ready-to-eat meals that are designed to optimize your health and tantalize your taste buds. All of their meals are high in protein, low in carbs, and completely free of any gluten, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and hormones.
Although we have seen a giant uptick in meal subscription services over the past year or two, Freshly is one of the first. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in NYC.
How Freshly Works
Every meal plan service has its own unique quirks and processes. The key is to find a plan that works best for your lifestyle. For example, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to find a meal subscription that caters to your diet like Splendid Spoon (see our full review of them here).
Here’s how the Freshly process works:
Step 1: Choose your meal plan.
Take a look at the table below to see which meal plans are available and how much they cost:
Per Meal Cost
Total Weekly Cost
4 meals per week:
6 meals per week:
10 meals per week:
12 meals per week:
Step 2: Enter your address and email to get your account started.
Step 3: Choose your meals for the week. Each week the menu will be different. You can narrow down your options to choose between the following:
- Feel-better food
- Signature collection
- Takeout twists
- Whole comfort
Or, you can browse through all meals to select the ones that sound the most appetizing for the week. You can also set your preferences to show you only the gluten-free, dairy-free, or peanut-free options or to narrow the choices down to those with low calorie counts if weight loss is a goal.
Step 4: The chefs at Freshly prepare and cook your meals with fresh, natural ingredients and ship them to your door on a designated day each week. Your box will arrive packed in ice to preserve freshness and with padding to prevent any damage in transit.
Step 5: You place your meals in the refrigerator and take out the meal you want, when you want, heating it in the microwave for three minutes or less. You can cancel, skip, or pause your service at any time!
What Are the Benefits of Freshly?
As a Freshly subscriber, you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
Let’s face it, it doesn’t get much easier than pre-made, microwaveable meals. Even taking the time to go through the drive-thru is more time consuming than popping one of these meals in the microwave. After a long day at work or home with the kids, you can relish in the knowing that your meal is already done for you.
Meal planning made easy
More often than not, the biggest battle when it comes to making dinner is deciding what the heck to make. Instead of spending time scrolling the internet, looking for recipes, you can simply check the week’s meal plan and select what you want. Super simple.
It works great for singles, couples, and families
This plan is super flexible, allowing you to get as many or as little meals as you want. And the best part is that if more than one person wants to enjoy the service, you don’t have to worry about compromising - you can each choose your own meals. For example, I would choose more lean meals for my dinners and my husband would choose pasta and other heavier options.
It’s allergy and calorie-conscious
If you have any food allergies like dairy or gluten, you can easily avoid meals that contain them and opt for the 10 or so other options each week that don’t. Additionally, there are always 20 or more meals that have 500 calories or less each, allowing you to stay within your caloric budget for the day.
The meals are so varied!
Some meal plans keep their menus pretty straight forward and lacking in variety, but not Freshly. They have so many different dishes to choose from that you’re sure to find some that sound amazing. Additionally, they use so many different ingredients and variations that you can count on eating dishes that you’d likely never attempt to make at home in your own kitchen.
Who is This Meal Delivery Service Right For?
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, not every meal plan is the same, so it’s important to know which one best suits your style and nutritional needs.
Those who tend to eat out a lot and want healthier choices
Cooking every day is tough and sometimes, we just don’t want to do it. So the next option is usually to grab takeout, but we all know how unhealthy that can be. When you subscribe to Freshly, it’s like having takeout right in your refrigerator to be eaten whenever you want, but it’s healthier! A win-win for those who avoid the kitchen.
Those who have a busy schedule
Honestly, who doesn’t these days? Between school pickups and dropoffs, homeschooling, work, laundry, and everything else we have on our plates, life is packed to the gills most days. So even if you like to cook, there’s a good chance that you simply don’t have the time. Prepared meal delivery eliminates a giant task from your to-do list for you.
Those who are gluten-free
If you or someone in your family has gluten or other allergy intolerance issues, coming up with meals can be a real challenge. Gluten-free folks especially with love that the company is certified gluten-free but the Gluten Intolerance Group. They also use a facility that’s equipped to handle six out of the eight major food allergens, including milk, eggs, tree nuts, fish, and soybeans.
Those who want to mix things up and try new dishes!
This is perhaps my favorite benefit of using a meal delivery service; the ability to try things that I would never think to or even attempt to try at home.
Who This Service is Not For
People who love cooking
If you love cooking at home but simply want to eliminate the hassle of meal planning and shopping, they’re probably more suited for a meal delivery kit instead of prepared meals. This way you would still get to prepare and cook your own food.
If you have a family, you may not want to go down the road of prepared meal delivery as it can get pricey pretty fast. However, if you just need meals for yourself or you + your spouse or another household member, it’s well worth it.
If you’re vegan and/or vegetarian
Although Freshly’s menu is very diverse, it doesn’t include vegan or vegetarian options. If you fall into this category, don’t despair because there are plenty of vegan meal plan options available. Take this quiz to get matched with one!
- Ready-to-eat meals mean no time spent prepping, cooking, or cleaning.
- Meals that are home-cooked by experienced chefs
- All ingredients are natural and every meal is free of additives and preservatives.
- Their menu rotates weekly, giving you plenty of options.
- The meals can be frozen if you won’t be able to eat them in time.
- You have the ability to choose from 6-12 meals per week, perfect for singles or couples.
- They offer gluten-free options and are compliant with other allergens as well.
- It can help users lose weight by helping them stay on track with their caloric goals.
- The meals are delicious! They have an impressive taste and texture considering they’re packaged.
- Their customer service is stellar!
- There are no vegan or vegetarian options available right now.
- It’s a subscription service, so if you only want one week, be sure to go back in and cancel!
- Some complain that the portions are too small, however, they average about 500 calories each which is pretty standard.
Freshly Reviews: What are online customers saying about this meal delivery service?
According to influenster.com, there are 763 reviews of Freshly with an average star-rating of 4.3 out of 5. The majority of customers left glowing reviews of the brand, complimenting them on the taste of the entrees and the ease of the service. However, there are some negative comments.
After reading the negative notes, I discovered that they generally had to do with complaints about the price (which is very average for the industry) and complaints about the wrong meals being delivered. I did note that Freshly made an attempt to right the situation for any customer who had a less than 5-star experience with the brand, which shows that they really care about their customers. It’s also important to keep in mind that mistakes are inevitable and to give a little grace, especially when it comes to the craziness that can be the food industry.
Q: What’s the portion size per meal?
A: Each meal is a single serving and meant to feed an average adult. Their 6-meal plan is perfect for a single person who wants to cover their lunch or dinners for the week. Each meal ranges from 300-650 calories and are 10% larger than most of their competitors. For couples or a larger household, the 12-meal plan can come in handy. For example, a family of 4 could eat 3 meals per week. Of course, you’re always welcome to add multiple subscriptions if you needed even more than that.
Q: How long do the meals stay fresh?
A: The shelf life of each of the meals is about 4-5 days after delivery. There aren’t any chemicals or artificial preservatives in them, so they must be eaten within a few days or frozen to preserve their freshness. Each meal will come with a “use-by” date on the back. If you need to freeze them, you can do so for 6-8 weeks.
Q: How much does shipping cost?
A: In order to ensure that your meals arrive fresh and that the price per meal stays low, Freshly does charge a small shipping fee with your order. They deliver to all states in the US, which is amazing as many are restricted to certain states or areas only. Your delivery day each week will depend on your ZIP code and the carrier that’ll be delivering your package to your home. When you sign up, you’ll get access to the available delivery days as well as what the cost of shipping will be.
Q: Is Freshly worth the cost?
A: The answer to this question will depend on the person. For someone who is too busy to cook meals at home or hates cooking, the cost is 100% worth it to them just for the convenience of the service. For those who are tired of eating unhealthy foods and want an easy way to eat healthy, nutrient-dense food, the cost is well worth it to them, too. It’s important that you analyze your situation and decide for yourself if the weekly cost is something that adds more value to your life i.e. it saves you hours per day that you could be doing something else that’s more important to you.
Final Thoughts: Is it worth buying?
Whether you want to take a portion of the meal planning off your plate each week or you want to eliminate it completely, Freshly allows you to stress less about dinner. You can have delicious, chef-prepared meals delivered to your door and ready to be heated and consumed whenever you’re ready with just a few clicks.
Personally, I love that you can customize your subscription, skipping weeks if you want and canceling at any time. Life is busy, we need options. And options and convenience are what you get with Freshly. Check it out for yourself!