Both Factor and Freshly have gained acclaim for their prepared meals that are suitable for busy people with no time to cook and fitness buffs looking for healthy post-workout meals. But which service is right for you?
I took a close look at both services, examining everything from menus to shipping fees to filters and FAQs. It was a close match, and both services have strengths and weaknesses. But while I could recommend either service without hesitation, in the end, there was a clear winner.
Factor takes the award thanks to its wider selection of meals for specialized diets. But Freshly is still a solid choice for quick, easy prepared meals. Overall, I found that Freshly was cheaper, but Factor catered to more diets, so it could be worth it for certain people.
Winner: It’s a tie!
I love Factor’s more balanced menu and sweet treats in the Factor+ extra, but Freshly’s menu is significantly bigger and more varied, which is why I gave it a tie.
Both services rely on professional chefs to make sure each meal is cooked to perfection, and the menu and list of ingredients are decided in collaboration with dietitians (Factor) and nutritionists (Freshly).
Factor scores points for its optional Factor+ extras and breakfast options. Both services offer some type of add-ons, but Freshly’s add-ons consist mainly of a very limited section of side veggies and extra protein.
Factor+ extras are priced individually and added to your normal subscription costs, but in my opinion, they’re worth it. They’re great to have on hand for a quick breakfast or after the gym. From Wellness Shots and soups to shakes, smoothies, and keto-friendly snacks – I had a hard time keeping my clicking finger in check when selecting my week’s meals.
Factor and Freshly both offer a decent variety of international cuisines and flavors – Thai, Greek, and Mexican dishes appear alongside American, Italian, and Indian favorites, to name but a few.
Neither Factor nor Freshly offers family-friendly options. However, if you’re cooking for several people, you’ll probably find meal kits (like those from HelloFresh) a much better choice than single-serving portions.
Both Factor and Freshly’s meals are perfectly sized to feed 1 person in 1 sitting. Freshly has an average meal weight of 13.6 ounces per serving, while Factor’s menu isn’t as detailed regarding serving weights.
Here are a few of the dishes from Freshly:
And here are a couple of Factor’s healthy meals where the protein takes center stage:
You can’t customize prepared meals or skip ingredients while cooking as you would with a meal kit. Instead, in this section, I’m going to focus instead on how different diets and restrictions are catered for by each service.
Both services give you access to their menus before signing up so you can check the ingredients in each dish to make sure the meals suit your needs.
Most Freshly meals are certified gluten-free. Factor also offers meals suitable for a gluten-free diet, but there’s a risk of cross-contamination, so people with severe allergies and those suffering from celiac disease might want to check out our list of the best gluten-free meal delivery services.
Factor’s menu is more focused on specific diets, including keto and low-calorie, and includes a few weekly vegetarian and vegan choices (around 4 per week). Freshly’s menu is less specialized and offers around 7 Purely Plant choices per week.
Freshly offers slightly more choices for vegetarians, but it isn’t the best choice for dedicated vegans. Check out our list of the best vegan meal delivery services for plant-based options with more choices.
With both services, you have freedom of choice when it comes to the menu. Freshly gives you the freedom to choose your meals as there’s no “set menu” option. With Factor, you can either pick your own meals or Factor can decide your whole week’s menu for you based on your preferences.
However, neither service offers the possibility to specify ingredients you dislike or may be allergic to during the signup process.
You can choose from 5 Factor plans, but whatever plan(s) you choose, you can order from the whole menu:
Calorie Smart (550 calories per serving or less)
Vegan & Veggie
Protein Plus: (30 g+ protein per serving)
Each category is represented via a brightly colored tag, so it’s easy to scroll through Factor’s menu and find the ones you want.
Once you click on a meal, you can find detailed nutritional information alongside a full list of ingredients, a description of the dish, and pictures.
The Freshly website isn’t quite as precise. While it is easy to browse, the menu offers 4 categories that I found quite arbitrary: Purely Plant, Signature Collection, FreshlyFit, and Proteins & Sides. The broad labels are confusing and don’t provide clear indications of which dietary requirements they satisfied.
Freshly’s diet filters are much more useful, but you have to click on a meal to see all the relevant Freshly subcategories and tags (such as soy-free, high-protein, or dairy-free), which is something Factor doesn’t have.
However, you need to go through each meal individually to find out if it is suitable for your dietary needs or allergies, which I find quite time-consuming.
Freshly’s ingredients and nutritional information lists are more visual than Factor’s, but they’re also lacking in detail at first glance. You have to click “show more” to see the full lists.
Freshly’s app is particularly good. It gives you the option to highlight which foods you feel neutral about, which foods you enjoy, and which foods you want to avoid. There are also extra filters such as “Carb Conscious,” “Curb Calories,” and “Sodium Smart.” It uses this information to tailor meals to your tastes.
Factor is better than Freshly for pescatarians. I couldn’t find any seafood-based meals on Freshly’s menu, although it does seem to offer them according to the FAQ. Factor, however, has at least 1 seafood-based meal per week on the menu, and there are 2 add-ons (shrimp and pan-seared salmon) that you can select if you’re looking to add more fish to your meal plan.
Factor offers free consultations with its online nutrition coaches and dietitians. This is a great perk, especially if you’re trying to start eating healthier or are starting a new diet. You can chat with them to figure out the ideal meal plan for you.
If menu customization is important to you, I recommend Fresh and Easy. This service lets you swap or double up on proteins with many entrees. And Fresh and Easy, like Freshly, lets you look for Calorie-Conscious and Carb-Conscious meals.
Fresh and Easy also gives you a bit more flexibility in meal choices. In addition to its microwave-ready Fast and Fresh meals, you can order quick meal kits if you don’t mind cooking.
Freshly is the winner here. It uses labels on its food packaging to clearly mark the meals you should eat first, which I find really useful.
Both services make ordering easy. Factor makes you register first (including payment details) before choosing meals, though. Freshly lets you browse the menu and decide on the meals you want and then sign up. For Freshly, the minimum order is 4 single-serving meals per week. For Factor, it’s 6 meals.
Freshly and Factor give you full control over your subscription via an online account. This means you can skip an order, edit your choices, or cancel the subscription as long as you respect a few rules.
With Factor, you have to make your changes by 11:59 pm CT on Wednesday. This is much simpler than with Freshly, where the cutoff date depends on your location and your preferred delivery date.
Factor only delivers Monday to Wednesday, whereas Freshly offers delivery 7 days a week, so you have slightly less flexibility. Both services deliver to all 48 contiguous states, so as long as you don’t live in Alaska or Hawaii, you’re all good.
Both Factor and Freshly deliver fresh meals each week to store in the fridge. Factor meals stay fresh for about 7 days, while many of Freshly’s meals only last 3-5 days.
Freshly has a lot of recyclable packaging. Its denim insulation is 85% biodegradable and breaks down over time to natural elements, without causing any harm to the environment.
Factor is similarly recyclable. It uses reusable gel ice packs, so you can keep them for when you’re going on a picnic, or when you want to keep things in a cooler box when barbecuing outside. The food arrives neatly packaged and labeled, so it will still be cold – although the gel packs may start to melt, which is normal.
Winner: It’s a tie
Both companies only work with reputable farms and ranches. The meat is sourced from US producers with humane and ethical practices and is free from fillers, chemical additives, and preservatives. Depending on seasonality, some ingredients may be sourced from other countries, but only from producers with sustainable agricultural practices.
The meals from Freshly and Factor come in microwave-safe plastic containers, and Factor specifically states that its packaging is BPA-free.
With both services, your whole meal is already prepped and ready to heat. Plus, there’s no need to let the meals thaw in the fridge since nothing is frozen beforehand.
These meals take just 2-3 minutes to reheat in the microwave, depending on your microwave’s power. Since both these services offer prepared meals, the “difficulty levels” and prepping/cooking times of all meals are roughly the same: easy as pie. Just make sure to consume them according to the “Best by” date printed on the sleeve.
Both Freshly and Factor suit busy people who want to get dinner on the table quickly.
Factor wins this one. Factor is under the HelloFresh umbrella, and HelloFresh has always been noted for its excellent customer service. That being said, Freshly offers very good customer service through phone, email, and Facebook Messenger.
Factor gives you 24/7 access to customer care agents via live chat. If you don’t see the chat button in the bottom right corner, try turning off your browser’s adblocker. You can also reach Factor customer care agents by phone from 6 am to 11 pm ET Monday to Friday and 7 am to 7 pm ET on Saturday and Sunday.
Canceling your Factor subscription is easy, and you can do it on the website or through the app, so you don’t have to make a phone call unless you want to. Our guide to how to cancel your Factor subscription walks you through the process in a few easy steps.
Freshly is considerably less expensive than Factor. Freshly’s meals start at $6.90 per serving (if you order 12 meals a week).
Factor’s lowest price can be $6.19 per meal, but only if you’re ordering the 18-meal plan and benefiting from one of the many available promotions. Otherwise, the price per meal is higher than Freshly’s.
Freshly’s 4-5 Meals plan works out to $11.79 per meal. Factor’s minimum 6-meal plan is slightly more at $13.94 per serving. Also, Factor’s add-ons range from $8.99 to $30.
Freshly’s website gives you the estimated shipping costs for each meal plan at checkout. The costs depend on your location and meal plan and range from $9.99 to $11.99. Factor, on the other hand, applies a flat fee of $10.99 for each shipment.
Prepared meals generally cost more per serving than meal kits. But if you don’t mind doing a bit of preparation and cooking, you’ll find some bargains on our list of the best cheapest meal delivery services – including a few services with a selection of prepared meals.
Both of these services offer the option to pause your subscription for up to 4 weeks if you’re going away, so you won’t waste money on a delivery that you won’t be able to use.
People who follow a specific health diet
Busy people on a budget
$6.19 per serving
$6.90 per serving
$9.99-$11.99 depending on location and meal plan
30+ choices per week
40+ choices per week
2-3 min to reheat (meals are prepared)
2-3 min to reheat (meals are prepared)
Allergens mentioned for each recipe
A certified gluten-free food service
Possible allergens specified on the label
Special Dietary Options
Keto, high-protein, low-carb, low-calorie, vegetarian
Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein, plant-based
Online chat, phone
24/7 online chat, email, phone
Freshly is a strong competitor, but Factor edged out the win on this one. Factor’s high-quality ingredients and wider range of meals gave it the victory in a very close matchup. It’s also no surprise that Factor scores highly on our list of the best prepared meal delivery services.
If you’re following a keto diet or are looking for good post-workout meals, Factor is a great choice. But working professionals looking for healthier alternatives to takeout will love Factor too! Pop a Factor meal in the office microwave, and 3 minutes later you’re eating a fresh, nutritious lunch without the grease and MSG.
Factor's ready-to-eat meals are nutritious, delicious, and convenient. While convenience does come with a price tag, if you're time-strapped or lacking in kitchen tools or culinary prowess, prepared meals can be a wise investment in healthy eating.
Factor is ideal for people who want to eat healthy but who don’t have time to cook. When I researched Factor’s menu, I found that it catered to several specific health diets such as keto and low-calorie.
Factor’s price-per-meal can go as low as $6.19 /meal if you order 18 meals per week. If you stick with the minimum order (4 meals/week), it will cost $13.49/meal.
Factor has been a wholly-owned subsidiary of HelloFresh since 2020. Taking advantage of both, Factor offers excellent customer service and a good variety of meals with high-quality fresh produce and proteins from HelloFresh’s network of local farmers.
Factor offers a line of Calorie Smart meals that contain 550 calories or less per serving. And if you’re trying to lose weight on the keto diet plan, Factor has a particularly good selection of keto entrees that are low in carbs but high in healthy fats and proteins.