Eating healthy and balanced meals shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, or take up all your free time. Whether you’re a student living with your roommates, a parent responsible for family dinners, or a single professional living on your own, these meal delivery services have got you covered.
I compared Factor vs. Freshly to see how they held up against my criteria. Both performed really well on my score-card, but there were some downsides to each as well:
Freshly is more cost-effective and has a mobile app, but doesn’t have any vegetarian or vegan meals and the website isn’t as user-friendly as it could be.
Factor caters to more dietary variations and preferences (including vegetarian/plant-based), but it has no mobile app and is more expensive per meal.
I like how much control Factor gives you when choosing your meals, but if you’re looking for a simple, budget-friendly option, you really can’t beat Freshly.
Keto, Paleo, high-protein, low-carb, low-calorie, plant-based, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free
Gluten-free, peanut-free, balanced, dairy-free, soy-free, low-sodium, low-calorie, low-carb, paleo-friendly, high-protein
20+ options per week across all plans+ add-ons
40+ options across four menus
Shipping depends on location and meal plan: $3.99-$12.99
2-3 min to reheat (meals are prepared)
2-3 min to reheat (meals are prepared)
Freshly makes it very clear from the get-go that all of its meals are gluten-free. Unfortunately, you won’t find any vegetarian or vegan options. Compare that with Factor’s weekly choice of at least four plant-based meals, and you might find that Factor allows you more options to switch things up.
With Freshly, you have the freedom to choose your meals; it doesn’t have a “set menu” option. With Factor, you can either pick your own meals or Factor can decide your whole week’s menu for you, saving you the hassle of trying to decide on a good balance. With both services, you can exclude or include whichever meals you like.
You can easily filter your Factor meal options on the website by dietary category (All Meals, Keto, Paleo, High Protein, Low Carb, Low Cal, Plant Based, Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Spicy) and even if you select “Show All,” there are handy little icons below each meal to indicate these categories.
Once you click on a meal, you can find detailed nutritional information alongside a detailed list of ingredients, a description of the meal, and pictures that will make your mouth water.
The Freshly website is a different story. It offers four seemingly arbitrary categories: Crafted Classics, Signature Collection, FreshlyFit, and Takeout Twists, with no first-glance indication of which dietary requirements each one satisfies.
Once you’ve clicked on a meal it does show the subcategories but you need to go through each meal one by one to find out if it’s suitable for your dietary needs or allergies, which I found quite time-consuming. The ingredients and nutritional information lists also lack the detail that Factor presents.
Luckily, Freshly’s app is its redeemer: it gives you the option to indicate which foods you feel neutral about, which foods you enjoy, and which foods you want to avoid. There are also filters such as “Carb Conscious,” “Curb Calories,” and “Sodium Smart.” It uses this information to tailor meals to your tastes.
I couldn’t find any seafood-based meals on Freshly’s website menu, although it does seem to offer those when you browse through the FAQ. Factor, however, has at least one seafood-based meal per week on the menu, and there are two add-ons (shrimp and pan-seared salmon) that you can also select if you’re looking for more fish in your meal plan.
If you’re unsure about which kind of meal you should be eating, both services offer one free consultation with their in-house dietitian or wellness expert. You can chat with them to figure out the ideal meal plan for you.
Winner: Factor wins this round hands-down due to its clearly indicated and diverse dietary preference options.
Interestingly, Freshly’s weekly menu is mainly chicken- and turkey-based, with only a handful of pork and beef meals to mix things up. Factor seems to be taking a more balanced approach. Although the majority of the meals also involve chicken, the ratio between chicken, turkey, other meats, and vegetable options is more even.
What gives Factor the advantage is the optional Factor+ extras, which you can add to any meal. These are priced individually and the price is added to your normal subscription meal costs, but they’re so worth it! From Wellness Shots (six per pack) and soups (two per pack) 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 different cuisines and tastes – Thai, Greek, and Mexican dishes appear alongside American, Italian, and Indian favorites, to name but a few. I really like that you can experience food from all over the world without traveling thousands of miles. You don’t even have to figure out the ingredients (or do the shopping) yourself.
Here are a few from Freshly:
Aside from what’s in the meal, price is the most important thing I consider. Freshly is the more affordable of the two, with the lowest meal price a mere $8.49 (if you order 12 meals a week), compared to Factor’s lowest price of $11.00 per meal (for 18 meals a week).
If you’re looking for smaller plans, Freshly’s 4-meal plan works out to $11.49 per meal while with Factor it would be $15.00 per meal on the same size plan.
Factor’s add-ons range from $8.99 to $30.00.
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 $5.99 (four meals) to $11.99 (12 meals).
Both of these services offer the option to pause your subscription for up to four weeks if you’re going away, so you won’t waste money on a delivery that you won’t be able to use.
Winner: Freshly knocks Factor out of the park where starting prices are concerned.
Both Factor and Freshly deliver your meals weekly. Factor only delivers Mondays to Wednesdays, whereas Freshly offers delivery seven days a week. The exact delivery day will depend on your location so check this before signing up. I prefer my meals to be delivered on Mondays and both services honored my preferences.
Both services deliver direct to your door, which is awesome because it means you don’t have to schlep the whole box up flights of stairs or down a long driveway.
Packaging from both are recyclable and even the denim insulation that Freshly uses to keep the food fresh is 85% biodegradable so it’ll be broken down over time to natural elements without causing any harm to the environment.
Factor uses reusable gel ice packs, though, so you can keep them and use them when you’re going on a picnic or want to keep things cool in a cooler box when barbecuing outside.
The food arrives neatly packaged and labeled, and the food will still be cold – although the gel packs may start to melt, which is normal.
Freshly puts a badge on the food it suggests you eat first. If you’re worried about the food going off, you can always freeze the meals and reheat straight from frozen – for me, that’s one of the biggest advantages of these prepared meals.
Where Freshly stood out, though, was with its simple-to-use app through which you can even track your order and delivery. If you’re still unsure about when your food will arrive, you can contact the 24/7 support team via the app, too.
Winner: Hands-down, Freshly! I love the badges and range of delivery days.
Factor and Freshly chefs use fresh, unfrozen ingredients for their meals, and they compile their menus with the help of dietitians and nutritionists. This means that you’re getting healthy, fresh food every week, and it doesn’t even need thawing out.
If you do decide to go out on one or two nights or you have a couple of last-minute business lunches to keep you fed at work, you can just freeze the pre-packed meal for next time.
The meals from both Freshly and Factor come in microwave-safe plastic containers (and Factor specifically states that its packaging is BPA-free).
You don’t need to add anything – your whole meal is already prepped and ready to heat.
The Factor+ add-ons are also delivered ready-to-eat. Of course, you won’t need to heat up things like smoothies, energy bites, and wellness shots, but with the other options, it works exactly the same as the meals.
Since both these services offer prepared meals, the “difficulty levels” and prepping/cooking times of all meals are roughly the same: easy as pie. They take just 2-3 minutes to reheat in the microwave, depending on your microwave’s power. I love it – when I’m hungry, I want to eat as soon as possible, not spend an hour reading a complex recipe while prepping and cooking a meal for myself.
Winner: It’s a tie.
Freshly has more meals on the menu than Factor, and a handy app through which you can manage your meals, subscription, payments, and everything else while on the go. For someone on a tighter budget, who wouldn’t normally be bothered with too specific dietary options, the low prices are definitely a plus.
However, Factor has a bigger variety of menus to choose from – Keto, Paleo, and vegetarian/plant-based, plus the add-ons give you even more options to play with. However, Factor doesn’t have an app and its website doesn’t quite give you all the information upfront, such as payment options and shipping costs.
If you have a more lenient budget and specific dietary requirements, I’d recommend that you take a look at Factor.
Overall winner: Freshly. Admittedly, those Pistachio and Raspberry Keto Cheesecakes that Factor offers almost swayed me in its favor but looking at the ties and wins, Freshly just beats Factor.
Before you make your final choice, keep in mind that Freshly also made it onto our list of the best meal prepared delivery services of the year.