Fresh is best, right? Both of these meal services have that word in their name, but what other similarities do they have? And what sets each one apart?
Fresh and Easy definitely wins when it comes to convenience – all its meals come ready to heat and eat with less than five minutes of prep time. The name says it all.
On the other hand, a lot of people like the idea of prepping the food themselves. In that case, HelloFresh would definitely be the right choice. Personally, I enjoy putting the ingredients together, and even for a novice like myself, the recipes from HelloFresh are simple and easy to follow.
We’re going to cover the basics of each meal plan, go into more detail about the benefits, and help you make a decision about which fresh meal delivery service is the best choice for you.
Calorie-Conscious and Carb-Conscious menus
Veggie, Family Friendly, Calorie Smart, Quick & Easy, Seafood-Free, Pork-Free, Beef-Free, and Pescatarian
10 options per week
24+ options per week
$7.99 per serving
$3.32 per serving
$7.99 for three or more meals per week; $13.99 for two meals per week
Five minutes or less for prep, cooking time varies
20-45 minutes for prepping and cooking
Some people are looking for specific dietary plans or meals that don’t contain common allergens, so it’s important to know what options these meal services offer.
Fresh and Easy allows you to select your dietary preferences on its website but makes it clear that if you have any serious allergies, you should contact customer support directly. That, or read through all of the ingredients listed for each meal, which can take time.
You can select either the Calorie-Conscious or Carb-Conscious meal filter, but there are no specific plans for keto, paleo, vegan, or gluten-free diets. You can also see the possible allergens listed on each dish, next to the cooking time. However, the Fresh and Easy facility is not certified allergen-free.
While HelloFresh also offers a complete list of ingredients for each recipe, you won’t find any alternative menus other than Vegetarian. There are a few filters for different dietary preferences, including Seafood-Free, Beef-Free, or Calorie Smart, but it will reduce your options to just a few recipes each week.
As far as allergens, HelloFresh clearly states on its website that the meals are produced in a facility that processes milk, eggs, and other common allergens. All the meals are checked by a nutritionist for the eight common allergens, and that information is posted on each recipe:
Winner: Let’s call this a tie. Neither company does a great job of catering to different dietary requirements. There are no paleo, keto, gluten-free, or vegan options offered from either meal delivery service.
Variety really is the spice of life. So, when it comes to meal delivery services, it’s good to have options.
Fresh and Easy offers around 10 different meals each week. You can find all your favorites, including tacos, burgers, pasta, flatbreads, and salads. The recipes are mixed up so it’s not the same variations each week.
The Chipotle Chicken Alfredo with Bell Peppers and Parmesan is a great example of a typical Fresh and Easy meal. Within the 10 meal options each week, you’ll find varying cooking methods, including dishes that need to be grilled, microwaved, and oven-cooked, while some just need to be tossed together like a salad.
HelloFresh comes in with quite a few more choices each week – more than 24. In one week, you might find anything from gourmet burgers to tacos, a few different pasta options with lots of vegetables, and even some high-protein choices with side dishes. There’s a good mix of classic American dishes and global-inspired meals that are a little more adventurous, including Mediterranean, Asian, and Mexican fare.
Winner: HelloFresh! With double the number of meals on its weekly menu, it’s much easier to find something you’ll love.
Fresh and Easy meals start at $7.99 per serving. That price point, however, is for lighter meals like salads. The majority of its meals cost around $9 per serving, with the option to add additional protein for $1-$3 per serving.
The shipping cost is added once you select the number of meals you’d like each week. Most options cost $7.99, but if you choose just two meals per week, you’ll pay $13.99 for shipping.
With HelloFresh, servings start from $3.32 per person. The price changes depending on the number of meals you order. The more you order each week, the less you’ll pay per serving. Shipping is around $8.99, but you can determine the exact charge by entering your zip code on the website.
Winner: Fresh and Easy comes in a little cheaper, but it’s pretty close and it all depends on the number of meals you want to order.
Sometimes convenience can also equal an excess of plastic packaging. If recycling and reducing your plastic use is important to you, it’s good to know what will be arriving on your doorstep, and when, so there are no surprises.
Delivery dates for Fresh and Easy vary depending on your location. The company packages all its meals so they can stay cold for hours, which means you don’t have to worry about being home in time for the delivery. Some of the components are recyclable, like the pans and the cardboard boxes, but all of the food is packaged in plastic bags. In many places, those are not easily recycled.
You can also find Fresh and Easy meals for in-store pickup any day of the week at some Kroger grocery store locations.
HelloFresh has a flexible range of delivery days which you can select from at checkout. The package will arrive with insulation in case you’re not home to receive it. The website allows you to track your order so you know when it has been delivered.
When it comes to the packaging, quite a range of materials are used. The oven-ready options, for example, come with recyclable pans. The website includes information on how to recycle the majority of its packaging to help keep your carbon footprint down. It even covers the gel ice packs.
Winner: HelloFresh is the winner with a wider range of delivery dates available, as well as better recyclable options for packaging.
The prep required for Fresh and Easy meals is next to nothing, which makes them both convenient and perfect for those who don’t want to do any additional work in the kitchen. Many of the meals come in oven-ready trays, so you can simply heat it and eat it.
There are also some grillable options that come with a grill bag, and salads that just need to be mixed together in a bowl. Your prep will be three steps or less and requires zero chopping or mincing.
HelloFresh delivers meal kits for all of its recipes. Each box comes with recipe cards and all the ingredients you’ll need to create your weekly meals. The recipes are easy to follow for beginners and it’s a great way to learn some new skills. You will need a few basic tools in your kitchen, as well as some store-cupboard staples like salt, pepper, butter, and oil.
If you find the idea of cooking from scratch intimidating, or you don’t have much in the way of kitchenware, you can choose the One-Pot or One-Pan recipes. The One-Pot Tortilla Soup, for example, can be ready to eat in 30 minutes – including all prep and cooking.
Winner: The easier option when it comes to meal prep is definitely Fresh and Easy. However, if you like to do the work to put your meals together, HelloFresh would be better for you.
Both Fresh and Easy and HelloFresh made our list of the best healthy meal delivery services. They offer wholesome ingredients and nutrient-dense meals. The key differences lie in variety, price, and prep time.
The biggest difference here is convenience vs. variety. Fresh and Easy allows for very little prep, however, there are only 10 meals to choose from each week. It’s an easy solution that requires little effort in the kitchen. HelloFresh offers more variety with its menus, so if you’re happy to do a little work in the kitchen, you’ll find more to try.
Winner: It’s a tie! If I had to choose one, I’d give HelloFresh the edge. With double the amount of meal options each week for a similar price point, it ranks it a little higher in my book.