On the face of it, Freshly and Blue Apron aren't so different: both offer pretty standard, American-inspired menus, and both champion easy meal prep.
But once you get into the details, how do they compare? The main differences are found in the time it takes to prepare the meals and the variety of the menus. Freshly meals come prepared and just need to be heated up. Blue Apron dishes require some preparation and cooking before being ready to eat.
Our team of experts has compared dozens of meal kit delivery services. By the end of this review, you’ll have all the information you need to decide which option better fits your lifestyle, enabling you to make the right decision for your household.
Gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free, plus FreshlyFit has low-carb, low-calorie, and high-protein options
Low-calorie, pescatarian, diabetes-friendly, and vegetarian
38+ options per week
12 options per week
From $8.49 per serving
From $7.49 per serving
$7.99, or free shipping on three meals or more per week
Three minutes or less
Both Freshly and Blue Apron have features that you can take advantage of to customize your menu. For example, you can select the vegetarian menu in both services if you’re simply looking for meat-free dishes.
Freshly does have some extra filters to help locate meal options if you have allergies. You can filter for gluten-free, soy-free, or dairy-free meals.
The menu also allows you to compare the calories, carbs, and protein for each meal. If you’re looking for low-calorie options, Freshly makes it easy to find that information on the menu screen.
Blue Apron has a few filters as well. The company includes tags on its menus to help you sort and find the meals that fit your needs. The Wellness tag labels the meals created by a nutritionist with holistic health in mind – great for those who want to eat healthier.
You’ll also see a WW tag for low-calorie meals and a leaf symbol for vegetarian meals. If you want more detail, the nutrition facts are available when you click on each meal.
When comparing Freshly vs. Blue Apron, Freshly has a few more options to help customers sort through its menu, especially those with common allergies. Blue Apron doesn’t have filters to help anyone with allergies easily find meals they can enjoy.
Freshly offers a great variety of meals – there are around 38 to choose from each week. You’ll find at least 10 low-calorie options in the mix, too. The meals are great for both lunches and dinners, and having more to choose from means you won’t be eating the same thing multiple times each week.
On the other hand, Blue Apron offers 12 recipes to choose from weekly. That includes around three or four vegetarian options and at least three meals in the Wellness category. It’s often a good variety of vegetable and protein combos. The ingredients chosen for its weekly menus are fresh and seasonal.
With the different cooking times listed on the menu, you’re able to decide how much time you want to spend preparing your dinners. You could select a few weeknight options for 30 minutes or less, and one with a longer cooking time for the weekend if you’re up for spending a little more time in the kitchen.
As far as the different meal options go, both Freshly and Blue Apron offer standard American fare as well as some internationally inspired meals each week. With Blue Apron, the menu is usually about half American fare, alongside some Italian, Greek, Asian, and Mexican meals. Its One-Pot Chocolate and Chipotle Beef Chili with Black Beans, Carrots and Lime Sour Cream is a great example.
Freshly offers a variety of cuisines, too. You’ll find Italian, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican meals. Like Blue Apron, about half of its meals each week are inspired by global cuisines.
One example is the K-Town Pork and Purple Sticky Rice with Sesame Veggie Stir-Fry.
For its range of options, I’m choosing Freshly as the winner of this round. Having that number of meals to choose from each week offers a better chance of finding something new and exciting.
Freshly and Blue Apron do things pretty differently when it comes to pricing. Meals at Freshly are designed as one serving, for one person, and start from $8.49 per portion for 12 meals a week. For four meals a week, you’re looking at $11.49 a meal, which is pretty pricey. Blue Apron’s meals, on the other hand, start from just $7.49 per serving.
Both Freshly and Blue Apron incorporate a delivery charge: At Blue Apron, delivery is $7.99 per week, or free if you order three or more meals a week on either of its plans.
I really like the free shipping offer at Blue Apron, but at Freshly, it's not so straightforward. The company calculates your shipping fee depending on the number of meals you order. At Freshly, delivery starts from $3.99 for three meals, but can go up to a whopping $12.99 for 12.
While I understand the varied shipping fees, that’s still kind of steep. In fact, it’s definitely the steepest on the market that I’ve seen. A rather unwelcome surprise when you’re checking out!
To compare the two side by side, six meals from Freshly will cost $9.49 per meal and $6.99 shipping – so around $64 in total, while three meals at Blue Apron (which also equates to six servings) will cost $60.
In this case, I’m going to say Blue Apron wins for its free shipping option, even if the price per serving isn’t significantly less than Freshly.
Winner: Blue Apron
While Blue Apron had me with its Saturday delivery option, Freshly also offers Sunday deliveries – the first time I'd seen that in any of my meal kit delivery reviews.
Freshly offers deliveries seven days a week. Blue Apron offers Monday to Saturday, so it’s a very close call. Weekend delivery is especially ideal with Blue Apron, if – like me – you enjoy being able to cook on your day off.
Note that delivery days vary depending on your location. You can find out more by entering your zip code into the websites.
I guess the main differences here are to be found in the packaging: I’m always striving to use less plastic. However, meal delivery services do often utilize a lot of packaging to help keep the food cold and fresh – and that usually means a lot of plastic.
Don't get me wrong, some are better than others, but unfortunately, Blue Apron isn't one of them. All of the loose produce in my Blue Apron delivery was wrapped in plastic bags, which in my city, aren't recyclable. With other meal kit delivery services, loose produce is often wrapped in paper bags, or at least there’s a concentrated effort to cut down on the plastic waste. This is something that Blue Apron is actively working on and it shares all the current information on its website.
Freshly packaging, on the other hand, is completely recyclable – everything is in cardboard sleeves. The plastic meal trays and cardboard delivery box are recyclable, too. A largely biodegradable, recycled denim insulation is used to keep the food cool.
In this case, Freshly clearly wins, as it at least tries to reduce its plastic use.
When it comes to cooking your meal, Freshly wins overall, as all you have to do is stick the meal in the microwave, heat it for about three minutes and it’s ready to eat.
With Blue Apron, the recipe and prep involve your active participation. You follow the instructions sent with the food and do the work of putting it all together. There are video instructions with the recipes if you’re a beginner in the kitchen. It’s more of an experience than just eating a quick meal.
What I will say about the microwave vs. oven-cooking debate – a freshly-cooked meal often tastes much better than a meal that’s been reheated in the microwave.
If you’re exploring options for healthy meal delivery services, both Freshly and Blue Apron have some great things to offer, including a good mix of cuisines and great low-calorie options. However, the best choice comes down to your schedule and budget.
Freshly offers convenient meals with a good variety for lunch and dinner. All you have to do is select your preferences, pick your delivery date, and heat up your meals when you’re hungry. You will pay a little more for the convenience, but all you need is three minutes to heat and eat.
If you want more of an experience and to learn a few new cooking skills, Blue Apron offers a meal kit delivery service with a great price point and free shipping. You’ll be doing the work of putting the meals together, but each box comes with clear instructions and all the ingredients you’ll need. Plus, you can easily select the cooking times that work with your schedule.
So, which option would we select as the winner?