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Written by: Matthew Ryan on Dec 18th, 2022

Freshly vs. Green Chef 2023: Who’s Best for Gluten-Free?

If you’re looking for a great all-around meal delivery service that offers gluten-free meals, I’ve got the perfect match-up for you. Both Freshly and Green Chef offer a fairly large number of gluten-free meals on their menus. But which is better? Let’s do the head-to-head comparison and find out.

I researched both companies and compared and contrasted them according to various metrics – not just each one’s respective gluten-free offerings. No, I looked at overall menu variety, pricing, customer service, and meal selections, to name just a few.

The final winner was Green Chef. First, as far as gluten is concerned, Green Chef has a whole diet plan dedicated entirely to gluten-free options as well as other dietary-specific plans. It's also got a substantial number of total offerings (30+), good customer service, and a slight edge in pricing as well. Although Freshly put up a heck of a fight, Green Chef, ultimately, came out on top.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Green Chef ($5.99 per serving)

🍔 Menu Variety:

Green Chef (30+ choices per week)

⏰ Prep Time:

Freshly (<5 minutes)

🍴 Customization:

Tie

👍 Ordering and Delivery

Tie

🙋 Customer Support:

Green Chef

Menu Variety

Winner: Green Chef

Green Chef wins the first category because it offers twice as many menu categories as Freshly. Although Freshly excels in other areas, it can’t overcome that particular shortfall.

Green Chef offers meal kits that require preparation while Freshly offers prepared meals. Most Green Chef meals require 20 to 40 minutes to prepare. This is quite a contrast to the 2-3 minutes in the microwave required to heat up a Freshly meal. Green Chef offers 30 meals every week and Freshly has a menu of 30+ prepared meals. Both companies allow you to mix and match across multiple preferences.

Freshly offers three different types of meal choices or dietary options: Purely Plant, Signature, and Freshly Fit. It also offers a small number of sides on a menu dedicated to such (Proteins & Sides). 

In comparison, Green Chef offers six types of dietary options: Keto + Paleo, Mediterranean, Veggie, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Fast & Fit. There is also a small selection of “10 Minute Lunches” which can be fixed in, as the name says, ten minutes.

Freshly's Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala by Freshly, High Protein, Gluten Free

As far as cuisines are concerned, the Freshly menu I looked at was divided into roughly 15 American, five Asian, eight Italian, six Tex-Mex, three French, and a handful of others like Chicken Tikka Masala (an Indian meal). Green Chef was divided into six Mediterranean, four Italian, eight American, eight Tex-Mex, and four Asian.

It’s also worth pointing out that Freshly has a menu option called Protein & Sides 

dedicated to bulk meats and other sides. However, it’s a very limited selection. The week I examined had only one option. Green Chef doesn’t offer any extras on its menu.

Green Chef's Creamy Corn & Potato Chowder

670 kcal, 12g Protein

All the Freshly meals can be heated in the microwave in about three minutes or less, or, if you prefer, the meals can be heated on the stove in roughly 25 to 35 minutes. In contrast, most Green Chef meals require about 30 minutes to prepare – with the exception being the 10 Minute Lunches I mentioned above.

Both companies offer a mix of kid-friendly and more adult/higher-class meals. Freshly offers subscriptions with as many as 12 meals per week with each meal being a single portion for one adult. Green Chef offers as many as four meals per week for two, four, or six people, depending upon the subscription.

Meal Customization

Winner: Tie

This category resulted in a tie. Whereas Green Chef offers more dietary preferences, Freshly provides more diet tags. Overall, though, both companies are weak insofar as meal customization is concerned.

Freshly offers only pre-prepped, pre-cooked meals. As such, it doesn’t typically customize meal recipes to accommodate the specific requests of its clients. It does, however, offer selections from the entire menu it has available.

Although Freshly isn’t certified as totally gluten free, it does offer a large number of gluten free meals. Additionally, all its meals are made in a peanut-free facility. It also has meals with other tags like soy-free, dairy-free, and others, but you must click the meal image on the menu to see those tags.

Freshly's easy-to-use dietary preference menu

The dietary preference menu at Freshly

Green Chef doesn’t customize meal recipes either. However, it offers the option to mix and match meals across different preferences as well. This gives you access to the entire Green Chef menu.

Although both companies provide access to their entire menus, each one also has the functionality to prioritize your options according to the dietary preference you select.

Freshly's Savory-Sweet Chicken Teriyaki Bowl with diet tags

The Savory-Sweet Chicken Teriyaki Bowl by Freshly with diet tags

For example, Freshly can group meals together based on its particular preferences: Purely Plant, Signature, and Freshly fit. It also provides meal tags and filters for Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Carb-Smart, and Calorie-Conscious as well as a few other nutritional filters.

Green Chef's easy-to-use dietary preference menu

The dietary preference menu for Green Chef

Green Chef does the same thing except that it groups meals only according to its six primary meal preferences: Keto + Paleo, Mediterranean, Veggie, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Fast & Fit.

In terms of dealing with allergens, as mentioned previously, Freshly’s meals are prepared in a peanut-free facility. Additionally, its gluten-free meals contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten. Any meals containing gluten are clearly marked on the menu. Beyond that, you can inspect the ingredient list that’s available on the site so that you can sort through potential allergens yourself.

The Green Chef menu page with tags

A section of the Green Chef menu page with helpful tags beneath

In contrast, Green Chef offers meals that come free of gluten, soy, grains, and legumes. The gluten-free meals are certified but note that many of the plant-based meals do contain gluten. There are helpful tags under the image of each meal to help you.

However, like Freshly, there are no computer filters to screen out other allergens. But nutrition info is available on the site and you can filter ingredients by inspection. This is true, for both companies, for any and all ingredients you might want to remove – not just allergens.

Ordering, Delivery, Unboxing

Winner: Tie

This category was a tie, too. Although each company found a slight advantage here or there in my analysis, the other company would do the same in a different factor. For example, Green Chef had a slightly shorter ordering procedure. But this was counterbalanced by Freshly’s slightly less expensive and smaller minimum order.

Ordering

Ordering on the Freshly site was fairly easy. You just have to follow a six-step process:

  1.  Go to the Plans & Menu page

  2.  Enter your email and zip code and click Get Started

  3.  Choose your meal plan

  4.  Select your Delivery Day

  5.  Choose your individual meals

  6.  Checkout

That’s it for Freshly.

The process is just as easy on Green Chef:

  1. Create your first box by selecting your meal plan preferences and the box size

  2. Register by providing your email address

  3. Provide your snail mail address and contact information

  4. Provide payment details

  5. Choose your specific meals

And that’s it for Green Chef.

Both companies allow for easy modification of your meal plan. At Freshly, you can change future orders' details, skip a few weeks, or even cancel as desired. Should you have difficulties, just contact customer service for assistance.

Four unpacked microwavable Freshly meals

Four Freshly meals, unpacked and microwavable

The same is true at Green Chef: you can alter your quantity of servings, contact information, plan information, payment information, or password as desired from the Settings page on your account. The only stipulation is that the changes must be made by 11:59 pm EST, seven days prior to your delivery.

The minimum order at Freshly is four individual meals. In total, that costs about $50. At Green Chef, the minimum order is three meals apiece for two people (six servings total). In total, that’s about $81. Of course, if either company is running a special, that may alter the price further.

Delivery

Freshly delivers throughout most of the contiguous 48 states. You can check your zip code on the home page to verify if the company delivers to you. The company will also provide a list of days for your delivery depending on your zip code and the Freshly delivery partner that’ll be making the delivery. The final delivery day may be any one of the seven days of the week.

Green Chef delivery options are very similar. It delivers to all of the 48 contiguous United States. It doesn’t deliver to Hawaii or Alaska. Delivery days are Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 8 pm local time.

A recyclable Green Chef box

A Green Chef recyclable box with recyclable contents

Both companies also offer Apps to assist you in managing your account. With the app, you can access all the information you need with a few swipes and clicks.

Unboxing

The standard box from Freshly contains your weekly order of meals, all packaged in high-tech modified atmospheric packaging (check out the Fresh FAQ section for full details on this – it’s very science-y). This Go-green packaging is also microwave-safe and BPA-Free.

A single-portion microwavable Freshly meal

A microwavable Freshly meal, single-portion

The Freshly box also contains insulation, made from paper fiber and foam starch at the east coast kitchen or recycled denim elsewhere. The corrugated box also contains non-toxic gel packs, cardboard sleeves for every meal, and other paper products.

In contrast, every Green Chef box contains all your recipes with all the pre-measured ingredients you’ll need. Many of these ingredients will also be pre-prepped to make your job even easier. Additionally, the recipe cards and meal kit bags are all color-coded to make your prep work even easier. And all the packaging can be reused, recycled, and/or composted.

Storage instructions for Freshly meals were very clear. Freshly meals are prepared and delivered fresh. As such, the meals simply need to be placed in the refrigerator where they will stay fresh for around 4-7 days or so. Alternatively, you can place the meals in the freezer if you need them to last longer.

Green Chef also recommends storing the ingredients it ships in a refrigerator as soon as they arrive at your home. The typical shelf life for organic ingredients is around five days. Seafood, however, should be consumed within three days.

A Green Chef box that contains fresh contents

A meal kit box with contents by Green Chef

Freshly meal containers should be rinsed first and then recycled with other rigid plastic. The cardboard meal sleeves, corrugated delivery boxes, miscellaneous paper products, and paper fiber and starch foam insulation liners are all recyclable.

The Freshly gel packs can be drained into the garbage (NOT the sink) and then recycled at a local drop-off – or reused. The denim insulation liners are 85% biodegradable – but can be recycled if preferred.

Green Chef also uses materials that are either recyclable, reusable, and/or compostable. The exception is in those cases where food safety requires other types of materials.

Green Chef’s FAQ offers recycling/reusing ideas for the following materials: Cardboard boxes, insulation, ice packs, paper bags, plastic bags, plastic sauce packets, small paperboard boxes, plastic jars, egg cartons, and plastic herb clamshells.

Meal Prep

Winner: Freshly

Freshly won this category because it offers entirely pre-made and pre-cooked meals that simply need to be heated up. Green Chef does some prep work but leaves the final preparation and cooking of the meal to you.

Meals offered by Freshly are always fresh. The meals typically last 4-7 days in the refrigerator or longer if placed in the freezer (you can extend the shelf life by two weeks).

Since Freshly meals are pre-cooked, you can probably eat at least some of them straight from the fridge. However, many of the meals will probably taste better if heated in the microwave or on the stove.

Freshly meals come in microwavable containers but can be transferred to a pan or pot if you prefer to heat it in the oven. If you use the microwave, there’s virtually no cleanup required. And only a couple of dishes if heated on the stove or in the oven.

Green Chef provides only ingredients for its meals, and most of them likely require refrigeration. However, there may be a few that are shelf-stable and can be stored in a cabinet or pantry instead of the refrigerator. The labels on the ingredients should specify those details.

In contrast, since Green Chef doesn’t prepare the whole meal, clean up will be significantly longer than with a Freshly meal. However, Green Chef will do a lot of pre-prep for you including such things as special sauces, dressings, and spice blends, so you have as easy of a time as possible.

Green Chef typically doesn’t precut or chop up most ingredients for you. The company expects you to be sufficiently skilled in chopping, dicing, grating, and peeling to prepare your meal yourself. Of course, none of those skills are required with a premade Freshly meal.

Customer Support

Winner: Green Chef

Green Chef wins this category, but only barely. My biggest reason for giving the nod to Green Chef is because it has a Live Chat. That’s, basically, my favorite form of outreach for customer service. Freshly has a few methods that Green Chef doesn’t (email and text), but I think with Live Chat those options aren’t really needed.

But the contest was close. Both companies were comparable in pretty much all other metrics in this category like response time and cancelation methods.

You can contact Freshly’s Customer Support through email, phone, or text seven days a week from 6 am to Midnight ET. The company also offers a chat bot in conjunction with its FAQ page. Both of these are pretty much available 24/7.

A speedy conversation with the Freshly chatbot

A Freshly chatbot conversation

You can contact Green Chef by phone (Monday to Friday, 6 am to 11 pm, Saturday to Sunday 7 am to 7 pm, EST). It also offers a Live Chat option (Monday to Sunday, 9 am to 7 pm EST) and, lastly, an FAQ page.

To test each company’s Customer Service capabilities, I tried to contact both companies with essentially the same query: whether or not I could customize a meal to remove an allergen. Both companies replied “No” in about the same amount of time.

A speedy Live Chat with Green Chef

A conversation with Green Chef via Live Chat

I tried Freshly’s chatbot, and after a few preliminary questions, it scanned the FAQ and gave me my answer. My Green Chef experience was similar. It differed only by the fact that I used Live Chat instead of a chatbot. It took, perhaps, a little longer because I was directed to a live agent.

Cancellation at Freshly is relatively easy. It’s also discussed in the FAQ. You can find all the information you need to cancel your Freshly subscription in our post on How to Cancel or Pause Freshly.

Green Chef also provides its cancellation information in its FAQ. However, if you want a thorough, detailed discussion on the matter, take a look at our post entitled How To Cancel Green Chef Subscription

That’s it.

Pricing

Winner: Green Chef

This was another close call. The price per serving of each company is reasonably close to the other. Although Freshly has a Protein & Sides menu, it has only one or two items on it and it costs a little more than a serving for a meal, so, I count that fact as negligible. The tipping point, I think, is the better shipping price that Green Chef offers for its meals, particularly on large orders.

The listing price for a customer order on Freshly

The Freshly listing price for a customer order

The lowest price that Freshly offers is $6.90 per serving. This is the per-serving price for its 12-meal plan. Green Chef offers its 4-person, 6-meals apiece plan (24 total meals) for $5.99 per serving. Both of these take into account whatever specials or discounts either company may be running.

Without any discounts, you could end up paying over $13 per meal at Green Chef and over $12 at Freshly if you make small orders with both so in that respect they’re comparable. The price does get reduced the more meals you order.

The listing price for a customer order on Green Chef

A Green Chef listing price for a customer order

Shipping fees at Freshly range from $9.99 for an order of 4-8 meals, $10.99 for an order of 9-10 meals, and $11.99 for orders of 11-12 meals. Green Chef, on the other hand, is $9.99 regardless of the size of the order which is why it just wins this category.

Features Comparison: Freshly vs. Green Chef


Freshly

Green Chef

Best for

Single portion meals

Dietary plan variety

Starting price

$6.90 per serving

$5.99 per serving

Shipping cost

$9.99 to $11.99

$9.99

Minimum order

4 single portion meals per week

3 meals for 2 people per week

Menu variety

40+ choices per week

30 choices per week

Prep time

<5 minutes

10 to 40 minutes

Low-prep options

Microwave-ready meals

10 Minute lunches

Allergies catered to

Gluten, soy, peanut, dairy

Gluten, grains, soy, and legume

Special diets

Purely Plant, Signature Collection, FreshlyFit

Keto + Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Mediterranean, Gluten Free, and Fast & Fit

Customer support

Email, & Phone/Text (6 am to Midnight ET daily ), Chat Bot, FAQ

Live Chat (9 am to 7 pm daily EST), Phone (Mon to Fri, 6 am to 11 pm EST, Sat to Sun, 7 am to 7 pm EST), FAQ

Promotions

Get $175 off your first 7 boxes!

Get $250 Off + Free Shipping

And The Winner Is: Green Chef

Ultimately, Green Chef won this match-up by a relatively narrow margin. As far as gluten-free offerings are concerned, the two companies are fairly comparable. Although Green Chef has an entire dietary plan dedicated to gluten-free, Freshly provides a large number of tagged gluten-free meals.

Ultimately, the contest came down to menu variety, price, and customer support. Green Chef won all three of those categories. Still, some people may find Freshly more convenient because it offers single-serving meals and is still a competitor in all the categories listed. 

In fact, in our list of the 10 Best Gluten-Free Meal Delivery Services, Green Chef came in first and Freshly, third. That’s pretty impressive, all things considered.

FAQ

Are Green Chef Meals Healthy?

Green Chef meals are definitely healthy. All Green Chef produce and eggs are certified organic and the meats and proteins come from animals raised with high animal welfare standards. Generally, I’ve found that most meal delivery services offer exceptionally healthy food in their plans. Green Chef does the same, and perhaps more so, in some cases.

Are Green Chef Meals Prepared?

Green Chef meals aren’t prepared. Although Green Chef, as a rule, does a fairly good job at pre-prepping ingredients, the actual making and cooking of the meals fall on the customer's shoulders. Green Chef often pre-preps special sauces, spice blends, and dressings – just not the whole meal.

Are Freshly Meals Frozen?

Freshly meals aren’t frozen. They’re pre-cooked and pre-made from fresh ingredients. They’re then sealed in a high-tech process to preserve the freshness of the meal. The meals are then shipped directly to you. Once you have them, you can store them in the refrigerator or, if you wish to preserve them longer, you can freeze them. The choice is yours.

About The Author

Matthew Ryan
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Matt enjoys all sorts of cuisine from fast food to fine dining. He’s been writing professionally for about 10 years, starting in fantasy fiction and moving into on-line content writing in 2021. He lives in the Northeastern U.S. with his dog, Cicero (also a big fan of dining).
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