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Written by: Elroy Pinto on Dec 8th, 2022

Thrive Foods vs Fresh N Lean 2023: Which One is Better?

Both Thrive Life (the consumer part of the Thrive Foods business) and Fresh N Lean make cooking ridiculously easy and simple. But which one is better?

First, it’s important to keep in mind that Thrive Life mostly caters to people who like to store freeze-dried ingredients in case of an emergency. And Fresh N Lean caters to those who are short on time and prefer fully prepared meals.

To find out which is better, I compared many aspects of both services like meal variety, meal customization, delivery, price, and more. Overall, I found Fresh N Lean to be the better option as it has better meal variety and customizability compared to Thrive Life.

Read on to compare how they fare in each category.

At a Glance: Who Won Each Category?

💲 Price:

Tie

🍔 Menu Variety:

Fresh N Lean

⏰ Prep Time:

Tie

🍴 Customization:

Fresh N Lean

👍 Ordering and Delivery:

Fresh N Lean

🙋 Customer Support:

Tie

Menu variety

Winner: Fresh N Lean

Fresh N Lean wins this category due to its better menu variety and more extensive meal choices compared to Thrive Life.

Before I really get into this, it’s important to note that Thrive Life is similar to a grocery service, whereas Fresh N Lean is a prepared microwaveable meal service.

While Thrive Life serves meals, it only has 2-6 meals on the menu weekly covering breakfast and lunch/dinner. The cuisines are American with a hint of Italian such as Creamy Beef with Rotini Pasta or Southwestern Style Chicken.

Thrive Life's In the Pantry page

Thrive Life's pantry has plenty of ingredients you can stock up for years on your shelf.

The company is mainly known for its freeze-dried fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats. According to Thrive Life, unopened foods will last 25 years, and opened items will last 6-12 months or longer.

It offers around 14 fruit options, including banana slices and pineapple. Under the vegetable category, it serves around 17 options like Chopped Spinach and Mushroom Pieces. And under meats/proteins, it has around 12 options, including Shrimp and Ground Beef.

Also included in its pantry are rice, seasonings, and gravies.

On the Thrive Life website, you can find over 100 recipes covering lots of meal types and diets – from soups and pastas, to cheesecakes and biscuits – and everything in between. In each recipe, you’ll find clear instructions about what ingredients and quantities are needed and the number of servings.

However, there are some recipes that require ingredients that can't be bought at the store. For example, Thrive Life’s Taco TVP Salad recipe requires purchasing the Taco TVP, garlic, and cilantro separately.

Thrive Life's recipe page

Thrive Life's recipe page has over 100 recipes of different meal types - including soups, sandwiches, sauces, pastas, pizza, gravies, and much, much, more!

So why is Fresh N Lean better than Thrive Life? It’s because it offers eight dietary-specific meal plans – Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Standard Vegan, Low Carb Vegan, Mediterranean Diet, Whole30 approved, and Bulk. And each of these options has anywhere between 12-24 meals!

Fresh N Lean’s meals are fully prepared and single-serving and most meals come in around 400-500 calories so it's perfect for calorie-controlled diets.

This service is heavily branded towards fitness fans and athletes (there’s even a Performance tab on the homepage) so although the food itself isn’t unsuitable for children, I wouldn’t recommend this service for families. You would need to order a lot of meals and it would get very expensive.

Most of the ingredients that Fresh N Lean uses in its meals are locally grown, non-GMO, and mostly organic. All meat, poultry, and fish are antibiotic and hormone free. Seafood is sustainably sourced, poultry is free-range, and beef is grass-fed. The company also avoids using artificial ingredients and prepares its meals with healthy oils like olive oil and avocado oil.

Fresh N Lean offers a variety of cuisines including American, Mediterranean, Asian, Italian, Indian, and Mexican. Most meals are American such as the Buffalo Chicken Bowl but you’ll find Indian meals such as Coconut Shrimp Tika Masala and Asian-inspired dishes like Korean Bulgogi Mushrooms with Rice or Kung Pao Grilled Chicken.

Fresh N Lean's Kung Pao Grilled Chicken

Fresh N Lean's Kung Pao Grilled Chicken has 460 calories and is high in protein.

Fresh N Lean caters to more diets than most meal delivery companies. And it has meals for breakfast as well as entrees. There’s also a meal plan simply called “Bulk” where you can stock up on 16 oz portions of proteins and sides. Because of this, we give it a solid point in this “meal variety” department.

Menu Customization

Winner: Fresh N Lean

Fresh N Lean wins this since it offers slightly better menu customization options than Thrive Life.

Fresh N Lean lets you filter out allergens like egg, sesame, dairy, shellfish, tree nuts, and soy. You can also exclude ingredients from your plan, like seafood, red meat, mushrooms, etc.

Fresh N Lean customization page

Fresh N Lean gives you the option to exclude at least 23 ingredients from its meals, including eggs, red meat, seafood, and soy.

In addition, all meals are gluten-free, two meal plans are fully vegan (Standard Vegan and Vegan low-carb), and most meal plans are completely dairy-free (except for the Keto and the Mediterranean diet plan).

Unfortunately, you can’t mix and match the different meal plans. You choose one and select your meals from the selection provided. However, there’s an A La Carte option in case you don’t want to commit to a weekly subscription. The menu here is limited, though, consisting of around 10+ Bulk and Sides options, 5+ Entrees, and 7+ Breakfast/Snacks options.

When it comes to Thrive Life, it has great customization options in the recipe section. You can filter for diet type (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free), meal type (breakast, lunch, dinner, side dish, snack, dessert), and cooking style (Quick & Easy, Family Dinner, Kid-Friendly, Make Ahead). You can also search by the recipe, as well as save it too.

Thrive Life's recipe page

Thrive Life's recipe page lets you choose from various diet types, cooking styles, and meal types

Since Thrive Life acts as a grocery store, you can make creative substitutions to the recipes you like by buying different ingredients. For example, you could switch up the protein from the Creamy Chicken and Asparagus Pasta to salmon or swap the asparagus for another veg like green beans or mushrooms.

Thrive Life has good filters in the Shop section allowing you to view only the products you’re interested in, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, proteins, etc. The foods are all canned, but you can opt for different sizes of cans, from a Pantry can (8.8 oz) to a larger Family Can (25.4 oz) and even a multipack.

Thrive Life ingredient page

Choose from 4 different packaging types when ordering an ingredient from Thrive Life.

Fresh N Lean has ready-made meals that are customizable, making it the clear winner here. No prep or clean up required whatsoever.

Ordering, Delivery, and Unboxing

Winner: Fresh N Lean

Fresh N Lean wins here because of the faster, reliable shipping times.

Ordering

Ordering from Thrive Life is pretty straightforward. You can either order the ingredients or meals as a one-time purchase or set up a monthly order.

If you plan to use Thrive Life often, I suggest you opt for the monthly option – as you also get 15% off all items plus free shipping on orders above $99.

Using the website to place orders is simple.

  1. Step 1: Add the items you’d like to purchase by clicking on the Quick Shop button and then pressing Add to Cart in the pop-up that appears.

  2. Step 2: Next, go to the icon of a cart on the top right-hand side and click the Check Out button at the bottom.

  3. Step 3: Check out either as a guest (if you want to skip creating an account) or click Create an Account. Keep in mind that if you continue as a guest, you won’t get the discounts associated with monthly subscriptions.

  4. Step 4: Once that’s done, add all your details, including name, email, and address.

  5. Step 5: Choose your preferred payment method – you can choose between PayPal or your Credit/Debit card.

  6. Step 6: And that’s it! You can expect the shipment to arrive in 3-5 business days.

The order is then delivered in a cardboard box. Inside the box, you’ll find each ingredient in a can (which you can store on a shelf for the long term). The cans are clearly labelled with the ingredient name and can size.

Signing up for Fresh N Lean is just as easy. Just click Get Started at the top right-hand of the main page and follow the steps – including selecting your dietary preference, choosing the number of meals per week, and opting for add-ons.

You do have to order a minimum of five meals with Fresh N Lean. However, with Thrive Life, there’s no minimum order whatsoever.

Fresh N Lean's choose your plan page

Choose from anywhere between 5-21 meals per week with Fresh N Lean

Delivery

Thrive Life ships to all the contiguous US states. It also delivers to Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, though it’ll cost you slightly more in terms of shipping.

Once you place an order, you can expect delivery 3-5 days after the order is processed, though the actual shipping time will vary depending on the destination. If you need to make changes to a delivery, cancel, or skip you can do this until midnight before the day the order processes.

Fresh N Leans sends its meals for delivery every Friday to all states in the US, and they’ll reach your house by Saturday. If you’re impatient (I’m with you there), you can track the delivery with a tracking number.

Cancellation and order modification requests must be placed by Saturday, 12 pm PST in order to be applied to the following week's delivery. If you cancel after the date, you’ll still receive the next box. If you order A La Carte and decide to cancel, you need to do this within two hours of placing the order as A La Carte products are often shipped immediately.

Unboxing

Your Fresh N Lean order will come in a cardboard box, which upon opening, you’ll find a thick insulation layer and tonnes of ice packs guaranteeing your food stays fresh during transit.

The meals are fresh, not frozen, so it’s best to refrigerate them first and then consume them as soon as possible. However, if you’re saving them for later, you can put them in the freezer, where they can stay for 6-8 weeks. In the refrigerator, the meals can stay fresh for 7-10 days.

Each meal also has labels where the nutritional information is displayed on the back side of the box.

The cardboard box, meal trays (which are vacuum-sealed and BPA-free), and the plastic wrapping around them are recyclable.

Note: I suggest you remove the plastic before putting the meal in a microwave and transfer the food to a microwaveable vessel before heating.

Thrive Life’s meals come in a cardboard box. Inside each box, you will find the boxes and pouches that contain the ingredients.

Since Thrive Life freeze-dries its food, all water is removed from the ingredients, and the nutrients are locked in. This helps them stay fresh for a long, long time. Depending on storage conditions, most products can last 25 years without opening and 6-12 months if the packaging is opened.

While the cardboard box and the individual packaging boxes are recyclable, the pouches aren’t, due to Mylar present in the bags. Unfortunately, Thrive Life has very few recycling details on it’s website so if you want to know more, you’ll have to reach out to customer service.

Meal Prep

Winner: Tie

To prepare Thrive Life's ingredients, all you have to do is rehydrate them with water. And to prepare Thrive Life’s meals, you just have to add boiling water, stir the contents, and leave it for 10 minutes.

You should consume Fresh N Lean's meals within 7-10 days since they’re prepared fresh. However, if you do plan to freeze the food, remember to thaw the meal in the refrigerator 36-48 hours before eating for the best results.

Meals from Fresh N Lean just need to be microwaved for 2-3 minutes. And if you don’t have a microwave, you can heat them using an oven or stove.

Since both services offer meals with extremely short prep time, they tie in the meal prep department.

Customer Support

Winner: Tie

Fresh N Lean and Thrive Life’s support are similar in many ways. They both have email, phone, and live chat options.

Thrive Life’s regular hours are on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm MT, so it’s better to contact them during that time. They also have an FAQ section you can check before contacting them directly.

The live chat's response times were inconsistent – where sometimes a representative got back to me in a minute, whereas other times, they took ten minutes to do so. Overall though, I always got a reply within the 15-minute mark.

Thrive Life's live chat

Expect a response from Thrive Life's representatives on the live chat within 15 minutes.

I found that Fresh N Lean had a better FAQ than Thrive Life. Fresh N Lean has one of the most in-depth FAQ sections I’ve seen. You’ll probably find the answers to most questions there and not even need to contact customer service.

Fresh N Lean's FAQ page

Fresh N Lean's FAQ page is more comprehensive than Thrive Life's

If you do need further help then getting in touch with a representative through live chat is the best option if you want an answer quickly. You might be placed in a queue; however, it’s a short wait.

Also, keep in mind that the customer service hours are from Fresh N Lean’s customer service hours are from 7 am to 7 pm PST daily.

Pricing

Winner: Tie

Thrive Life’s ingredients are reasonably priced, with fruits and vegetables that come in the Pantry Can (6-8 servings) costing around $15-30, and the Family Can (21-25 servings) costing 2.5 times more than a single can.

Protein prices vary from $30-40 for the Pantry Cans and around 2.5 times more for the Family Cans.

However, its meals are pretty expensive, ranging from $10-19 per meal.

Thrive Life’s shipping prices vary based on the amount you purchase as well as the location. You’ll pay a minimum of $8 for shipping even if you place a very small order ($10 min for AK, HI, and PR.) If your order is over $300 then shipping is calculated at 7% of the order subtotal (14% for AK, HI, and PR) and if you have a smaller order (<$300) then you’ll pay 12% of your order total for shipping (20% for AK, HI, and PR).

Thrive Life's shipping page

Shipping prices are slightly reduced for orders over $300

Also, if you subscribe to Thrive Life monthly (which is free), you get free shipping for orders above $99.

Fresh N Lean is also pricey. But given that the food is prepared and the ingredients are organic, it makes sense. Also, shipping is free on all orders within the contiguous US – a perk that not all companies offer.

Fresh N Lean’s prices start at $7.53 per meal; however, that amount varies by the diet plan. For example, 21 meals on the Standard Vegan meal costs $9.99/meal, whereas 21 meals on the Protein+ plan costs $10.32/meal.

Also, note that you’ll only pay the above prices if you order the maximum number of 21 meals. Smaller orders have a higher per meal price. If you order just five meals for the Protein+ plan, you’d have to pay $15.49 per meal. That’s quite expensive.

If you order from Fresh N Lean’s Bulk plan or choose to order A La Carte then there’s a minimum spend of $85.

Features Comparision: Thrive Life vs Fresh N Lean


ThriveLife

Fresh N Lean

Best for

Freeze-dried ingredients with a long shelf life

Easy-to-prepare meals

Starting price

Price: Missing Product thrive-life per serving

$7.53 per serving

Shipping cost

$8 minimum shipping for the US, and $10 minimum to Alaska/Hawaii/Puerto Rico

Free above $100 for monthly deliveries

Free

Minimum order

No minimum order

5 meals per week

Menu variety

60+ ingredients and 1-10 meals per week

100+ choices per week

Prep time

Less than 10 minutes

Less than 10 minutes

Low-prep options

Just pour water

Microwave-ready

Allergies catered to

Soy, gluten, dairy, coconut

Egg, sesame, dairy, soy, gluten, tree nut, shellfish

Special diets

None

Vegan, Keto, Paleo, Whole30, Mediterranean, High Protein

Customer support

Chat, Email, Phone, FAQ

Chat, Email, Phone, FAQ

Promotions

25% Off + Free Shipping With Money Back Guarantee

And the Winner Is: Fresh N Lean

To be fair, both delivery services have different functions. Fresh N Lean is a prepared meal delivery service, whereas Thrive Life is like a grocery service for freeze-dried ingredients/meals.

That being said, in terms of value, Fresh N Lean beats Thrive Life, but only slightly. Fresh N Lean has a strong advantage in that it has better menu variety and customization than Thrive Life. However, both services are almost tied in value in other departments.

So if you want to purchase ingredients that you can store on a shelf for the long term, I’d recommend Thrive Life, and if you want to order meals that don’t require any cooking, you can order Fresh N Lean.

FAQ

Is Thrive Life or Fresh N Lean organic?

Both Fresh N Lean and Thrive Life uses organic and non-GMO ingredients.

Fresh N Lean uses non-GMO ingredients in all its meals and organic ingredients where possible. Its proteins are also free-range and certified humane (which means the animals are treated as humanely as possible).

When it comes to Thrive Life, some of its ingredients are certified organic, though not all. All ingredients, however, are grown in a strict environment with high production and quality standard.

Which has more meal options, Thrive Life or Fresh N Lean?

Fresh N Lean has way more meal options than Thrive Life. It has eight diet categories, and each of them has anywhere between 12-24 meals.

On the other hand, Thrive Life doesn’t really have that many meal options. You may be lucky to view as many as six meal items on the menu. Some weeks there may only be one or two options. However, the service does have over 100+ recipes on its website, as well as plenty of freeze-dried ingredients on its menu.

Does Fresh N Lean have gluten-free meals?

Yes, all of Fresh N Lean’s meals are gluten-free. In addition, most of its meals are soy-free and all plans are dairy-free, with the exception of the Keto and Mediterranean plans.

About The Author

Elroy Pinto
Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank
Food is Elroy’s first love in life, and he just cannot find himself going on a diet as that would leave him completely gut-broken. He enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, and spending way too much time choosing a new flavor of ice cream from Baskin-Robbins.
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