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Fresh and Easy Review 2021: The “Easiest Meal Plan Ever”?

www.freshandeasy.com
VegetarianPescatarianKetoVeganPaleoGluten-freeLow-calorieLow-CarbWeight-LossHigh-Protein-MealsHealthOrganicDairy-Free-OptionDiabetes-FriendlyAllergy-Friendly
Our Score:
9.0
User Score:
  • Prep & Cook Time:

    Oven-ready, grill-ready, 15-minute meal kits, salad kits, prepared meals

  • Type Of Food Options:

    Vegetarian,Pescatarian,Keto,Vegan,Paleo,Gluten-free,Low-calorie,Low-Carb,Weight-Loss,High-Protein-Meals,Health,Organic,Dairy-Free-Option,Diabetes-Friendly,Allergy-Friendly

  • Recipes Per Week:

    26 recipes

  • Free Delivery

    No

  • Written by: Felicity Kay on Mar 17th, 2021

    Fresh and Easy in a Nutshell

    Easy, straightforward meal prep at affordable prices, for busy professionals or very reluctant cooks. With all the ingredients prepped and ready for the oven or grill, and even microwave-ready meals, this is a great attempt at providing “the Easiest Meal Plan Ever.”

    What I Liked

    • Easy to use – even the pans are included, and the ingredients are pre-prepared

    • Low price – this is less expensive than going out or ordering in

    • Variety of meals – great selection of meals on offer

    What I Didn’t Like 

    • Too much plastic – the packaging could be more environmentally friendly

    • Lack of special meal plans – a poor choice of meals if you’re vegan, paleo, or have very specific dietary restrictions

    Fresh and Easy Overview

    I wouldn’t say I’m a bad cook, but I’m not the greatest in the kitchen and there are definitely times I’ve reached for the takeout menu because I just couldn’t be bothered trying to cook something after a long day. I know I’m not alone. 

    Could Fresh and Easy be the answer to all my kitchen issues and provide just the push I need to put an end to the regular takeaways? Read on to find out what I thought of this couldn’t-be-simpler meal delivery service.

    How Fresh and Easy Works 

    Fresh and Easy’s sign-up process is very similar to Home Chef’s, except you can sign up with your Grocery account, too. This is to be expected, as Fresh and Easy falls under the Home Chef brand.

    All you have to do is: 

    1. Select your dietary preferences: 

    2. Enter your email to get started building your box.  You can also sign up using your Grocery account from stores such as Baker’s, Metro Market, and Ralphs. 

    3. Set the number of diners and the number of meals you’ll need for a week

    4. Add in your shipping information. Fresh and Easy deliver to most places in the contiguous US.

    5. Finally, enter your payment information, and then you can choose your meals. One thing to note is that you’ll be charged for your delivery when you complete the checkout process.

    Fresh and Easy Prices

    Meals officially start from $6.99 at Fresh and Easy, but these are typically salads which, if you're anything like me, just won't keep you satisfied unless you're used to eating smaller dinners. 

    Otherwise, most other meals are $8.99, which is similar to what you'd expect to pay for the main course at a restaurant. There’s minimal effort required to prepare Fresh and Easy dishes, giving you a restaurant-like experience from the comfort of your own home. 

    Fresh and Easy probably isn’t the cheapest meal delivery kit on the market – that would be the ultra-affordable EveryPlate, and it isn't the most expensive, like the certified-organic meal delivery services.

    It's even less expensive than some of the options given by Home Chef, which offers some gourmet meals for upwards of $17, although some Fresh and Easy Culinary Collection offerings also come in pretty close to that price point.

    Still, I'd say that the menu options at Fresh and Easy are well worth the price. After all, you’re getting easy-to-prepare meals, or chef-prepared meals, with quality ingredients, and you’re saving time and money by not needing to eat out as much, or order in. 

    Fresh and Easy Menu

    Much like its parent company Home Chef, there’s a lot of varied menu choices at Fresh and Easy. The key difference is the target market. Fresh and Easy is aimed at busy people: meals come pre-portioned and pre-chopped, and with the pan or grill bag you need to cook – all you need to do is assemble and heat it up.

    Home Chef's regular menu does pre-portion the ingredients but you’ll still need to do the prep work such as chopping, slicing, and grating resulting in meals taking around 30-40 minutes to prepare. At Fresh and Easy, all the prep work is done for you, which saves loads of time.

    Choose from:

    • Fast & Fresh meals – ready-to-go meals which you can cook in the microwave or oven 

    • Oven Ready meals – these are ready to pop in the oven using the oven-safe tray provided

    • Grill-Safe meals – these meals come ready-to-go in a grill-safe bag ready to throw directly on the grill

    • 15-minute meal-kit – these more hands-on meals are great if you want to do some of the work yourself  

    • Entree salad kit – don’t let the idea of creating a salad bring you out in a cold sweat. The ingredients come ready prepared so all you need to do is combine them and eat.

    It’s just the solution you need as a busy professional, or even a lazy chef – and I tick both of those boxes! Could I really have my meals and eat it too…without having to suffer any of the clean-up? I was excited to see what was in store for me. 

    Here's just a small selection of what was on offer: 

    There are also other options below, but one of the things I really liked about Fresh and Easy (and Home Chef) is that it's so easy to customize your order! Just click the “Customize it” button and check out your options. 

    There are about 19 different options per week, all of which are oven- or grill-ready and come pre-sliced and diced, along with a pan to cook in. Some of the choices I had were:

    • Crispy Caesar Chicken with Roasted Broccoli

    • Pork Chop with Cranberry Demi-Glace and Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese 

    • Three Cheese Chicken Penne Bake

    • Artichoke Salad with Feta and Farro

    • Jalapeño-Popper Chicken with Corn and Zucchini 

    • Seared Ahi Tuna and Tomato Lime Salsa

    • Cajun Shrimp and Cheddar Grits 

    • Huli Huli Tofu Rice Bowl

    • Mojito Lime Salad

    There's such a great selection on offer and it’s all quite affordable. If you click on the recipe card, you'll not only see the recipe details but also the nutritional facts, difficulty level, allergy information, and the spice level, which is really helpful if you don't like your food too spicy. There's also additional information about your dish or cooking method, often with a fun fact added in.

    But what I particularly loved was how easy the recipe was to follow. When my colleague reviewed Home Chef’s meal kits, they really enjoyed the super-simple recipes – but Fresh and Easy’s three-step instructions were even simpler:

    In fact, I think this was the easiest of any meal kit I had experienced. It was certainly a far cry from Blue Apron’s slightly confusing instructions, which ended up with me burning my meals! 

    Here’s a quick summary of Fresh and Easy’s prices and the food preferences it best accommodates:

    Pricing

    From $6.99 per portion 

    Order Sizes

    2-6 meals for two, four, or six people

    Foods served

    Meat, vegetarian, fish

    Regions served

    US

    Availability 

    Almost 98% of the continental US

    Shipping costs

    Free shipping on your first order. Free shipping on orders over $49. $10 shipping for orders under $49

    Minimum spend per delivery

    $49.95

    Special deals

    Get $80 off your first four orders

    Fresh and Easy Unboxing

    The best part of my delivery was seeing every aspect of the meal nicely laid out in the box. I found:

    • A recyclable foil pan and grill bags

    • Each ingredient sealed in separate plastic bags or plastic containers

    Because I’m plastic-free, I especially like it when meal delivery services go the extra mile to provide a recyclable or plastic-conscious experience, and I was a little disappointed with the amount of plastic used by Fresh and Easy. Each ingredient had its own plastic bag when it could have been in paper bags (like HelloFresh). Instead, Home Chef relies on the availability of your city’s recyclable plastic bags program:

    Unfortunately, my city doesn't accept plastic bags for recycling, so this left me in a bit of a predicament. 

    Favorite Fresh and Easy Meals

    Wow, just wow. It’s amazing what can happen when you remove any potential room for error, and just simply assemble the ingredients in a certain order. 

    This is likely to be a meal kit that every beginner cook can successfully prepare. All you have to do is turn on the oven to the right temperature, put the ingredients into the pan provided in the right order, maybe arrange a few of the ingredients here and there…et voila! Dinner is served! 

    I especially liked the Teriyaki Grilled Salmon. I often have difficulties with cooking salmon – I usually get freaked out that it's undercooked and overcompensate by…overcooking it, and this meal kit guides you in a way that prevents this from happening. 

    The Pork Enchiladas are also enticing, and it will probably even taste better because all of the ingredients are being put together beforehand for you. 

    My favorite was the Three Cheese Penne Bake. I have a soft spot for anything Italian and cheesy, so this was a no-brainer for me. Needless to say, everything in it is flavorsome and made for the perfect hassle-free dinner. It’s all fresh, and, well…easy.

    Fresh and Easy Delivery 

    Just like parent company Home Chef, Fresh and Easy delivers during the week and actually delivers more often: Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm. 

    Even if your order is delivered at midday, and you won’t be home until the evening, everything is promised to remain cold thanks to the ice packs and well-insulated box.

    One thing to note is that Fresh and Easy doesn’t provide you with a link to track the status of your delivery, as other competing meal delivery services do. You can read how this feature works in our HelloFresh review and in our Blue Apron review. If you live in an apartment or don’t expect to be home, then you’ll need to consider where your order can be left safely.

    Fresh and Easy Customer Service

    Clicking on FAQs and Support will lead you to the Home Chef help center page, where you’ll see a whole range of articles and a handy search bar.

    Actually getting in touch with customer support is a different matter though. For that, you need to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen and find the note that says: “If you haven’t found your answer, you can reach us here.” 

    Click on the hyperlink and you’ll land on this page:

    I decided to call, and before long – about 20 seconds – I was connected to the lovely Katie (who even managed to get my rather complicated email address spelled correctly the first time).  

    She helped me with my questions, and I left the conversation satisfied with my experience.  

    Alternatives to Fresh and Easy

    If you want to be doing a bit more than just assembling your meals, check out our HelloFresh review

    HelloFresh offers at least 17 meals a week. The company is committed to sustainable food practices and uses organic products wherever possible. There are four plans to choose from and while not quite as fool-proof as Fresh and Easy, HelloFresh’s recipes are pretty easy to follow and don’t require you to be a culinary expert.

    If you’re not quite ready to give up on the convenience factor, but want to improve your kitchen skills, Sunbasket is worth investigating. It recently added prepared Fresh & Ready meals to its offerings so you can switch between done-for-you and do-it-yourself meals depending on what you fancy. Sunbasket is also a great choice if you’re following a specific diet, such as keto, paleo, or diabetes-friendly.

    The Bottom Line: Is Fresh and Easy Worth It? 

    Fresh and Easy is probably my favorite meal delivery service. It was the easiest and quickest of any meal delivery kit I’ve experienced, and I really liked the price points too. 

    I will say that I hope the company chooses to use less plastic going forward, but otherwise if I had to recommend any meal delivery service, I'd go for Fresh and Easy any time. 

    FAQ

    What is the difference between Home Chef and Fresh and Easy?

    Home Chef is a leading meal delivery service, and Fresh and Easy is a special plan within this service. Standard Home Chef meals are more akin to Blue Apron or HelloFresh, providing basic ingredients and recipes for you to prep and cook yourself.

    Fresh and Easy is a totally unique service, bridging the gap between a typical meal kit (which can be confusing or time-consuming) and a prepared meal service (which can sacrifice flavor for convenience). Fresh and Easy is the perfect blend of fresh-cooked flavor and no-stress meal prep.

    How much does Fresh and Easy cost?

    Fresh and Easy’s cost per serving averages around $8.99, but varies depending on exactly what you order. For example, smaller snacks and salads are as low as $6.99, while optional protein upgrades or other customization options can add an additional charge of a few dollars per serving.

    Unfortunately, the price doesn’t go down for larger orders, so you’ll still be paying around $8.99 per serving even if you buy six meals per week for six people (the largest plan available).

    Are Fresh and Easy meals already cooked?

    No! Fresh and Easy meals come pre-chopped, pre-sorted, pre-prepped, pre-everything except cooked. When you’re ready to enjoy your Fresh and Easy meal, simply combine the provided ingredients and cook them on a grill (indoor or outdoor) or in the oven (pans are included in your shipment). The result is a freshly cooked meal – not a reheated one – with next to no effort.

    About The Author

    Felicity Kay

    Staff Writer, Delivery Rank

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

    Felicity loves and lives for food, and new culinary experiences in general.
    When shes not out walking her dogs, shes trying out the coolest new restaurants and take out in the local area - one day she might even learn to cook!

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