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Freshly Review 2021: Do Healthy Microwave Meals Exist?

www.freshly.com
Gluten-freeLow-CarbLow-calorieHigh-Protein-MealsHealthDairy-Free-Option
Our Score:
9.0
User Score:
  • Prep & Cook Time:

    Prepared meals

  • Type Of Food Options:

    Gluten-free,Low-Carb,Low-calorie,High-Protein-Meals,Health,Dairy-Free-Option

  • Recipes Per Week:

    40+ prepared meals

  • Free Delivery

    No

  • Written by: Kat Torgersen on Apr 28th, 2021

    Freshly in a Nutshell

    If you’re looking for super-easy yet nutritious options when it comes to mealtimes, Freshly could be the meal delivery service for you. Its prepared dishes promise less sugar and fewer processed ingredients, while being ready to eat in three minutes or less.

    What I liked

    • Meals were well-seasoned

    • Each dish is one serving

    • Super-fast customer support

    What I didn’t like

    • The health focus seems vague

    • Menu categories are unclear 

    • Not currently suitable for vegetarians or vegans

    Freshly Overview

    I try to be healthy – but usually with the minimal amount of effort required. There are some nights when I like to cook, but after a typical day of working and running around, I’m usually just looking for whatever’s easiest. So the idea of having healthy meals delivered to my door every week sounded pretty good

    This is essentially what Freshly promises. However, prepared microwavable meals don't really scream “nutrition,” so I was skeptical when asked to try some of the dishes. The verdict? While I wasn’t crazy about everything I tasted, I could see myself placing another order in the future. 

    How Freshly Works

    When it comes to meal delivery services, Freshly is about as straightforward as it gets. You choose whether you’d like four, six, 10, or 12 meals delivered to your door per week, and the more you choose the lower the cost per serving. The meals arrive already prepared, all you need to do is heat them up in the microwave or oven, and your lunch/dinner/snack can be eaten right out of the container. 

    You can check out the menu without having to create an account. I’m not sure how often Freshly switches up its menu, but when I was checking out the site, there were more than 40 different choices that would all be suitable for lunch or dinner. There are no breakfast options. 

    There’s the option to filter the menu by category, although some of the categories didn’t seem that clear to me. What’s the difference between Crafted Classics and Signature Collection? FreshlyFit, on the other hand, makes sense. 

    Overall, I’d say there’s a pretty good range of meals that are nicely organized. As they say, “you eat with your eyes first” and the photography is what stands out as you scroll down. 


    When you sign up, you just need to: 

    1. Enter your email and delivery zip code 

    2. Decide on whether you want four, six, 10, or 12 meals delivered per week 

    3. Select the day of the week you’d like your meals to arrive

    4. Browse the menu and choose your dishes

    5. Fill out your delivery and billing information, and you’re done!

    Freshly Prices

    The cost per Freshly meal depends on how many you order per week. You could pay anywhere from $8.49 per meal (based on the maximum of 12 meals per week) to $11.49 per meal (if you order the minimum of four ). That’s a pretty good deal, especially if you compare it against something like takeout, where you could be paying that much on taxes and fees alone. 

    You do have to pay for shipping, too, which I find a little annoying. The cost of this also varies depending on the size of your order. It might also depend on your location. Just expect to add an average of $10 to whatever price your meals come to.

    Freshly Menu

    Freshly states that all of its meals are gluten- and peanut-free. I don’t have a gluten allergy so this wasn’t really a big deal to me either way. I will say that I didn’t feel like I was missing out on gluten in my meals – so that’s a plus.

    There are a fair number of carb-conscious menu items, and in general, I think the company has done a pretty good job of sneaking in vegetable substitutions for classic carbs, for example, its cauli-rice and cauliflower pasta shells.

    One gripe I had, however, is that there are very few vegetarian or vegan options available. When I checked the weekly menu for this week, there were none available at all, however, Freshly states in its FAQ section that this is an area they’re planning to expand.

    Here’s a quick summary of Freshly’s pricing and the dietary needs it can accommodate:

    Starting price

    From $8.49 per serving 

    Dietary options available 

    Gluten-free, carb-conscious, calorie-conscious, soy-free, dairy-free, high-protein

    Shipping costs

    From $5.99 

    Special deals

    Save $60, Promo Code: LAUNCH15

    Freshly Delivery

    In full transparency, I was sent meals to test out the service – so I didn’t go through the process of placing an order and wasn’t in control of when they would be delivered. On the day the meals arrived, I just received a text alert to say I’d had a FedEx delivery.

    Freshly delivers seven days a week, though the exact days it can reach you depends on your location and the company’s delivery partners. My box arrived around 1.30 pm on a Tuesday. It was delivered to my door, which was great because I live in an apartment complex and would hate to lug it up the stairs. I could feel right away that the box was still cold – definitely a good sign. 

    Freshly Unboxing

    The company prides itself on reducing its environmental impact where possible, so I had high hopes for the packaging. Inside were two giant ice packs (along with instructions on how to recycle the plastic around them) – one on the top and another at the bottom of the box, with six meals packed neatly in between. 

    That was it. There was no welcome guide, overview of the meals, or instructions. And while I guess everything is pretty self-explanatory, I did have a couple of questions. For example, I wasn’t sure if I should freeze the meals or keep them in the fridge. I was also curious about alternative cooking methods since I don’t have a microwave. Thankfully all this information is available on the website, you might just have to search through the FAQ to find it.

    Favorite Freshly Meals

    The company promises to deliver quick, delicious, and nutritious meals. Because I don’t have a microwave, the meals weren’t necessarily quick, but they were definitely convenient. And compared to other grab-and-go options, I’d say they are pretty tasty. As for nutritious? I’m not entirely sure.

    On its website, Freshly says its meals are “less processed” and use “less of the ingredients you can’t pronounce.” Looking at the back of the boxes, I’d agree the ingredient list is shorter than many of the other microwavable meals you see in supermarkets. That said, a fresh salad would be an unfair comparison. 

    As mentioned previously, I was sent a sample of Freshly meals to try in exchange for writing a fair and honest review. These are the dishes I was sent: 

    • Plant-Based Sesame Bowl with Noodle-Cut Hearts of Palm (FreshlyFit)

    • Zingy Buffalo Chicken with Loaded Cauliflower (FreshlyFit)

    • Sausage & Peppers with Carb Swap Cauli Rice (FreshlyFit)

    • Freestyle Beef Lasagna with Cauli Pasta Ribbons & Three Cheeses (Crafted Classics)

    • Dijon Pork Chop with Sea Salt Potatoes & Roasted Carrots (Freshly) x 2

    Though there are some dishes on this list I might not necessarily have picked for myself, I do think all the meals had good flavor, which is often one of the biggest complaints when it comes to prepared meals. Often you’ll find they’re too salty or completely bland – Freshly strikes a good balance. 

    Freshly Customer Service

    My first interaction with Freshly’s customer service was quick and painless. Since I don’t have a microwave, I was looking for oven cooking instructions. And as this question is apparently one of the most commonly asked, it took me all of two seconds to find the answer on the website. 

    I was also curious as to whether Freshly had any sort of satisfaction guarantee. I tried asking the customer support chatbot whether the company offered any substitutions or refunds if you don’t like your meal. It soon became obvious that my question wasn’t understood.

    I also tested the customer service email by asking the same question and the reply came in less than an hour. The first paragraph was tailored to my query, and the rest of the email was essentially a sales pitch to get me to sign up. That said, I appreciated the quick, clear, and courteous help. 

    I also found out how easy it is to pause or cancel your Freshly subscription, and wrote about it in this short blog post.

    Alternatives to Freshly

    If you’re looking for something quick, easy, and ready to eat in minutes, Eat Fit Go review is another good option for meal delivery. Both companies are a good match in terms of value – Freshly perhaps has a more diverse menu, while Eat Fit Go might be a little tastier. 

    At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re looking for something really healthy, you might want to try a meal delivery service that allows you to prep and cook the meals yourself using fresh ingredients. Meal kit services such as HelloFresh review have a strong focus on farm-fresh produce and plenty of vegetarian options, while Sunbasket review has a varied range of customized meal plans for those with specific dietary requirements.  

    The Bottom Line

    The overall experience I had with Freshly was positive. I’d definitely like to see more vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu, but what I tried was tasty and I could see the benefits of a meal delivery service like this. I know that if I have a busy week coming up, I could see myself relying on Freshly to strike a good balance between health and convenience. 

    About The Author

    Kat Torgersen

    Contributing Writer, Delivery Rank

    When she's not testing out recipes in her own kitchen, Kat is probably just out eating somewhere else. Formerly of the DC consultancy world, Kat now writes, edits, and manages content for clients around the globe.

    When she's not testing out recipes in her own kitchen, Kat is probably just out eating somewhere else. Formerly of the DC consultancy world, Kat now writes, edits, and manages content for clients around the globe.

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