Freshly Review 2020 - Stress- & Gluten-Free Prepared Meals

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

  • Type Of Food Options:

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

  • Recipes Per Week:

  • Free Delivery

    No

  • Written by: Felicity Kay on Nov 25th, 2020

    Freshly in a Nutshell

    A single-serving, heat-and-eat solution for the ultimate stress-free lunches and dinners that are nutritious and certified gluten-free from this health & wellness company. 

    What I Liked

    • Minimal processed ingredients and sugar in every single meal

    • 30+ meal options a week

    • Meals are prepared in an entirely gluten- and peanut-free facility

    • Diet options and dairy- and soy-free meals available

    • Wellness experts available for menu advice

    What I Didn’t Like 

    • Shipping charges vary per meal

    • Flavors are a little dulled as you're heating the food up, not cooking it from fresh

    Freshly Overview

    When it comes to allergy-friendly meals that take the guesswork out of lunch and dinner prep, Freshly has a lot going for it. While its cutting out certain allergens is commendable, I wanted to see just how many allergens Freshly allows you to avoid. 

    Beyond that, Freshly refers to itself as a health & wellness company. Does this service offer something more than your typical meal delivery service? Is this just another weight loss meal program in disguise? These are questions I wanted to answer in my deep-dive into Freshly’s services, as well as comparing its prices and menus to competitors, and the structure of its meal plans. 

    Here’s what I found out.

    Ready to go ahead and see Freshly’s plans for yourself? 

    How Freshly Works 

    As is common with precooked meals, all of Freshly’s meals come in single-serving portions. Also common is the inability to customize meals to accommodate your food aversions or sensitivities. But where there’s a lack in customization, Freshly tries to make up for it in the variety of meals it provides, in the hopes that everyone might be able to find at least a few suitable dishes. 

    What is somewhat unique outside dedicated weight loss meal programs, is that Freshly actually provides complimentary consultations with its staff of Wellness Experts, who have a professional background in nutrition and public health. If you’re looking to stick to a specific diet, like say, low-calorie and low-carb, you can book a call with a Wellness Expert and create a tailor-made menu of meals that best suit your needs. 

    This is where you start to see why it is that Freshly refers to itself as a health and wellness company, not just a food delivery service. 

    I’ll go into more on the menu options later, though. Now, let’s dive into the signup and ordering process:

    Once you input your email address and zip code, you choose the number of meals a week you'd like to receive - 


    You then choose your delivery day. 

    I was super impressed to find there’s a Sunday option available - this is the first time I’ve ever seen that with any of the meal kit delivery services I’ve reviewed. 


    And then it's time to choose your meals - this is one of the first meal kits that have allowed me to see the meals on offer before asking for my payment. Usually, like at Dinnerly, I’m locked behind a paywall, and only after adding in my payment details can I even see the recipes on offer, so I appreciate this. 

    Once you've chosen your meals, you’re taken to the payment screen. Once you add your details in, you're all set to go! 

    Freshly Prices

    I’ll come out and say it - as a single-serving meal kit provider, Freshly's prices are a little at the higher end of the market. 

    For 4 meals a week, you're looking at paying $11.50 a meal, which isn't as high as Sun Basket or Green Chef (although both of these meal kits providers specialize in specific dietary preferences, hence the higher portion prices) but otherwise - 

    The prices decrease a lot when you add more meals - but why are the 6 and 9 meals a week plans the same price? That’s a little stingy. 

    Otherwise ordering 12 meals a week (as in, lunch and dinners for 6 days a week, which actually doesn't sound like a bad idea) will bring the price down to the same as Blue Apron and Marley Spoon, and in fact, the meals becomes even cheaper than Home Chef or Hello Fresh. 

    When it comes to shipping at Freshly, something strange happens: I tried checking out the shipping price for the 4 meals plan, 9 meals and 12 meals - and I found that each shipping price is different - $3.99 for the 4 meals; $6.99 for 9 and $12.99 for 12 meals. That's a bit strange - most other providers have a flat fee for shipping (or even free shipping, like Blue Apron), so while $3.99 is way cheaper than other providers’ shopping fees, $12.99 is the most expensive shipping costs I’ve seen yet. 

    Freshly Menu

    WOW. So I understood that Freshly does things differently, but I just didn’t realize how differently. 

    On each plan, you’ll have the choice of 30 - yes, 30 - recipes to pick from

    All of the plans pool their recipes, but still- 30 is the most I’ve ever seen. Home Chef and Sun Basket both had around 22 recipes a week, and Every Plate and Green Chef both only had about 6-9 choices. 

    What was on offer was what I’d call ‘the best of both’ - I’ve noticed that meal services tend to go either with very standard American-style fare (Blue Apron, Home Chef), or something completely different and with more international tastes (Like Sun Basket or Marley Spoon). Freshly had the best of both worlds - there were some simple chicken dishes and other American-style dishes with added twists (Carved turkey and grain-free stuffing, chili mac and cheese), as well as some completely international choices, like chicken tikka masala and andouille and chicken gumbo. 

    The best thing about Freshly? It’s tough, but I really fell in love with the filtering and sorting options. A particular bugbear of mine is that no meal delivery service I’ve reviewed, other than Sun Basket, has any useful filtering options, much less sorting options, so these were really a godsend: 


     

    Amazing, right? How about these filters….


    I was super impressed. This was literally the first time I'd ever seen anything as user-friendly and helpful as these anywhere

    Be aware though, that Freshly doesn’t cater to specific dietary preferences as well as, say, Green Chef and Sun Basket do - 

    I was also very impressed that on each recipe card, I had a little more information, thanks to these cute little icons - 


    Pricing

    From $7.99 per portion 

    Foods served

    Meat, vegetarian, fish

    Availability 

    Almost 98% of the continental US

    Shipping costs

    From $3.99 per week

    Freshly Unboxing

    Usually, when I review meal kit delivery services, I'm annoyed (and sometimes, even outraged) by the sheer amount of unrecyclable plastic that I see. 

    Luckily, with Freshly, every single thing in the (cardboard, recyclable) delivery box was recyclable - as the meals are delivered individually wrapped in microwaveable (again, recyclable) containers, there’s no chance for wasted plastic. 

    Favorite Freshly Meals

    Freshly is - without a doubt - the easiest meal kit to assemble and cook that I’ve tested yet. 

    Why? 

    Because you don't need to do much assembly - 

    Even with Fresh and Easy, which literally gives you everything pre-chopped and assembled, you still need to put everything in the (pre-provided) pan and put it in the oven to cook. 

    Freshly, I just took out my meals, whipped them straight into the microwave...et voila! 

    Unfortunately, I did notice a slight lessening of taste compared to other meal kits I’ve reviewed. After all, with the others, I actually prepared and cooked my food - here, I was just heating it up

    It wasn't that it wasn't tasty or good to eat, it just tasted a little less flavorsome than at other meal kit delivery services I’ve reviewed. Think about the difference between eating something freshly cooked, and something reheated, and you'll know what I’m referring to. 

    I guess it really depends on your personal taste buds, as well as how much of a sacrifice for flavor and convenience you'd like to make. 

    That being said, these were my favorite Freshly meals:

    • Steak peppercorn with sautéed carrots & french green beans

    • Mexican-style shredded beef with masa cakes

    • Backyard bbq chicken

    • Chili mac & cheese


    Freshly Delivery 

    Although it's really dependent on your location, the delivery days I was offered by Freshly were pretty impressive: 

    That’s 6 days a week, including Sundays! This is the first time I’ve ever seen Sunday as a delivery option - both Blue Apron and Dinnerly had Saturday options, but never a Sunday! I really like this as it means I can prepare food on the weekend, and get ready for the week. 

    I also appreciate the heads up as to the most popular day, as I know (from my other meal kit delivery service reviews) that this naturally means it might take a little longer for my delivery to arrive, if everyone has chosen the same day for delivery. 

    Freshly Customer Service

    Freshly has three support channels available - phone, email and chatbot via live chat. 

    This was one of the first times I’ve seen a chatbot on live chat, and I was pretty impressed...until I wasn't: the chatbot just didn’t know how to answer my questions, on very basic topics -  


    Never mind. When I did call the given phone number, I was connected within 5 rings to a customer support agent, who handled my requests efficiently and professionally. 

    While some meal kit services have phone lines and email services, this is one of the first I’ve seen with a live chat support bot. Hello Fresh has a live chat function, staffed by a real human, but I did like Freshly’s idea - if only the live chatbot had been a little better trained. 

    Alternatives to Freshly

    Freshly might be great when it comes to accommodating certain food allergies and sensitivities, but it is somewhat lacking in providing dedicated diet plans. Sun Basket, with the 10 different diet options to choose from, is the master of diet-friendly meals. And now it provides Fresh & Ready meals that are precooked, in addition to its meal kits. This is especially exciting if you’re looking to follow strict diets like keto and paleo, and would like to enjoy meals made from organic, responsibly-sourced ingredients. 

    However, if you’re looking for a certified gluten-free alternative, Fresh n’Lean, like Freshly, is entirely gluten-free, and like Sun Basket, organic and diet-friendly with its 5 different meal plans

    The Bottom Line

    I really, really liked how easy and convenient Freshly is - on the one hand, buying single-serve portions and not even having to cook them is an amazing life hack. 

    Freshly is definitely a godsend for anyone with severe wheat and peanut allergies, and sensitivities to soy, dairy, and a few other ingredients. Not only can you eat food that’s safe for you, you can enjoy food that’s actually healthy for you, and can help you reach your wellness goals. With the help of an on-staff Wellness Expert, you can develop a menu that works best for your tastes and palates, and every member of your household can still enjoy what they like, thanks to the single-serving meals. 


    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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