Freshly Meal Service Review – Dinner on the table in 5 minutes
Fully-cooked, nutritious meals delivered to our door? Yes, please! We try the Freshly meal service.
If you’ve been reading AppMyHome over the years, you know that we love meal kits, and we’ve tried almost all of them. We have our favorites that we recommend to our readers and friends.
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After we published our recent summary of favorite options, one of our friends called and asked if we’d tried Freshly. What a nice surprise – we get to try more food! We signed up right away.
Choosing our first meals
Freshly offers four basic meal plans – 4, 6, 9 or 12 meals per week. Each Freshly meal is portioned and packaged for one person, making this one of the most friendly meal services for singles we’ve seen. With many meal kits, you have to buy two or four portions per meal.
With Freshly, you choose exactly which meals you want from a menu of 30+ options. Their website is well designed and makes it easy to sort by different dietary requirements such as calories, sodium, protein, carbs, and total fat, or you can browse the different styles like Whole Comfort, Market Day Meals, Feel Better Foods, etc. You can take a quick dietary preference quiz and the website will note which meals you should avoid, so you don’t pick the wrong meal by mistake.
Choosing our first set of meals was a bit overwhelming – we’re not used to so much selection, and we had to remember to get two portions of each meal so we could both try each one. Since we wanted to try as many meals as possible to test, we decided to do two shipments of 12 meals each.
When we subscribed, we set up a default plan and delivery date, but those settings can be changed at any time. In our area, we could have Freshly delivered any day of the week but Sunday. Freshly ships to most locations in the continental US but may not deliver to all zip codes. They do charge for delivery and that cost varies by your zip code and how many meals you get. We paid $12.11 for shipping for twelve meals.
Our first box
Our first Freshly box arrived on a Friday afternoon, packed in a nice insulated box. Freshly uses a unique recyclable sleeve with biodegradable denim inside. Almost everything can be recycled, from the plastic bags that hold the insulation and the frozen gel to the plastic trays that store the meals.
The individual meal packaging is simple and bold – making it easy to see exactly what we received. Each meal has complete nutritional information, calorie counts, and a use-by date stamped on the bottom. Typically, Freshly says their meals last for about five days, though ours ranged from five to eight days of freshness.
Just heat and serve!
Most Freshly meals take about three minutes to heat and serve. Since we are used to the full prep and cooking time of a meal kit (or waiting for a food delivery for thirty minutes or more) it was pretty amazing to have a fresh-tasting meal that fast. We served them on plates and they looked fantastic, just like a home-cooked meal.
Variety and Taste
In our two shipments, we tried:
- Buffalo Chicken
- Chicken Livorno
- Chicken & Spring Pea Risotto
- Tangy Sesame-Citrus Chicken
- Turkey-Mushroom Meatballs
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Spicy Harissa Pork & Veggie Bowl
- Pork Carnitas
- Andouille & Chicken Gumbo
All the meals were good – they tasted fresh and were generally satisfying. While we had our favorites for sure (love the Chicken Tikka Masala and the Turkey-Mushroom Meatballs!) we found things to like about all of them. We really enjoyed the cauliflower mash that came with the Buffalo Chicken and the Tangy Sesame-Citrus Chicken tasted as good or better than take out Chinese dishes.
When we saw a couple of meals that included a boneless, skinless chicken breast – we were worried that they would be terribly dry but both all of them were surprisingly tender with good flavor.
The portion size was smaller than we are used to with meal kits – which was good and bad. They actually make for great, easy-to-prepare healthy lunches but at dinner time we were still a bit hungry. With the Pork Carnitas we wound up adding our own corn tortillas, avocados and salsa and making it a bit heartier. But if you’re trying to cut your calories, these are a perfectly proportioned way to help you stay in control.
We love spicy food, so our only complaint about the Freshly meals was that we didn’t find them spicy enough. Even the Spicy Harissa Pork & Veggie Bowl wasn’t spicy enough for our palettes. But we added some Gochujang and that spiced it right up! The meals weren’t bland, we just like a bit more punch. But we understand that not everyone likes their food that spicy, so for most folks they are probably just fine.
One of the things we love about meal kits is trying something new. While Freshly is certainly easier to prepare and more convenient, we give up some of the adventure of new foods and flavors. Freshly claims to add at least one new selection every week, but in the few months we’ve used it, the meal selection seems basically the same. We haven’t been subscribers long enough to see how often the selections are refreshed, but we could see ourselves becoming bored if we order too often. We did two boxes of 12 in one month, with quite a few repeats across both boxes.
How long do they last?
Freshly’s meals are already prepared and cooked, and are meant to be enjoyed between 4 and 5 days, according to their website. In one of our shipments, we didn’t pay close enough attention to the dates, and we let two of them go a couple days too long so we wound up throwing it out to be on the safe side. The packaging on the back of the box said “Meals are made to be enjoyed fresh, not frozen,” however, the Freshly website does say you can freeze them.
With just two of us, we found it challenging to get through 12 meals in 4-5 days (though in fairness our eat by dates were more like 5-8 days from our shipment’s arrival). In the future, we will more likely order 6 or 9 meals a week, or be prepared to freeze some of them now that we know we can.
Website functionality and companion app
The Freshly website is easy to use to sort the meals and add them to your upcoming deliveries. One feature we really like is the ability to pause all your meals at once, rather than having to edit every individual week.
The mobile app lets you track your delivery – which is really great since we don’t want to be leaving food out on our porch for too long, especially once the weather gets warmer.
Both the website and app track your meal ratings, but there is no account history of prior shipments. I like to be able to review what I’ve ordered in the past, and this seems like a feature most e-commerce sites should have.
Freshly is a really convenient meal service, especially for those who are too busy or don’t enjoy prepping and cooking everyday. We love the quality ingredients, the reasonable calorie counts (410 to 660 each), and the variety of choices. It’s one of the best services we’ve seen for singles or for families with different tastes – since you can order exactly what you want in individual portions. Plus, the prices are competitive, you can get meals as low as $7.99 a serving plus shipping. It’s definitely worth a try.