CookUnity vs Freshly – two best-prepared meal delivery services that offer some of the most delicious meals at your convenience. There’s something for everyone, which means the menus are wide-ranging and accommodating of common diet plans. You can manage your health goals this way without having to go overboard with your budget.
You should really try CookUnity for its restaurant-quality meals or Freshly for its single-serve, health-focused meals. All of them are simple and affordable yet very flavorful and one of a kind.
I have evaluated the meals from both premade meal delivery services based on deciding factors such as nutrition profile, prices and variety of meal plans, sustainability, and a whole lot more.
Simply put, a lot of research went into this, so you can rest assured that both food delivery services follow the standard methodology of delivering weekly meals right at your doorstep!
Advantages of Meal Delivery Services
Here’s a quick list of benefits of meal deliveries, even when they are prepared or premade meals and non-meal kits:
- The dishes are crafted by professional, expert chefs, and nutritionists. Thus, they’re well-rounded as far as taste and nutrition are concerned.
- These are easy meals that are also kid- and family-friendly. The menu is a combination of both classic and traditional recipes and more experimental stuff. Likewise, both vegetarian and meat options are available to suit your diet.
- Weekly meal planning, grocery shopping, prepping of ingredients, cooking, and post-cooking clean-up – all steps are eliminated!
- New, exciting meals become a part of your weekly routine instead of you just eating the same food every week.
- Ingredients and portion sizes are pre-measured based on how many servings you select per meal. Hence, guesswork is eliminated, along with no food leftovers or wastage.
- Because of the same reason above, money is saved too! Anyway, opting for meal service, by default, leads to spending less money since you’re less likely to order unnecessarily expensive, and unhealthy, takeout or junk food.
- Prepared meals and meal kits – both are suitable for beginner or inexperienced at-home chefs because both come with instructions that are quick and easy to follow with minimal time and effort on your part.
- More often than not, the menu of top meal delivery services, like CookUnity and Freshly, features tags or filters that can be used to narrow down your search depending on your specific dietary preferences, for example, if you’re on a special diet such as keto, paleo, low calorie, low carb, high protein, diabetes-friendly, Mediterranean, vegan, etc.
Choosing the Right Meal Delivery Service for YOU
Meal delivery services are a growing industry. Every year, there are new competitors added to the list. This, unfortunately, also brings into the scenario tons of options to pick from. As a result, the process of choosing the best meal service for you can be quite confusing. This is when you turn to experts who have reviewed multiple brands to streamline the selection process.
A meal delivery service suitable for your dietary demands, preferences, and restrictions is very important for a long-term relationship.
So, how are we supposed to narrow down this vast field?
In case you happen to be cooking-challenged or simply just uninterested, then companies such as CookUnity and Freshly, meaning prepared meal delivery services, are perfect for you. You only have to heat the food and serve it!
If you want to do meal planning for the family, then the menu of the service better have traditional yet yummy, kid-friendly dishes as well. A menu that caters to children and picky eaters is the best at such times.
Also, there are also purely vegan meal delivery services if you’re eating and lifestyle habits are vegan-oriented. In almost every situation here, the service includes organic ingredients as well.
Much the same way, go for a menu with enough options for special diet plans like paleo, keto, etc.
Ensure that the menu also includes seasonal ingredients, breakfast smoothies, light but delicious soups, and the like because if your lunches and dinners are healthy, then why not snack healthy too, right?
The portion sizes should be filling and satisfying to the taste buds. In keeping up with a healthy or any other specific diet, the food you eat should not be boring or inadequately portioned. Otherwise, binge eating becomes unavoidable.
At the same time, the serving size should not be too heavy either because if it is, you’ll end up feeling lethargic and/or bloated – something that happens with takeout and junk/fast food!
CookUnity vs Freshly Comparison
The cost is very straightforward with these two prepared meal delivery services. With both CookUnity and Freshly, you choose which meal plan you want, along with the number of meals per week. Pricing is similar in that the more meals or servings you add to your weekly order, the more the total cost decreases.
Keeping that in mind, here’s the breakdown of the cost of CookUnity and Freshly:
|How many meals?||What is the cost per meal?||What is the weekly cost?|
|4 meals per week||$13.49 per meal||$54|
|6 meals per week||$11.99 per meal||$72|
|8 meals per week||$11.49 per meal||$92|
|12 meals per week||$10.99 per meal||$132|
|16 meals per week||$10.49 per meal||$168|
|How many meals?||What is the cost per serving?||Added shipping cost|
|4 meals per week||$12.50 per serving||$9.99|
|5 meals per week||$12.40 per serving||$9.99|
|6 meals per week||$11.33 per serving||$9.99|
|7 meals per week||$10.71 per serving||$9.99|
|8 meals per week||$10.37 per serving||$9.99|
|9 meals per week||$10.22 per serving||$10.99|
|10 meals per week||$10 per serving||$10.99|
|11 meals per week||$9.81 per serving||$11.99|
|12 meals per week||$9.58 per serving||$11.99|
2. Menu and Meals
The upside of choosing CookUnity is their chef-designed menu, while the downside is no meal customization. Regardless, meal selection is a unique experience here because the recipes are put together by professional, expert chefs.
As for the minor setback of having no customization option, those with specific or special dietary preferences or restrictions still have nothing to worry about since there are a good number of diet-based menu filters you can select.
You can filter CookUnity meals by the following:
I. Main Ingredient
II. Diet Restrictions
- Low carbs
- Low sodium
- Less than 600 calories
So, you see how this top meal delivery service caters to various types of diet plans. There are enough options under each category, be it vegan, dairy-free, low-calorie, etc.
The CookUnity menu offers a lot of flavor diversity, even for vegetarian and vegan meals. Fun and delicious fusion dishes are a part of that too. Every week’s menu consists of more than 80 recipes!
Every meal is provided with its nutritional information, star rating, diet-specific tags or labels, list of potential allergens, heating instructions, customer reviews, and chef details.
Meal selection with Freshly can also be best described as varied. Seasonal ingredients and dishes are often a part of the Freshly menu, although there are only a few rotating options. Nonetheless, new meals are added every week.
Freshly also has a large menu with around 40 meals, and each meal is full of flavorful and fresh ingredients. Just so you know, almost all of the Freshly menu is gluten-free. Meal options include dairy-free, calorie-conscious, carb-conscious, and plant-based recipes. There are heat-and-eat breakfasts, along with ready-to-heat-and-serve lunches and dinners.
The Freshly menu has the following categories:
- Purely Plant (plant-based meals)
- Signature Collection (classic or traditional meals)
- FreshlyFit (perfect for fitness-oriented individuals)
- Protein & Sides (add-ons like Baked Turkey Meatballs, Grilled Chicken Breasts, etc.)
Unfortunately, even Freshly doesn’t offer meal customization, just like CookUnity. But this service, however, does have protein packs and sides that infuse some variation into your weekly diet routine.
You can view the list of nutrients, ingredients, and allergens in every meal. As far as selecting the meals you like, you simply just review all the information given, choose your weekly meals by adding them to the cart, and then check out.
3. Cooking and Heating the Meals
You just instantly know with CookUnity that its menu has been designed by a team of expert, professional chefs. The meals are put together in regional kitchens that span across the whole of the United States.
As for the cooking process, this too has the chef’s touch. Meals come with two sets of instructions – there’s a quick way and then there’s the way highly recommended by the chef who created that particular recipe. The quick method is very fast where you simply use the microwave and your meal will be ready in a matter of only a few minutes.
As for the chef-recommended approach, a little more time and effort is required. This, undoubtedly, gives you a better result, although it does consist of heating the sauces on your stovetop, using the steamer, warming some ingredients in your oven, and things like that.
Expect to spend 30 minutes max in the kitchen if you want your meals to taste their best.
Nevertheless, the entire cooking process is very simple with CookUnity. Clear instructions are provided, so beginners don’t feel overwhelmed or confused. However, if you’re completely new to cooking, you should skip the second method and just go with microwave heating.
While not everyone prefers the ready-to-eat meals that Freshly is so popular for, the minimal prep time in the kitchen is a huge advantage that you don’t get when you choose meal kits or cooking from scratch.
Freshly meals are supposed to be heated in the microwave for no more than 3-5 minutes only. But there is another approach, just like CookUnity – the longer heating process where the instructions guide you to heat the meal in your oven or on your stovetop.
Precise, clear instructions are provided, which makes the process much more streamlined for you. Just bear in mind that microwave heating works fine in most cases. It’s only when certain dishes or ingredients need to form a crispier texture should you choose the non-microwave method,for example, for breaded chicken.
Either way, Freshly meals are easy and fast to serve. They seem perfect for beginners and those who want to eat healthy without having to spend too much time in the kitchen.
4. Ingredients’ Quality, Flavor, and Freshness
Considering that you’re dealing with prepared meals, factors like quality, freshness, and flavor really stand out. On the one hand, there’s no competition with meals that are cooked fresh and hot. On the other, there are top premade meal delivery services like CookUnity and Freshly that set a brand-new standard or benchmark for prepared meals.
If you follow the heating instructions that come with every meal, your premade meals will come the closest to food that’s prepared fresh and hot.
In the case of CookUnity, well-balanced seasoning and tempting flavors take center stage. All kinds of seasonings and spice blends are involved, along with creamy sauces and bright, nutritious ingredients.
The original texture of the meals may not be the same, but that mainly depends on the kind of dish it is, how many days it’s been stored in the fridge, and how well it is heated.
I would sum it up by stating that CookUnity is the best prepared meal delivery service for the most flavorful and affordable meals. Just stick to the chef instructions, and you’ll never be disappointed with flavor, texture, etc.
Is the Freshly experience the same then? It certainly is the same since first-class ingredients, seasonal flavors, and more are very seamlessly infused into the meals.
All the food, even the options made to fit dietary needs and preferences, are satisfying and tasty. It’s primarily because fresh produce and sauces are used – mashed potatoes, vegetables, peppercorn sauce, etc. Even the steak texture will not be disappointing!
Everything is fresh when it arrives. After all, high-quality ingredients are delivered, and these are all conventional ingredients and products. This way, you are totally in the know about what goes into your super-healthful, super-delicious prepared meals.
For instance, when it’s a gluten-free dish, it genuinely means no gluten added. The same applies to other dietary restrictions. In fact, Freshly offers gluten-free-certified meals.
Mostly sustainable and fully practical and functional would be the most accurate way of summing up CookUnity’s packaging, which varies based on your delivery location.
For subscription-based weekly meal deliveries, cardboard boxes are used. But if it’s only a one-time shipment kind of situation, then your order will be delivered in a well-insulated, reusable tote bag.
Paper bags are also part of CookUnity’s packaging and so are ice packs to keep the ingredients and meals fresh and cool. These ice packs are recyclable, so no worries about that. Every meal is stored in a microwave-friendly tray made using compostable materials and equipped with a plastic seal, which is also recyclable.
A few ingredients are packed in rigid plastic-made containers. Each meal container is protected with a paper sleeve that wraps around it (this too is recyclable – at least most of it is).
Now it’s Freshly turn!
A standard blend of plastic and paper is used for Freshly’s packaging as well – cardboard boxes, plastic insulation, and plastic ice packs. All food items are individually packed in trays, and then these trays are wrapped in cardboard sleeves.
Heating instructions are mentioned on the sleeve of every meal, along with the name of the meal, its nutritional value, and its expiration date.
Let’s assume you order 4 servings of 4 different meals, which means you receive a total of 16 meal trays, that is, 16 pieces or items of packaging. Out of the 16, 11-12 might be recyclable. The remaining will need to be tossed in the garbage bin.
Freshly makes it a point to use ice packs and insulation liners that can be recycled. For those gel-based ice packs, you first have to get rid of the contents inside and then recycle the plastic bag.
Freshly’s packaging is as good or basic as any other meal delivery service’s packaging. They have a Packaging & Recycling page and so does CookUnity (Recycling).
6. Vegetarian and Vegan Meals
CookUnity has multiple ingredient filters like seafood, vegetarian, meat, poultry, and vegan. They have over 20 different vegetarian recipes bursting with flavor and healthy nutrients. The recipes keep changing based on the location. Still, you have plenty of exciting choices to pick from.
Vegan meal options are a bit limited when compared to vegetarian meals. But the variety of meals and different flavors and cuisines in the vegan recipes are not at all unsatisfactory.
On their sample menu, I see all types of dinners, light lunches, and snack options. There are also vegetarian and vegan meals that fit other dietary restrictions such as low-calorie, low-carb, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
CookUnity also features a special keto and paleo diet menu for vegetarians and vegans. You will find new and popular dishes that encourage better nutrition while offering delicious and satisfying portions.
With the major ingredient as vegetarian and/or vegan, the protein is also prioritized so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on high-protein and low-carb vegetarian recipes. The menu is very vegetarian-friendly, which means interesting combinations of fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans, and spices to ensure a consistent and wholesome vegetarian lifestyle.
Freshly features only 5 vegetarian recipes that are categorized under Purely Plant. The meals are rich in lentils and loads of colorful vegetables which are also gluten-free by default. The caloric value falls between 350 and 650 calories per serving, which is very impressive.
Though Freshly lacks variety, it is a compatible meal delivery service for those who want to eat a few vegetarian meals every week. Another thing missing from Freshly’s menu is the option for vegan meals.
Freshly uses all plant-based ingredients in their vegetarian meals with plant-based patties, plant-based pasta, and other alternatives that are completely plant-forward – no meat, no gluten, and no dairy products. However, not even a single meal is marketed under “vegan.” Some foods may contain animal by-products, making them a non-vegan meal delivery service.
Between CookUnity and Freshly, CookUnity is vegetarian and vegan-friendly, while Freshly only features a vegetarian option with a few limited choices.
7. Nutrition and Recipes
For the sake of comparison between CookUnity and Freshly, I have picked out several dishes from CookUnity’s sample menu. This is to give you an idea about the type of dishes they serve and how it differs from Freshly whose menu is accessible to everyone before signing up.
CookUnity’s menu will change once you enter your address and other relevant information. So, some of the recipes you see mentioned below may change after signing up. New recipes may get added to your menu based on availability and delivery areas such as the East Coast, West Coast, Texas, and Midwest.
CookUnity meal nutrition features diet-tailored recipes including entrees, proteins, sides, and main meals like breakfast, dinner, and lunch. The goal is to accommodate as many diet meals as possible such as low carb, keto, paleo, gluten-free, less than 600 calories, and vegetarian and vegan meals.
The nutrient information is accessible for each and every meal on CookUnity’s menu. You can see various other dietary labels as well such as the number of calories in each recipe, the ingredients list, and allergy information.
Whether a meal is nut-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, high in fats and proteins, or low in carbs, calories, or sugar, it is directly mentioned on the recipe page with attractive icons. Nutrition is balanced with a focus on healthy and satisfying meals with all whole and high-quality ingredients.
About the nutrition of Freshly, the meals are all gluten-free and wholesome. You have plenty of appetizers and main meals to pick from. Proteins and sides such as gluten-free grilled chicken and gluten-free turkey meatballs are also included.
The portion size of each meal is quite satisfying. There are also plenty of low-carb, low-calorie, dairy-free, soy-free, and plant-based meal options.
The plant-based diet is for people who want to eat more hearty vegetables with more protein-dense plant-based sources. Freshly really does try to include as many veggies into their meal options as possible. Every calorie you consume counts because the meals are rich in essential nutrients like healthy fats, proteins, vitamins, fibers, and minerals that your body requires.
CookUnity: The Korean Tofu Rice Bowl recipe has broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and tofu with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and sesame paste. It’s nut-free, spicy, vegan, and vegetarian with 570 calories in each serving.
The Delicata Squash recipe has black lentils paired with basil, cashew sauce, mushrooms, and garlic.
It’s creamy, rich, and made up of whole superfoods. The diet is good for are paleo, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian with 740 calories in a single serving.
Freshly: The Veggie-Loaded Burrito Bake recipe is completely plant-based with over 21g of proteins and 650 calories in a single serving. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free.
It has refried beans, and the mozzarella cheese is made of oats! There’s even plant-based chorizo, red bell peppers, and yellow squash in a light but rich cayenne & ancho chile sauce seasoned with paprika and oregano.
The Coconut Purple Rice Porridge recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, low calorie, plant-based, and rich in superfoods.
Black rice and oats combined with peaches and pecans make this a special and extremely satisfying recipe.
CookUnity: The Chicken Milanese with Hot Honey recipe is a popular dish on CookUnity’s menu. It has 610 calories in a single serving and is nut-free. Fresh herbs like rosemary and paprika complement the breadcrumb-crusted chicken. It’s a healthy and classic weeknight dinner recipe.
The Mediterranean Chicken recipe has the classic blend of grilled chicken with spinach, plum tomatoes, and Italian seasonings. It’s low in carbs and sugar and full of superfoods – a paleo-friendly meal with 820 calories in a single serving, a satisfying meal for hungry eaters!
Freshly: With a similar taste profile, the Homestyle Chicken recipe is plant-based with brown rice and cheese sauce made with butternut squash. It is served on the side of green beans tossed in chili-infused oil. With over 46g of protein and less than 600 calories, it’s fat- and gluten-free.
Something Indian on your mind? The Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is spicy, creamy, and very homely. It is served with vegetable rice tossed with carrots, green beans, peas, and homemade raita of sliced cucumbers, mint leaves, and Greek yogurt. It’s a comforting meal for one, with 27g of proteins and less than 600 calories in a single serving.
CookUnity: The Middle Eastern Braised Beef Flatbreadrecipe is chef-crafted and satisfyingly delicious. High in protein, it contains healthy fats and is made with an amazing blend of creamy, warm, and rich ingredients such as cumin, butter, jalapeños, lemon, pomegranate, mint, Greek yogurt, and naan bread.
The Beef Bibimbap is a classic dish with simple yet tempting flavors. It has spinach, Korean pear, apples, beans, cucumber, radish, fermented soy paste, and lots more. It’s dairy-free, high in fats, nut-free, and full of superfoods. It serves 680 calories in a single dish.
Freshly: Freshly’s beef dishes are simpler with the Steak Peppercorn and Seared Beef Brisket & BBQ Sauce recipes. Low in calories despite being beef meals, both dishes have more than 30g of proteins in a single serving, which is sufficient enough.
CookUnity: The Paprika Salmon recipe is one of the most popular and highly rated recipes. It is low in calories and carbs, Mediterranean, Paleo, soy-free and nut-free. Lastly, it contains simple and wholesome ingredients like carrots, basil, green beans, paprika, thyme, parsley, and garlic adorn the dish.
The Shrimp Udon Noodle Soup has whole ingredients like carrots, scallions, spinach, tofu, udon noodles, and zucchini. It’s dairy- and nut-free with less than 650 calories per serving. Paired with shrimp, it’s wholesome and filling.
Freshly: Freshly does not offer very many seafood meal options on its weekly menu. But the few that they do offer are very aromatic, rich, and healthy. The Wild-Caught Fish Cake with Southern Succotash in Lime-Cilantro Sauce and the Shrimp and Andouille Pasta recipes are the two main seafood dishes on the week’s meal plan.
How Allergy- and Diet-Friendly Are CookUnity and Freshly Meals?
What diet plans does CookUnity cater to?
- Keto (there’s a filter on the menu for this)
- Low Carb (there’s a filter on the menu for this)
- High Protein (there are plenty of high-protein meals)
- Vegan (there’s a filter on the menu for this)
- Vegetarian (there’s a filter on the menu for this)
- Gluten-Free (there’s a filter on the menu for this)
- Organic (ingredients may be organic depending on the chef)
On the one side, with CookUnity, you get a chef-curated menu, and on the other, meal customization is not an option. Despite that, they sure know how to compensate for it through a long list of menu filters that allow you to choose the dishes that are most suitable for your dietary preferences and restrictions.
I have already discussed these diet-based filters, but let me just once again list them here:
I. Main Ingredient
II. Diet Restrictions
- Low carbs
- Low sodium
- Less than 600 calories
Now you see how easy CookUnity makes it for you to find and filter your kind of recipes!
I simply loved this type of menu and its flavor diversity. To top it off, CookUnity provides all the necessary information about each meal’s nutritional value, potential allergy-triggering ingredients, heating instructions, customer reviews, chef details, and more.
Now, moving on to Freshly, they too have menu filters. There are four menu categories:
- Purely Plant
- Signature Collection
- Protein & Sides
The large menu here features around 40 new and repeated meals every week. As for diet-friendliness, every dish is gluten-free-certified on Freshly.
Other dietary accommodations are also made indeed. For example, you’ll find plant-based and dairy-free choices on the menu, and you can view the meals’ nutritional value, list of ingredients and potential allergens, and the like.
Can You Edit or Cancel CookUnity or Freshly Orders?
Making changes to orders already placed and even canceling them on your CookUnity subscription – all of this can be done online using either their website or smartphone app. Just go to your Account Settings and select what you want to do – skip, cancel, or pause.
As for the cutoff time for editing your CookUnity orders, you can get that kind of information by going to the “Upcoming Deliveries” section. If the deadline has passed, unfortunately, you cannot reschedule, modify, or cancel your order.
The cutoff time on Freshly is around 5-6 days prior to your scheduled delivery date. But this deadline can differ based on your selection of delivery day and where you live. Typically, you do get 5-6 days to make changes.
Freshly sends out reminder emails a good number of days before the deadline, which means you get enough time to edit your meals, orders, and account settings.
How Is the Customer Service of CookUnity and Freshly?
The modes of communication on CookUnity are email, text, and live chat. So, if you have any issues, queries, complaints, and whatnot, you can get in touch with the CookUnity customer support team very easily.
Reach out for the most basic questions you may have regarding the delivery location or the nutrition of their meals. General questions are answered very quickly. Thus, the response time is extremely fast, especially via their live chat feature. All in all, CookUnity’s customer service is helpful and friendly, and their FAQs page is very informative.
As a matter of fact, even Freshly has an incredibly useful FAQs section and chat support team. You can get in touch with normal customer service and their very own “Wellness Expert” through the live chat.
Immediate response and clear guidelines and solutions – that pretty much sums up the Freshly customer support experience.
Where Do CookUnity and Freshly Deliver?
“Do you deliver to my address?” This is one of the most commonly asked questions on CookUnity, and the answer depends on your zip code. Currently, CookUnity only delivers to a select few locations in the United States. Check out their Delivery Map to see if your area is included or not.
Freshly, on the other hand, delivers to all 48 contiguous states of America, and here’s a list of all of their deliverable locations.
CookUnity Pros and Cons
- A prepared meal delivery service with celebrated, expert chefs.
- An enormous range of premade meals is on the CookUnity menu.
- Menu filters are available for main ingredients, restrictions, and diets.
- Sustainable, recyclable packaging materials are used.
- Restaurant-quality, quick-to-prepare meals.
- Meal plans of less than 6 meals per week are slightly expensive.
- Portion sizes seem to be a little small.
- Extra shipping cost.
- Delivery locations are limited.
Freshly Pros and Cons
- Large portion sizes and satisfying premade meals.
- The menu has crowd-pleasing kid- and family-friendly dishes.
- In comparison, it’s a very affordable prepared meal delivery service.
- All of the packagings is reusable, biodegradable, or recyclable.
- Certified gluten-free meals.
- Various menu categories to suit your
- Seafood options are lacking big time.
- Shipping is not free.
The Bottom Line
In the end, what matters is knowing whether or not prepared meal delivery services like CookUnity and Freshly are worth it. The honest answer is that it works both ways, meaning if you’re looking for a minimal-effort, healthy eating experience, then every penny you spend on CookUnity or Freshly is worth it.
These already-cooked meals come in single-serve sizes. Hence, they’re perfect for singles and couples. As long as you use their menu categories or filters to find meals that are the most suitable for your eating habits, dietary needs and requirements, and lifestyle, premade meal delivery can truly eliminate the cumbersome task of guesswork.
Try CookUnity for its team of restaurant-grade, expert chefs that design the whole menu. Meanwhile, you can head over to Freshly if you want to experience their dedication to delivering more health and fitness-focused meals, which are also quite inexpensive.