The best meal delivery service or the best meal delivery kits are becoming quite the rage these days considering how busy our lifestyles have become. There are quite a lot of health benefits associated with these kinds of services and kits, which I‘m certainly going to discuss immediately after this.
So it‘s more than just a convenient option. The whole concept goes beyond targeting only those who don‘t have time or interest to do grocery shopping, let alone prepare an entire, wholesome meal from scratch.
If you have kids to satisfy with good meals every day or maybe you‘ve only just started cooking, meal kit delivery systems are the cherry on top for you. The list of reasons to opt for a meal subscription service is quite long. To help you choose which one is the best, here comes the popular comparison of Freshly vs Blue Apron – which one should you choose?
When it comes to American-inspired, easy-meal prep, both are great options. The difference between them, however, takes the form of variety in the menus and time taken for preparing the meals. So allow me to pit one against the other, so you can leave this page feeling like you‘re well-equipped to make a well-informed decision.
But First, here are some honest benefits of using meal subscription services
Even if you opt for meal delivery services for a few nights of the week, the following benefits feel like a blessing in disguise…
#1 They save your precious time
Doesn‘t matter if you‘re living alone or with children, sometimes it‘s just impossible to make time to prepare home-cooked meals. Be it because of work demands, household chores, family needs, busy schedules, etc.
At such times then, a meal kit delivery service goes a LONG way indeed. No need to worry about time management anymore, at least concerning food. Why not let others i.e. chefs, whose living depends on cooking food, do the work for you, right? The solution is in cutting down your cooking time to maybe around 15 minutes only (per meal).
#2 They save your precious money too.
Remember all those times you bought groceries by the bunch only to have them go bad and then dump them in the bin? The outcome of which, in most cases, is that you have no fresh groceries left at home, hence ordering unhealthy takeout.
In a situation like this, you end up wasting money you spent on buying those groceries and also on that takeout. These wasted dollars, no denying, add up quickly!
Enter meal kit services like Freshly, Blue Apron, and others that encourage the practice of limited spending through preportioned meal kits.
#3 They minimize food waste
A good example would be the wilted lettuce you keep throwing away because it decays so fast. You can’t help but buy lettuce every time only to see it end up in the garbage dump since you couldn’t find the time to cook a meal for yourself. The thing about lettuce is that it starts to smell pungent with every passing day, which means it’s spoiled.
With a meal delivery service, food waste is drastically reduced because you end up with hardly any leftovers. These kinds of meal kits are portioned very carefully for you and/or your loved ones in the house. So no more wasted food piling up in the trash.
#4 They cater to specific dietary needs
Dietary restrictions are quite common, aren‘t they? For instance, allergy to nuts, dairy, etc.
In these scenarios, you can opt for food items on the menu that can be customized based on your health and personal preferences while also meeting daily dietary needs. These personal preferences could include vegan, keto, and paleo diets. Such as Freshly‘s Calorie-Conscious, Carb-Smart, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, and Purely Plant meal plans.
#5 They offer portion control
If you‘ve ever had to portion out your ingredients, then you know how much of a nuisance that is. Cutting and measuring every little thing when all you want to do is simply serve and eat dinner is a huge pain. Particularly if you don‘t have the luxury of time at your disposal.
So why not allow a reliable meal kit delivery service to give you just the correct portion size your body needs. This solution is the most suitable for health and fitness enthusiasts who regularly keep track of their consumption of macronutrients and calories either for building muscle or losing weight.
#6 They introduce you to new foods
Expanding your palette is another great benefit here. You can introduce your taste buds to so many new recipes, such as Couscous-Stuffed Poblano Peppers (Blue Apron) and Pork Carnitas, Moroccan-Spiced Harissa Chicken, Wild-Caught Fish Cake, and more on Freshly.
#7 They provide balance with better nutrition
Quick meals, takeout food, etc. are not good in terms of meeting your daily nutritional needs and demands. Plus, they‘re packed with high calories, unhealthy fats, and whatnot that end up making you feel sick, sluggish, and bloated/gassy.
Healthy, chef-cooked meals, on the other hand, delivered at your doorstep include a wide range of nutrients and vitamins. For instance, Blue Apron makes sure that they use only responsibly sourced, freshly produced, high-quality ingredients.
Freshly vs Blue Apron – Pricing & Shipping
To be honest, no two meal delivery services will offer the same pricing.
At Freshly, you can order one serving of meal for one individual at $8.49 (starting price). As for 4 meals per week, the cost for a meal here is $11.49. Certainly a bit less affordable in comparison to Blue Apron‘s meals that start from only $7.49/serving.
Now let‘s compare the prices of their different plans…
|NO. OF MEALS OR RECIPES / WEEK
|FRESHLY – COST / MEAL
|BLUE APRON – COST FOR 2 PEOPLE
|BLUE APRON – COST FOR 4 PEOPLE
|2 meals per week
|$9.99 / serving
|$8.99 / serving
|3 meals per week
|$9.99 / serving
|$7.99 / serving
|4 meals per week
|$7.49 / serving
|6 meals per week
|9 meals per week
|12 meals per week
As you can see, the price point of Freshly, once again, is only marginally higher than Blue Apron. If you ask me, that is justified given the former gets all that time-consuming prep work done for you.
Blue Apron delivery is FREE when you order 3 meals or higher per week. Otherwise, the delivery charges for every week are $7.99. Although, these shipping charges and even delivery days can vary based on where in America you live. The most amazing thing is that Blue Apron delivers to all the 48 contiguous states, which, unfortunately, means that Hawaii and Alaska are not included.
As for Freshly, shipping begins from $3.99 (3 meals per week) and reaches as high as $12.99 (12 meals per week). So, it‘s quite obvious that Freshly determines the delivery charges based on how many meals per week you order. Now, this can be a turnoff in a way, right?
Let me explain with a more straightforward example. A total of 6 Freshly meals cost $9.49 / meal + $6.99 for shipping which is equal to a total of $64. On the other hand, you have Blue Apron‘s 3 meals (that are 6 servings) costing only $60.
The lower total cost of Blue Apron is all because of the free shipping that they offer in the case of 3 meals or higher per week. Because this best meal delivery service is slightly cheaper in comparison to Freshly, which one gains the upper hand in terms of taking care of all the meal prep work for you?
Freshly offers a delivery option for all days of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays. No need to worry about your weekend meals. This means Freshly can deliver all 7 days of the week, whereas Blue Apron delivers only from Monday through Saturday, barring Sunday.
So, if you‘re not so keen on cooking on Sunday (for many, this is the only day off, why not make the most of it instead of cooking meals?), then you‘re most likely to choose Freshly.
There‘s no debating the fact that food deliveries involve the use of a lot of plastic packaging to keep the food fresh. With that in mind, you‘d be happier with Freshly‘s packaging which consists of completely recyclable cardboard boxes and plastic trays. What keeps your food fresh and cool is recycled, biodegradable denim insulation.
What about Blue Apron then? Unfortunately, the experience here is a little less earth-friendly because the packaging includes plastic bags and the non-recyclable kind. Instead, with Blue Apron, food storage is all about ensuring a more convenient experience. So each ingredient comes individually wrapped, which is great because then the task of sorting the ingredients becomes much simpler (although at the cost of using excessive plastic).
The use of insulated foil wrapping is also another step for keeping all those highly nutritious ingredients fresh. Additionally, Blue Apron provides clearly-formatted, neat recipe cards with easy-to-follow instructions.
Freshly vs Blue Apron – Meal prep & Menu variety
As far as meal prep is concerned, Freshly and Blue Apron are just not on the same platform. The latter delivers meal kits. So what you do is browse the menu of Blue Apron, choose from their meals and they send all the ingredients plus instructions that go into preparing that meal for yourself at home.
On the other hand, Freshly provides meals that are already prepared for you. In this case, you just heat and eat them without having to do any amount of cooking, clean-up, or prepping.
Furthermore, do you prefer having a lot of options to choose from, so you don‘t have to eat the same food all the time that week? If a large menu variety is a priority for you, then, once again, why not pick Freshly?
You get about 30 different meals to select from every week. Just so you know, this includes low-calorie and low-carb options as well, along with dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. The meals work as both lunch and dinner.
As for the Blue Apron experience, it consists of over 11 recipes only. Out of these, 2-3 are vegetarian options and 2 are Wellness meals. With Blue Apron, you don‘t have to worry about getting a good variety and share of vegetables with protein combos. Ingredients are fresh and also seasonal.
Freshly offers a wider variety of international cuisines on its menu such as Mexican, Middle Eastern, Asian, and Italian (new, exciting meals to look forward to indeed). On the other hand, Blue Apron has a more traditional, global-inspired menu.
Freshly vs Blue Apron – Quality of food
You‘re making a deliberate effort to eat clean and healthy, so those ingredients in the meals better be of good quality ingredients! This is one of the most important factors when choosing a good, reliable meal delivery service. Anything short of high quality and you‘re just wasting your money!
So, I think you‘d be quite relieved to know that Blue Apron‘s ingredients are all non-GMO certified. The brand values and prioritizes sustainability and ethical sourcing. Many ingredients come from over 100 farms that are run by families. So they source from a whole network of not only farmers but also ranchers and fisheries.
Even Freshly doesn‘t betray your trust when it comes to delivering quality food. They do not include artificial preservatives, ingredients, and the like. No added sugar even!
Although, Freshly isn‘t quite as transparent as Blue Apron is when talking about how or where its ingredients are sourced from. They just state in simple words that high-quality meals are prepared without the use of any processed or artificial ingredients (the gist of it).
However, Blue Apron is more transparent, hence easier to trust. Plus, their meals have a more flavorful and richer quality.
Freshly vs Blue Apron – Dietary Preferences
Only vegetarian dishes? Both Blue Apron and Freshly include meat-free meals on their menus. What about those extra filters that help you narrow it down to specific options like dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, etc.? Well, only Freshly offers those kinds of meal options, which is great for those with food allergies or sensitivities.
In fact, with Freshly‘s menu, you can also compare the levels of protein, carbs, and calories for every meal. They do have low-calorie and low-carb meals, which are very easy to locate on the website.
In comparison to that, Blue Apron does fall short because they‘re not so accommodating to people with food allergies. The same facility is used for the packaging and processing of all ingredients – soy, wheat, shellfish, fish, tree nuts, and eggs.
Nevertheless, they still have a few useful filters. These filters include tags on the menus for finding meals that suit your dietary needs. For instance, there‘s the Wellness category, which consists of more holistic dishes formulated by nutritionists. Other tags are the leaf (vegetarian meal) symbol and WW (low-calorie meal) label.
Freshly vs Blue Apron – Vegetarian/Vegan meal plans
Let me start with Freshly first…
With Freshly, you can get a purely plant-based meal plan that is full of seriously satisfying plant-based protein (chickpeas, lentils, peas, etc. as well as seeds, nuts, etc.) and vibrant veggies. No meat and no dairy either. All the dishes are 100-percent vegetarian and also gluten-free.
The Purely Plant meals that Freshly has on display on their website are all plant-based, no doubt about that, but they‘re not vegan-certified. Just saying.
Also, the brand states that including even a single plant-based dish a day is a very effective approach to switching from a meat-filled diet to a meat-free one. Rather than going cold turkey completely, why not just add 1 plant-based meal a day. Small changes help a lot when it comes to boosting sustainability.
When that small change comes in the form of Farmstead Baked Lentil Pasta, Indian-Spiced Chickpea Curry Bowl, and Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Cakes, who wouldn‘t allow that transition to take place?
Exploring Blue Apron‘s menu, on the other hand, is a lot less fun because their meat-free dishes, even though a blend of classic and experimental, are devoid of variety. That‘s the biggest complaint about Blue Apron – the menu variety is not as diverse as that of Freshly.
Nonetheless, Blue Apron, under its vegetarian category, has family-friendly recipes (Roasted Cauliflower & Lemon Pasta) and fast, easy vegetarian meal plans (Ramen & Spicy Peanut Stir-Fry). Prepping these doesn’t take more than 25-30 minutes, which is simply amazing if you have hungry kids getting on your nerves or just don‘t have a lot of time or energy to cook even for yourself.
Freshly vs Blue Apron – How much Vegetarian/Chicken/Beef/Seafood protein do you get in their recipes
Before I place sample recipes side-by-side for the sake of comparison, let me make it clear that Freshly delivers ready-made meals (meaning no prep required), whereas Blue Apron just sends meal kits (ingredients and instructions). In the case of the latter, you have to do the prepping yourself at home once you receive all the ingredients that are a part of the Blue Apron recipe you picked.
Lucky for those who are no expert or even mediocre at-home chefs, Blue Apron also provides step-by-step cooking instructions that are very easy and quick to follow.
Please note: Now here are some randomly selected recipes from both delivery meal services (for the sake of comparison). Needless to say, there are many, many more meal options you can choose from in each category listed below…
With Freshly, plant-based protein is derived from natural sources, such as whole grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, veggies, etc. As for their signature meat-free meal plan, i.e. plant protein, that comes from peas.
Blue Apron‘s list includes mushrooms, eggs, almonds, spinach, cauliflower, and more.
UNWRAPPED SALSA VERDE BURRITO
SPICY ZUCCHINI QUESADILLAS
|Time to cook
ZINGY BUFFALO CHICKEN
|Time to cook
TRICOLOR BEEF LASAGNA
ROMESCO BEEF & DI TALI PASTA
|Time to cook
Scallops, cod, trout, and salmon – sources of seafood protein used by Blue Apron.
Shrimp and wild-caught fish are the only two seafood protein sources found on Freshly.
WILD-CAUGHT FISH CAKE
STEELHEAD TROUT & LEMON-CAPER SAUCE
|Time to cook
Now, How about some frequently asked questions? (FAQs)
Do They Accommodate Food Allergies?
Freshly surely makes room for food allergies with their gluten-free, dairy-free, and soy-free dishes. With Freshly, your allergies or sensitivities do not get provoked. Just make sure you use those extra filters to find such meals to suit your dietary needs and preferences.
Sadly, you cannot expect this from Blue Apron because they use the same facilities for packaging and processing all of their ingredients, which includes eggs, soy, nuts, etc. Despite this, they do have a Wellness category, which consists of well-balanced, holistic recipes created by nutritionists for weight-watchers and those who are carb-conscious.
How Easy Is It to Order?
Place your order and even manage your account. These two tasks and more are quite simple to perform on Freshly‘s mobile-optimized website and Blue Apron‘s website or app. Selecting plans, meals, dietary preferences, and the like is quick and easy on both meal delivery service platforms.
Freshly‘s FAQs page and Blue Apron‘s Help Center both pave the way for answering any questions and eliminating any hindrances you may be facing during the process.
Can I Skip A Box or Cancel My Subscription?
Canceling your subscription to Freshly is as straightforward as managing your order on it. You can do both very easily online after logging in to your account.
But in the case of Blue Apron, account cancellation here requires you to mail the customer experience team.
Freshly – PROS
- Meals delivered are already prepared/cooked
- Heat-and-eat kind of service, thus less time and effort spent
- Meals are fresh and not frozen
- Menu variety is quite large and diverse
- Suitable for specific dietary needs (for example, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc.)
- You can cancel your account online any time you wish
Freshly – CONS
- Since meals are pre-cooked, their shelf-life is shorter
- Customer service complaints are quite common
- Does not mention if ingredients are non-GMO or organic
- A separate delivery fee has to be paid
- Little control over how your food tastes
Blue Apron – PROS
- Clearly states that they use non-GMO ingredients only
- Prioritizes sustainability, ethics, and organic produce
- Since meal kits are delivered, you can control the taste/flavor of meals
- No additional shipping charges for most meal plans
- Perfect for those new to cooking or who want to cook food very quickly
Blue Apron – CONS
- No meal prep is done, which means you have to spend some time in the kitchen
- Menu variety/selection is limited
- Very few options for those dealing with food allergies or specific dietary needs
- For the account cancellation, you have to mail the customer service team
Wrapping It Up…
In all honesty, both Blue Apron and Freshly are healthy, reliable, and quality meal delivery services. Both have high-protein and low-calorie recipes. Hence, in my opinion, the final decision is only a matter of finalizing your budget and checking your schedule.
Freshly‘s convenient pre-cooked meals, their wide variety of dishes suitable for lunch as well as dinner, and the extra filters to narrow down soy-free, gluten-free, or dairy-free options certainly gain the upper hand. But then you pay slightly more with Freshly, plus there‘s that additional shipping cost as well.
On the other hand, you have Blue Apron with its meal kit delivery service, free shipping, and a little more affordable price range. However, the catch to this is that you have to do the cooking bit, even though clear instructions are provided.
So you decide what works for your schedule and budget!