Can we trust meal delivery services like Sunbasket and Freshly? To be completely honest, both are quite popular because of their healthy meal plans that more and more Americans (especially those too busy or lazy to cook) are starting to grow really fond of.
The biggest difference between the two is mostly a matter of what kind of meals/recipes they have on their menu. Sunbasket includes both prepared dishes and meal kits, whereas Freshly only has prepared meals.
So, how about we get into the details and specifications of both services to get to the bottom of the truth about meal kits/plans?
Benefits of Meal Kits – Are They Healthy?
Before diving into anything, why are meal kits so popular? Here are a few reasons why.
They’re a Healthier Alternative to Fast Food
Packed with saturated fat and sodium, fast food is never a healthy choice, yet it’s addictive thanks to all that high salt and fat content. However, meal kits are nothing like that since they’re more like home-cooked food. The ingredients used are fresh, and you can easily customize the meals so they’re more suited to your tastes, diet, and other preferences.
They Serve Adequate Portions – No Overeating!
The serving size you get per box fills up the tummy and provides you with all the energy you need to carry on with your day. Also, an adequate portion equals the consumption of limited calories because you’re not overeating unnecessarily.
More often than not, the recipes come with nutritional information, which means you can find out how much energy (no. of calories), protein, carbohydrates, etc. you’re putting into your system.
They’re Less Wasteful and More Environment- and Pocket-Friendly
These are meal kits, and that implies a lot of things – convenience, pre-portioned serving sizes, ready-to-go ingredients, and the like. What I’m trying to say here is that these meal kits consist of just the right amount, type, and quality of ingredients for a whole and hearty meal. Hence, you spend less, and at the same time, you even waste less food.
For instance, why buy a whole pack or box of parmesan cheese when the recipe only requires a little? Likewise, why use even a full onion when you’re just going to use half of it during the cooking process (the other half you’re likely to toss into the bin, thus money and food wasted)?
They Save You Precious Time
You really want to eat clean and healthy, but you don’t seem to have the time to even buy groceries, let alone spend time in the kitchen to cook a nutritious meal for yourself or your family. In situations like these, the meal kit industry can genuinely transform eating habits.
On top of that, if these meal delivery services are anything like Sunbasket or Freshly, your chances of becoming accustomed to the growing trend of such weekly meal plans are very high.
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Meal Prices and Plans?
I’ll start with Freshly because their pricing range is based on the number of meals you order and not on traditional determinants such as how the number of people or days.
With Freshly, your options include 4-, 6-, 10-, and 12-meal plans. It goes without saying that the more meals you choose, the more affordable the cost per serving will be (from $11.49 to $8.49 per serving) – although the former price does seem a bit much for the “microwavable” dishes of Freshly.
Nonetheless, Freshly seems like a more suitable choice for single people out there or for couples too busy to cook. As for Freshly’s recipes, these fit into the Keto and Paleo diet categories too (but more on that later).
Moving on to Sunbasket, the meal pricing approach here is different for both their precooked recipes ($8.99) and meal kits ($10.99-$13.99 per serving). In the case of Sunbasket, the cost is decided based on the number of people (e.g., 2 or 4 people) and nights per week (e.g., 2, 3, or 4 nights).
Sunbasket’s meal plans include Vegetarian, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Lean & Clean, Diabetes-Friendly, Chef’s Choice, Mediterranean, Carb-Conscious, and Pescatarian options. The current meal delivery service does seem like a more satisfactory choice for those on a weight-loss diet. Moreover, these are all perfect not just for couples but families as well.
However, these premade recipes of Sunbasket and Freshly can’t be all that convenient when you have to microwave as many as 4 servings one after another, right?
The pre-cooked dishes, if I’m being honest, are primarily for the only or few members of your family that have different taste/dietary preferences – or if they can’t always have their meals together with the rest of the family. A good example would be a family of four where one member is a vegetarian and the rest are meat eaters.
One thing is loud and clear – Sunbasket’s premade meals and meal kits offer more flexibility to customers, which is something you don’t get with Freshly having only traditional meals on its menu.
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Starting Prices?
Comparatively speaking, Sunbasket is a bit more expensive when you round it off. Freshly, on the other hand, is more affordable. Its 12-meal plan option costs only $8.99 per serving, whereas the smallest 4-meal plan is priced at $11.79 per serving.
As for Sunbasket’s prepared recipes, their smallest 4-meal plan is more expensive per serving ($12.99) than servings of their 10-meal plan ($9.99).
Meal kits from Sunbasket cost even more than their prepared dishes! The 5-meal plan’s per serving price is $11.49 (for 2 or 4 people), and the 2-meal plan per week (for 2 people) costs higher at $14.49 per serving.
We can’t forget about the shipping fee! Sunbasket has a flat or fixed shipping fee of $9.99, while Freshly’s delivery charges can be anywhere between $5.99 and $11.99 based on your location and number of meals.
Overall, Sunbasket is slightly more expensive in comparison with Freshly considering all relevant aspects here.
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Packaging and Delivery?
Freshly will send your premade food (delivery all 7 days of the week, but it also depends on your location) packed in a small-sized box that contains all of your single-serve meals.
Sunbasket, on the other hand, divides all pre-portioned ingredients, so that’s a bag per recipe. The upside to this is that everything is clearly packed and labeled. The downside is that it means Sunbasket uses more plastic. Meanwhile, Freshly uses less plastic and provides more compact, easier, and tidier storage.
Freshly’s packaging (plastic and cardboard) can be recycled (check out Freshly’s instructions on how to recycle). In fact, the denim insulation is also biodegradable (by 85%), and this too can be upcycled to reduce waste.
Even Sunbasket (you get to choose a delivery day between Sunday and Thursday) provides ideas and instructions to recycle/upcycle their packaging (in the FAQs section), although the recycling bit is based on the local recycling facilities near you. However, Sunbasket’s colorful cardboard boxes can be easily used for storing things lying around your house.
You might be quite relieved to also know that the thick insulation of packaging, in the case of Sunbasket, is very helpful because your food can be left outside for hours and not go bad. Obviously, you should store all that food in your refrigerator once you open the box.
Please note that Sunbasket delivers throughout America except in North Dakota, Montana, Hawaii, Alaska, and a few areas located in New Mexico. Even Freshly doesn’t ship to Hawaii, Alaska, and anywhere outside the USA.
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Menu Variety and Recipes?
Once again, let me be clear that Sunbasket delivers both prepared meals and meal kits, while Freshly offers only prepared meals.
By default and logic then, Sunbasket has a more versatile menu as you get the option of cooking your choice of recipes and combining these meals with the ones that come already prepared. It’s all a matter of how much time and/or effort you want to or can put in.
However, there is a catch to this. You have limited recipes to choose from because there are two categories – prepared meals and meal kits.
Taking that into account, Freshly provides you with many more choices since they only have a single prepared, no-cook meal option. However, in terms of healthy, nutritious add-ons, Sunbasket wins the battle because Freshly’s very limited sides and bulk proteins don’t match up to that level.
With Sunbasket, you get breakfast recipes, lunch recipes, pasta and sauces, snacks, and also sustainable seafood. Plus, any extra item to go with your meal is also available on Sunbasket – no grocery store visits at all!
As for the meal plans, Carb-Conscious and Paleo diet plans are also a part of the ten different specific dietary preferences. The recipes themselves include Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine with a touch of European and Asian food and flavors.
Moving on to the Freshly menu, it’s more inclined toward being labeled as “classic” (traditional Mexican and American meals perfect for picky eaters). Only occasionally will you find global-inspired dishes on this menu. But then, those who prefer the classic style have more than 30 mouthwatering recipes to pick from with Freshly.
Freshly’s menu is divided (very clearly) into four categories:
- Purely Plant
- Signature Collection
- Proteins & Sides
The Sunbasket menu (Breakfast, Lunch, Pasta & Sauce, Proteins, Snacks), however, can be filtered through the following:
- < 600 calories
- < 20 minutes
It’s quite evident that Sunbasket’s team of nutritionists knows how to craft a menu that is better for accommodating specific dietary needs and preferences. The meal-kit menu consists of 17 different options, whereas the microwavable choices are only under 10 dishes. Every Sunbasket recipe, no doubt, is customizable (feel free to upgrade or swap proteins!) and pretty straightforward.
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Ingredients?
It would be so paradoxical if Freshly didn’t use fresh, natural ingredients for their premade meals. But, fortunately, Freshly uses only natural, fresh, and high-quality products for crafting their recipes. It’s basically a much healthier choice without any chemical preservatives, artificial ingredients, and the like.
Sunbasket, in comparison, is more transparent in that its ingredients are completely organic and non-GMO. The responsibly-raised meat they use is hormone-free. After all, Sunbasket does work with only the best ranchers, farmers, and fishermen. Their ingredient standards are quite impressive – even fish is Seafood Watch-approved!
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Dietary Preferences?
Straight and upfront, don’t expect an extensive list from Freshly. They only have a few peanut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, plant-based, etc. options. Agreed that Freshly has a Purely Plant category on the menu, but this includes such a nondiverse and limited variety of recipes that vegans are left disappointed.
There’s still great news here. In the case of Freshly, all of their “gluten-free” meals are cooked separately, unlike Sunbasket which prepares all recipes in the same facility (hence, higher likelihood of cross-contamination).
Sadly, you can’t filter Freshly’s recipes based on any specific diet choices, which means having to go through every individual meal for checking its ingredients, tags, and whatnot.
Fortunately, you can filter Sunbasket’s menu which, as recently mentioned, consists of different dietary preferences.
Just because you can filter their menu doesn’t mean Sunbasket has a lot of or even enough options for vegans (just 3-4 dishes per week). At the same time, since all of their meals are processed in the same facility, those with serious food allergies might be at a higher risk with Sunbasket. The only plus point here is that their ingredients are fully organic, whereas Freshly doesn’t boast of any such certifications.
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Meal Prep?
With both delivery services, all you have to do is heat the single-serve prepared meals and savor them. As for Sunbasket’s meal kits (for 2 or 4 people), these are equipped with proper, detailed, rookie-friendly instructions.
With Sunbasket, you certainly get more flexibility because of their prepped meals (more suitable for beginners) and meal kits. The former takes no more than 10-15 minutes to cook (even in the case of Freshly’s premade dishes), while the latter can take about half an hour or so.
What I really like about Sunbasket is that their meal kit recipes come with a step-by-step cooking guide. On the backside of this prep guide, there’s nutritional information provided for every meal.
Either way, meaning even with Freshly, there are simple, accurate heating instructions (no matter the heating method – stovetop or oven).
Sunbasket vs Freshly – What About Their Vegetarian/Vegan Meals?
Freshly has a Purely Plant menu category full of plant-based protein, wholesome ingredients, and hearty vegetables. It’s good enough for those on a plant-based diet or if you want to add more veggies into your diet, although “good enough” also means that Freshly should expand its vegetarian variety on the menu.
As for Sunbasket’s (100% organic) vegan/vegetarian options, you can filter its menu via the “Vegan” tag. But here, the choices are even more limited. The only difference between the two is that Freshly has more traditional recipes in comparison with Sunbasket’s global-inspired, diversified menu (overall).
Sunbasketvs Freshly – What About Their Protein Sources and Nutritional Value?
Now, it’s time to compare recipes between Sunbasket and Freshly (casually selected) so you can get an idea as to what to look forward to.
|Meal kit – serves 2||Prepared meal – single serving||Prepared meal – single serving|
|Vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, <600 calories||Vegetarian, soy-free, gluten-free, <600 calories, no added sugar||Vegetarian, plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free, <500 calories|
|430 calories per serving||540 calories per serving||400 calories per serving|
|13 grams of protein||18 grams of protein||11 grams of protein|
|53 grams of carbs||70 grams of carbs||58 grams of carbs|
|15 minutes cooking time||4-6 minutes cooking time in microwave oven||–|
|Meal kit – serves 2||Prepared meal – single serving||Prepared meal – single serving|
|Carb-conscious, paleo, Lean & Clean, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, diabetes-friendly, Mediterranean, <600 Calories, Protein Plus, no added sugar||Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, Protein Plus, <600 calories||Dairy-free, gluten-free, high protein|
|430 calories per serving||490 calories per serving||480 calories per serving|
|39 grams of protein||28 grams of protein||25 grams of protein|
|30 grams of carbs||49 grams of carbs||66 grams of carbs|
|25-40 minutes cooking time||4-5 minutes cooking time in microwave oven/25-30 minutes cooking time in conventional oven||–|
|Meal kit – serves 2||Prepared meal – single serving||Prepared meal – single serving|
|Carb-conscious, paleo, Lean & Clean, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, Mediterranean, <600 Calories, spicy||Soy-free, Protein Plus, <600 calories||Gluten-free, soy-free, high protein|
|520 calories per serving||600 calories per serving||650 calories per serving|
|24 grams of protein||35 grams of protein||28 grams of protein|
|38 grams of carbs||67 grams of carbs||45 grams of carbs|
|15 minutes cooking time||4-5 minutes cooking time in microwave oven/20-25 minutes cooking time in conventional oven||–|
Sunbasketdoesn’t have a single seafood-based precooked meal to offer; only meal kits are available.
|Meal kit – serves 2||Prepared meal – single serving|
|Soy-free, dairy-free, no added sugar, pescatarian, <600 Calories, Protein Plus||Dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, <500 calories|
|590 calories per serving||410 calories per serving|
|31 grams of protein||31 grams of protein|
|54 grams of carbs||20 grams of carbs|
|40-45 minutes cooking time||–|
How Easy Is It to Sign Up on Sunbasket?
Sunbasket has a highly user-friendly interface, both on the website and its Android- and Apple-compatible app. You start by choosing what kind of meal plans you want:
- Meal Kits – recipes under this category take anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes to cook.
- Fresh & Ready – no-prep, already-cooked dishes.
The next step is to select any dietary preferences, which include Paleo, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and more.
At this point, I think you might be glad to know that Sunbasket is quite a flexible meal delivery service. This way,you get to combine different types of meal plans and diets. You can even customize it further based on preferences such as high protein, low carb, etc.
The next step involves the number of servings per meal box/kit you want to order, along with the number of dinners per week. Whether you’re doing this on their website or app, nutritional information, pictures, cooking instructions, and the like are all a part of the Sunbasket experience.
Finally, enter your zip code and email ID, and begin choosing your meals.
Sunbasket Customer Service
They have a number you can call (866-786-2758) and another for sending texts (+1-208-960-6505) between 6 am and 8 pm during weekdays. You can get in touch with them through email from their Help Center page.
They also have a 24-hour online chat feature:
- Self-Service for automated order support
- Ask an Expert for answers straight from Sunbasket customers
There’s also the FAQs page that provides a lot of information about their deliveries, ingredients, meal plans, account management, gift cards, and more.
How Easy Is It to Sign Up on Freshly?
Freshly also offers a super easy sign-up experience with its user-friendly, intuitive process on the website and app (available for both Android and iOS).
With Freshly, you first have to enter your zip code and email address to get started so you know if they can deliver to your area. Then, you choose how many meals per week you want delivered – your options are 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12. Pick the delivery date, which can be just 2 days from the day you place your order or even as late as 3 weeks.
Depending on your dietary preferences, you can pick your recipes from the Freshly menu. The categories include Purely Plant, Signature Collection, FreshlyFit, and Proteins & Sides. They have traditional recipes and options based on specific dietary preferences such as low carb, high protein, etc.
Each Freshly dish is equipped with clear labels like gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, high protein, and more. Its ingredients, taste/flavor profile, and nutritional information are also a part of the recipe or product page.
Once meal selection has been done, you have to enter the delivery address, then review the order and delivery date. Finally, make the payment to complete your transaction.
Freshly Customer Service
Freshly customer support is available 24 hours a day for 7 days of the week. You can either text or call them at 1-844-373-7459. Facebook Messenger chat is also an option, or simply just fill out their contact form to get in touch with them.
Needless to say, there is also a very helpful and informative FAQs section that provides solutions to the most common problems or queries.
Can You Make Delivery Changes, Skip a Week, or Cancel Your Subscription with Sunbasket or Freshly?
Thankfully, the convenience and freedom of customizability are available with both Sunbasket and Freshly. Skipping a week, pausing your subscription, making delivery or meal plan changes, etc. – all of this can be done in both meal delivery services as long as you don’t pass the cutoff time.
- Freshly deadline – It depends on your location as well as your selected delivery day. Normally, Freshly sends confirmation emails 5-6 days before the delivery date. In the email of each order, you’ll find that order’s deadline date and time.
- Sunbasket deadline -You can make your Sunbasket changes before Wednesday noon (Pacific Time – 12 pm).
As for where to go to tweak meal plans, delivery address, and make other such adjustments, just log in and click on your account settings page. You can also manage/cancel your subscription on the settings page itself, in the case of both Sunbasket and Freshly.
Sunbasket Pros and Cons
- Satisfying, filling portions in premade meals and meal kits
- Organic and fresh ingredients plus sustainably sourced proteins
- Accommodates different dietary needs and lifestyles
- Plenty of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and extras
- Mostly recyclable and reusable packaging
- Shipping cost is separate.
- Bulky packaging.
- Higher price point.
- Family-friendly recipes are limited.
Freshly Pros and Cons
- Meal plans perfect for families and kids
- Adequate portion sizes
- Larger menu, that is, more dishes per week
- Recyclable, compact packaging
- Very quick, responsive customer service and easy sign-up process
- Menu is more traditional/classic than global-inspired.
- Only single-serve meals.
- No snack or breakfast recipes.
- Specialty diet options are limited.
- Shipping is not free.
Final Verdict: Sunbasket or Freshly?
Look, here’s the thing…
Freshly is a more suitable meal delivery service option for those who just want premade meals and also prefer classic, signature recipes instead of something too experimental for their taste buds. Furthermore, Freshly makes it a point to minimize unwanted ingredients like sugar, chemical preservatives, processed foods, and the like.
No doubt, their family-oriented dishes are both healthy and savory. Plus, Freshly adheres to diets that consist of low carbs, high protein, no gluten, and more.
As for Sunbasket, this particular meal delivery service (which is slightly more expensive than Freshly) is perfect for people who prioritize certified organic ingredients. At the same time, they offer the flexibility of choosing both meal kits and precooked meals.
What’s even more exciting is their wider, more appetizing, and enjoyable menu variety, which does accommodate special dietary preferences such as Paleo, vegan, diabetes-friendly, etc.
If links from Freshly can be added, please do so for all recipes presented in every table.
There are no Freshly recipe links.