Wondering is Freshly worth it? This is one of the most comprehensive Freshly reviews. After we had our baby boy, we researched and evaluated other options for fresh and fast meals for dinner every night. We looked into all the meal prep services like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Freshly, Sun Basket, etc. and it was a little overwhelming to figure out which one was best, and it was difficult to find decent Freshly reviews. Freshly seemed expensive. Unlike other Freshly reviews, we’ll provide calculations to determine is Freshly worth it, along with an in-depth cost analysis, pictures, unboxing, and menu, and also a Fresh 20 review.
Also, if you’ve been wanting to save money on your monthly food budget, but you’re not sure how you could live without eating out at restaurants, this article will teach you tips and tricks. Following these tips saved us $300-500 per month on food.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, these are all products I use myself and thus highly recommend and support
Freshly is a different kind of meal delivery service that brings Paleo-inspired and freshly cooked meals right to your door; they differ from competitors in that instead of actually having to cook your meals, they’re already made for you. Just heat them up in the microwave for a couple minutes!
Just before our baby was born, I saw an ad for 30% off of Freshly, a meal prep service. I heard of other competitors before, like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Home Chef, etc. However, the idea of having to continue to cook every week was daunting, and it was hard to find good Freshly reviews. I knew we wouldn’t have a whole lot of time, but as we were on a tight budget, it was important to figure out if Freshly was worth it. Thankfully I looked into it, because I discovered that Freshly isn’t like these other companies. You don’t have to cook ANYTHING! They do all the work for you and ship fully prepared meals in an insulated box. Use this link to get a special 30% discount off of your first shipment. If you eat out frequently, this is another good way to save money on your food budget; the costs are outlined below.
Freshly is different from other services, in that they have a nutritionist created menu and chefs who prepare AND cook the meals and deliver them to your door. Several different plans are available. Simply choose from 4-12 meals per week from their fully gluten-free menu. It takes about 2-3 minutes to heat up each fresh meal, which is delicious and nutritious. There are no artificial flavors, sugars, or preservatives.
Each shipment arrives weekly (this is a subscription service), in a fully insulated box with two cold packs. This means you won’t have to hurry home to unpack the boxes before they spoil. The cold packs will keep the food cold for at least 12 hours after delivery. The best part? Shipping is free! If you don’t need meals any particular week, there is the ability to skip weeks. You won’t be charged for skipped weeks.
Nutrition information is available for each meal as well! This includes a full ingredient list and macros.
The Freshly menu isn’t visible until you create a free account. Other Freshly reviews don’t mention the menu, but here is a screenshot so you can see some of the menu items at this time. Freshly rotates items on and off of their menu on a seasonal basis. They tend to offer lighter dishes in the summer, and dishes like carved turkey and other comfort foods in the winter. This strategy keeps the menu fresh.
Filters are available to filter out common food allergens and restrictions, including: Dairy, eggs, pork, tree nuts, chicken, beef, turkey, fish, soy, and shellfish. If a dish contains the undesirable ingredient, a warning will be displayed suggesting avoidance of that dish.
However, there is not a filter for nightshades, and many of their dishes contain tomato. I suggested a custom filter to the support team. Take precautions when reading through the ingredient list.
Since this is a relatively new service, not many Freshly reviews are available yet. There really isn’t anything ugly about it. Freshly is a great service. Sometimes I struggle to remember to skip weeks if I need to, but the good thing is these meals freeze easily for future consumption. When reheating, simply add 1 minute of cook time in the microwave and remember to stir it!
Cost: Ranges from 49.99-107.99 per week, depending on number of meals chosen. Use this special link to get 30% off your first shipment. Average cost is $8-10 per meal before the discount. Depending on how much you eat out, you could save money on your food budget with Freshly. We also saved countless hours in the kitchen because we didn’t have to chop vegetables every Sunday!
Is Freshly Worth It?
Cost is broken down based on 4, 6, 9, and 12 meals per week and compared between Freshly, eating out at $10 average cost per meal, and eating out at $15 average cost per meal. With Freshly, there is also an option to buy 12 meals per week twice per month and freeze half of the meals to get a discounted price. From the chart in this Freshly review, you can see that the break even cost for Freshly is eating out 9 times per week at $10 per meal or eating out 6 times per week at $15 per meal. If you eat out more than this, spend more money per meal, or spend more than $360 per month, then Freshly is worth it. Many Freshly reviews do not include these calculations, so I hope it is helpful!
The Fresh 20
Fresh 20 Review
The Fresh 20 is a meal planning service that publishes weekly meal plans. They have several unique plans to fit any dietary restrictions.
For the past year, we had faithfully followed The Fresh 20. I paid $39 for a year long membership. Not bad considering we saved $300-$500 per month on our food budget! Yes, really! If you want to learn more about how we saved money on our food budget, keep reading!
Annual members receive access to the “recipe vault” which contains a year’s worth of meal plans. So, if you don’t like the meals for one week, simply go look at the archives and choose another.
Several different plans are offered to fit your unique dietary needs, including:
- Annual (with access to archives)
- Gluten Free
- 16 week plans
- Dairy Free
- For One
I have been a Fresh 20 customer for the past three years and have paid for and used: Classic, Gluten Free, Paleo, Kosher, and Lunch plans. For the most part, the recipes are versatile and delicious. My picky teenager prefers the Classic and Kosher plans. He didn’t care for the Paleo diet. More about that later.
Here’s how it works. The Fresh 20 provides weekly meal plans starting on Friday. These meal plans are structured accordingly:
- Overall menu for the whole week
- Prep ahead instructions
- Grocery shopping list with estimated prices and quantities for each item, sorted by section
- Detailed menus for each day
- Nutritional information, including calorie counts for each meal
Once we established a rhythm, it was quite fun to try new dishes and perfect our cooking skills. Meal plan released Friday, order groceries online over the weekend, pick them up Sunday, start chopping and prepping. The Paleo plan best suited my dietary needs (no gluten or dairy), but it required a LOT of chopping and prep work.
Meal plan prices vary, depending on if there is a sale or not. Typically, the cheapest prices I have seen are during Black Friday. They offer a free trial (sample meal plan) on their website. Try it for a week and see how you like it!
Even though The Fresh 20 offers many different types of meal plans for a variety of diets, it is fairly limited for those who have more than one restriction. For example, if you are like me, and cannot have gluten or dairy, there are no substitutes listed in the ingredients section for one or the other. This is the primary reason I chose the Paleo plan. The paleo diet is also commonly called the “caveman diet” and focuses on fresh, unprocessed food, with the general premise being that if a cave man ate a certain food, it’s acceptable for consumption.
For some reason, a list of substitutes is offered for their lunch plans and Thanksgiving plans. It would be helpful if they did this for all of the plans.
Also, I noticed very quickly that a lot of the recipes have tomato or other nightshades. So if you have a nightshade allergy, it requires some creativity to develop a workaround. We usually just leave out the tomato, but sometimes that doesn’t work so well (e.g. tomato soup). If that happens, we plan ahead and make extra of a different dish, or we simply eat something else.
As previously mentioned, the Paleo plan requires a LOT of chopping and prepping. The Fresh 20 website states one hour per week, but it was more like 3-4 hours every Sunday. This is understandable, considering Paleo is only natural fruits, vegetables and meats.
My picky teenager was not a huge fan of this diet. He is more of a meat and potato kind of guy. So if you don’t want to hear “Mom! What is THAT? Do I HAVE to eat it?”, you should probably choose another meal plan if you have teenagers (like Classic).
Cost: Ranges from $12 one time to $75 annually. Annual subscriptions come with access to all archived meal plan recipes.
In conclusion, meal prep and meal plan services both have their advantages. Which works best for you depends on your situation. For these reasons, there is not a clear winner. If you want to spend more time but save money on your food budget, The Fresh 20 is a good choice, as we did save $300-500 per month doing meal planning. If you have life circumstances that leave you wanting no-fuss options for dinner, sign up for Freshly! At around $8-10 per meal, it is cheaper than eating out at most places, and the food is healthier, containing no preservatives or MSG.
If you enjoyed Freshly reviews and The Fresh 20 review, let me know your thoughts and experience with meal delivery services!