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Life is busy. It just is. And as much as we all love the idea of eating well and making meals fit for an Instagram influencer, we don’t always have the time. And let’s face it, we don’t all have the skill or the motivation, either.
Enter: Meal delivery services.
A meal delivery service is meant to make eating easy and convenient. You get online and pick out your meals for the week or month or whatever you’ve opted for, and then they arrive on your doorstep in an insulated cold box, ready to pop in the microwave and serve up.
Some of these services, like Freshly and Munchery, also focus on providing healthy or diet-specific meals to their subscribers. For example, with their variety of menu option, they cater to folks following vegetarian, gluten free, Paleo, or vegan diets, to name a few.
Freshly Price and How It Works
Freshly offers multiple weekly meal plans: 4 meals, 6 meals, 9 meals, and 12 meals. You can see a pricing breakdown in table below. At the time of this post (and it seems like a constant offer), you can get $40 off your first two weeks of meals.
An overview of Freshly meal plans
Shipping is free for each plan and you can choose to skip a week or cancel your subscription at any time, as long as you let the company know before the weekly deadline.
For each week, you choose your meals from their menu, which is updated weekly. You do all of this on their website, which is pretty straightforward and easy to navigate.
Freshly Meal Service Packaging and Presentation
Freshly’s meals arrive in a cardboard box filled with insulation and ice packs. Their delivery packaging is made to keep your meals cold for a full two days of shipping time, plus 12 hours on your porch. Hopefully, it won’t actually be in transit for that long, but they’re trying to cover their bases.
The meals themselves are in plastic containers, with a plastic film, and a cardboard sleeve. Overall, the meals look nice inside their sleeves, but if we’re being honest, the actual food doesn’t look anything like the pretty pictures on Freshly’s website. But, hey, it’s not about how it looks, it’s about how it tastes, right? And we’ll get to that.
We do like that most of the packaging is recyclable because otherwise you’d end up with a whole lot of waste. There are a few things that have to be tossed, though. You can find a full description of what’s recyclable and what’s not here.
Does Freshly Taste Good?
If you’re going to pay to have premade meals delivered, they ought to taste good. That may seem like a no-brainer, but trust us when we say we’ve tried things that we should’ve been paid to eat. (We’re not even naming names. It was that bad.)
We tried a variety of Freshly meals and found them all to be pretty good, some better than others. Preparing the meals was super easy — they go in the microwave for a few minutes and that’s it.
Overall, we thought they had good flavors, and the meat was usually cooked well, but the veggies weren’t a great texture. They were a bit overcooked, but again, the flavors of the various meals were good and, ultimately, we’d eat them again.
For something that gets shipped in a box and comes out of the microwave, the Freshly meals taste good. But are they good for you?
Is Freshly Healthy?
Freshly markets themselves as health-conscious, and they seem to live up to that label. They make all their meals without artificial ingredients, hydrogenated oils, and refined sugars. The meals are largely made of whole ingredients, a variety of vegetables, and proteins.
While they don’t promise that all of their food is certified organic or non-GMO, Freshly says they go for those options wherever they can and the company seems to be working towards an all-organic and non-GMO menu.
Freshly doesn’t currently have specific meals for certain diets (Paleo, Keto, etc.), but they do provide quite a bit of information on each meal, so you can choose the ones that work for you. They also encourage members to contact them if they need help finding the right meals.
Munchery’s system is a bit different than Freshly’s. First of all, they offer two options: weekly plans or same-day delivery. However, availability for these services does vary by location, so, for example, we can’t get same-day delivery at our office here in Reno. You can check for service availability in your area on the Munchery website.
If you want to do same-day delivery, you have the option of ordering as a guest or ordering as a member, which will cost you a $6.95/month membership fee. Depending on how many meals you order, the membership benefits can really pay off: a membership gets you 15% off each meal and up to 60% of the Munchery marketplace items. Same-day delivery meals are priced individually and come with a delivery fee of $5-7.
If you go for the weekly meal plan, you can opt for four or six meals per week, and pay one standard price regardless of which meals you choose. Check out the pricing breakdown below:
On overview of Munchery meal plans
All shipping for weekly plans is free and your first order is discounted by $20 off standard pricing.
Munchery Meal Service Packaging and Presentation
Munchery meals ship in a cardboard box, along with insulation and ice packs. This is basically how all of these meal services ship their food.
The meals themselves are in biodegradable containers with recyclable plastic lids and recycled cardboard sleeves. They’re nice looking and we appreciate the effort to reduce waste.
As far as presentation of the actual food goes, Munchery beats every other meal service we’ve tried, including Freshly. When you take off the cardboard sleeve and check out the goods, it actually looks like something you want to eat, which is more than we usually ask of microwave meals.
We’re not saying the food looks like the pictures on the Munchery website, but it’s still better than others we’ve seen.
Does Munchery Taste Good?
In terms of flavor, Munchery is at least on par with Freshly. We actually enjoyed more of the Munchery meals than the Freshly meals.
One of the standout differences were the veggies. Munchery’s veggies were still a good texture and not overcooked at all. If anything, they may have been a bit undercooked for some preferences. That being said, we prefer under- to overcooked because you can always cook something more, but you can’t uncook stuff.
We tried a bunch of different meals from Munchery so we could cover different meats and vegetarian options, and overall, we enjoyed them.
Our one disappointment was a steak meal that we felt wasn’t well suited to being cooked in a microwave.
Is Munchery Healthy?
Like Freshly, Munchery’s platform is health-oriented and they make an effort to use quality ingredients, like local and organic produce, antibiotic-free meats, and wild-caught fish. Munchery indicates on their menu which meals use grass-fed, organic, or free-range ingredients.
Munchery doesn’t make meals specifically labeled for those following special diets, but they do have a decent selection of options for folks who are Paleo or vegan or whatnot.
Their meals definitely do fall under the blanket term of “healthy,” though. They’re primarily composed of good fats, veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbs.
They provide ample nutritional information on their website, too, so you can be picky about which meals you order.
Munchery vs Freshly Verdict
While we’re actually pretty pleased with both Freshly and Munchery, we ultimately think that Munchery is more worth the money. If you just can’t foot the bill, though, you’ll likely still be satisfied with a Freshly meal.