Maintaining a regular rotation of healthy meals that also taste good is challenging in any household. From planning to grocery shopping and cooking, it requires plenty of effort before you even make it to the kitchen.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for making the whole process easier: meal subscription services.
These companies bring fresh and exciting meals (or meal kits) straight to your door without the effort of planning and shopping on your part — not to mention it can help minimize food waste too.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing 2 popular meal subscription companies, Freshly and HelloFresh (US). You’ll find out everything from which has better variety, quality of ingredients, value for money, and more!
By the end of it, you’ll have all the information you need to decide which is the best one for your mealtimes!
What is a Meal Subscription Service?
Meal subscription services deliver a box of either pre-cooked meals or guided recipes with pre-measured, raw ingredients to make mealtime prep easier.
Many allow you to choose your recipes each week, the number of people you’d like them for, and how many meals you need per week.
You can find meals that align with your family’s needs and have them delivered straight to your door.
This type of service aims to provide people and families in a hurry with fresh, high-quality, and tasty meals without the effort and stress of organizing them every evening.
Pros and Cons of Meal Subscription Services
Meal subscription services are great for many reasons, but here are some of the top ones.
Pros of Meal Subscription Services
- They free up your schedule without compromising the quality of meals at the family table.
- Never run out of ideas on what to cook. These services provide exciting recipes you may have never tried before, and many rotate their offerings to keep things interesting for customers.
- Eat healthier without the additional effort it may take to learn new recipes or cooking styles.
- Meet diet requirements: Many of these services offer customized plans that may work for your dietary needs and preferences. So you can adjust your diet to meet your nutritional needs without the learning curve.
- Minimize food waste: Your meal subscription box should come with everything you need and the right quantity of each ingredient. So no leftover foods are left to go bad in the fridge.
- Easily maintain a family mealtime routine. Research suggests that family meals at home can improve health and well-being for younger family members. For example, adolescents that participate in regular family meals consume less processed food and more healthy items like fruits and vegetables. [1, 2]
Cons of Meal Subscription Services
Meal subscription services may not be a great solution for you if:
- You enjoy searching for new recipes every week. Meal subscription services offer a rotation of tested recipes that you can choose from each week. This saves you time searching for new recipes, and you can try a variety of different dishes. However, if you enjoy doing the research yourself, the service may not add as much value.
- You have a very particular diet. You can customize the meal plans to a point, depending on the service you choose. But if your diet is very specific, there may not be enough variety of recipes for you to choose from each week.
- You suffer from severe allergies. Although you can often exclude ingredients or allergens from meal plans, very few meal subscription services offer meal preparation facilities that are free from traces of those ingredients. If this is something you need, it may be safer to prepare food at home or choose a service that can guarantee this.
Freshly vs. HelloFresh US Compared
What Is Freshly?
Freshly is a service that delivers pre-cooked, single-serve meals straight to your door on a subscription basis.
Unlike other meal subscription options, Freshly meals don’t require any food preparation on your part.
You pick a plan with the number of meals you want per week, and the dishes come ready to heat in the microwave or oven. So preparing healthy, tasty meals only takes a few minutes.
The company aims to make it easier and more sustainable for people to eat healthily.
What Is HelloFresh?
HelloFresh is a meal subscription service that delivers step-by-step recipes with the pre-measured ingredients you need to make them yourself.
This means there’s no need to plan recipes or go shopping for the ingredients yourself, but you do some chopping and the cooking.
To start with HelloFresh you choose a subscription based on the number of people you want to feed and the number of meals you want per week.
You’ll receive one box per week with the ingredients and guided instructions for whipping them up at home.
The company aims to help people save money, access higher quality meals, enjoy a varied diet, and minimize food waste with a new approach to mealtime.
Freshly vs. HelloFresh Comparison Table
|What you get||Pre-cooked, single-serve meals Ready to microwave and eat||Pre-measured ingredients
Ready to cook at home
|Prep time||3 minutes in the microwave||Around 30 minutes prep and cooking|
|Meal variety||30 meals per week||23 choices per week|
|Dietary preferences offered||Meals labelled as:
Under 500 calories
|Customize your plan:
Meat & Veggies
Family-friendly (kid-tested recipes)
Quick and Easy (shorter prep time)
|Breakfast & Brunch
|Delivery frequency||Once per week||Once per week|
|Price range||From $8.99 to $11.49 per meal||From $7.49 to $8.99 per meal|
|Minimum order price||$45.96 for four single-portion meals per week||$49.96 for two people and two recipes per week|
|Shipping costs||$8.99 – $10.50 depending on the number of meals ordered.||$8.99|
|Delivery area||Contiguous United States||Contiguous United States|
|Free trial||No||14-day free trial|
|Customer reviews||Average 4.5 stars from 1,780 reviews||Average 4.1 stars from 14,989 reviews|
|Special offers||$100 off your first 4 orders: Freshly||16 free meals + free shipping: HelloFresh|
Flexibility of Subscription
Freshly and HelloFresh allow you to make certain changes to the subscription after starting. These include:
- Flexibility of deliveries. Skip weeks, adjust your plan, or cancel at any time.
- Swap meals for other meal or recipe options each week before a certain deadline.
- Deliver to a holiday location. You can have your meals sent to a different location if you are away from home.
- Personal online account to manage preferences and changes easily.
However, the two services differ when it comes to trials and promotions.
HelloFresh’s latest offer is for new customers is:
- 16 free meals plus free delivery with subscriptions: HelloFresh
Freshly meals start from $8.99, and the bigger the box, the lower the cost of the meal:
- $100 off your first 4 orders: Freshly
$100 off your first 4 orders: Freshly
How Freshly Started
Freshly was founded by Carter Comstock and Michael Wystrach in 2012.
After Wystrach suffered a health scare in his previous career as an investment banker, he decided to set up a healthy food delivery service along with his family friend Carter Comstock.
Freshly Meal Selection and Variety
With Freshly, customers can choose between several plans ranging from 4-12 meals.
Each meal counts as a single serving for a single person. You can choose from a variety of meal recipes.
The company features homemade specials such as mac and cheese, protein-packed dishes like steak peppercorn, and diet-friendly meals like tangy turmeric turkey bowls.
What Are the Best Meals on Freshly?
Pulled pork al pastor is one of the most popular recipes on Freshly. It’s full of flavor and offers something different from conventional homemade dishes.
For a Southern-inspired taste, it’s hard to beat the homestyle chicken. The breaded chicken is paired with fresh green beans, satiating brown rice, and of course, the company’s take on a family favorite: mac and cheese.
$100 off your first 4 orders: Freshly
Freshly meal ingredients include less sugar and processed foods and more nutrients from fresh vegetables. They include the following in every meal:
- Complex carbs
- Nutrient-dense ingredients
- Quality proteins
- Healthy fats
So that each meal offers a balanced diet with nutrient-rich foods.
Freshly currently offers five different meal plans. These plans start at 4 meals per week and go up to 12.
Here’s how much you’ll have to pay for each plan, including shipping:
- 4 meals: $51.95 ($13 a meal)
- 6 meals: $62.93 ($10.50 a meal)
- 8 meals: $82.31 ($10.30 a meal)
- 10 meals: $99.89 ($9.90 a meal)
- 12 meals: $113.87 ($9.50 a meal)
On average, each meal costs between $8.99 and $10.50.
Does Freshly Have a Trial?
No, Freshly doesn’t have a trial, but you can try it for a week and cancel your plan at any time.
How Freshly Works
- Choose your meals (they have over 30+ recipes) and your preferred plan (either 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 meals per week).
- They cook and deliver your meals each week in a box packed with ice and insulation.
- Open up your subscription box, pop a meal in the microwave for 3 mins, and it’s ready. These meals come pre-cooked and in single-serve packages.
You can change meal selections, delivery days or cancel your subscription at any time through your online account.
$100 off your first 4 orders: Freshly
Time and Effort of Making Freshly Meals
Freshly is one of the most effortless and time-efficient meal subscription plans to use.
As these meals come pre-cooked, all you have to do is heat them for around three minutes in the microwave and enjoy.
Which Diets Can Freshly Cater To?
Freshly caters to a variety of dietary needs. They have tags on their recipes that help you see which meals are soy-free, dairy-free, under 500 calories, gluten-free, high-protein, or spicy.
It also has a convenient sorting feature that allows you to filter meals by calories, carbs, protein, total fat, and sodium content.
The company also has Wellness Experts on staff to help you with your dietary needs and preferences. These are professionals with backgrounds in nutrition or public health, who are available to offer meal recommendations based on your wellness or health goals. However, the company does highlight that these experts aren’t healthcare providers, and you should always speak with your doctor or nutritionist to address health concerns.
You can either chat, call or email their Wellness Experts through the Freshly website.
Do You Lose Weight With Freshly?
Freshly is not meant to be a weight loss diet service. However, they can support you in your weight loss journey by ensuring their pre-portioned meals have the appropriate portion sizes.
The company also has a program called FreshlyFit designed to target specific goals.
Some of the meals in the FreshlyFit line were developed with specific diets in mind, while others may be high in protein or low in carbs.
Freshly scored an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars from a total of 1,780 reviews across two independent platforms (Influenster and Consumer Affairs).
Overall, there were many satisfied customers, and these are some of the positive things they had to say:
- Easy and convenient meals for busy people. Many liked that there was no cooking involved and they only needed to reheat the food for 3 minutes.
- Most meals tasted great and were high quality. One of the most popular flavors is Mac and Cheese.
- Customizable meal plans. Meal changes could be done online which was helpful for people with different preferences and dietary needs.
- Pricing was reasonable. Especially considering how convenient and fresh the meals were.
- Good packaging.
- Healthy recipes were a bonus. Especially for those looking to lose some weight or with certain health conditions.
A few negative aspects reviewers mentioned included that Freshly doesn’t cater to specific diets like paleo. Some reviewers also mentioned that their veggies came slightly overcooked for their preferences.
Here’s a look at some reviews left from Freshly subscribers:
Freshly Packaging and Materials
Freshly prides itself on sustainability, which shows in the company’s packaging.
You can recycle their cardboard meal sleeves, corrugated delivery box, and other paper products curbside as long as you remove the tape and plastic label.
Their plastic meal containers are plastic #5 and can be recycled with other plastic products, along with the plastic cover on their insulation.
The insulation itself is made from denim. You will need to dispose of this in the trash can. But fortunately, it’s biodegradable. The company also highlights the many ways you can reuse denim in your home.
The gel ice packs have recyclable plastic covers and can also be saved for future use.
Freshly Pros and Cons
|Easy meal preparation — no cooking needed||Doesn’t cater to some diets like paleo|
|Generally great tasting recipes||May be more expensive than home-cooking|
|Good variety of meals|
|Ability to customize meal plans|
|Meals delivered straight to your door|
|Almost no clean up needed|
Freshly Special Offer
$100 off your first 4 orders: Freshly offer
Are Freshly Meals Worth It?
Freshly meals are worth it if you’re looking for the convenience of pre-cooked meals with quality recipes.
This service cuts meal prep time down to around three minutes. All you need to do is remove meals from the refrigerator, microwave, and serve.
Even though it is an “instant meal” many loved that it didn’t compromise on the quality of ingredients or nutrition. Several even use Freshly as part of their weight loss regime because their recipes are healthy and calorie-portioned.
Others also highlighted that Freshly fits in nicely with their busy lifestyle and helps them to avoid unhealthy and costly takeout meals.
However, if you like to cook the meals yourself, subscriptions like HelloFresh could be a better fit as they send preportioned ingredients instead of ready meals.
16 free meals + free shipping: HelloFresh
HelloFresh US Review
HelloFresh was founded by Thomas Griesel, Dominik Richter, and Jessica Nilsson in 2011.
This meal-delivery company was one of the first to market. HelloFresh soon expanded to the UK, US, and other countries after starting in Germany.
These days, HelloFresh is considered the number one fresh food provider worldwide, delivering to homes in many countries.
Who is HelloFresh Owned by?
The CEO and COO of HelloFresh are founders Dominik Richter and Thomas Griesel. There’s now also a CFO, Christian Gartner, CTO, Nuno Simaria, and CMO, Maximilian Backhaus.
How Does HelloFresh Work?
Here’s how HelloFresh works:
- Select a meal preference: Plans include Meat & Veggies, Veggie, Family Friendly, Calorie Smart, Quick and Easy, and Pescatarian)
- Customize your plan size: Select number of people (2 or 4) and how many meals you want per week.
- Receive your weekly meal kits: straight to your door
- Cook your meals: Prepare the recipes using the illustrated recipe cards. All ingredients are already pre-measured, so all you have to do is follow the instructions to cook and serve.
HelloFresh Meal Options and Recipes
There are four plans you can choose from, including meat and veggies, veggie, low calorie, and family-friendly.
Each meal kit comes with the exact quantity of ingredients needed to make a recipe, and there are several illustrated recipe cards to guide you through the cooking process.
There are meals to suit the main dietary preferences and even seasonal meal kits offerings.
16 free meals + free shipping: HelloFresh
HelloFresh works with farm-sourced produce for its meal kits, though they don’t guarantee that all ingredients are organic.
You can find a wealth of nutritional information on the meal kit labels. There are vegetarian and vegan meal options, too.
How Easy Are HelloFresh Meal Kits to Prepare?
Most HelloFresh meal kits take on average 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish.
The photo recipe cards should provide enough guidance for those with minimal cooking experience to make and enjoy these meals easily.
16 free meals + free shipping: HelloFresh
HelloFresh Diet Friendliness
HelloFresh can cater to a low-calorie diet, with what the company calls its ‘Fit & Wholesome’ meal kits.
There aren’t specific options catering to diets such as keto, but there are low-carb meals available.
You can also personalize your plan based on your protein preferences, with options like pescatarian, and veggie plans.
Does HelloFresh Help You Lose Weight?
HelloFresh isn’t necessarily geared towards weight loss, but its Fit & Wholesome range should be a good option for those looking to burn fat. These meals are around 650 calories per serving.
16 free meals + free shipping: HelloFresh
HelloFresh US Reviews
HelloFresh US scored an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars from a total of 14,989 reviews across two independent platforms (Influenster and Consumer Affairs). Pretty impressive for a brand with that many reviewers.
Generally, people were happy with their HelloFresh experience, and there are some common themes that were mentioned:
- Very convenient for busy people.
- Ingredients were fresh and of high quality.
- Great for times when you just don’t know what to eat.
- Many of the recipes tasted great!
- Recipes are very simple and easy to follow.
- Some enjoyed learning new recipes — especially for those that weren’t confident in the kitchen.
- The experience of cooking together with loved ones was great for bonding.
- Perfect portioning, so there’s no wastage.
In terms of pricing, it was quite mixed as some felt that it was worth it because of the convenience. But others felt that it could be priced a little lower given that they still had to do the cooking.
A minority of pickier eaters also mentioned that they did not enjoy certain recipes. And some also noted that the packaging could be more minimal to improve sustainability.
Here’s a quick look at some reviews from customers:
HelloFresh Pricing Details
The pricing details for HelloFresh meal plans are listed as below (regardless of the dietary preferences you select). These prices do not include their flat shipping fee of $8.99 per shipment.
Prices for recipes that serve two people:
- 2 recipes per week: $49.96 (or $12.49 per recipe per person)
- 3 recipes per week: $53.94 (or $8.99 per recipe per person)
- 4 recipes per week: $71.92 (or $8.99 per recipe per person)
- 5 recipes per week: $89.90 (or $8.99 per recipe per person)
- 6 recipes per week: $107.88 (or $8.99 per recipe per person)
Prices for recipes that serve four people:
- 2 recipes per week: $71.92 (or $8.99 per recipe per person)
- 3 recipes per week: $89.88 (or $7.49 per recipe per person)
- 4 recipes per week: $119.84 (or $7.49 per recipe per person)
- 5 recipes per week: $149.80 (or $7.49 per recipe per person)
- 6 recipes per week: $179.76 (or $7.49 per recipe per person)
What Is the Average Price for HelloFresh? (per person)
Each HelloFresh plan costs between $7.49 and $8.99 per person, per serving, depending on the meal plan you choose.
How Much Is HelloFresh for 2 a Week?
HelloFresh costs anywhere from $49.96 to $107.88 per week for two people depending on the number of recipes in your plan. These prices do not include the $8.99 shipping fee.
Which HelloFresh Plan is Best?
We find that the best value for money plan is the meat and veggies plan because it offers the greatest variety of meal kits. Also, this means you’re less likely to get tired of the recipes.
HelloFresh Packaging and Environmental Friendliness
You can recycle your cardboard HelloFresh subscription box along with your other cardboard recycling.
The kitbags are recyclable and compostable, and the separator they come in is approved for curbside recycling.
You can reuse your HelloFresh ice pack or dispose of it by emptying the liquid gel into the trash and recycling the plastic cover as indicated on the packaging.
HelloFresh Pros and Cons
|Simple recipes that are quick to prepare||Some picky eaters may not enjoy all the meals offered|
|Fresh ingredients||Sustainability of packaging could be improved|
|Good meal variety — 23 recipes on offer each week|
|Tasty, high-quality meals, tested by chefs 200 times|
|Recipe cards have easy-to-follow instructions|
|No need for meal planning and grocery shopping|
|Great for learning how to cook new recipes|
|Caters to different dietary needs|
|Great flexibility — change recipes or delivery times through the online account|
HelloFresh Special Offer
16 free meals + free shipping: HelloFresh
Is HelloFresh Really Worth It?
HelloFresh is worth it for those that want to cut down the time they spend grocery shopping, planning recipes and cooking — but still have healthy meals with good variety.
It’s great for those who want the convenience of having all ingredients pre-measured and ready to cook. This reduces trips to the supermarket as well as food wastage from leftovers.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind finding new recipes every evening and sourcing the ingredients yourself, the service may not add as much value. Also, if you have very particular dietary requirements, you may find the meal selections on offer are more limited.
Overall, many customers were pleased with HelloFresh’s service and standard of recipes. The fresh, high-quality ingredients also help to offer you nutritious meals that support your health and diet.
Because you still have to cook the ingredients (instead of re-heating pre-cooked food like other services), it ensures that your meals will always be fresh.
Some also liked the experience of learning new recipes. The recipe cards and prepared ingredients made the cooking process very simple, straightforward, and enjoyable.
Which is Better, Freshly or HelloFresh?
If you lead a busy lifestyle and don’t want to do any cooking at all, then Freshly may be a better fit for your needs. However, if you just want to minimize meal planning and grocery shopping and are still willing to do some easy cooking, HelloFresh could be the one for you.
While both provide customers with meals made from healthy, balanced ingredients, Freshly seems to have a lot more emphasis on convenience. All you have to do is pop the pre-cooked food in the microwave before eating.
On the other hand, HelloFresh encourages you to still enjoy the cooking process. They simply make the experience more enjoyable by minimizing your preparation and planning effort by giving you pre-measure ingredients and providing a variety of recipes.
Many seem to like how HelloFresh makes cooking really fun and easy with their recipe cards. And some even say that cooking together is a great way to bond with loved ones.
In terms of some practical considerations, Freshly meals are all one serving. But HelloFresh has enough ingredients in each meal kit for two or four servings. So HelloFresh may work better if you have a few people in your household.
In terms of pricing, Freshly can be slightly more expensive (but not by much). On average, HelloFresh works out to be a couple of dollars cheaper per serving than Freshly.
Either Freshly or HelloFresh are good choices for busy people and families looking to add exciting, healthy meals to their rotation. Both minimize food waste and help you spend more time enjoying your food and less time preparing it.
What company owns Freshly?
Freshly became a part of the Nestlé company on October 30, 2020.
Is Freshly enough food for my family?
If you order enough meals on your plan, Freshly should be enough. Freshly offers individually portioned meals in plans that range from 4 to 12 meals per week, depending on your family’s needs.
How much does Freshly cost per month?
Freshly offers plans that range from $45.96 to $101.88 per week plus shipping, depending on the number of meals you choose. This means that you can expect to pay between $183.84 and $407.52 per month for this service, plus the cost to ship your meals.
How many people does Freshly serve?
Freshly’s meals come in individual portions meant for one person per meal. They offer shareable sides and proteins as well.
Can you cancel Freshly any time?
Yes, you can cancel or modify your Freshly subscription at any time through your online account or by emailing the company’s customer support.
How long will Freshly meals last?
Freshly’s meals last around three to five days in the refrigerator, but you can place them in the freezer if you want to extend their shelf life.
Is Freshly already cooked?
Yes, Freshly’s meals are pre-cooked. Just pop them in the microwave, and they’re ready to enjoy.
Can you skip weeks on Freshly?
Yes, you can skip weeks in Freshly’s app by clicking the ‘skip delivery’ button for the meals you want to skip.
Does Freshly offer breakfast?
No, Freshly does not currently offer breakfast.
What size are Freshly meals?
Each Freshly meal is packaged in an individual portion size meant for one person. You can check the meal weight in grams when choosing your meals for the week.
Does Freshly do vegetarian meals?
Freshly has some vegetarian and vegan items on their menu, but most of their meals contain animal protein.
Where is Freshly shipped from?
Freshly meals are cooked in kitchens in Phoenix, Arizona, Linden, New Jersey, and Savage, Maryland before they make their way to your door.
Do Freshly meals have a lot of sodium?
The sodium content in Freshly meals varies as their meals cater to various nutritional preferences. However, you can use their sort feature to view meals with lower sodium content.
How do Freshly deliveries work?
Select your meals and the date you need them, and Freshly will deliver them to your door, ready to heat up and enjoy.
Do Freshly meals change each week?
Yes, Freshly alternates some of the meals on their menu each week, but they keep popular dishes in their regular rotation.
HelloFresh US FAQs
How much does HelloFresh really cost?
HelloFresh has plans range from $49.96 to $179.76, depending on the number of people and recipes per week you select.
How much is HelloFresh a month for 2 people?
HelloFresh plans for 2 people will cost between $199.84 per month for 2 meals per week and $431.52 per month for 6 meals per week.
Is HelloFresh enough food for my family?
Yes, HelloFresh should be enough food for a family if you choose the correct number of meals. You can personalize the size of your HelloFresh order to meet your needs.
Can HelloFresh feed a family of 5?
HelloFresh recommends getting an additional subscription to accommodate families or groups larger than 4 people.
Are HelloFresh meals healthy?
HelloFresh is definitely healthier than eating take-out or dining out in certain restaurants. You can also choose the ‘Fit & Wholesome’ plan to get meals tailored with health in mind. In general, all HelloFresh ingredients are good quality, fresh foods, so they help support a healthy diet.
How long do HelloFresh meals last?
HelloFresh recommends eating their meals the week you receive them. They recommend eating meat within five days of thawing and eating seafood within two days of thawing.
Can I pick my meals with HelloFresh?
Yes, you can choose the meals you want and switch meals in your order for other options up to five days before your listed delivery date.
How many weeks can you skip HelloFresh?
You can skip up to 6 weeks at a time with HelloFresh by using the ‘skip this week’ feature in your account.
Does HelloFresh use preservatives?
No, HelloFresh does not use preservatives.
What meat does HelloFresh use?
HelloFresh US uses meat from USDA compliant suppliers primarily located in the United States.
Can you cancel HelloFresh anytime?
Yes, you can cancel your HelloFresh subscription anytime. Just make sure you cancel at least five days before your next scheduled delivery if you do not wish to receive it.
Can you reuse the HelloFresh ice packs?
Yes, you can reuse the HelloFresh ice packs or reuse the water and recycle the plastic.
Can I send my HelloFresh to a different address?
Yes, you can update your delivery address if you wish to receive your HelloFresh meals at a different location.
What is similar to HelloFresh?
What are HelloFresh meals like?
We tried and tested a HelloFresh meal box with some of their most popular recipes in our comparison of HelloFresh to a similar subscription service, Home Chef. See how the meals looked here: HelloFresh vs. Home Chef, Tried and Tested.
How many meals a day do you get with HelloFresh?
You will receive between two and six meals per week with HelloFresh, which you can enjoy on whichever days you please throughout the week.
How frequently does HelloFresh deliver each week?
HelloFresh will deliver your subscription box once a week.
Is there an organic meal subscription service?
Yes, Green Chef is an organic meal subscription service. If you’re curious to see what the meals are like, we tried and tested meal boxes from both Green Chef and HelloFresh to see how they compared: Green Chef vs. Hello Fresh.