Freshly vs Blue Apron: Pre-Cooked Meals or Easy Prep?

Do you keep promising yourself that you’ll move away from heavily processed food but time just isn’t a luxury for you? Great news: both Freshly and Blue Apron can be the perfect candidates to help you succeed!

However, these services couldn’t be more different. The former involves the delivery of microwavable pre-cooked meals, whereas the latter is a more traditional meal kit with pre-portioned ingredients.

Which one would translate into the most convenient experience and best value for money for you personally: Freshly vs Blue Apron?

Let’s find out!

As well as a completely different business model, here are the main features that characterize Freshly vs Blue Apron:

FRESHLY

freshly reviews 2020
  • Plans: 4, 6, 10 or 12 meals a week
  • Price per serving: $8.99
  • Delivery: Depends on the area
  • Recipes per week: Over 30

BLUE APRON

blue apron meal kits new
  • Plans: Two people: 2 or 3 nights (available as a veggie option, too). Four people: 2,3 or 4 nights
  • Price per serving: $7.49-$9.99
  • Delivery: Free or $7.99 for the most basic option
  • Recipes per week: Around 11

Freshly overview: chef-cooked meals to heat up in a couple of minutes

Freshly reviews

If meal kit deliveries rose in popularity for saving you time while still helping you eat healthily, Freshly took this to the next level: instead of a box with pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards, they send you pre-cooked chef-made meals.

All you need to do is chuck them in the microwave!

“I founded Freshly in 2012 because I had a personal mission to improve my eating habits.” M. Wystrach, CEO 

Because of this business model and the fact that the meals are sent as single portions, we believe that Freshly could be a practical solution for couples, single professionals, or students rather than larger families (1).

Wanna find out more about our experience with this different type of meal delivery company? Check out our Freshly review.

Blue Apron overview: fresh pre-portioned ingredients for quick meal-prep

Although HelloFresh overtook it as the largest meal kit delivery in 2018 (2), Blue Apron is still one of the biggest and most popular household names in this industry: they focus on making restaurant-style meals quick, easy, and accessible to everyone while saving them time.

“A lot of people think about meal kits as being for novices, but one of my favorite recipes that got me hooked on Blue Apron was for pan seared cod topped with pickled grapes. We want to be known for food discovery.”  L. Kozlowski, CEO 

Blue Apron’s plans are excellent news for singles, couples, and even families who want to save time without missing out on the joy of preparing and enjoying food together (3).

Find out even more about them in our Blue Apron review.

Freshly vs Blue Apron comparison: the quick meal showdown

Now, let’s see which one could be better for your specific habits and needs: Freshly vs Blue Apron? Drumroll.

Meal Plans & Prices

As you’ve probably already noticed by now, Freshly vs Blue Apron have a completely different approach to meal plans. The former focuses on the number of meals (as in portions), the latter on how many people you want to cook a dish for and how many nights a week you want to cover with different recipes. 

While this makes them some of the best meal kit deliveries for singles, the final verdict can change for larger households.

With Freshly you can choose among 4, 6, 10 or 12 meals per week, which get lower per portion the more you add (ranging from $8.49 to $11.49). Students also get a small discount on their first four orders.

We can see this working very well for some couples too, but would a family really microwave one meal after the other for dinner? 

Perhaps Freshly is better suited for households with polar opposite food preferences or where members often eat at different times. For example, rather than always having them for dinner, their single portions could be brought to the office for lunch, too. 

Keep in mind that there will be a small delivery charge, which changes depending on your location.

Blue Apron, on the other hand, focuses on recipe-based weekly plans. Their two-people plan is available for either two or three nights and as a vegetarian alternative too, whereas the family plan for four includes a fourth-night option but no fixed meat-free plans.

Overall, Blue Apron is usually cheaper per serving, ranging between $7.49-$9.99, with a delivery fee being added only to the most basic plan.

All these features make it a practical option for couples and families who enjoy eating together and have similar tastes and dietary preferences.

The real question is: does saving time on meal prep justify up to $11.49 for a microwavable dinner, for you?

Winner: Blue Apron. While its competitor can be a handy solution for fewer meals and, especially, households with different schedules, Blue Apron’s meal plans are a lot more versatile and overall affordable.

Ingredients

One of the best benefits of Freshly is that it involves quick, microwavable dinners but without resulting in heavily processed food. In fact, they only use fresh and natural ingredients that are free from artificial and chemical preservatives!

However, we couldn’t find much information about their origin and suppliers.

Blue Apron, on the contrary, sends the ingredients to you, and we’ve always found them to be super fresh. 

They also use organic produce whenever possible and always rely on hormone-free meat, Seafood Watch-approved fish, and 100% GMO-free produce sourced from sustainable farms.

Winner: Blue Apron. Both Freshly and Blue Apron rely on fresh ingredients, but more transparency and an eye for sustainability are always appreciated.

Recipes

Freshly lets you choose among a wide variety of over 30 recipes, but they all have two things in common: they aren’t frozen and they’re always sent to you within 24 hours of preparation. Extra fresh and true to the name!

Their menu (divided into Crafted Classics, Signature Collection, Freshly Fit, and Takeout Twists) focuses on familiar dishes and crowd-pleasers, but you can find a few global-inspired options, too.

A special mention goes to the Freshly Fit section, which consists of paleo and keto-inspired dishes.

You can also add your own dietary preferences to make the meal choice easier.

However, we have to admit that we were left a bit hungry after each of the single portions we’ve tried. We’ve read about a few other customers who’ve had the same problem, whereas some others seemed pleased with the portion sizes, so we guess it really depends on how much you usually eat.

With Blue Apron you’re obviously in charge of the food prep, but the recipe cards make it incredibly easy.

They offer fewer options (11 per week, 3 on the vegetarian plan) but, because they consist of an interesting combination of classic and international recipes, we doubt you’ll struggle to find something you like the look of. 

While some of them can be slightly more advanced, even the most basic recipes usually result in restaurant-style meals, and we’ve found them all to be rather filling, so far.

Winner: Blue Apron. Varied, fairly simple, and the right size.

Customizability

Both Freshly and Blue Apron have rather customizable subscription models: should your plans change, you can stop, edit, or cancel your subscription on their websites or apps, which we’ve found easy to navigate.

While you can’t ask them to avoid specific ingredients, we’ve found that Freshly makes it relatively easier to scan the meals to do it yourself.

However, Blue Apron allows you to customize your subscription experience even further by including an exciting wine club, pantry ingredients, and kitchen tools that you can shop.

Winner: draw. Freshly makes it slightly easier to stick to a specific diet, while Blue Apron offers a more customizable overall experience.

Packaging

Freshly meals packing

We found Freshly’s boxes to be rather compact compared to most competitors, without compromising on insulation. Obviously, because they contain single-serve portions, there’s a lot of plastic involved, but it all seems to be recyclable.

Unlike most meal kit deliveries that separate the ingredients per recipe, Blue Apron will deliver all of them loose. While it results in slightly less (but mostly recyclable) packaging, we’ll be honest: it can get a bit messy in the fridge, especially when compared to Freshly’s portions.

Winner: Freshly. It’s hard to beat the pleasure of receiving such a neatly packaged box!

Our final verdict: Freshly vs Blue Apron, the right time-saving solution for you

Overall, we believe that Blue Apron is a better option. 

Being a traditional meal kit delivery, it will save you lots of time by letting you choose among an interesting selection of recipes, sending you pre-portioned ingredients, simplifying the preparation through clear recipe cards, and allowing you to upgrade your experience with additional ingredients or wine.

We especially recommend Blue Apron to couples and families who enjoy gathering around the table together or to single professionals who’re happy to dedicate half an hour of prep time in order to enjoy a chef-worthy meal.

For New Customers: Save $84 over your first 4 boxes with Blue Apron! -
 Click Here to Get Started

However, if you were hoping for an even more time-saving solution and are happy to pay a little extra for it, Freshly can still be the best choice. Someone else will take care of the cooking for you, so you just need to worry about microwaving these chef-style dishes and enjoying them.

We believe that Freshly is the most time-saving solution for singles and couples as well as for larger households who don’t usually eat dinner at the same time.

Subscribe to Freshly by Clicking HERE.

FAQs

1. Where is freshly cooked?

Freshly is cooked from this company’s huge 60,000 sq ft wide kitchens in Phoenix, Arizona, Linden, New Jersey, and Savage, Maryland.

2. Is Freshly worth the money?

Personally, we don’t believe that Freshly is worth the money as it’s more expensive than traditional meal kit deliveries and we didn’t find the portions to be particularly filling. However, it could very well be worth the money for you if you value speed and practicality above everything else and don’t mind paying extra for it.

3. Is Freshly cheaper than grocery shopping?

No, Freshly isn’t really cheaper than grocery shopping except for the fact that it allows you to avoid waste, but it can be cheaper than eating out or ordering a takeaway.

4. Is Blue Apron worth it for one person?

Blue Apron is worth it for one person if you’re trying to save time without compromising on food quality and range of recipes. 

While the two-night plan will involve an additional delivery fee, the three-night plan for two people includes free shipping, saving you money. 

When used for one person, the second option can either translate into a six-night plan (with the recipes being reheated the following evening or cooked one half at the time) or three dinners with leftovers for lunch the following day.


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References:

1. Juetten, M. (2020, October 15). Dinner, Anyone? The Freshly Story. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryjuetten/2020/10/15/dinner-anyone-the-freshly-story/?sh=1485746f2893

2. (n.d.). (2018, March 27). HelloFresh Passes Blue Apron As Biggest Meal Kit Company In The US. Retrieved from https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2018/hellofresh-blue-apron-meal-kit-company/

3. La Monica, P. (2020, May 14). Blue Apron rebound may be on the menu as more cook at home. Retrieved from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/05/14/investing/blue-apron-ceo/index.html

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