If you’re considering a meal delivery service, you’ve already considered many of the benefits. The main question that remains is if you want a service that delivers fresh, prepared meals to your door or one that will deliver a crave-worthy meal kit that will let you have a little fun in the kitchen.
Both types of meal delivery have their pluses and minuses, but here, we’ve looked at one of the most popular companies in each category. Freshly and Home Chef are the ones that stepped into the ring for this comparison, with Freshy emerging as the champ. We love them for their amazing taste, incredible variety, and convenience.
Home Chef has some good things going for them too. Keep reading to see where each of them shines.
About Freshly Vs. Home Chef
Freshly and Home Chef are both meal delivery services, but they each fill a different niche in the market. Freshly was founded in 2012 to help people eat healthier by offering premade meals with real, wholesome ingredients. Freshly is free of processed sugars and artificial ingredients. They also understand that variety is important when eating healthy and offer one of the largest menus of all meal delivery services today.
Home Chef is another long-standing contender in the meal delivery arena. Founded in 2013, Home Chef delivers perfectly portioned meal kits to the doorsteps of their customers. They offer flavors that are more in line with today’s culinary trends and nourish a growing love of cooking through easy but innovative recipes.
There’s a lot more to the story for each of these meal delivery options. Here’s a quick rundown of the main pros and cons of each.
Table of Contents
For anyone following a special diet, deciding on a meal delivery service becomes even more challenging. When you have dietary preferences or need to omit certain ingredients, you want meal delivery that offers lots of options for your needs.
Freshly doesn’t specialize in meals for certain diets, like paleo, keto, or Whole30, but they do offer meals that someone following one of these dietary lifestyles would enjoy. Freshly mentions in their recipe descriptions whether a meal is paleo-friend, keto-friendly, etc., even though they’re not diet-specific.
Most Freshly meals are gluten-free, although they do sometimes have a small number of meals containing gluten. If you are gluten-intolerant, Freshly wants you to know that they prepare their gluten-free meals in a specially designated spot to eliminate the risk of cross-contamination.
Freshly also designates meals that are dairy-free, soy-free, high-protein, and calorie-conscious meals that are under 500 calories each.
Home Chef also caters to some special dietary preferences and to those with some dietary restrictions. Home Chef offers four different meal kit plans, three of which focus on different types of healthy meals. These healthy meal plan categories include calorie-conscious, low-carb, and vegetarian.
Home Chef doesn’t offer meal kits specifically designed for people with food allergies, and all of their meals are created in the same facility, so there is the risk of cross-contamination. If you’re simply trying to avoid certain ingredients, Home Chef does rotate in recipes that might be dairy-free, gluten-free, or soy-free, but these options are usually limited.
Because Home Chef is a meal kit service, you do have the opportunity to omit certain ingredients during preparation. For example, if you’re avoiding dairy and the only dairy in a meal kit is a sprinkling of cheese, this is fairly easy to modify. You can check out all of the ingredients that come in a meal kit before you even order, which is always a smart move if you have special dietary preferences.
Meal Prep & Variety
The next thing we looked at when comparing Freshly Vs. Home Chef was the variety of meals they offer and what type of meal prep is involved. Between the two, Freshly has the largest weekly menu, so let’s start there.
Freshly’s weekly menu features more than 40 choices for heat & eat meals. This is, by far, more than what you’ll see with most other meal delivery services. Their menu also includes some a la carte items for complimenting your Freshly meals or creating dishes of your own. These include proteins like flat iron steak, chicken breast, and meatballs. There are also a few a la carte sides, including mashed potatoes and mac & cheese.
Honestly, there are enough meals per week that it’s almost overwhelming. Freshly solves this problem by giving you simple filters to narrow down the choices. These categories include FreshlyFit, Takeout Twists, Crafted Classics, and their Signature Collection.
By comparison, the Home Chef menu is smaller than Freshly’s, but it’s large enough that you won’t have to worry about not having enough choices each week. Home Chef features about 15 standard meal kits per week, plus a selection of oven-ready meal choices and extras like dessert, proteins, and sides. Home Chef also breaks down its menu into categories for easier ordering.
Now, for meal prep. This is one of those areas where it’s difficult to compare these two meal planning services head to head because they’re quite different in this arena. Freshly offers fresh pre-made meals. There’s nothing that you have to do except heat them up. Freshly’s meals require nothing more than a few minutes of your time.
Home Chef meals are meal kits. Home Chef pre-portions and prepares all the ingredients for a delicious meal and then sends them to you fresh and ready to assemble/cook. There is more meal prep involved with Home Chef. Some of their meals take longer to prepare than others, but they take about 30 minutes on average. They do offer 15-minute meal kits and entree salads for when you’re really short on time or just not feeling like cooking.
Home Chef is different from many other meal kit delivery services in that they also offer a small selection of easy, oven-ready options. These just need to be tossed in the oven and forgotten about until the timer goes off. Many people like Home Chef because they can order both meal kits and fully prepared meals.
Home Chef Meal
Home Chef Plan
Ingredients are really at the heart of delicious meals. Without quality, fresh ingredients, it can all go south really fast. Both Freshly and Home Chef promote using fresh ingredients, but here’s how they compare.
Freshly focuses on providing healthy meals that make it easy for people to eat foods that support their health, rather than the typical frozen meals from the grocery store or fast food. Freshly isn’t a certified organic company, but they do eliminate processed sugars and artificial ingredients from their meals, so you’re getting fresh, wholesome goodness.
Organic ingredients aren’t high on the list of priorities for Home Chef either. Occasionally, they’ll use organic produce in their meal kits, but this really depends on seasonal factors, quality, freshness, and affordability. Home Chef does offer a “customize it” option, where you can swap out one protein for another. In some cases, you can swap out the organic chicken for other non-organic protein choices.
Home Chef is also committed to being a responsible partner in the humane treatment of animals. They work directly with their suppliers to guarantee that animal welfare standards are adhered to.
Taste & Sample Meals
- Chicken Livorno
- Turkey Mushroom Meatballs
- Springtime Chicken Pilaf
- Chimichurri Steak Flatbread
- Cuban Avocado Black Bean Quinoa Bowl
- Sweet Chili Pork Lettuce Wrap with Crispy Rice Noodles
Meal delivery offers a ton of convenience, regardless if we’re talking about heat & eat meals or meal kits. Still, in the end, it doesn’t matter how convenient something is if you’re sacrificing the flavor and quality of the meals. Taste is important. Here’s where Freshly and Home Chef stand.
Freshly offers a lot of diversity with their menu. While their meals are premade, Freshly still makes each dish taste like a home-cooked meal. We like Freshly’s menu categories and how they help steer you in the direction of the meals you’ll enjoy the most.
Freshly’s Takeout Twist category features dishes that taste just like you’d find in your favorite restaurant. Most meals in this category seem to hover around Mexican, Chinese, and Indian flavors. With the Signature Collection, you’ll find meals that are a bit more elegant, with complex flavors. A few examples include a Wild-Caught Whitefish Cake and Pork Chop Saltimbocca.
The menu of Home Chef meals isn’t as large as Freshly’s, but these meal kits definitely aren’t lacking in flavor. Home Chef builds their meal kits with recipes that have an element of familiarity and comfort but take the flavor up several notches with sauces, spices, and a few new ingredients for you to play around with.
A few examples of Home Chef meal kits include Chicken Breast with Sage Brown Butter Sauce, Tex Mex Style Pork Stuffed Peppers, and a Huli Huli Chicken Rice Bowl. Home Chef doesn’t offer many vegetarian meals, but the ones they do offer have exciting flavors. Their vegetarian options include the likes of Crispy Tofu and Tzatziki Gyros, and Creamy Mushroom, and Kale White Cheddar Biscuit Pie.
Don’t forget that Home Chef also offers a selection of oven-ready meals. These meals lean toward being comfort food-style dishes. Think along the lines of ground beef stroganoff meatloaf with fresh vegetables or creamy pasta.
MEALS PER WEEK
PRICE PER SERVING
(Price Per Serving)
(Price Per Serving)
(Price Per Serving)
Now it’s time to look at the pricing in this meal delivery comparison. Most people have a grocery budget that they try to adhere to, and ideally, meal delivery services should fit within that budget without stretching it too much. Both Freshly and Home Chef are meal delivery services that fall on the more affordable end of the price spectrum, but here’s how they compare.
Freshly can be a very affordable meal delivery service, but just how affordable depends on how many meals per week you choose as part of your plan. You can choose meal plans that include 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 meals per week. The more meals you order, the less the cost per serving.
For example, if you choose to order only four meals per week, you’ll pay about $11.49 per serving with Freshly. This price point is average to slightly above average when compared to other meal delivery services. But, if you go for the max and order twelve meals per week, the cost is as low as $8.49 per serving. Most would agree this is reasonable for an entire meal that lets you skip meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking.
Freshly Meal Pricing
Home Chef isn’t the cheapest meal kit service, but they can be one of the more affordable meal subscription services, depending on which meals you choose and how many. The cheapest Home Chef meals start as low as $6.99 per serving. The price goes up to about $13.95 for some of their meal options. The average price of a Home Chef meal kit comes in right under $9 per serving.
Something else you want to factor into the cost of a meal delivery service is shipping. Both Freshly and Home Chef charge for shipping with each order. The problem with both meal delivery services is that neither is very forthcoming in how much shipping costs. Shipping varies depending on the size of your order and your location.
Packaging & Recycling
In the battle of Freshly Vs. Home Chef, the next thing we looked at was the packaging. Packaging is important because it helps keep your food fresh and at peak quality during transit. We also know it isn’t always possible to be home when your delivery arrives, so the packaging needs to stand up to the possibility of being left on a sunny doorstep for hours.
It’s also important that the packaging be recyclable. When you’re getting a meal delivery box every week, all that cardboard and packaging accumulates quickly. The easier you can take care of all of it, the better.
Freshly uses something called modified atmospheric packaging to keep your food fresh during transit. It sounds complicated, but it really just involves changing the internal atmosphere inside the packaging. A little less oxygen means bacteria have less chance to thrive, and it slows the oxidation process. This is key for enjoying a fresh meal without preservatives.
Nearly all of Freshly’s packaging materials are 100% recyclable. As a company, they’re very committed to the environment. They also offer a fairly detailed guide on their website that outlines how to recycle each packaging component.
Home Chef is also committed to minimizing packaging without sacrificing food quality or safety. Because they’re a meal kit delivery service, it’s not uncommon for them to use more packaging than your typical prepared meal services. Ingredients need to be packaged separately for both food safety reasons and to preserve taste.
Still, Home Chef does a good job of this without going overboard with the packaging. They make sure that all of their packaging is either recyclable or reusable and include a handy guide on how to handle each piece of packaging material.
The last area we compared Freshly, and Home Chef is customer service. For this, we looked at both how easy it is to manage your subscription, skip weeks, modify your plan, or cancel your subscription altogether.
With Freshly, you can manage just about every aspect of your subscription online. This includes changing your delivery date, modifying your plan, or changing your meals. If you’d like to skip or cancel a delivery, you can do that also, as long as you do it before the deadline. Canceling your subscription can also be done online after answering a few questions about why you’ve decided to call it quits.
Home Chef also allows you to fully manage your account online. We also like that from your account settings page, you can choose if you want deliveries to be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly.
It’s also important to look at overall customer reviews for customer service. When doing this, you want to look for patterns and consistent issues that seem to appear rather than looking at the most extreme reviews on either end of the spectrum. Home Chef gets decent reviews for their customer service, except for some typical plan management issues that seem to plague every meal kit delivery service.
Freshly, on the other hand, is a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to customer reviews. Several months ago, they seemed to be struggling a bit in the customer service department, but so were many meals delivery services with the pressure of business increasing due to the pandemic. More recently, Freshly seems to have changed things around is providing a much higher level of customer care.
Both meal delivery services are great at what they do but Freshly emerges as our winner in the competition between Freshly Vs. Home Chef. We chose Freshly because of their more diverse dietary options, especially their gluten-free meals and healthy recipes. Their large variety of their menu also means you won’t be eating the same meals every week.
Freshly’s nutritious meals are delivered fresh, utilizing modern packaging technology to keep them at their peak of freshness. All in all, there’s a lot to love about Freshly.
Still, Home Chef is one of the best meal kit services, and their meal options are equally worthy of some love. In this comparison, it really comes down to if you’re looking for a meal plan that features prepared meals or meal delivery kits.
Here’s a quick rundown of the high points of each.
Choose Freshly If:
- You enjoy a great variety of meal choices each week
- You are gluten-free or have special dietary needs
- You like the heat & eat approach, with no cooking whatsoever
- Want the option to choose between 4-12 meals per week
- Enjoy great, fresh flavors and healthy meal choices
Choose Home Chef If:
- You prefer the more hands-on approach of a Home Chef meal kit
- You want more diversity by being able to choose a meal kit or oven-ready meal, with some slow cooker meals in the mix
- Enjoy the flexibility of pricing with each meal plan
- Have tried other meal kit companies, like Blue Apron, and want to try something new
- Enjoy seasonal, fresh ingredients