Did you know that not all meal kit delivery services send you ingredients and a recipe card, making you do all that prep work and cooking work?
Some services offer heat and eat meals. Meaning, they’ll send you full prepped and cooked meals that only require you to reheat and eat.
There’s a benefit to this. If you’re crunched for time, pop that bad boy in the microwave. If you’re feeling a little extra (but not so extra you want to cook a meal from scratch), pop that bad boy in the oven.
Now the question is, are you the Iron Chef or Mr. Heat-and-Eat?
If you’re the Iron Chef, you’ll love Blue Apron. When you order from Blue Apron, you get fresh ingredients and recipe cards designed to help chefs of all levels cook incredible meals at home. This cuts out the menu planning and shopping, so all you have to do is cook and enjoy.
If you’re Mr. Heat-and-Eat, check out Freshly. Freshly chefs use clever swaps and sneaky veggies to craft meals with unexpected twists—so every bite is as nutritious as it is delicious. The best part? You can cook them in three minutes or less.
However, if you’re Mr. Can’t-Make-Up-Your-Mind, you’ve come to the right place because we’re going to make a side-by-side comparison of these two meal kit delivery services. This will help you choose which kit is right for you and know what to expect from them when your order.
Signature (Meat & Veggies),
Meat & Veggie (100% Certified Gluten Free)
Price per serving
Starting at $8.99
Starting at $8.49
Doesn’t cite specific meals as “kid-friendly”
$5.99 – 11.99
48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii).
48 states (excludes Alaska and Hawaii).
We’ll give you the low down on everything from pricing to ingredient quality for Blue Apron and Freshly in this side-by-side comparison. However, if you are looking for more in-depth information, don’t hesitate to check out our full-length reviews of each service here.
Winner: Blue Apron
It may look like the only thing that separates Blue Apron’s pricing from Freshly is the delivery charge, but that’s not exactly the case. You only get the $8.49 per serving price with Freshly if you order at least 12 meals for the week.
Here’s a quick breakdown of their meal plans and pricing, so you know exactly what you’ll be spending if you order Freshly.
- 4 meals a week is $45.96 + $5.99 shipping = $51.95 (Price per meal: $11.49)
- 6 meals a week is $56.94 + $5.99 shipping = $62.93 (Price per meal: $9.49)
- 10 meals a week is $89.90 + $9.99 shipping = $99.89 (Price per meal: $8.99)
- 12 meals a week is $101.88 + $11.99 shipping = $113.87 (Price per meal: $8.49)
Conversely, you should note that Blue Apron has customizability options that can tack on dollars extra per serving, per meal. So if you’re on the pickier side or just like to take advantage of having a lot of options to really make the meal your own, this can tie up the playing field as far as pricing is concerned.
Additionally, Blue Apron has “Premium” recipes that can cost more. We’ve seen meals as high as $19.99 per serving.
Overall, Blue Apron is your best bet if pricing is a top priority in your decision-making process. Without ordering a ton of food per week, you’ll have an easier time fitting Blue Apron into the budget so long as you don’t go crazy with the customizations because of the free shipping.
Winner: Blue Apron
Blue Apron is definitely the winner when it comes to plan options. Blue Apron might not give you a massive variety of options. Still, you do get a choice between regular meat and veggie meals or vegetarian meals.
This isn’t the case with Freshly. Freshly only offers meat and veggie style meals. This means, if you’re vegetarian, you’re out of luck with Freshly.
We will point out that Freshly does have a benefit that most other meal kits don’t offer… Their meals come as single servings. You can get as few as four meals or as many as 12 meals per week, and you can choose to have them be all different meals.
This tends to make them a little more suitable for individuals because Blue Apron meals come as two or four servings. Meaning, if you’re an individual subscriber, get used to eating the same meal at least twice per week.
Winner: Blue Apron
If you are an individual, you may end up eating the same meal at least twice per week. However, we still named Blue Apron as the winner for food variety because of their customizability options.
With Blue Apron Customized, you can swap, add or upgrade the ingredients in your box on the “Signature” plans. As previously stated, Freshly only offers meat and veggie style meals, with zero customization options.
Here’s the low down on Blue Apron Customized; swapping allows you to exchange one ingredient for another, like changing out chicken for tofu or a starch for extra veggies. Adding increases the portion of an ingredient. Finally, upgrading allows you to select a more premium ingredient, like exchanging bistro steaks for NY strip steak.
Furthermore, with Blue Apron, you can choose from an ever-changing mix of meat, fish, Beyond Meat, WW Approved, Diabetes-Friendly recipes and health-conscious offerings.
Because of this, Blue Apron wins by a landslide for food variety.
Accommodate dietary restrictions
Honestly, when it comes to accommodating dietary restrictions, both services leave something to be deserved.
We’ve repeatedly mentioned how Freshly doesn’t even have vegetarian options, whereas Blue Apron does, so you may be wondering how Freshly could possibly be the winner for this category.
We got two words for you: Gluten. Free.
That’s right. Freshly meals are gluten-free. All of their meals are made in kitchens that are 100% certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG).
Now, we’re not saying those who eat gluten-free are more important than vegetarians. However, if you’re vegetarian, there are quite a few meal kit delivery services that have you covered. Celiacs, and those who follow gluten-free diets by choice, aren’t so lucky.
Because Freshly is one of a tiny handful of services that are suitable for gluten-free eaters, we’ve chosen them as the winner for accommodating dietary restrictions.
Winner: Blue Apron
Blue Apron sends ripe, high-quality produce and fresh cuts of meat. Freshly doesn’t use organic ingredients, but they avoid chemical preservatives, processed sugars and artificial ingredients. Between the two, there’s not much to complain about.
We did have an incident with one of the packages of meat we received from Blue Apron leaking. However, we’ve still named them the winner for ingredient quality for a few reasons.
One, we trust the leaking package is just a one-time deal and not a regular occurrence. Two, Freshly might use quality ingredients, but once you microwave your meal, everything is left a little … mushy.
After cooking a Blue Apron meal, it resembles the picture on the recipe card. After cooking a Freshly meal, there is almost zero resemblance to the photos on the website, so we got to give this one to Blue Apron.
Ease of use
There is one huge benefit to Freshly: convenience! If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, don’t like to cook or just don’t feel like it, Freshly is an excellent option for you. You can have these meals on the table in about 3 minutes.
On the other hand, the cooking of the Blue Apron meals was rather enjoyable. When you read the recipes, they feel fancy, like they’re not for your average amateur chef. However, they’re easy to make. You don’t need to have special equipment. Furthermore, suppose you do find you have questions. In that case, you can easily find a tutorial for that meal to follow along with on Blue Apron’s website.
One area in the cooking that wasn’t ideal was the amount of prep work. This might not apply to every Blue Apron recipe, but it definitely did to the meals we received. One recipe called for us to remove the husks and silks from corn before cutting the kernels off…..the kernels were hard to keep track of… they go everywhere. Plus, after that, you have to chop other ingredients.
In general though, even if you can’t read, you can totally make these meals. The video tutorials take all the guesswork out of the cooking process.
However, all things considered, the cooking process of Freshly meals was definitely a snap. Just heat and eat!
Ordering experience and packaging
Freshly wins for ordering experience and packaging for a few reasons, and it’s not just due to the leaky package of meat.
If you want to try Blue Apron, I hope you have a fair bit of patience! When we ordered, there was about a five-week-long waiting period before our first box was delivered. When we tried other meal kits, this was the longest we had to wait, with most other services adding us to the following week’s delivery schedule.
While Blue Apron is tasty and therefore worth the wait, most people who are meal kit shopping are looking to start their subscription as soon as possible. If this is the case for you, Freshly may be the wiser choice.
The Bottom Line
As you can see by this side-by-side comparison, Blue Apron and Freshly are quite different. Because of this, we can’t exactly name a winner for which service is better.
Freshly is suitable for you if you need a speedy dinner solution. Plus, they have the added benefit of being gluten-free. Furthermore, they avoid chemical preservatives, processed sugars and artificial ingredients.
Whereas, with Blue Apron, their recipes can be a little more time-consuming. However, you have a ton of customization options. Plus, they’re technically the more budget-friendly service because of their free shipping.
Suppose you have no specific food requirements or preferences. In that case, we encourage you to try different meal kit delivery services to find the right for you. It’s a lot of fun!