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Meal Delivery

Factor vs Freshly (The Crown Goes To …)

Having been a regular customer of meal delivery services since 2016, I’m always on the look out for new players—mainly for added variety. It’s nice being able to rotate between a few different food delivery services each month so I’m not getting tired of the same meals every week.

So when I started seeing ads for Factor, I was curious how they’d stack up against my current favorite, Freshly.

(True story … Freshly was the very first company I ever bought anything from because of an Instagram ad.)

Since I was in the market for a new meal delivery service in my regular rotation, I thought it’d be fun to see how Factor would stack up against Freshly, and if it would be good enough to order from regularly.

To decide, I ordered six meals from Freshly one week and then six meals from Factor the next. I did this for a month which means I tried twelve meals from each company.

Based on my experience with those meals, I compared them in these six categories:

  • Taste: Do they taste better than the microwaved meals I grew up eating as a kid?
  • Cost/Value: For what you pay and get, is it worth it?
  • Variety: How many different meals can I choose from?
  • Nutrition: Do the meals meet specific dietary or nutritional requirements?
  • Website/App: How user friendly are they?
  • Customer Service: If I have I have issues or questions, will I get prompt and helpful answers?
  • Worth Mentioning: Things I ran into along the way.
  • Overall Winner: Is there a clear winner?

Let’s take a look at who wins each round and ultimately takes the overall crown.

Long-Term Updates

September 2020

Since publishing this review in August 2019, I’ve continued using both Freshly and Factor regularly. With an additional year under my belt, I’ve updated this review to better reflect my sentiments about each meal-delivery service.

Some key changes include:

  • Factor went through a name change (from Factor 75 to Factor_) and revamped their branding/website
  • Freshly’s meal quality has taken a minor step back, IMHO
  • Changing the winner #plottwist

Taste

Winner: Factor

As I was taking notes on each meal, I noticed myself commenting on Factor’s flavor pretty consistently. Stuff like “good flavor” or “nice seasoning.” This was probably aided by some meals having sauces on the side. But even without the sauces, Factor meals generally had more flavor and seasoning.

For this reason, Factor got the nod for having better tasting meals.

Current Promos

Factor: Get $50 off your first two orders (use coupon code FACTOR50).

Freshly: Get $50 off your first three orders.

Note: If you order using any of the links in this post, it’s a win-win for both of us. You’ll get a generous discount and I’ll get some extra fun money (an actual budget category of mine). This is my unbiased review as a regular customer of both companies. I’ve also paid for every meal myself.

For comparison, I give Factor an 8 out of 10 on taste whereas Freshly gets a 6.5. And even though Freshly lost this category, their meals are still good.

Overall, both meal delivery services are winners in my book.

You would never know these meals came from a microwave unless you saw me heating them up first. Friends and family have all made similar comments.

And depending on your preferences, you may actual like Freshly’s more subtle flavor profile over Factor’s. I just like having a flavor explosion in my mouth. For example, where most normal people squeeze one lime wedge into a bowl of pho (Vietnamese soup), I’ll squeeze four or five. ?

Cost/Value

Winner: Freshly (by 10-18% per meal depending on plan)

For comparison purposes, I’m looking at the 4, 6, and 12-meal plans from each (the only ones offered by both). In addition to those, Freshly offers a 9-meal plan while Factor offers 8 and 18-meal plans.

Here’s a cost breakdown per meal.

Meal PlanFreshlyFactor
4$13.65 ($49.99)$15 ($60)
6$10.92 ($59.99)$12.83 ($77)
8$13.38 ($99)
9$10.92 ($89.99)
12$9.83 ($107.99)$11.50 ($138)
18$11 ($198)

Note: Freshly charges sales tax in Tennessee (9.25%) whereas Factor doesn’t. Sales tax is included in the Freshly numbers. The base cost per meal plan is in parenthesis. Neither “charges” for shipping.

I typically order 6-meal boxes so Freshly is cheaper by $1.91/meal.

If the meal portions were exactly the same then Freshly would be the clear winner here. But Factor 75 meals are a tad larger from what I can tell. So I did factor that in when choosing a winner in this category.

Freshly still got the nod since the size of the meals didn’t justify the increased cost. I didn’t feel like I was any more full from Factor 75’s meals over Freshly’s.

One interesting difference, portions for the protein and sides were generally balanced with Freshly meals. Meaning the amount of food for the sides felt appropriate for the amount of protein. However, for some Factor meals, the sides were significantly smaller than the protein.

And if you’re a protein person (like me), you might prefer Factor’s portions over Freshly’s. Factor’s seafood, pork, steak, etc. portions were almost always larger than Freshly’s by a noticeable amount.

Variety

Winner: Freshly (because of significantly more meal options)

As of this review, here’s a breakdown meals provided by Freshly and Factor.

TypeFreshlyFactor
Beef24
Breakfast3
Chicken205
Pasta3
Pork52
Seafood2
Steak2
Turkey3
Vegetarian4
Total:3520

If you’re a big chicken fan, Freshly has you covered with 20 (!!) chicken options. These range from whole chicken breasts to meals with thigh/break chunks.

Looking at the breakdown above, there are some things that stand out:

  • Freshly has 35 meals while Factor only has 20.
  • Freshly has pasta, steak, and turkey dishes while Factor doesn’t.
  • On the flip side, Factor has breakfast, seafood, and vegetarian options but Freshly doesn’t.

Both provide six “categories” (e.g. beef, chicken, pork, etc.). Granted, these are subject to change depending on the season and what’s on the menu.

For someone who typically orders six meals at a time, I was always able to get a good variety of meals across different proteins (e.g. chicken, seafood, beef, etc.).

I never felt like I was eating too much of one type of meal with either service.

So while both have similar choices across different proteins, Freshly takes home the trophy because there’s more options to choose from.

Nutrition

Winner: Factor (if you’re on a specific diet or have nutritional requirements)

This doesn’t mean Factor is healthier or more nutritious than Freshly, it just means Factor has more emphasis on the nutritional aspects of their meals.

They take two different approaches.

Freshly markets itself as “healthy meals delivered to you” while Factor takes the “nutritionally optimized meals” route.

When choosing meals, Freshly groups meals by its own market-y categories (e.g. Takeout Twists, One-Bowl Nourishers, Feel-Better Food, etc.) and not based on specific diets or nutritional requirements.

You can, however, sort meals by the amount of calories, carbs, protein, total fat, and sodium. But they don’t appear to cater to specific dietary needs.

Freshly Sort Options
Factor Sort Options

On the flip side, Factor 75 intentionally categorizes meals by diet or nutritional requirement.

  • Ketogenic Meals
  • Paleo Meals
  • High Protein Meals
  • Low Calorie Meals
  • Low Carb Meals
  • Dairy Free
  • Spicy
  • Vegetarian
  • Plant-Based

Factor has a much stronger emphasis on nutrition. You can ask their dietician questions (seemingly for free via an online form), schedule a free 20-min nutrition coaching call, or buy more in-depth nutrition coaching packages.

Current Promos

Factor: Get $50 off your first two orders (use coupon code FACTOR50).

Freshly: Get $50 off your first three orders.

Just for fun, I did take advantage of the free 20-min consult and was pleasantly surprised at how low key it was.

I was fully expecting a hard sell for paid coaching packages or hyping Factor meals for hitting nutrition goals, but there was zero mention of those things. Even as we wrapped up and there was still five minutes left in our time.

The entire call was just the head dietician answering my questions.

Since I’ve been ramping up my run training and increasing my mileage (35+ miles/week), I had been wondering how increased mileage would impact my nutritional needs.

So all my questions were centered around that.

The dietician was extremely helpful, friendly, and gave me some actionable advice. It probably helped that she was a runner herself so understood that world.

Website/App

Winner: Freshly

I’m not always Judgy McJudgerson when it comes to a company’s website. However, with meal delivery services where I’m regularly interacting with their website, I care a lot about usability.

How easy is it to choose meals, skip weeks, or make changes to my account?

This is an area where Freshly easily out classes Factor. While the two screenshots might look somewhat similar below, Freshly’s website and app are noticeably more optimized for the user experience.

Nuances you can’t appreciate until you see/use them for yourself.

For example, notice the red exclamation point icon on the K-Town Pork meal below. That’s warning me it has tree nuts in it (which I’ve told Freshly to avoid).

Choosing Meals - Freshly
Choosing meals on Freshly’s website
Choosing meals on Factor’s website

It’s obvious there was a lot of intentionality put into Freshly’s design, layout, and how users would perform basic tasks. Freshly’s website and app is just way more user friendly.

It’s the subtle things Freshly does that make me believe they cares about the details.

On a side note, having seen Factor’s website evolve, it’s funny to see how much has been copied from Freshly (but not done with their level of excellence). In this case, I’m thankful they copied Freshly because their old website was much worse than it is now.

Customer Service

Winner: Tie (despite wanting to choose a winner)

Current Promos

Factor: Get $50 off your first two orders (use coupon code FACTOR50).

Freshly: Get $50 off your first three orders.

While I hate declaring anything a tie (because it feels like a cop out), I don’t have enough experience with Factor’s customer service to declare a definitive winner.

I have a lot more experience with Freshly’s customer service since I’ve been a customer for longer. I’ve reached out to Freshly probably 10+ times compared to a few times for Factor.

It didn’t seem fair to declare a winner when interactions with both were extremely positive. Responses times were quick, friendly, and seemingly unscripted (like an actual person with personality was on the other end).

Factor Response

Thanks for reaching out!  Christina here, head dietitian with Factor 75.  Technology is great until it’s not and then it’s just frustrating!  Hopefully, I can help! 

Is this the link that you were following to schedule? 

REDACTED

If that link isn’t working for you, please feel free to toss over a few times that work for you (along with your timezone and best phone number), and I’ll schedule you from my end. 

Freshly Response

Thank you so much for reaching out to us, and I’m so sorry for any confusion in regards to your forthcoming order! I’m absolutely happy to take care of this for you, as we certainly don’t mean to catch anyone by surprise!

I want you to know that I will do everything I can to stop these meals from being produced and shipped. Rest assured, those meals will not go to waste! Whenever possible, we do our very best to donate all leftover meals to those in need. Waste not, want not, as the saying goes!

Freshly and Factor provide support via email, phone, or text while Freshly adds a live chat option.

All in all, I’m confident I’ll be taken care of whenever reaching out to support for either company.

Worth Mentioning

Before I declare an overall winner, there are somethings worth mentioning about each service.

Freshly

You can choose what day of the week meals are delivered on. At least where I live in Tennessee, I can have meals delivered Wednesday through Saturday. Since I travel semi regularly, this is a great feature. If I know I won’t be in town on Wednesday (when I typically have meals delivered), I can move it to Thursday.

In contrast, I can only get Factor meals delivered on Wednesday.

Factor

You can order meals without a weekly subscription. After your first order, you can cancel your weekly subscription but still place one-off orders without having to reactivate a weekly subscription. However, Factor does charge a higher per meal cost for this option.

Overall Winner

And the championship belt goes to … Factor!

When I initially wrote this review, Freshly was the winner. So why did I change it? Having ordered both meal-delivery services for over a year, I saw myself preferring Factor meals over Freshly meals pretty much every time.

The meals were just more enjoyable. My taste buds looked forward to them more than Freshly meals.

However, it’s worth noting Freshly is easily the best overall value (factoring in taste, variety, and cost). Truthfully, I’d recommend Freshly over Factor to most people just because of that fact.

But for my personal preferences, I’m willing to pay a bit more for Factor meals.

Current Promos

Factor: Get $50 off your first two orders (use coupon code FACTOR50).

Freshly: Get $50 off your first three orders.

Bottom line: You honestly can’t go wrong with either option.

The choice really comes down to your priorities—cost, variety, specific meal categories (e.g. seafood, breakfast), and dietary/nutritional requirements.

Hopefully from this review one of the two options will stand out to you based on what I’ve shared.

Well, there you have it. If you’ve tried either service, do my observations line up with yours? Let me know in the comments!

20 replies on “Factor vs Freshly (The Crown Goes To …)”

One more thing that is maybe worth mentioning… the freshly boxes are bright green with the words “freshly chef-cooked meals delivered fresh” in giant writing, so if you live in a high traffic area or have issues with mail theft, it could be a problem.

I’m a user of Freshly and I have to say, I love it! I don’t have a lot of extra time and don’t really enjoy cooking. I also can’t stand fast food. The salt-bomb content and preservatives make me feel sick. Freshly is a little pricey but I’ve liked almost every meal on the 6 per week plan for several months. The meals show up already cooked, never frozen, and they don’t have super weird ingredients or outrageous salt content. 3 minutes and you have a home cooked style meal. There also isn’t a ton of trash. Almost all of it is recyclable. It will run around 10$ a meal, but the food is actually good and definitely more healthy than fast food trash. The chili and Italian dishes are great. It will not be a moneysaver, but if you have limited extra time and place value on how you spend it, I definitely recommend the service. Only real downside, imo, they rarely have seafood dishes. If you primarily eat seafood you won’t be happy with the service…I tried Factor briefly and did notice bigger portion sizes, but I honestly like the Freshly meals flavor better. Also, I live in the Southwest, and Factor’s packaging does not stand up well to the heat…

Worth noting that once your are a subscriber Factor has a way to get better value out of their meals by purchasing a chunk of “Factor Bucks” at a discount which translates to fewer dollars spent per meal.

At best (purchasing these factor bucks 1200 at a time for $925, and doing 18 meals per week) you can get them down to about $8.50 per meal unless I am terrible at math. Its a complicated system and I don’t think you should consider this as the actual price per meal, but it might be a worthy mention.

ooooh, solid tip! thanks ryan.

for those interested, this option is found under the “packages” section in the navigation bar.

looks like the lowest tier deal right now is get $300 for $250 (~17% discount).

however, i see a gift card deal right now where you can buy a $100 gift card and get $25 (~20% off) for yourself. so a little bit better discount and less upfront cost if you send the gift card to yourself.

Alex – Like you, I alternate Freshly and Factor weekly (for greater variety) and have done so for over two years. There is one area (which you did not cover) where Factor falls short — packaging. In the heat of summer, Factor’s order rarely arrives with the ice packs intact. In fact, not only do they melt, everything inside the box is soggy. If you live in the South or Southwest, you need to be aware of this situation. Plus, FedEx pays no attention to the “This Side Up” labeling on the Factor packaging. Half the time, the box is upside down on my porch. In my area, Freshly is now delivered via an independent carrier and now arrives in the AM. But even when it was delivered via UPS in the summer heat in the late afternoon, the Freshly packaging held up and the ice packs were not melted.

glad to see a fellow freshly/factor alternator! 😉

and yeah, i’ll give you that freshly’s packaging is better and does seem to keep the ice packs from melting as much. however, i haven’t ever had a soggy box issue. if the ice packs are melted more than usually, it only results in the cardboard sleeves getting somewhat wet.

a little late to this party, but glad you enjoyed the review! if you happen to see this, what’s your take on factor?

I’m on my second week of Factor but I have yet to try it because FedEx is late two weeks in a row. The first week arrived 5 days late and had to be thrown out and this week is scheduled for the same. The customer service for Factor is slow to respond but very willing to help you and compensate you.

I’m going to cancel Factor and try Freshly, as long as they use a different delivery service.

Just to mention, I have been using Home Chef for over a year and have moved cross country and then twice in the state I moved to while using it and they have never been late except for one time. They use OnTrac. So I believe this to be more of a FedEx issue.

ahh, man. sorry you’re having fedex issues. i ran into a similar situation a few weeks ago and had to throw out two weeks’ worth of meals. one week from factor, the other from realeats.

unfortunately, i don’t think trying freshly will solve the delivery issues though since they also use fedex.

I contacted Freshly before I ordered my first week, with your coupon code btw (thanks for that), and they told me for my area in the East Bay that they use a different smaller company similar to On-Trac. I forgot the name but it begins with an ‘A’.

Anyhow, its supposed to come on Sunday the 11th, so hopefully it comes thru.

This is great info. My wife and I are doing 6 meals from Factor and 6 meals from Freshly per week for The next two weeks. The winner will get our weekly business.

oooh, i love me a good head-to-head battle! would love a follow-up comment once you decide a winner. would be curious how your experience aligns with mine.

sweet, let me know what you think of freshly. and i just noticed factor has a discount now for new customers. so when you give factor a try, be sure you take advantage of the $40 off link in my post!

I tried 12 Freshly meals and found them to begin tasting alike after the 4th or 5th one…I detected some kind of seasoning that seemed present as an aftertaste in everything…maybe too much salt…the chicken dishes were mushy. I was hoping to like because the concept is great. I’ll try Factor soon.

you know, i think i could can see how the meals start tasting the same after awhile. it didn’t used to be the case but nowadays, there’s definitely a common “base” for a lot of the meals. i need to update this review because i think i’m slowly starting to prefer factor more because the meals feel more varied and tastier.

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