Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen

A direct comparison between these two meal delivery services

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Snap Kitchen steak on plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Freshly and Snap Kitchen both offer single-serving, fully prepped meals that are designed to be quickly reheated in the microwave, Both are subscription services that deliver up to 12 meals per week. Though broadly similar, there are also significant differences. The cost of Freshly is significantly lower than Snap Kitchen's, especially at the 12-meals-per-week level, and it has a slightly larger menu and more frequently adds new meals. On the other hand, Snap Kitchen accommodates more types of diets than Freshly, with meals that are generally simpler, often built from just protein, vegetables, and sometimes sauce.

We tried both services to see which one was the better value overall. We compared Freshly to Snap Kitchen in a number of categories, covering every aspect of each service in depth so you can know what you're getting into before deciding to give either one a try. Read on to determine which one is best for you.

Freshly Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Helpful menu sorting filters

  • New meals added weekly

Cons
  • No free shipping

  • Very few plant-based options

  • Frequent use of processed ingredients/additives

Snap Kitchen Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Totally gluten-free

  • Fully prepped meals

  • Fresh, not frozen

  • Minimal packaging

Cons
  • Only 6 or 12 meals per week

  • Not suitable for vegetarians

  • Slow to add new meals

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Price

The cost of Snap Kitchen is very straightforward. There are only two plans: six meals per week for $75.99 and 12 meals per week for $125.99. That's close to $13 per meal on the six-meal plan and $11 per meal on the 12-meal plan. Shipping is included in the price. There are no up-charges for any of the meals, and it's all available for the one flat rate.

Freshly has five plans, delivering from as few as four meals to as many as 12. The plans are priced as follows: 

  • Four meals per week is $45.96, plus $5.99 shipping = $51.95
  • Six meals a week is $56.94, plus $5.99 shipping = $62.93
  • Eight meals a week is $74.32, plus $7.99 shipping = $82.31
  • 10 meals a week is $89.90, plus $9.99 shipping = $99.89
  • 12 meals a week is $101.88, plus $11.99 shipping = $113.87

As you can see, Freshly costs less overall than Snap Kitchen, even though Freshly charges you separately for shipping. A handful of Freshly's menu items, such as a la carte proteins and some meals with steak and/or seafood, carry additional charges, but even if you ordered these items consistently, you'd still probably spend a little less than you would with Snap Kitchen.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Meal Choices

Freshly meals in packaging

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Both services offer single-serving meals with a diverse selection of proteins, sides, and internationally inspired flavor profiles. Snap Kitchen generally favors the protein-and-sides structure, while Freshly's menu leans heavily on the bowl format. But Snap Kitchen has bowls, too, and Freshly has many options for meat and two sides. In other words, the broad structure and selections of the two menus are pretty similar.

In terms of dietary accommodation, it's a bit of a toss-up. Snap Kitchen caters to a few specific diets, like Whole 30, low-carb, keto, and paleo, but has no vegetarian or vegan meals. Freshly insists that it doesn't design its menu to fit any specific diets. However, the company's "Freshly Fit" and "Purely Plant" categories provide some vegetarian, vegan, and keto-esque meals.

Snap Kitchen's meals tend to be simpler and "cleaner" than Freshly's, a trend which is apparent from a glance at a few ingredients lists. Xanthan gum, for instance, frequently appears in Freshly's dishes, as do things like gum arabic, corn starch, tapioca starch, and waxy rice starch.

Snap Kitchen gives you 35 meals to choose from. Because the company makes only small rotational changes to its menu on a monthly basis, its menu is very stable relative to other meal delivery services, most of whom change menus on a weekly schedule. If you're on a 12-meals-per-week plan, you'll start repeating meals after less than three weeks.

Snap Kitchen's menu is mostly limited to lunch and dinner and they are indistinguishable from one another; there are no meals which you'd strongly associate with lunch. There is one breakfast item: almond flour pancakes with breakfast sausage.

Freshly gives you 49 meals to choose from—plus a selection of a la carte sides and proteins—and rotates new meals onto the menu every week. That's a considerably larger selection than Snap Kitchen. If we were choosing based on the overall abundance of choices, we'd go with Freshly.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Creativity of Dishes

Freshly clearly dominates in this area. Not only is its menu broader, but the dishes are generally more complex and interesting (at least in the description) than Snap Kitchen. Whether this translates into a better sensory experience, we'll cover that in the next section.

The most complex, interesting, and delicious dish we had from Snap Kitchen was the cajun salmon. The collard greens, bacon, cajun spice rub, beautifully cooked salmon (especially for having been microwaved), and remoulade sauce came together harmoniously. It was a superb dish, but not especially surprising, nor it would not have been difficult to put together on our own.

In contrast, the most creative dish we had from Freshly was the escovitch steak with jerk broccoli, peppers, and coconut rice, designed by chef Kwame Onwuachi as part of the company's "Chef's Special" meal collection. According to Freshly, the escovitch sauce is made with "julienned bell peppers, onions, and habaneros cooked down with vinegar, lime, ginger, and carrot juice." The steak is accompanied by "a bed of caramelized onion coconut rice made with basmati, coconut milk, and a hint of agave," and "a side of spicy jerk broccoli, made with 10+ authentic ingredients, including ginger, smoked habaneros, garlic, thyme, and allspice." Is that something we'd likely make ourselves? No.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Flavor, Freshness, and Quality

Snap Kitchen chicken on plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

While Freshly dominated on creativity, we felt that Snap Kitchen delivered more flavor, freshness, and quality. For instance, of the two dishes we discussed above, we preferred the salmon. The protein was prepared better, and the flavors, though perhaps simpler and less "creative," had a more memorable impact. We'd order that salmon again and again, while the escovitch steak was, sadly, rather forgettable.

Sure, more of Snap Kitchen's dishes were things we could have prepared ourselves. But in an important sense, this was a good thing. It reminded us of the flavor, freshness, and quality of home cooking. Freshly's meals, on the other hand, were often reminiscent of TV dinners, perhaps due to the processed gums and starches mentioned above.

Neither service had any major issues with freshness or quality, but we felt that Snap Kitchen was more flavorful and distinctive overall, sometimes by virtue of simply tasting the unadulterated ingredient, like a roasted cauliflower floret or a simple turnip mash. These simple elements left more of an impression on us than Freshly's more creative concoctions.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Recipe Clarity/Difficulty

Both Snap Kitchen and Freshly only offer fully prepared meals, designed for reheating in the microwave. There are no recipes to follow, only heating instructions. From package to plate, both services proved equally effective.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Supporting Material

Snap Kitchen meals in packaging

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Neither company provides much supporting material in the box. Because the meals are fully prepped, with reheating instructions printed on each meal's outer sleeve, not much more supporting material is needed. Snap Kitchen included a little cardboard habit-tracker card, which prompts you to write a healthy habit you'd like to develop, with bubbles to fill in when you complete your task. It's a nice idea, but hardly revolutionary.

Outside the context of the box, Freshly provides a free 15-minute consultation with one of its "Wellness Experts," with the caveat that, although these folks "are more than happy to discuss your dietary needs...they are not healthcare professionals and cannot provide specific nutrition or medical advice."

Both companies have mobile apps, and both have blogs featuring health and lifestyle tips. If you like, Freshly's app can push a weekly notification with a health tip, as well as a weekly reminder to choose your upcoming menu.

At the end of the day, supporting materials are not a critical part of either service, so we'll call this a draw.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Types of Diets Served

Both services cater to people on a gluten-free diet. Snap Kitchen is totally gluten-free. Freshly says it's mostly gluten-free, but as of August 2021, all Freshly's meals were gluten-free as well.

Neither service is particularly suitable for vegetarians or vegans, but Freshly does have a few such options, while Snap Kitchen has none.

Both services have dairy-free and soy-free meals, but only Snap Kitchen makes them easy to find with its menu-sorting filter. Only Snap Kitchen tags meals with nut-free and egg-free labels.

Freshly costs less overall than Snap Kitchen, even though Freshly charges you separately for shipping.

Snap Kitchen has a decent selection of paleo meals with about a dozen choices. The same goes for keto and Whole30. Freshly doesn't utilize these categories at all. Instead, the company has its own "Freshly Fit" category, which is low-carb meals with between roughly 200 and 500 calories. They might qualify as keto, but certainly not paleo.

At the end of the day, if you are on a particularly restrictive diet, you'll likely have more luck with Snap Kitchen than with Freshly.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Nutritional Value

Freshly meal in bowl

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

From a macronutrient perspective, Snap Kitchen and Freshly are very similar. Most of the meals from both services are in the 300-500 calorie range, and neither offers any meal over 650 calories. Freshly has one meal with just 190 calories.

Both services allow you to sort the menu according to nutritional parameters. Although Snap Kitchen allows you to focus on specific ranges—for example, a meal around 300 calories with more than 35g of protein—we found Freshly's sorting filters a bit easier to use. On the other hand, Snap Kitchen gives each meal a visual pie-chart style macronutrient profile that makes it easy to quickly assess a particular meal's fat/carb/protein balance. Although Freshly has something similar, it's not quite as easy to grasp as Snap Kitchen's visual aid.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, Snap Kitchen's meals are generally "cleaner" with fewer ingredients; they are generally more recognizable and less processed which makes Snap Kitchen feel more wholesome, like real home cooking.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Customer Service

Snap Kitchen provides customer service via email, chat, and phone, as well as a comprehensive FAQ. Chat and email are available Monday through Saturday, and phone support is open Monday through Friday. We reached out by chat and phone with a few questions and received prompt and accurate answers.

Freshly delivers its customer support by FAQ, phone, text, email, chat, and Facebook messenger. Facebook, text, and phone support are open 24/7. We communicated via chat from the Freshly mobile app and reached a human agent within about 30 seconds.

Because it offers support through more channels with round-the-clock hours, Freshly wins on customer service.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Making Changes and Canceling

Snap Kitchen meal on white plate

Spruce Eats / Pete Scherer

Like most meal delivery services, both Freshly and Snap Kitchen require that you make any alterations to your order prior to a deadline. In the case of both services, this deadline is six days before your scheduled delivery date. Up until the deadline, you can change your order all you like. Once the deadline passes, however, your order cannot be changed.

Account management features are very similar between the two services. With both companies, the mobile apps offer the best account management experience. You can change all your settings—your plan, delivery address, dietary preferences, skip weeks, and cancel your account—right from your phone.

Freshly vs. Snap Kitchen: Additional Features

Both companies have referral and affiliate programs that allow you to earn rewards for referring customers. Snap Kitchen has a retail presence in certain states. Freshly will set up service for your whole office through its business plan. Freshly also makes it easy to give its service as a gift.

Final Verdict

This was a close contest. Freshly has more variety at a lower price point, great web and mobile user interfaces, a wide range of meal plans, and 24/7 customer service. Snap Kitchen is more expensive, but also simpler, with only two plans and a smaller menu that doesn't change very fast. On paper, there are many reasons to prefer Freshly, and yet, we just liked Snap Kitchen better. For us, the flavor, freshness, and quality experience carries a lot of weight, and Snap Kitchen just felt more wholesome and higher quality. At the end of the day, it's about the food.

Methodology

We spent numerous hours looking through 48 meal delivery services’ websites, ordered meals and cooked them at home, photographed the process, spoke with customer service representatives from the companies, filled out detailed surveys about each company and their meals, and wrote in-depth reviews and comparison articles. Our expert panel includes dieticians, chefs, and longtime food writers. The one thing they all have in common is their love and knowledge of food.

The criteria we used to evaluate each company included:

  • The ordering process
  • Meal selection
  • Packaging and support materials
  • Recyclability
  • The cooking process
  • The flavor, freshness, and quality of each meal and ingredient
  • Nutritional information
  • Customer service
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