Fresh and Easy Review
Fresh and Easy is a popular plan from Home Chef, a well-known meal delivery company that operates nationally in the United States. Statistics from the company’s website state that Home Chef delivered an incredible 10 million meals in 2019, and that its service area includes more than 97% of the total U.S. population.
As its name suggests, the Fresh and Easy plan is designed to make nutritious and healthy eating an everyday convenience. The meal plan is built around carefully selected premium ingredients, all of which are pre-cooked and delivered in compact packaging. Customers simply need to heat their meals when they’re ready to eat, and all Fresh and Easy dishes are ready in mere minutes.
Let’s take a closer look at Home Chef’s Fresh and Easy system and see how it fares in the increasingly competitive meal delivery market.
How Fresh and Easy Works
Fresh and Easy offers weekly meal deliveries. Customers follow a simple three-step process when placing their weekly orders:
- Pick your meals by drawing on Home Chef’s extensive selection of ready-to-go recipes. You can also build your own meals using the company’s list of fresh ingredients.
- Adjust meal specifics by submitting any special requests you may have through Home Chef’s Customize It feature. Possibilities include ingredient or side dish substitutions and double protein portions.
- Prepare your frozen meals according to the instructions provided when they are dropped off at your door.
When you set up your initial delivery, Fresh and Easy will ask you two optional questions:
- Are you on a calorie-conscious or carb-conscious eating plan?
- Do you want to avoid pork, red meat, dairy, mushrooms, shellfish, or nuts?
From there, you will be prompted to enter your email address or grocery account information. You will then be routed into the system, where you can specify your meal preferences, add delivery and contact information, and manage payments.
Home Chef delivers on all weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. local time. This setup is incredibly convenient, as many meal delivery companies only offer drop-offs twice per week on set days that limit flexibility.
If you’re not at home when your delivery arrives, you will receive a notification that your food is ready and waiting for you. Everything is carefully positioned in insulated containers that include packed ice, which safeguards your meals from spoilage for many hours.
Pricing is calculated per-meal, and it varies depending on the meals you choose. As of November 2020, meals start at $6.99 each. Most are priced at $9.95, but your actual costs will depend on your food and customization preferences.
Shipping is free for first-time customers. After that, it costs $10 per delivery unless the value of your order is $49 or more before applicable taxes.
Fresh and Easy offers three main types of meals:
- Oven-ready meals that require simple reheating and are ready in five minutes or less
- Grill-ready meal kits that ask you to combine ingredients in provided bags before transferring them to a preheated grill
- 15-minute meal kits overflowing with fresh, flavorful ingredients
Here’s a sample of the types of meals you can expect to find from Fresh and Easy:
- BBQ ranch chicken with cheesy potatoes and corn
- Tuscan chicken with roasted grape tomatoes and crispy zucchini
- Stone mustard and pecan-crusted pork chops with parmesan butternut squash
- Roasted red pepper spinach salad
- Sesame grilled chicken with broccoli and snap peas
- Cheesy steak pizza-baked rigatoni
- Hatch Chile pork burger with Elotes-style corn
The Fresh and Easy plan includes meat-based meals, fish-based meals, and vegetarian meals. As of November 2020, Home Chef’s Fresh and Easy eating plan does not support vegan or paleo options and it is uncertain whether or not the company plans to introduce them. Unfortunately, customers who follow kosher and halal diets face a similar lack of options.
What’s Unique About Fresh and Easy?
Several things differentiate Fresh and Easy from most of its competitors. First, the company delivers every day of the week from Monday to Friday. Many meal delivery services offer drop-offs on only two days (often Tuesday and Friday). Some even ask customers to come and pick up their meals, which undercuts the convenience advantage of getting ready-to-eat meals delivered in the first place.
Fresh and Easy also offers a more advanced suite of customization options than many services do. Customers enjoy near-total control over their meal details, right down to the individual ingredients.
Many reviewers also say that they were very impressed with the way Fresh and Easy balanced value, nutrition, and flavor. The meals taste great and deliver a nutrient-packed punch while controlling calories and fat, all at a fair and reasonable price point.
Pros and Cons
Here’s what customers and professional reviewers especially like about Fresh and Easy:
- No additional pots, pans, or cooking equipment is needed: Fresh and Easy delivers on its name and meals require very little clean-up
- Extensive delivery options that offer Monday through Friday service
- Meals are ready in minutes
- Tasty, flavorful, and healthy meal options
- Menus and ingredients regularly rotate, keeping things fresh and interesting
On the flip side, here are a few areas in which Fresh and Easy falls short or could stand to improve:
- There are delivery fees if you don’t order at least $49 in meals
- No vegan or paleo options
- The packaging contains plastic, which is not the most eco-friendly choice available
Fresh and Easy stacks up as a great meal delivery option if you’re looking for a varied lineup of delicious meals at prices that deliver great value. Home Chef has earned widespread accolades for its appetizing products, and customers enjoy a wide range of options with strong appeal to those who like to change up what they eat.
A lack of vegan or paleo options isn’t ideal, and the company also currently lacks specialized kosher or halal meal plans. However, apart from these limitations, there is much to like about Home Chef’s Fresh and Easy meal delivery service.