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      October 20, 2020

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Freshly vs Plated

Best Prepared Meals

To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Freshly and Plated.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Prepared Meals, please Click Here

Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?

You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2020

Prepared Meal Reviews

5 stars
Freshly

FRESHLY

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Cost:

From $8.99 to $12.50 per serving

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Freshly does it all. Their Prepared Meals consist of fresh, never-frozen ingredients that can be reheated (when needed) in just 3 minutes or less - giving you convenient meals that are also nutritious. Everything shipped by Freshly is gluten- and peanut-free, which is a huge plus for families with those food sensitivities.

Because all deliveries contain fresh food, it's a good idea to keep track of "use by" dates: most of your Prepared Meals should be eaten within 3-4 days of delivery. So, when choosing your plan with Freshly, you'll want to set up a schedule that matches when you'll be eating at home. This provider's delivery calendar depends on your zip code; some places in the US only have options for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday deliveries, so make sure to see what's available in your city, particularly if you're looking for Prepared Meals on weeknights after work.

Even though you won't find any wheat-based items on the menu at Freshly, we doubt you'll miss them. Your menu choices - more than two dozen options each week - include mouth-watering favorites like Shrimp & Andouille Paella and 3-Bean Ancho Turkey Chili. Start by selecting the number of meals you'd like (4, 6, 9, or 12) and then choose from the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners that are on the weekly menu. Freshly also gives you the option of using their Meal Planner tool to indicate your dietary preferences, if you'd rather not take the time to choose individual entrees each week. Your "preference profile" will also develop over time as Freshly sees your meal history and tweaks your selections accordingly.

Also, you can choose your meals up to three weeks ahead of time. For those who like to have everything figured out in advance, you can do it with Freshly. You've also got the ability to custom-design your Prepared Meals in other ways. For example, if you need 12 meals in a typical week but your spouse is going out of town, you cut your plan in half for the time that you'll be on your own. Or, if you usually have Thursday delivery but won't be back from vacation until Friday, you can change your normal delivery day as needed (as long as those days of the week are available where you live). Best of all, your Freshly plan can follow you to your work conference, quick getaway, or wherever you may roam: just change your delivery address and you're good to go.

So, how about the cost? Depending on what you order, the average Freshly meal has a per-serving price between $8.99 and $12.50. Every Prepared Meal plan includes free shipping/delivery. Those prices and complimentary shipping make Freshly extremely competitive among meal delivery services.

We were thrilled to see lots of positive comments about Freshly's service. Customers rave about how easy it is to create a plan that works for their needs and schedules, how delicious the entrees are, and how friendly and pleasant Freshly's representatives are when handling any issues that arise.

Freshly offers affordable, convenient, and remarkably allergy-friendly Prepared Meals. They earn our highest recommendation.

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2 stars
Plated

PLATED

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Cost:

Per-serving cost of $9.95 to $11.95

Free shipping on all plans over $60

Plated takes a slightly different approach to Prepared Meals. Like many services, they send you fresh ingredients and recipes to prepare, but their primary aim is to help you gain confidence in the kitchen by broadening your culinary horizons - and maybe your taste buds, too.

Weekly menu options include dishes like Salmon with Salsa Verde and Steak Gyros. There are also dessert choices, such as Fig Shortcakes and Napoleons. Each recipe can be made in an hour or less.

The main decisions you'll need to make are how many servings you'd like each meal to provide (2, 3, or 4) and how many meals you'd like to prepare each week (again, choosing from 2, 3, or 4). A two-serving, twice a week plan is regularly priced at $47.80. The largest plan, with four servings per meal, four times a week, costs $159.20. When we visited Plated, they were offering a 25% discount promotion on the first week's delivery, for all of their various plan configurations.

This service doesn't come with specific plans for people who want gluten-free entrees or vegan desserts - rather, you choose from 20 recipe options, including main courses and treats, from every weekly menu. However, you are able to customize your subscription in a few ways, like omnivore or seafood lover, so that you're only shown the choices among the 20 that meet those criteria.

Plated offers the most flexible delivery schedule we've found, with deliveries possible every day except Sunday. Your shipment is expected to maintain its refrigeration through midnight on delivery day, so you won't have to rush home to get your ingredients into the fridge.

Unfortunately, Plated also has one of the weakest customer satisfaction policies in the industry. If something is missing from your package, or if you're unhappy for any reason, Plated says that they may, at their sole discretion, issue you a credit. That would be fine if there were no issues with their deliveries, but with a significant number of customers receiving moldy or otherwise spoiled ingredients, the $12 credit that Plated offered them was nowhere near enough. In addition, many customers said that the recipes weren't anything to rave about, and that the ingredients received were commonly available at their local supermarket - not the high-quality items they expected from a premium Prepared Meals service.

Finally, we saw several complaints that referenced Plated's gift cards. In order to use a gift card, the recipient has to provide their own credit card information to the company - which inadvertently left some of them as subscribing customers to a service they didn't want. That isn't a good way to make gift-givers or recipients very happy.

In comparison with the competition, Plated does have a unique approach to delivering Prepared Meals. However, their reputation with their customers doesn't leave a good taste in our mouth - literally or figuratively - especially with such a lackluster approach to returns and refunds. Choose a higher-ranked service to get fresh ingredients and recipes you'll actually enjoy.

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Continued from above

If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.

On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.

When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:

  • Menu. What does the provider offer? Can you choose from many different plans, like Vegetarian or Mediterranean? If you're trying to meet a special dietary need, like gluten-free or keto-friendly, will there be options for you? Does the type of Prepared Meals they send - reheat-and-eat vs. some cooking required - work for your situation?
  • Price. What will it cost to get your Prepared Meals? Can you choose to buy specific entrees a la carte, or do you have to buy a package?
  • Amount of Food. If you have a large family, is there a plan that will satisfy everyone? Are the serving sizes enough to fill you up?
  • Customer Service and Reputation. What have other people said about the experience of buying Prepared Meals from this business? Are packages delivered on time, with ingredients that are still fresh and properly refrigerated? If not, does the company's customer service department respond appropriately with a refund or credit?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!

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