FreshDirect stands out from the rest of the meal kit delivery crowd by letting you order as much as you’d like, whenever you’d like. The platform is built around convenience, and you won’t be tied to any long-term subscriptions or weekly commitments. This means you can plan your meals in advance but have the flexibility to switch things up when you need to.
From a wide selection of meals, you’ll find organic, kid-friendly, and low-calorie options and all are easy to make. It’s an ideal choice for busy families that just don’t have the time to spend grocery shopping and preparing complicated dishes.
This New York-based provider is a relatively new player in the market and its catchment range is limited to New York City, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, and Washington D.C, although we expect the company to expand in the near future.
What is FreshDirect?
FreshDirect keeps things simple. You can order as many dishes as you’d like from a list of plenty of meals, sandwiches, and sides, as long as you spend a minimum of $30 at a time. You can select from a range of pre-made dishes that can be ready in just a few minutes, or from a list of meal kits that use fresh ingredients which you’ll then cook up from scratch. The meal kits will provide two servings, while ready meals provide one portion.
Prices per meal are quite reasonable, between $3.99 and $12.99, and are focused on home-cooking classics like beef bolognese lasagne and mac n’ cheese. You can occasionally find some more interesting international options on the menu too, though.
FreshDirect Pros and Cons
- Incredibly flexible service
- No contracts or restrictive subscriptions
- Fresh ingredients with long shelf lives
- Reasonably-priced meals
- Vegan and vegetarian options available
- Large selection of ready-made dishes
- Meal kits are easy to prepare
- Great for bulk orders as there are no restrictions to purchases
- Regular sales and offers
- Expensive delivery fees
- Only available in five states plus Washington D.C
- Meal selections don’t change very often
Who is FreshDirect Good for?
Busy families– Being able to order in bulk is a real lifesaver for busy families. You can stock up on ready meals to tide you over and order the more complex meal kits when you have the time to cook. Plus, being able to order as much, or as little as you’d like, makes FreshDirect much more flexible than the competition
Fans of home-cooking – Most of the dishes here are simple, hearty, and will appeal to those that like good quality home-cooking. With a great range of pizzas, roasts, hotpots, and burrito bowls, the meals here will certainly fill a hole
Those with only basic cooking skills– You don’t need to be a culinary genius to enjoy what FreshDirect has to offer. Many of the ready meals can be prepared in just a few minutes, while the meal kits have clear and easy to follow instructions
Budget shoppers– With average meal prices coming in at around $7.99 per portion, the service isn’t going to break the bank. Plus, you’ll find a range of cheaper kids meals to help stretch your budget even further
Who Isn’t FreshDirect Good for?
Those outside the catchment area– Unfortunately, FreshDirect has a very limited delivery area at the moment. You can only order meals if you live in New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania or Washington D.C. We expect the service to grow in the future, so keep checking in on the website to see if your state is added soon
Foodies – With meals being fairly simple and uncomplicated, the service won’t appeal to those looking for an exciting range of exotic dishes. Plus, the menu doesn’t rotate very often so you might struggle for variety. That being said, you can occasionally find something a little different, like Korean brisket tacos and Malaysian Chicken skewers
Those with complex dietary requirements – While vegetarians and those with allergies are catered to, you might have to do a little digging through the menus to find a large enough selection to cover you for a full week
How FreshDirect Works
Getting started at FreshDirect couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is make an account and you have total freedom to choose which dishes you’d like delivered. You can mix and match between ready meals and meal kits and there are no limits to your order. There are no subscriptions or contracts, either; the only condition is that you must spend at least $30 on your order.
FreshDirect Website and App
The FreshDirect website isn’t as slick or modern-looking as what you’ll find at its rivals, but it’s very functional and easy to navigate. The menu is broken down into different categories like four-minute meals, salads, rotisserie, pizza, breakfasts, and sandwiches and pricing is clear and clicking on any item brings up a detailed list of nutritional information. Simply select the meals that catch your eye and head to the checkout.
The provider has apps available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Functionality is nearly identical to the desktop version and both have received high praise in user reviews.
Creating an account / Sign-up
Creating an account only takes about five minutes and just requires some basic personal information and your payment details. There are no contractual commitments and FreshDirect won’t close your account for inactivity like you might find on other platforms. You can log in and order whenever you wish.
Once you’ve created an account, you’ll have access to saved orders and favorites, which can be real time savers if you’re a regular customer. Plus, you’ll get easy access to the customer service team via your dashboard.
FreshDirect Meal Plans and Meal Selection Options
There aren’t actually any proper meal plans to choose from here; you’ll have total freedom to choose anything you’d like from the menu. The experience is much closer to that of a regular eCommerce store. You’ll browse the meals you want, add them to your basket, and pay for everything on checkout. Choices are broken down into meal kits or prepared dishes and we’ve covered the basic features below:
Meal kits– These are boxes of fresh ingredients that come with recipe cards containing detailed cooking instructions. Meals take between 10-50 minutes to prepare and each kit comes with enough for two servings and around 24 different meals at any one time
Prepared dishes– All of the meals from this menu have been premade for you. You just need to heat them through and they’re ready in just a few minutes. There are several hundred options on this list covering snacks, appetizers, dinners, breakfasts, and more. All meals are cooked with fresh ingredients before being shipped to you
FreshDirect Meal Types
There’s a huge range of different menu types, cuisines, and dishes to choose from and each menu has its own list of specialties. There might not be a lot of international variety or much of a range of exotic or exciting dishes, but there’s more than enough to keep most people happy.
To kick off the list, meal kits come in three categories:
Standard meal kits – A selection of dinner-time options that anyone can cook. Some examples include:
Roasted lemon-herb chicken with warm vegetable and spinach salad
Seared scallops with wild mushroom risotto
Shrimp and green beans with bacon and spicy grits
Smart and simple meal kits – Designed to be cooked in about half the time of other meal kits:
Sustainable salmon and green tea soba
Stir-fry – Exactly what it says on the tin, a mix of different types of stir fry:
Veggie lo mein
Spicy kung pao chicken
Tofu and veggies in black bean sauce
The prepared meals section is broken down into an impressive 15 categories including four-minute meals, appetizers, breakfast, deli salads, pizzas, soups, and pot pies, to name a few. You can check out a full list over on the website but we’ve covered some customer favorites below:
Penne and meatballs
Pappardelle in a mushroom herb cream sauce
Spicy peanut tofu with butternut squash noodles
Brocolli and cheddar quiche
Chicken pot pie
Pork and chive dumplings
Beef short rib and Roquefort pies
Vegetarian split pea soup
Lemon-herb sustainable salmon
Choosing FreshDirect Recipes
The service focuses on simple meals that are easy to prepare, but choosing which ones you’d like can be a little intimidating when you have a menu of hundreds of dishes to choose from. To make things easier you can filter on categories like:
Plus, you can filter meals based on nutritional content, prioritizing across 17 categories including fiber content, vitamin C levels, protein, salt content, and serving size. If you’re still struggling to choose, simply click the ‘most popular’ button to find out what other customers are buying.
Vegan and vegetarian
Brand new dishes
Under 500 calories
How Much Does FreshDirect Cost?
It’s difficult to give you a set price list or budget because every dish and meal kit is priced individually. The minimum order is $30, plus a shipping charge between $5.99 and $15.99 depending on location, but beyond this, it’ll be entirely up to you how much you want to spend. Plus, there are no weekly subscriptions and you can place as many orders as you’d like, or buy up in bulk for the coming weeks.
Individual meals will cost on average around $7.99-$8.99 per portion and we’ve broken down some price ranges below to give you an idea of how much it might cost. We’ve assumed a shipping rate of $5.99 in each case:
Servings and Recipes/Week
1 people and 2 servings1 people, 2 recipes per week
$13.99/serving ($27.98 total + $5.99 shipping = $33.97/week)
1 people and 1 servings1 people, 7 recipes per week
$3.99/serving ($27.93 total + $5.99 shipping = $33.92/week)
FreshDirect doesn’t have the widest array of choices for those on specialist diets, so if you want enough to feed yourself for a full week, you might want to try another platform. That being said, there are a few interesting options here:
Vegetarian and vegan – options mostly consist of grain bowls, side dishes and a few veggie pizzas
Under 500 calories – while FreshDirect’s meals aren’t specifically made for weight loss, you can find quite a selection of low-calorie meals. We’d recommend consulting with a dietician or doctor if you’d like to use them as part of a weight-loss plan though
My Experience Using FreshDirect Food Delivery Service
Fresh Direct has a reasonably simple ordering process. Upon opening the website, you use the search bar or drop-down tabs to look for your groceries. They also offer a wide variety of beverage options, including alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine, and spirits. Once you find what you are looking for, you add each item to your cart. If something is unavailable, the item’s product photo will be black and white.
After you have gathered all your items in the cart, you will head to check out. The total in your cart must reach a minimum of $30.00 before taxes and fees. You may also include a donation in your order to local Food Pantries, which is a terrific way for FreshDirect to give back to the community. The first step is to schedule your delivery using the time slots provided for that week. Then, you provide your shipping and billing information to finalize your order. They send over a confirmation email shortly after, and a reminder before the delivery is scheduled to arrive.
I placed my order on September 20, 2021, and had the option to select which date and time slot I would prefer for delivery. I chose September 23, 2021, as that was the most convenient option for me, but earlier slots were available. It was estimated to come between 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm. My order ended up arriving at almost precisely 12:30 pm, which was right on time!
I was home and prepared to accept my delivery, so I did not have to worry about leaving it outside. Although, FreshDirect provides an option while placing the order to determine what steps you would like them to take if you are not home in time for the delivery.
My order arrived in a reusable grocery bag with the FreshDirect logo on it in terms of packaging. The bag is good quality and spill-proof. I will definitely save it for future grocery shopping trips!
The ingredients were simply placed in the bag, which was not an issue since I only ordered a few essentials for the week. Although, the fresh produce, including avocados, blueberries, bananas, mushrooms, zucchini, were each carefully wrapped.
All the produce we received was very fresh and of good quality. In addition, I also ordered some snacks and a pack of turkey bacon which were perfectly fine upon delivery.
Everything I ordered tasted great! I especially enjoyed how juicy the fresh blueberries were upon arriving. Since they were carefully packaged, the berries lasted quite a few days, and I paired them with some waffles for breakfast.
As mentioned earlier, the produce arrived super fresh. I was particularly concerned about the avocados since they tend to ripen quickly. Luckily, they came ripe but not overly ripe to the point that they were turning brown inside. I was very pleased and satisfied that they took the time to send over quality avocados.
FreshDirect did provide some supporting materials along with the delivery. They consisted of a brochure discussing the company more, a coupon code for your next order, and a Hello Fresh Coupon. While I was surprised about the Hello Fresh coupon, it was nice that they provided an option to try another meal delivery service. I did not know that the two services were related until researching it later that evening.
The Cooking Process
Since Fresh Direct is more so a grocery delivery service, I was not cooking any pre-planned meals. Although I made the mushrooms with some of the steaks I received from Butcher Box. I added the mushrooms to a wok with some fresh green beans, bell peppers, and a drop of olive oil. Then, I seasoned them lightly with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Some of the remaining flavors of the steak were also present in the pan. They came out delicious and paired exceptionally well with the NY strip steaks.
Add-Ons: Wine & More
One of the best additional features about FreshDirect is that it acts as an online grocery store too. You can find thousands of different items including fruit and veg, meat, poultry, cheeses, dairy products, baked goods, deli items, beers, wines, and more. The grocery store works in exactly the same way as the meal kit service and you just add each item to your basket. This means you can keep your recipe cards and buy individual ingredients separately which could save you money.
What’s more, the platform regularly runs sales promotions, seasonal meal offers, and coupons for bargain hunters out there.
FreshDirect Customer Service
The FreshDirect customer service team is pretty attentive and has a reputation for good response times. If you send an email, you can usually expect a response within one hour during business hours. Plus, you can reach out via live chat or over the phone if you have a more immediate query.
The platform runs quite lengthy operating hours and can be reached between 6:30 am and 12:30 am ET. You can access all of FreshDirect’s customer service options via the website, the app, or through your member dashboard.
Responsiveness – Apparently quick to answer
How can you get in touch? – Contact form, email and phone
FreshDirect Cancellation Policy
Since FreshDirect works like a regular eCommerce store there are no contracts and no subscriptions. You can cancel or amend existing orders, but this must be done several days prior to your delivery date in order to not be charged. The provider will email your deadline date, or you can check it via your online account. There are no other penalties for canceling the service and you won’t receive regular boxes.
If there’s not enough variety for you at FreshDirect, or you’re looking for some more complex dishes to try out, you might want to check out one of the rival platforms below.
Price / Serving
We can’t fault FreshDirect on its quality, price, convenience, and top-notch customer service. If you’re looking for flexibility from your meal kit provider then you’ve found it here. We love the ability to mix and match between ready meals and full meal kits whilst maintaining the freedom to order what we want when we need it. What’s more, it makes a great supplement to the grocery shopping of any busy family.
It’s such a shame that the service is currently only available in five states, but we’re hoping to see an expansion soon. In addition, it probably won’t be the right platform for you if you have allergies or particular dietary requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is FreshDirect Organic?
Some meals contain organic ingredients but FreshDirect isn’t fully certified. You’ll have to browse through the menus to find out which ingredients are 100% organic.
Can I Choose My Delivery Day?
Yes, FreshDirect operates like a regular grocery store you can pick the day and timeslot that works for you.
Does FreshDirect Deliver across the US?
No, deliveries are currently only available in New York City, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.
Is FreshDirect Expensive?
Not at all. In fact, it’s very reasonably priced and cheaper than a lot of other meal kit services on average.
Is FreshDirect Healthy?
The platform isn’t advertised as a health-food service, but all of its meals are made with fresh ingredients. Plus, many are packed with nutrients and are low-calorie.