Challenge Accepted: 3 Real People Try 3 Meal Prep Delivery Services
4 min read
Here at Metabolic Meals, we love a little healthy competition — we’re all about health, after all. We wanted to better understand how well our service compares to two other meal prep delivery services: Trifecta and Freshly. To do that, we reached out to some real users to find out more.
We know that stressful, busy schedules make it difficult to eat healthfully on a regular basis — and that’s exactly the problem we aim to solve. So to find out whether we’re measuring up in that department, we asked an active gymgoer, an on-the-go executive, and a busy mom to order meals from all three companies and give us honest feedback about the ordering process, the meals themselves, and the overall experience.
Let’s break down what they had to say about each of the services they tried.
Option 1: Freshly
First up for consideration is Freshly, a prepared meal service that emphasizes its all-natural and always gluten-free ingredients. According to its website, the average Freshly meal includes 500 calories worth of food and 30 grams of protein. It provides users options to choose how many meals they want and a list of meals featuring high-protein meals, vegetarian options, low-carb fare, and more.
Our participants enjoyed Freshly’s website layout and some of the menu options.
“I enjoyed seeing a full description of the food on their website,” our busy executive said of Freshly. “I also liked that they offered spicy meals, and the packaging and food presentation were great.”
In terms of “pros,” the active gymgoer appreciated that Freshly offered gluten-free options. But her experience was dampened by the fact that some of her meals unexpectedly included dairy.
“Although Freshly was gluten-free, I didn’t realize dairy was in my meal, so I was left feeling sluggish,” she said. “I was also unhappy with the macronutrient breakdown and flavor of Freshly’s meals.”
In addition, the busy mom thought the meal variety didn’t quite go far enough. “It had some meal options that fit my dietary preferences, but a week’s worth of meals would not have a week’s worth that I could eat,” she said, even after checking out the site for a second order.
“When I checked back the second week, Freshly only had a couple of new menu items.”
The executive agreed, saying that “the menu did not change very much from my first order” when he went back to place his second order.
Finally, while the microwavable meals were convenient, the flavors weren’t on point for everyone. “I think it messed with the texture of the proteins,” said the busy mom. “It tasted like something you get out of the freezer section of the grocery store,” said the active gymgoer.
Overall, Freshly appeared to be easy on the eyes but not quite as easy on the taste buds. The gluten-free aspect of the company’s offerings was beneficial for all participants, and the food looked appealing both on the website and in person. While the executive thought the meat in his meals stood up well to the microwave, the busy mom wasn’t thrilled with the taste of the fish in hers. The unexpected dairy in the active gymgoer’s meal was disappointing.
And when the participants went to place a second order, they were greeted with almost all the same menu items as the first round — and seeing the same meals over and over isn’t very enticing.
Option 2: Trifecta
Next up is Trifecta, which aims to deliver healthy, organic meals to users who want to lose weight or see better results in the gym. The company’s website emphasizes its “science-backed” meals and variety of meal plans, from paleo to vegan to à la carte.
At the start, the busy mom was happy with the menu options. “This has ‘plans that fit your lifestyle,’ which is really appealing to me on a personal level.” The active gymgoer agreed, saying, “Trifecta made it easy for me to see which meals were allergy-friendly.”
The gymgoer thought the Trifecta meals had good flavor. “The food from Trifecta tasted great, but I was hungry shortly after my meal, which caused me to snack more throughout the day,” she said. The executive and the busy mom, however, didn’t feel quite the same way about the quality.
“The maple brown rice with spinach and salmon was better than it looked, but the turmeric caponata brown rice with mahi-mahi was just OK,” the busy mom said. “The herbs on the fish made it look promising, but it had a weird lake trout taste and seemed to be overcooked on the outside and undercooked on the inside. Ultimately, I couldn’t finish the protein because its taste and texture grew worse as it sat.”
According to the executive, “The meals lacked flavor, at least for my taste. I even had to add more seasoning to it.”
Our participants agreed on other aspects of the Trifecta experience, including its packaging. All three reported that they had a difficult time getting the meals open, saying it required a sharp knife to tear through the vacuum-sealed packaging, which isn’t ideal in a work environment.
In addition, the executive said the packaging “made the meal not look as appealing on first sight — it just didn’t look good.” He also mentioned that the microwave instructions weren’t clear enough to understand on the first read.
The busy mom added that she was disappointed by the overall experience. “The whole presentation was underwhelming, from website to tray.”
For their final thoughts, our participants reported that when they went back for a second order, Trifecta’s options hadn’t changed much and still didn’t look very appealing.
While the types of meals Trifecta offered pleased all parties and the flavor worked for some, the overall experience wasn’t quite what they had hoped. The week-to-week meal variety didn’t meet their expectations, and neither did the packaging or overall meal quality. Plus, the effort required to open the meals outweighed the convenience of microwaving them.
Option 3: Metabolic Meals
Finally, our participants reviewed our meals. At Metabolic Meals, we offer healthy prepared meals that people from all walks of life can enjoy. We let users choose from more than 30 new allergy-friendly meals each week, which we deliver on the cadence that works for each individual. We strive to make eating healthy — and sustainably — an easy part of every user’s week.
When ordering two weeks’ worth of meals, our participants found the website experience intuitive and easy to navigate. The executive was pleased to find a detailed description of each meal during the ordering process. “The meal description goes as far as describing how the chef prepares your meal, which definitely helped me pick the right meal according to how I like my food cooked.”
The active gymgoer appreciated the low-carb and gluten-free options. “The low-carb sticker on images of low-carb meals saved me time because I didn’t have to worry about clicking on each one to find the low-carb options.”
The busy mom was thrilled to see information about where our food comes from and how it’s packaged. “I noticed that the greens in my meal were from Sikeston, Missouri, which is pretty close to local for me, and I loved that. I also loved the information on the website about Metabolic Meals creating less food waste and a smaller carbon footprint through recycled plastic and cardboard packaging.” She also liked that the menu rotated weekly, as she “gets bored very easily when it comes to food.”
Once our participants received their meals, they continued to be pleased with the experience.
“Overall, Metabolic Meals tasted great and left me with the most energy to tackle my workout,” the active gymgoer said.
“I don’t always have time to meal prep, but I need to make sure I’m eating a healthy lunch, or I won’t have the energy to exercise after work. Metabolic Meals kept me full and energized until my next gym session.”
The busy mom was happy with how her meals tasted. “While I would appreciate more vegetarian meal options, I was happy with my choices,” she said. “The freshness exceeded my expectations. The cauliflower rice in my Szechuan shrimp dish was the best meal component I tried among these three services; I’m still thinking about it days later, and it was a dish that was so well-executed that I’d like to order it à la carte.”
“They definitely nailed the portions they offer,” the executive said, “and the packaging and heating instructions were great. The shredded turkey meal I had was made with the right amount of spices and flavor for my taste. And when I went to place my second order, I enjoyed seeing a different menu that showed a good variety of lean protein meals. I am a big fan of the Mexican fusion cuisine I’ve seen so far.”
After reading through the responses from our participants, we were thrilled to see that Metabolic Meals provided the most positive experience. According to the executive, “Metabolic Meals changed my mind on microwavable meals. You can have a fresh meal with the convenience of a microwave.”
The busy mom reported that “Metabolic Meals was the most nutrient-dense and filling for the calorie count, and it was my favorite food overall.
I love the convenience of this service, and I love that I could take it to work for lunch and easily microwave it.”
Finally, from the active gymgoer: “Metabolic Meals made it convenient for me to eat healthy at work. The allergy-friendly options and nutrient-dense meals gave me the energy I needed to tackle my afternoon workouts.”
Learn more about how using Metabolic Meals can help you meet your nutrition needs without hours of meal prep each week with our meal plans. We’d love to become a part of your healthy meal routine.
DISCLAIMER: The people interviewed for this article were provided with free product in return for their honest reviews. All thoughts and opinions are their own and not influenced by Metabolic Meals, Trifecta, or Freshly.