The Vancouver meal kit scene is a very competitive market. See our Fresh Prep Review Summary for the quick and dirty comparison, or read through for an in-depth look at one of Vancouver’s and Victoria’s favourite meal kit delivery companies.
Fresh Prep (not to be mistaken with Fresh City Farms, Hello Fresh, and other fresh induced names) has only been around for a few years now, but they’ve carved out a dedicated following within their Vancouver come. With recent expansion to Victoria, and designs on next-stage expansion into Western Canada, Fresh Prep has plenty of room to grow.
Dhruv Sood, Becky Brauer, and Husein Rahmetutlla are the three local brains behind the Vancouver food subscription box start up. Rahemutlla recently spoke to the Globe and Mail saying, “If we went too fast, too quickly, that would require losing focus on our operations. Things wouldn’t be as tight.”
Budgets are often stretched at startups, and Sood reported that things were no different for the first several years of Fresh Prep’s existence. Things might be looking up for the company though as it recently closed it’s first round of equity funding for $3 Million.
When asked, the three co-founders (all in their late-twenties) said that they felt they could eventually become the best meal kit in Canada. “We like to think of ourselves,” Mr. Rahemtulla cleverly stated, “as the tortoise in the race.”
Fresh Prep Meal Kits Review Summary
What’s to Like?
- Delivery is definitely a point of emphasis at Fresh Prep as they have worked to establish their own independent delivery system, whereas many of their meal kit competitors in Canada have to rely on delivery companies such as Purolator.
- Many customers like the fact that Fresh Prep pre-cuts all of their vegetables. Personally, I think this takes away from some of the fresh flavour that is created when produce is sliced right before it hits the pan or bake sheet.
- Very competitive pricing and solid cooler bag construction.
- Several reviews commented on how impressed they were with the protein quality and selection quantity.
- Fresh Prep makes a real effort to source as much as possible from the Vanvcouver area, so if you live there and that is a primary factor for you, consider the box checked.
What We Wish for (and Why We’d to Go in Another Direction)
- It’s difficult to order from your phone (especially relative to the slick apps that Hello Fresh and Chefs Plate have put out).
- Only delivers to Vancouver and Victoria – so if you live in the rest of Canada you’re out of luck for now.
- Sometimes meat shows up frozen solid (not great if you were depending on a thawed protein to be the cornerstone of your meal that night).
- Currently lacks the excellent trial offer that industry heavyweights have put in place. See our Hello Fresh Review, Chefs Plate Review, and Goodfood Review for more details and their exclusive promo offer codes.
- Several reviewers commented that they felt far too many Fresh Prep recipes had too many steps and took too long to make for a weekday meal. If that’s a factor for you I’d recommend checking out the 15-minute and 20-minute menus from Chefs Plate and Goodfood respectively.
- Relatively few types of plans compared to the big national meal kit delivery companies.
Fresh Prep Food and Its Delivery
Fresh Prep offers a two-person package and a four-person package. Each package can be ordered in quantities of 2,3, or 4 each week.
Their website states that they typically offer customers ten meals options per week. The cost is a very competitive $9-$11 per saving, and the featured prices are inclusive of delivery and taxes (of which there are very few applied anyway). This cost makes them quite similar to their major competitors.
Unlike Goodfood, Chefs Plate, and Hello Fresh, there is no vegetarian plan available at this time when I go on the Fresh Prep website. That doesn’t mean however that they don’t have plenty of veggie options to choose from – it just depends on the week. If you were going to try and go the vegan or vegetarian route while using Fresh Prep, I think your best bet would be to log in weekly and see what was offered at that time. They do make it easy to skip weeks (as long as you’re using a computer screen and not a cell phone screen).
Fresh Prep Reviews on Yelp and Facebook
Because one person’s experience and thoughts do not make for a well rounded Fresh Prep review, I scavenged the web to bring you a smattering of first-person accounts from Fresh Prep customers. These were mostly first seen on Yelp, but also from Reddit and Facebook users.
We have been a customer for 5 months. To date we have been very pleased with all of our meals, super excellent quality, diversity of menu choices, excellent ingredients: local, organic, satisfying portions, fun to prepare. Service has always been timely and I like the on-line flexibility of changing delivery day or quantities. Delivery staff are courteous. We have always received what we ordered and there has been no missing ingredients. Really like the occasional partnerships with local products and occasional added samples: eg Cricket’s Chocolate/Cricket Meal bar and Salt Spring Onion and Thyme jam. Their meals have renewed my interest in cooking. It also saves us money eating out and there is no waste.
Absolutely do not try! Customer service is a joke! Our order did not come so we phoned customer service and spoke to a Big Rude Moron, Tommy. Asked him where our order is and was accusing us of fraud claiming we already got our order. Asked to speak to Manager and claimed was the manager. Still haven’t gotten our money or order. Do not try, terrible service and not reliable.
Tried Fresh prep early in 2017 but had to temporarily cancel service because they did not deliver in my area – it was a hassle having to ask co-workers to accept my order at work and put in refrigerator until I arrived the next day. But now they deliver to North Delta so I signed back! First and foremost I really like the variety of dishes they offer with the choice of being able to change them before delivery date. I would say I’ve enjoyed 80-90% of the meals delivered. Not only were they tasty but healthy and “fresh” too. Packaging is really good with all the ingredients cut up, measured and labeled. instructions are easy to follow and I found it fun and exciting preparing the meals and eating the finished product. I am also impressed by the attentive staff at Fresh prep who are always friendly and ready to answer any inquiries.
I like this company but have decided to pause my subscription for a while.
The good: they deliver usually on time. The packaging is good and we’ve had no issues with the freshness or quality of the ingredients. The recipes are ok most of the time
The main reason we paused the subscription is that the value is not really there. While the concept is good, I feel that other online stores offer as much or better value (spud.ca). We also found that a lot of their recipes were repetitive. Either they recycle the same recipes or have slightly different variations or use the same kind of ingredients.
-Missing ingredient (twice).
-A very long hair in a sealed bag of green beans.
-A lime so old and dried out, I literally could not squeeze a single drop of juice from it.
-A red pepper clearly well past prime, beginning to shrivel.
-Late delivery (once).
In fairness to Fresh Prep, I only reported one problem to them directly (a missing ingredient), for which they credited me $5. I never bothered reporting the other issues because I had already decided that there were too many problems to continue the subscription.
We tried Fresh Prep. Most of the time, it was good, until it wasn’t. I found the taste and quality deteriorated a bit, and we stopped subscribing. That was about 9 months ago, maybe they had a blip and were working with a different chef at the time, I’m not sure. We’re trying another service in the new year and are thinking Chef’s Plate. Editing to add: now that I’m remembering, I remember that the portion sizes started to shrink, and when I finally thought — nope, we’re done — was when we had a machine-cut piece of teeny, frozen, fishy-tasting salmon
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a delivery fee?
No – at least no additional delivery fee. It is all included in whatever price you see online.
Can I skip a delivery week?
Yes. Just login a week ahead of time, go into your account, and let them know. (Again – no app available like Hello Fresh and Chefs Plate customers enjoy.)
Is there tax?
There is almost never tax applied to most meal kits due to the fact that the vast majority of ingredients in a meal kit are tax-free due to their status as essential items. That said, any items that there would be tax on, Fresh Prep includes that tax in the price you see – so there are definitely no additional tax surprises charged to your credit card.
Is Fresh Prep environmentally friendly?
Yes! Fresh Prep makes every effort to use compostable and recyclable packaging. Their cooler bags are reusable and they refer several times to their efforts to constantly improve in this area.
Is their Meat Halal?
Some of it.
Specifically, our chicken and turkey recipes are definitely Halal as they are sourced from Rossdown Farms in Abbotsford, British Columbia. The meat from that farm is certified by the Halal Inspection & Certification Committee of the BC Muslim Association.
Any other meat or seafood used in our recipes is not Halal certified.
What if I’m not home to accept delivery?
Fresh prep cooler bags will keep your food fresh until is delivered to your front step. Alternatively, like with other meal kits, you can decide to have a trustworthy neighbour accept delivery for you, or have it delivered to work. It’s really not hard to grab your bag out of the work fridge on your way out the door. (Especially when you consider that it is replacing a time-consuming stop at a grocery store!)
Fresh Prep Review: Recipe Examples
Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find on a Fresh Prep weekly recipe menu.
- Pan Seared Cod with Sun-dried Tomato Dill Mayo, Basmati Rice and Roasted Carrot Fries
- Belizean Inspired Stewed Chicken Thighs with Spiced Kidney Beans and Bell Peppers over Coconut Rice
- Seared Pork Chops with Sweet and Spicy Cannellini Beans, Spinach and Toasted Ciabatta
- Coconut Beef Curry with Potatoes and Green Peas over a Bed of Quinoa
- Summer Root Vegetable Hash with Tarragon Greek Yogurt and Poached Eggs
- Green Bean Barley Salad with Chickpeas, Fennel and an Orange Vinaigrette
- Cold Peanut Udon with Smoked Tempeh, Slaw and Marinated Cucumbers
- Tuscan Tomato + Bread Soup with Black Beans and Spinach
- Coconut Pineapple Rice with Cashews, Sunny Side Egg and Sambal
Fresh Prep Review Summary and Recommendations
For Vegan Audience
For Halal Keeping Audience
With over 17,000 customers, Fresh Prep has developed a solid following within Vancouver. While I understand their strategy of building up delivery capability with their own drivers, I seriously wonder if this will be sustainable to keep up as the try to expand into other markets. If I had to guess, I’d say that Fresh Prep will likely firm up their support within Vancouver and Victoria, and find it incredibly difficult to compete against meal kit titans like Hello Fresh and Chefs Plate in the rest of the country.
That’s ok – being a really good regional competitor that offers urban BC residents another solid meal kit option is no small achievement for three young Canadian entrepreneurs! If you live in the Vancouver area and want to compare them to national companies like Hello Fresh, then I’d definitely check it out to see how they stack up. If you have anything to add to our Fresh Prep review please contact us and send us any firsthand cooking pics!