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If you haven’t heard of Factor, we can almost guarantee you’ve come across or even tried its parent company, HelloFresh. In November 2020, the meal kit leader acquired the Chicago-based startup to help it grow and reach more consumers. I tried Factor premade meal delivery service for one week, and I see exactly why HelloFresh knew it deserved more attention.
Factor (also known as Factor75 and Factor_) is a meal delivery service that has a strong emphasis on health and wellness, offering a rotating menu of fresh single-serving meals designed by registered dietitians and prepared by culinary experts. Factor meals are for people with active lifestyles, who follow specific diets, and who want perfectly portioned premade meals for one readily available on busy days. And because they require zero cooking skills, the ready-to-eat meals are also a godsend for those who don’t like to cook or would rather spend that extra time on things like achieving your fitness goals or organizing your home. Basically, if you want your fridge to be filled with healthy, delicious meals that take two minutes to heat up, Factor is the best prepared meal delivery service for you.
How I Tested the Service
My Factor order included a week’s worth of lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. To sample a little bit of everything, I chose meals with different proteins, flavors, and diet requirements from the menu. My short-and-sweet summary: Healthy comfort food that’s ready to eat in two minutes. Sure, you can wait a minute for it to cool down, but I always seem to skip that step.
I’ve been vegetarian and pescatarian in the past, but now I would say I follow a balanced diet or 80:20 ratio. Whole foods and clean meals make me feel good, so I aim to eat healthy foods most of the time and “unhealthy” foods every now and then.
I was extremely happy to learn that Factor meals feature (mostly) organic fruits and vegetables as well as animal proteins that are grass fed, pasture raised, and antibiotic- and hormone-free. The entrées align with my wellness goals: Feeding my body with fuel (real foods!) to improve my physical and mental health. And let’s just say they blow typical chicken-and-broccoli meal prep recipes out of the water—if you know, you know.
My overall rating for Factor: 9.2/10
- Zero-prep meals ready in two minutes
- Delivered fresh not frozen
- All meals are non-GMO and free of preservatives
- Innovative recipes with outstanding flavor and seasoning
- Satisfying portions for individual servings
- Healthy add-ons, like keto desserts and wellness juices
- Good variety of high-protein, keto, and low-carb meals
- Free shipping
- No cooking lessons or recipe cards for those wanting to grow their skills
- Can be more expensive than buying groceries
- Not family friendly—single-serving meals only
- Doesn’t have very many plant-based meal options
Signing Up for Factor: How It Works
Signing up for Factor is an easy process, and there are a few ways to do it. You can go to factor75.com on your phone or computer, or download the Factor app for even easier navigation. No matter which route you choose, it’s the same procedure. First, simply enter your email address and zip code in order to view accurate pricing and shipping information. Then choose the amount of meals you want to include in your weekly order—four, six, eight, 12, or 18.
Once you’ve selected your plan, you get to choose which meals and add-ons you want in your delivery. You can browse the entire Factor menu or use the filters to find meals that meet your needs. There are pictures of every food item on the menu, allowing you to see what it will look like once it’s cooked. If you click on a picture, you can read the description, ingredient list, and nutritional information to ensure you’re aware of everything that’s included in the dish. Shipping is free and available everywhere in the U.S. except for Alaska and Hawaii.
Factor Menu: Mainly Low Carb, High Protein Meals
Factor’s menu is easy to navigate and features exciting chef-prepared meals. The meal delivery service doesn’t offer specific meal plans, but you can filter the menu to show meals that fit into different diet categories. The categories include ketogenic, paleo, high protein, low calorie, low carb, dairy free, vegetarian, spicy, and plant based. You can find the most meal options within the ketogenic, high protein, low carb, and low calorie sections. There aren’t a lot of options available in dairy free, vegetarian, plant based, and paleo preferences, and unfortunately, you can’t modify the meals at this time. Ideally, the company will grow those smaller categories as more and more people eliminate animal proteins in their diets.
In addition to ready-to-eat meals, Factor offers different proteins, snacks, desserts, and smoothies you can add to your order. Everything is made in house, so the extras follow the same healthy approach as the entrées. Past menu features have included mouth-watering items like lemon blueberry keto cheesecake, chocolate brownie keto shake, and pan-seared salmon.
The Factor Meals and Add-Ons I Chose:
- Green chile chicken with queso blanco
- Spicy turkey poblano bowl
- Parmesan risotto with Italian sausage and broccoli
- Grilled pork chop with red pepper cauliflower mash
- Peanut Buddha bowl
- Shrimp alfredo with zucchini noodles
- Peruvian grilled chicken
- Garlic herb salmon
- Smoothie variety pack
- Cocoa peanut butter keto truffles
Factor Delivery and Packaging: Mostly Eco-Friendly Materials
Factor delivers on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, depending on where you live. I received my order on a Wednesday afternoon in hot, humid Midwest summer temperatures. Fortunately, I work from home, so I brought my box inside as soon as it arrived on my doorstep.
The box was massive in size and fairly heavy, but I managed to carry it to the table with no issues. After opening the box, I was pleased to see there was plenty of insulation and cold gel packs to keep the food fresh. I checked over the order, made sure nothing was spoiled or broken, snapped a pic of my meal collection, and stored the fresh meal kits in the refrigerator right away. Well, obviously I tried a cocoa peanut butter truffle first.
The fresh meals are packaged in BPA-free CPET recyclable plastic, covered in non-recyclable plastic film, and tucked into a recyclable cardboard sleeve. The sleeve is clearly labeled with the name of the meal, snack, or dessert, and it also features cooking instructions (if applicable), nutritional information, and an ingredient list.
Factor makes an effort to practice sustainability with their packaging and shipping methods. The big cardboard box is recyclable: Simply break it down into smaller pieces and toss it in your recycling bin or take it to a recycling facility in your area. Factor uses three different types of insulation, including laminated, PET, and cotton. The laminated insulation is recyclable, while the other two should be thrown away in the trash. The gel packs are a bonus because you can reuse them for picnics, tailgates, and road trips. If you don’t want to keep them in your freezer, drain the gel in the trash and head to plasticfilmrecycling.com to find out where you can recycle the plastic film. Give the BPA-free food containers a good rinse and recycle curbside.
Cooking Factor Meals: Couldn’t Be Easier
Just because I don’t have time to cook, doesn’t mean I don’t want to eat delicious meals, though. That’s why Factor came into my life at the perfect time. On top of busy summer plans, I recently moved into a new home and have been focused on homeowner tasks. Having quality microwavable meals ready to eat in two minutes took a noticeable amount of time off my plate to get other things done. And like I said before, I’m a healthy eater and prioritize working out, so the premade meals helped me stay on top of my goals.
Every meal in my Factor order only required two minutes on high in the microwave. Before you place a meal in the microwave, you need to remove the cardboard sleeve and pierce the plastic film with a fork or knife. Once the two minutes are up, the instructions recommend letting the dish stand for a few minutes to cool, but I usually dug in right away.
If you’d rather use a conventional oven to heat your meal, there are instructions for that cooking method, too. Just preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the sleeve and plastic film, and place the meal tray in the oven on a baking sheet for about five minutes. No matter which way you heat up your meal, it’s ready to eat in very little time.
You can either enjoy the food straight out of the tray or transfer it to a plate to enhance its aesthetic appeal. If I was in a rush, I ate it directly from the tray. When I wanted the food to cool down more quickly or to combine the main course and sides, I opted for a bowl or plate.
The meals were consistent in cooking time, seasoning, and satisfaction. I never had to pop a meal back in the microwave after reaching the two-minute mark, add any additional seasoning or sauces to my meals—which is saying something because I’m a big condiment girl—or reach for snacks after I was finished eating.
Factor Ingredients and Sourcing: Sustainable Farms
Factor partners with a select few organic farms that use sustainable farming practices, and the majority of ingredients are sourced within the U.S. The salmon comes from Canada, some cuts of meat are sourced from Australia, and select produce is supplied by Central America and South America. The salmon is BAP-certified, which means it follows The Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices, and the shrimp is wild caught.
“We are very strict about what we put in our meals, and our chefs use only the highest quality, freshest ingredients available,” says Kara Kash, RD, LDN, at Factor. “Every meal is free of gluten, hormones, GMOs, antibiotics, and artificial preservatives. We utilize pasture-raised pork, antibiotic-free poultry, grass-fed meat, and organic produce when available.” She also adds that Factor uses a blast chilling method to retain nutrition instead of adding preservatives.
Factor Meals Flavor and Quality: Praise- and Crave-Worthy
I’ll come right out and say it: I definitely had my reservations when I heard Factor meals were microwaveable. I automatically envisioned the tough, bland, and salty frozen meals I had eaten in the past. In my defense, this was during my early college days when I didn’t have time or money … or high standards for my food quality. Fast forward to my first bite of a Factor meal—um, yeah, we’re not dealing with cheap freezer-burned entrées anymore. These are real, fresh, high-quality meals. Honestly, I loved (and now crave) almost every single recipe I tried.
I can’t pick just one Factor meal to highlight, so here are my top three favorites: grilled pork chop with red pepper cauliflower mash, shrimp alfredo with zucchini noodles, and green chile chicken with queso blanco. Oh, and the dessert I couldn’t get through this review without telling you about: Cocoa peanut butter keto truffles—yes, they are as delicious as they sound. Least favorites? The smoothie variety pack and the parmesan risotto with Italian sausage and broccoli.
Grilled pork chop with red pepper cauliflower mash: This dynamic duo is what dreams are made of. Once I noticed the pork had real grill marks, I knew this dish would be one of my favorites. The flavor-locking sear took the underrated protein to the next level. Equally as satisfying, the red pepper cauliflower mash is so good you would never guess that you were eating a healthy dose of vegetables. And it doesn’t stop there: The meal came with a side of green beans topped with mushroom cream sauce that was extremely tasty and fresh.
Shrimp alfredo with zucchini noodles: Seafood is my thing, especially shrimp. I love, love, love it. I don’t buy it at the grocery store often because it can be on the pricier side, so I was excited to add this meal to my order. It did not disappoint. The wild-caught shrimp alfredo with noodles came with broccoli florets, so I combined everything in one bowl for a special Thursday night din din.
Green chile chicken with queso blanco: Same story as the grilled pork. You just can’t beat the flavor of seared meat. Not sure how grilled chicken tastes this good after being warmed up in the microwave, but props to Factor for giving us this deliciousness. However, the main event of this dish was the house-made queso sauce that featured green chiles and poblano peppers. This meal also came with a side of Mexican-inspired cauliflower rice, so I made sure to distribute the queso evenly between the chicken and rice. So delish.
Cocoa peanut butter keto truffles: Basically cocoa-dusted cheesecake bites. Whatever dessert Factor offers, add it to your order. The company knows how to make healthy sweet treats taste suspiciously good. Tip: If you live with a partner or kids, don’t let them know how good they are. Mine disappeared fast.
Parmesan risotto with Italian sausage and broccoli: I loved the flavor of the savory parmesan risotto and roasted broccoli, but I wasn’t a fan of the Italian sausage and pearl onions. I had a bite of Italian sausage that was pretty fatty, so I picked around it after that. And I’m usually not a wimp with onions, but the pearl onions were a little too much and kind of random in this particular dish.
Smoothie variety pack: I should’ve read the ingredient list before adding this smoothie pack to my shipment. I was picturing more of a yogurty smoothie, but these are made with coconut milk and coconut water so they were very, well, coconuty. Not for me.
At first glance, I wasn’t sure if the single-serving meals would fill me up. But after trying all eight meals, I can say the portion sizes are so satisfying. The meals are usually between 500 and 800 calories, which is perfect for my active lifestyle. It’s a bummer there aren’t recipe cards included because I would love to try to recreate some of the dishes on my own. I’ll still give them my best shot.
Factor Meals Price: What You’d Expect
Like most meal delivery services, the biggest bundle is the best value. The 12- or 18-pack is a great option for couples and individuals who want to enjoy Factor meals every day of the week. The best part? Shipping is always free.
- Four meals per week is $15/serving
- Six meals per week is $12.83/serving
- Eight meals per week is $12.38/serving
- 12 meals per week is $11.50/serving
- 18 meals per week is $11/serving
Calling all first-time subscribers! There’s no need to pay full price because Factor is currently offering $90 off your first three orders ($30 off each shipment). Go to the website and unlock the offer by submitting your email address on the pop-form. You’ll receive a link in your inbox that will automatically apply your discount at checkout.
Factor Customer Service: Very Professional
Have a question, complaint, or concern? There are a few ways to reach Factor’s customer service representatives: You can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call or text (888) 573-5727, or use the live chat feature on the company’s website. When in doubt, check the Factor FAQ page—odds are your question has already been answered.
Many customers have written positive reviews about Factor’s customer service, saying it’s “very professional,” “equally as good as the food,” and “the BEST role models for any business.”
“The customer service is outstanding,” one Factor subscriber said. “I had a damaged container in one shipment, and they took care of my concern immediately. And when they couldn’t deliver one week, due to inclement weather, they were in contact and not only refunded that week’s meals but also gave me a credit for the next week’s meals.”
The good news: It’s extremely easy to make changes to your shipment. The bad news: Factor can’t modify or cancel an order that has already been processed. The most important thing to note is that all adjustments for your next order need to be made by Wednesday at 9:59 p.m. PT. To skip an order from your desktop, simply log into your account, locate the week you need to skip, and click ‘Skip’ next to the edit button. On the app, log into your account, select the week, and click ‘Skip.’ You can skip deliveries up to six weeks in advance.
If you need to change your email address or delivery address or turn off the subscription feature, log into your account and make changes in ‘Account Settings.’
Factor Reviews: Positive
Customers give Factor a 4.4-star rating, according to Trustpilot. To break it down, 65 percent say it’s excellent, 21 percent say it’s great, 8 percent say it’s poor, and 4 percent say it’s bad. Factor has replied to 83 percent of negative reviews, and the company usually responds in 24 hours or less.
“I cook a lot and make healthy meals almost every day and was looking for some healthy premade meals to give myself a break. Plus, I wanted it to be portion controlled because I tend to eat more of the healthy food I cook than I should,” one five-star reviewer said. “Factor meals do not disappoint. It’s given me more time to do other things than cooking and cleaning up. I can’t say enough good things about Factor!”
“Delicious but on the higher end, ” one four-star reviewer said. “For me, totally worth it as I am terrible about eating healthy, and this guarantees I have ready food and make better choices. Still cheaper than throwing away wasted groceries.”
Factor Meals: My Take
The pros of Factor outweigh the cons. Having healthy meals delivered to my doorstep eliminates the majority of my grocery shopping and time spent meal prepping weekday lunches. Not only are the premade meals packed with nutrients, but they’re also delicious, filling, and incredibly easy to prepare. Plus, single-serving premade meals means zero food waste.
Would I buy Factor again? Absolutely. Although I do enjoy cooking dinner, Factor meals are the best solution for quick-yet-quality work lunches and busy weeknights.
Factor vs. Sunbasket
After trying Sunbasket and Factor back to back, it’s hard for me to say one is better than the other. I gave Sunbasket a slightly higher score because of its meal variety and dietary customization. However, they both exceeded my expectations in terms of ease of preparation, taste, quality of ingredients, nutrition, and portion size. If you’re debating between the two, it really comes down to how much time you have to cook, the number of servings you need, and specific diet preferences. Sunbasket offers more meal plans and modifications to meet the needs of diabetics, home cooks, and families, while Factor is excellent for fitness-minded individuals who want to consume high-protein, low-carb meals within their busy schedules.
Who’s This Service Good For?
Factor is ideal for individuals or couples who want to eat healthy but don’t necessarily have the time or cooking skills to do so. It’s an excellent meal delivery service for low carb, keto, and high protein eaters. Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or wanting to start your wellness journey, Factor is for you.
Who Isn’t It Good For?
I wouldn’t recommend Factor for people who like to cook their own food, plant-based eaters, budget-conscious folks, and families.
My Testing Methodology:
My overall ranking for Factor was 9.2/10 after evaluating pricing, quality of ingredients, ease of preparation, sustainability, and more. I took each of the below factors into account to arrive at a weighted score out of 10.
Meals have a balanced and delicious flavor and consistency.
The service provides easy-to-follow instructions for preparing and cooking the meal.
Ingredients are high quality and fresh. They are in good shape when they arrive.
There are options for users to note dietary restrictions and preferences. Choosing these options is easy to do, and there are plenty of meal/food options for these preferences.
This service provides a variety of meals, cuisines, and flavors to avoid meal repeats and provide users with new dishes to explore.
Meals are healthy and provide balanced nutrients.
The service is available to consumers in a variety of locations.
Portion sizes are reasonable and filling. Don’t need to supplement the meal with additional food because you’re left hungry.
The price is reasonable for the quality of food you receive.
The subscription/plan offers reasonable customization. You’re able to adjust or cancel your order within a reasonable time frame.
The meals arrived on time. The packaging kept things fresh and in good condition. You’re able to provide delivery instructions if needed.
How quickly customer service responds to queries, the level of detail they provide, and how helpful the team is overall.
Takes into consideration a company’s social missions, charitable causes, and sustainability efforts. Products are sourced ethically. Packaging is recyclable or sustainable.