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Nutrition, Good Food

Real Reviews: Factor Meal Delivery

ProfessorGorgeous founding_member

This photo contains stock imagery of food and is not meant to represent the content of Factor Meals.

Meal delivery kits are supposed to be solutions, not problems.

As someone who finds unparalleled joy in getting packages, I’ve become the go-to expert on subscription boxes among my friends. If you, like me, are somebody who works from home and often spends days on end without seeing another human being (not ideal!), getting mail can be a pretty big deal. That, paired with the thrill of scoring a good deal month after month, is something that keeps me subscribed to various boxes/services that each fulfill different needs.

In the year of our lord 2024, you can get absolutely anything delivered to your home, and often, just subscribing to monthly orders can save you money. I’m not just talking about razors or toilet paper, (which we will still cover below) either. Prescriptions, clothes, food, makeup, toiletries, and even essential oil refills can be delivered to your home via subscription, and in some cases, these services will introduce you to other products you may love based on your shopping behavior. Many of these services offer free gifts upon signing up, as well. But while some services have become staples in my life, others have been such a brutal disappointment and waste of time/money that I feel compelled to rescue you. You can thank me later.

I’m not one to gatekeep shopping tips from the girlies, so I’ve compiled a list of my favorite (and least favorite) subscription services that cover a diverse range of products and services. This is not a sponsored article, so beware– it might get a little ugly here… but I’d be remiss if I wasn’t honest about my experiences with these brands. My goal is to save you time, money, AND a headache. Oh, and I’ll be publishing one of these reviews every day for the rest of the week, so if this one doesn’t necessarily apply to you, just wait– there’s way more where this came from.

Today, I’m covering Factor. They’re a meal delivery service that boasts fresh, never-frozen meals that reheat in under 10 minutes, with carefully crafted, dietician-approved dishes that can satisfy even the busiest clientele. These meals are adored by a few of my friends (whose taste I’ve generally trusted until now), and the service as a whole sponsors the majority of the podcasts I listen to. Both factors (pun intended, I guess) eventually led me to my commitment to the service, and I wish I could tell you that it was worth it, but it was certainly not. If you’re considering subscribing to Factor, give my review a read, and if you disagree, I would love to hear why in the comments or an article of your own! I love being wrong! This time, however, I don’t believe I am. You’ll see for yourself.

Let’s jump in!


I love cooking and due to a recent illness, I’ve had to become extra careful about what I put in my body. Eating clean can be a challenge for anybody, especially young professionals who are usually too busy to commit to any meal prep beyond scheduling a local pizza delivery. As this year has gotten busier and busier, and I’ve become increasingly limited in my diet, I started to consider meal delivery services as a solution. I wanted to try a brand that prioritized clean ingredients and had enough gluten-free and dairy-free options that could sustain me without having to repeat certain meals over and over. People who have limited diets, like me, often run into similar problems, including recipe fatigue (eating the same meal every day because it’s “safe”) and incomplete nutrition (eating the same meal, even if well-rounded, can lead to nutritional deficiencies). During my search for the right service to solve my nutritional and scheduling issues, I was listening to a podcast that just so happened to offer a limited-time promotion where users could score their first week of Factor meals for 50% off with free gifts included in every order for life! This was definitely appealing to me, as I’ve browsed the sites of services like Factor without committing due to the lack of meal choices and high cost compared to cooking. For this experiment, I thought “Hey, why not.” Even if their choices weren’t incredibly diverse, it would still be one week’s worth of meals for a significant discount. So I committed– one week’s worth of food, complete with 3 free juice shots for every delivery I receive. Honestly, I’m a sucker for those little guys, so I was excited about the prospect of loving the subscription, eating my perfectly portioned (never frozen) meals that take just minutes to reheat, and enjoying those little extras for an occasional pick-me-up.

Factor allows you to choose from a variety of plans that cater to different budgets and delivery frequencies. While the subscription model is based on weekly deliveries, you can pause your deliveries at any time before the designated selection window closes for any reason with no extra fee. The minimum amount of meals one can elect to receive per week is 6, with 18 meals being the maximum (around $13 and $10 per meal, respectively). Given the nutritional value, portion, and (perceived) diversity of meal offerings, compiled with the sad truth that in the New York/New Jersey area, one can expect to pay as much as $25 for a fast food meal, I found these prices very fair. Ultimately, I opted for the 10-meal plan and figured I would go through them by the weekend, allowing me to enjoy meals with friends and family without worrying about whether or not I would be neglecting the perfectly good Factors in my fridge. To further personalize my shipment, I was able to select from a list of 6 dietary preferences that would help shape the menu options I was given to choose from. These include Keto, Calorie Smart, Flexitarian, Protein Plus, Vegan & Veggie (which are not the same thing…), and Chef’s Choice. I chose Flexitarian, as that was the broadest option from which I could select filters like “gluten-free” to enhance my search. Once I settled on my plan, I was able to browse the menu for the upcoming week and make selections accordingly. This is where it got complicated.

The base price for 10 meals was $124.90. With my promo code, the first box (all 10 meals and gifts) would ship free and the entire order would be 50% off. This made the base price of my subscription around $65 for the first week, which seemed like an incredible deal until I discovered that the best meals were only available with added fees. I found this incredibly disappointing, considering the base price of the subscription without the fee priced each meal at around $12, but after discovering that my dietary restrictions really only allowed me to select from the options that included fees, my bill quickly began to rise. It became clear that on a regular week when I wasn’t paying the promotional price, these meals would cost me around $20 each. While this is still a discount compared to restaurants near me, I was no longer exceptionally excited about the savings aspect of this trial. Still, I was saving time on shopping for groceries and cooking. Besides, the meals looked great and their emphasis on freshness was my north star. All I really wanted was a no-fuss solution to nutrition that I could count on. Before I knew it, I was confirmed for my first week of Factor meals and could expect them to arrive on the following Monday.

The weekend flew by and I was truly excited to receive my first shipment! I was told they would arrive packed in dry ice to preserve freshness during transport, which excited me and reminded me that these meals would be fresh and ready to eat. When I opened the package, I was disappointed to see that it wasn’t packaged in dry ice, but a series of cold packs that were almost totally melted by the time I got to unpacking. While this might not be a huge detail to you, I want to emphasize that I was receiving a large quantity of meat and eggs in this delivery, and my faith in the freshness of the meals after going from cooked, to packaged, to chilled, to essentially defrosted again, was shaken. Still, they seemed cold enough to be safe, I guess?

I figured since some of these meals felt colder than others I would refrigerate the ones that seemed the coldest and eat the one that seemed like it had fully reached room temperature. I chose the Cilantro Shrimp dish, which is considered a Protein Plus meal due to its lack of side dishes and emphasis on high protein. Cilantro shrimp, and simple dishes like it, are staples in my non-Factor diet because it’s clean protein, low fat and calorie, and devoid of ingredients to which I’m intolerant. These facts aside, I was SHOCKED to see that the dish contained two servings of shrimp with cilantro sauce and that the combined calorie and sodium content was far too much for what I prefer to consume. While it might seem like the obvious answer would have been to save the rest of the food for another time, therefore consuming each serving individually, one serving did not contain enough vitamins and nutrients to constitute a full meal. A dish like this would be suited better for someone who has a higher daily calorie intake and is not as sensitive to sodium as me.

Tastewise, I would score it 6.8/10. The shrimp was large but tasted almost like hot dogs, and smelled as such when I reheated it. The cilantro was highly visible, yet completely undetectable to the palate. I was displeased to learn that the creamy sauce that covered the shrimp upon being put in the oven was reduced to a watery slurry by the time I transferred the dish onto a plate of my own. I’m not sure if the shrimp contained an excess amount of water that mixed with the sauce or what, but the sight and smell of the sauce was deeply unappetizing, and I ultimately decided to discard it.

Oh, and regarding reheating– be sure that if you’re reheating in the oven, you do not place the plastic tray on the oven rack by itself. Factor specifies this in their reheating instructions, which are clearly stated on the cardboard sleeve of each meal, but I can see somebody else feeling the rigidness of the plastic tray, learning it’s oven-safe, and ignoring the extra step of placing the meal in its packaging on a baking sheet to prevent direct contact, only to find their meal sizzling on the bottom of their over with the tray warped between racks. I want to note, too, that reheating anything in plastic is always a sketchy experience for me, considering the fact that microplastics in food can usually be ingested at a higher rate following such practices and that the ingestion of microplastics can contribute to a plethora of health problems down the line.

My experience with the Cilantro Shrimp generally extended to each of the other dishes I tried; Too watery, salty, and generally disappointing. The filet mignon I paid an extra $14 for had the appearance of fake grill marks akin to what you might see on a McRib. The broccoli (that I was convinced would be impossible to screw up) was nearly ALL STEMS, as if the chef ran out of the nutritious parts before filling my tray. I didn’t feel as though I was getting the high-quality freshness I was promised– especially since the majority of the aforementioned filet mignon wound up being mostly gristle and virtually inedible. Wasting the majority of a “filet mignon” (if you can even call it that) was a gut punch.

One part of this experience that I would really like to emphasize is the fact that the dishes are not able to be mixed and matched. This isn’t something that other services incorporate, but would be a HUGE benefit to restricted eaters like me who would, for example, love to have the Grilled Salmon and Charred Broccoli, but can’t eat the pasta that comes with it. I was unfortunately forced to make selections that included foods I was not able to eat, ultimately discarding the parts of the dish that I was allergic to and wasting that food. This is the absolute LAST thing I wanted to happen. Throwing away perfectly good food is so sinful to me, and I avoid food waste at all costs. I would have preferred the option to select an alternative side dish that satisfied my dietary needs. The alternative, as I’m all too familiar with, is constantly repeating the dishes I’m able to order from Factor, continuing the cycle of weak nutrition and boredom. I also found it weird that so many of the sides incorporated cauliflower in lieu of regular rice or mashed potatoes. I understand that rice and potato tend to be more calorie-dense, but jeez, not everything needs to be cauliflower. I blame the Keto folks.

I can go on and on, but I won’t. Below is my wrap-up report at a glance:

Quality: 6.5/10. Some foods were ok, some were inedible, overall I’m not pleased, but I didn’t exactly call and complain for a refund, either.

Ease of Use: 7/10. Signing up and adding your promo code is easy, but determining when/how to skip your meals is a little tricky. I feel as though they make this part difficult to trick you into subscribing. I’ve seen it many times before, and I don’t like it. When I inevitably figured it all out, I was able to cancel the service pretty quickly, which I appreciate. If you’re on top of your orders and personal schedule, you can pretty easily plan out your deliveries according to your lifestyle. That is, if you can stomach the food.

Value: If you have no dietary restrictions, there is clear value to this subscription. However, the price of the add-ons remains annoying to me. You shouldn’t have to spend more than double the price of the average meal to get something of marginally higher quality. I don’t care how that maligns their supply chain or strategy, I just don’t think that’s right.

Would I Recommend: Not really. I would probably try another meal delivery service, as my issues with finding good, inexpensive meals that are nutritionally well-rounded and diverse remain unsolved. This service just doesn’t really stand out to me. The introductory deal of 50% off plus free shipping with a promo code (which you can use Honey for if you can’t use one from a podcast) is a great deal, but beyond that first week, I’m not sure how much money you would save if you choose some of the upgrade meals– which are somewhat irresistible compared to the general offerings. The weird part is that their breakfast looks really good, and if they began a subscription service based on breakfast dishes alone (which seem difficult to screw up), I would probably try it all again. Stay tuned, I guess?

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