Case Study: Prepared meal delivery service Freshly partners with to offer hearty, plant-forward meals

May 2022

Consumers today are looking for convenience and value, with preferences shaped by the pandemic and global issues that have raised prices on everything from groceries to fuel. Enter prepared meal delivery, which offers nutrition, flexibility, and flavor in a time- and money-saving solution.

Freshly, a pioneer in the skyrocketing meal delivery industry, partnered with to offer several plant-forward meals that showcase global flavors and offer nutrient-dense solutions for lunches and dinners, all of which can be ready to eat in three minutes or less.

Freshly’s chef-cooked meals featuring lentils include:

Farmstead Baked Lentil Pasta, a rice and red lentil-based macaroni with a creamy, dairy-free marinara sauce made with coconut milk and cashew butter (500 calories, 12g protein, 5g fiber)

Hearty Veggie Bolognese, a vegetarian take on the savory sauce, with a red lentil ziti pasta, whole lentils, and riced cauliflower adding fiber and protein to the six-vegetable bolognese (470 calories, 20g protein, 10g fiber)

Middle Eastern Falafel, which has lentils in the whole-grain bowl base alongside quinoa and a rice blend, traditional chickpea falafel, and a punchy lemon tahini sauce (470 calories, 13g protein, 6g fiber)

Three-Grain Harvest Bowl, with a vegetable blend including mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes, and lentils alongside a grain blend of brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa, all flavored with a savory turmeric-ginger sauce (420 calories, 13g protein, 10g fiber)

Indian-Spiced Chickpea Curry Bowl, fragrant with warming spices, plant protein from lentils and chickpeas, and a rich medley of vegetables, including tomatoes, cauliflower, celery, and potatoes (360 calories, 11g protein, 6g fiber)

Freshly launched Purely Plant™, a line of plant-based meals featuring whole-food ingredients, in summer 2021, based on consumer research that demonstrated a desire for more plant proteins. Most of the lentil-based options currently on the Freshly menu are in the Purely Plant line. With their nutrient-dense profile, lentils are an ideal ingredient for satisfying plant-forward dishes, delivering 12 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per half-cup serving.

“Most Freshly customers are looking for high-protein meals across all categories,” says Jenna Amos, RDN, Nutrition Manager at Freshly. “Lentils are a great option to add protein to our Purely Plant line across a variety of concepts — stews, curries, grain bowls, patties, pastas, and more.”

Lentils also act as a flavor sponge, able to absorb the diverse flavors in sauces and seasonings that make meals delicious and crave-inducing. Freshly developed its Purely Plant meals with a flavor-first approach designed to satisfy while proving that plant-based eating can be as delicious as it is nutritious.

“High in fiber and protein, lentils excel in dishes with global flavors, including Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern spices and sauces, as these Freshly meals demonstrate,” says Amber Johnson, director of marketing and communications at “Lentils are the ideal ingredient for plant-based meals that are portable, affordable, satiating and delicious.”

In summer 2020, 46% of consumers surveyed agreed that they were seeking out more value items. [1] This trend can be seen in the soaring popularity of meal delivery, including meal kits and delivered prepared meals. The global meal kit delivery services market was valued at more than $15 billion in 2021, with forecasters estimating 17% growth in the category by 2030. [2]

Freshly is a New York-based prepared meal delivery company that delivers throughout the United States. Nestlé acquired the direct-to-consumer meal delivery pioneer in October 2020. Since its launch in 2015, Freshly now ships more than one million single-serve meals per week.

Plant-based often comes with a health halo, but it doesn’t always mean ‘healthy.’ This is especially relevant with plant-based protein; many consumers are seeking plant-based proteins with non-processed, whole food ingredients. Featuring plant-based proteins like lentils that are natural and free from processed ingredients is a big opportunity to win consumer confidence,” says Amos.

[1] Technomic’s Foodservice Impact Monitor 12th Edition
[2] Grand View Research Market Share & Trends Analysis Report, 2022