Fresh ingredients, easy recipes – The Fresh 20

The Fresh 20 Logo

If you’re a headline reader you can stop here.  We recommend you click on the logo for The Fresh 20 above and check it out.  My thoughts are summed up as:

  1. Great idea,
  2. simple but excellent execution,
  3. really hope she’s making money so that my family can continue to subscribe, and
  4. why didn’t I think of that?!

Disclaimer:  We are nothing but (satisfied) customers of The Fresh 20.

The Problem

Family wants to eat well but it’s not easy:

  • Want veggies in the meal – you’re chopping every night
  • Overpurchase (not sure what we’re having this week so I better get extra kale)
  • Waste (See overpurchase)
  • Anxiety over same-old-five-things-over-and-over
  • Very easy to eat out and spend a lot of money doing so

The First Non-Solution

@CherylLynnPage, the consummate Internet researcher, initially found Blue Apron.  Their value proposition – A better way too cook – Fresh ingredients, great recipes delivered weekly to your home.  Except, in our experience it was:

  • Expensive (could have been ok, we were willing to “spend up” for better AND easier meals)
  • had too many ingredients
  • Recipes were too complicated (we’re trying to cook this stuff on Wed after rehearsals and practice!)
  • Fatal flaw – We tried it for three (3) weeks.  Shipping is supposed to be one-day (there are perishables in the shipments.  The earliest we received the ingredients was four (4) days.  Sorry, not interested in meat products that have been in the mail for four days.

Screen grab of Blue Apron value proposition - A better way to cook

In the end Cheryl emailed, tweeted with them over and over.  The best we got out of them was a refund and an apology for the shipments being delayed.

We wanted it work work and were willing to at least experiment with the cost premium (Blue Apron was doing the shopping, after all).

In the end we cancelled.  Just didn’t work for us.

The (Current) Solution (Long-term?)

Undaunted, @CherylLynnPage hopped back on her Google and started scouring the Internet.  She found The Fresh 20.  Founded by Melissa Lanz (Twitter: melissalanz) the site did NOT shop for you but it had some other pretty cool features.  I can’t say it any better than Melissa does on The Fresh 20 website.  Long citation below – included here verbatim because, in our experience, it’s an accurate description of what the problem and their value.

Photo of Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Melissa writes:

I did what we all do. I went to the Internet well.  There are millions of recipes available. There are dozens of meal planning services. I still could not find what I needed. I was bombarded with “products” instead of being educated about food. Everyone wants a quick solution, but I just was not willing to serve mushroom soup casseroles or refrigerator dough to my growing family. I wasn’t looking for fast and simple. I was looking for FRESH and simple.

The Fresh 20 is an alternative to food as products. It’s about buying less and making more. It’s about loading your dinner table with delicious, preservative free food. It’s about saving that takeout money for something more rewarding than takeout!

Ok, that sounds right – especially “bombarded with products” and “dozens of meal planning services” and “not willing to serve mushroom casseroles” (<- sad, funny).  So, in a market that’s already overpopulated (i.e., dozens of meal planning services) where was the white space forThe Fresh 20?

Melissa continues:

What is the Fresh 20?

The Fresh 20 is a meal planning service, created for busy families and singles who want to eat fresh, healthy meals, and save time and money. Our meal plans rely on simple, healthy, homemade lunches and dinners using just 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients per week. No more grocery lists with 80 items that will eventually go to waste. Our meal plans are carefully created to utilize everything on the list so you can stop throwing money down the drain. The Fresh 20 mixes and matches a small list of ingredients to create 5 balanced meals that play off each other. We include detailed guides to meal prep, original recipes everyone will enjoy (even picky eaters) and motivation to help you stay the course on busy weeknights. Because we are committed to our customers, and to health and happiness for all, we now offer Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Kosher, Meals for One and Lunch, in addition to our Classic Meal Plan.

Graphic depicting the cuisine options in the Fresh 20

Here’s the “money” part of their uniqueness:

Our meal plans are carefully created to utilize everything on the list so you can stop throwing money down the drain. The Fresh 20 mixes and matches a small list of ingredients to create 5 balanced meals that play off each other.

Cheryl came home with a bunch of veggies on Saturday and chopped them all up.  On the following Saturday (which is our traditional remove-all-the-brown-and-gross-stuff-from-the-fridge day) we threw out NOTHING.  No triple-bagged collection of racoon lottery winnings, no leftover leftovers!

We’re going into week 4 and we’re loving it.  If you can relate to any of this you should try them out. Note:  They have no referral program so this recommendation is clean 🙂


In the spirit of balanced reporting we do have ONE (teeny) complaint.  Their Paleo program ingredient list is exportable from their site.  You would do this in order to import it into your grocery list app.  Unfortunately, their Classic meal plan doesn’t seem to offer a shopping list CSV export.


This is really a joint blog post – inspired and written by both me and @CherylLynnPage – wife, mother, and Internet researcher extraordinaire who found Fresh20.

This entry was posted in Entrepreneurialism, Good Living, Inspiration and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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