Is Freshly Going out of Business?

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Freshly, the leading direct-to-consumer (DTC), prepared meal service, recently announced its closure amidst financial difficulties. Despite its acquisition by Nestlé in 2020 for up to $1.5 billion, Freshly faced challenges that hindered its profitability in the competitive DTC meal service industry. This unexpected turn of events has left many wondering about the future of Freshly and the factors that led to its closure.

Key Takeaways:

Freshly, a prominent DTC prepared meal service, has shut down due to financial difficulties.
The company faced challenges in achieving profitability despite its acquisition by Nestlé.
The closure highlights the competitive nature of the DTC meal service industry and the need for sustainable financial planning.
Customers have until January 17, 2023, to place final orders before Freshly ceases operations.
Customers can transition to Factor, another meal delivery service, at a discounted rate.

Early Reasons for Optimism

Freshly, the direct-to-consumer meal service, had a promising start with a strong sense of optimism. Co-founder Michael Wystrach recognized a gap in the market for easy, healthy, and cost-effective prepared meals. Frustrated with the lack of options, he took matters into his own hands and developed a solution that gained popularity among friends and family.

Driven by this initial success, Wystrach decided to explore the idea further. He sent an email blast to 100 friends in the Tucson area, and to his surprise, received over $2,000 in orders the very next day. This early validation boosted confidence and set the stage for Freshly’s early growth.

“Freshly was something we wanted, something we could build, and something few other people realized was worth doing,”

However, like many startups, Freshly faced profitability challenges as it navigated the competitive direct-to-consumer meal service sector. Despite the hurdles, the initial excitement and positive response from the early customer base provided a strong foundation for the company’s future.

Founder’s Vision and Startup Incubator

The optimism surrounding Freshly was fueled by the alignment of the founders’ vision with market demand. Michael Wystrach and his co-founders were not only passionate about providing convenient and healthy meals but also understood the importance of building a scalable business model. This resonated with investors and allowed Freshly to attract funding and expertise from prominent startup incubators.

Startup incubators play a crucial role in supporting early-stage companies, providing mentorship, resources, and capital to help them navigate the challenges ahead. Freshly’s participation in such programs further fueled optimism about its potential for success.

Early Growth and Market Opportunity

The early success of Freshly demonstrated the market opportunity for convenient and nutritious prepared meals. It showcased the demand for a solution that prioritized quality, taste, and simplicity in a fast-paced world. This fueled the company’s growth as it expanded its reach and customer base.

Summary of Early Reasons for Optimism

In summary, Freshly’s early reasons for optimism stemmed from the founders’ personal experience and their ability to identify a market gap. The positive response from early customers, along with the support of startup incubators, validated the company’s potential. These factors paved the way for Freshly’s early growth and positioned it as a player in the evolving direct-to-consumer meal service sector.

Freshly Company Timeline

Freshly embarked on a rollercoaster journey from its inception in 2012 to its closure in 2023. Throughout its existence, the company achieved several notable milestones, reinforcing its position as a prominent player in the prepared meal delivery industry.

Founding and Relocation

Founded in 2012, Freshly sought to address the growing demand for easy, healthy, and cost-effective prepared meals. The founders, Michael Wystrach and Carter Comstock, recognized a gap in the market and set out to provide a solution. Initially operating in Arizona, the company later relocated its headquarters to New York, where it continued to expand and refine its offerings.

Expansion and Funding Rounds

As Freshly gained traction and secured its place in the meal delivery market, it underwent significant expansion. The company expanded its reach to several states across the United States, enabling access to its convenient meal options to a broader customer base.

Freshly’s growth was further fueled by successful funding rounds, attracting investment from prominent venture capital firms. These financial injections helped the company enhance its operations, scale its production capabilities, and strengthen its standing in the industry.

Nestlé Acquisition

Undoubtedly, the most significant milestone in Freshly’s journey was its acquisition by Nestlé in 2020. This acquisition not only validated the success and potential of the company but also opened doors to new opportunities and resources.

The Nestlé acquisition provided Freshly with the capital and expertise necessary to expand its reach exponentially. With the backing of Nestlé, Freshly soared to new heights, shipping over 1 million meals per week and establishing a stronger foothold in the market.


Company Founded

Relocation to New York

Expansion to Multiple States

Funding Round 1

Funding Round 2

Acquisition by Nestlé

Shipping over 1 Million Meals per Week

Closure of Operations

Despite the groundbreaking acquisition by Nestlé, Freshly’s journey took an unexpected turn just over two years later, as the company announced the closure of its operations in 2023. The sudden downfall left industry observers and consumers wondering about the factors leading to this unfortunate outcome.

Why Did Freshly Shutdown?

Freshly’s closure can be attributed to several factors. The direct-to-consumer (DTC) meal sector, in which Freshly operated, is notorious for its challenges in achieving profitability. Even industry giants like Blue Apron have struggled to reach profitability since their inception. Freshly faced similar obstacles that hindered its growth and ultimately led to its shutdown.

Rising logistics costs posed a significant challenge for Freshly. As a DTC meal service, the company had to navigate the complex logistics of delivering fresh, prepared meals directly to customers’ doorsteps. The expenses associated with packaging, shipping, and handling contributed to increased costs, impacting the company’s bottom line.

Low average order values also presented a hurdle for Freshly. While the company aimed to provide convenient and nutritious meals, the relatively low prices of individual meal plans resulted in lower average order values. This limited the company’s revenue potential and made it difficult to achieve sustainable profitability.

Moreover, customer acquisition costs were a significant concern for Freshly. Acquiring new customers in the competitive DTC meal sector requires substantial marketing and advertising investments. These costs, combined with rising logistics expenses, further strained the company’s finances.

The post-pandemic era brought additional headwinds for Freshly and the meal delivery industry as a whole. As consumer behavior shifted due to changing circumstances, some individuals reevaluated their spending habits. Meal kits, including those offered by Freshly, were considered by some to be a luxury rather than a necessity. This shift in perception had implications for customer retention and acquisition, impacting Freshly’s growth potential.

A combination of these challenges, coupled with slowing growth and increased customer churn, culminated in Freshly’s shutdown. The company’s prospects were hindered by the demanding nature of the DTC meal sector, exacerbated by post-pandemic shifts in consumer behavior and increased financial pressures.

Freshly’s Challenges Leading to Shutdown

Impact on Freshly

Rising logistics costs
Increased expenses and reduced profitability

Low average order values
Limitations on revenue potential

High customer acquisition costs
Financial strain and limited growth prospects

Post-pandemic consumer behavior changes
Shift in perception of meal kits as luxury, impacting customer retention and growth

Slowing growth and increased customer churn
Further strain on financial stability and operations

Freshly’s Partnership with Nestlé and L Catterton

After Nestlé acquired Freshly in 2020, a new era for the meal delivery service began. In a strategic move aimed at expanding Freshly’s reach and offerings, a partnership was formed with L Catterton, a global consumer-focused private equity firm.

The objective of this partnership was to leverage the combined resources and expertise of Freshly, Nestlé, and L Catterton to provide customers with a wider assortment of fresh food products and enhance their dining experiences across different geographies and channels.

One significant development that arose from this partnership was the integration of Freshly’s operations with Kettle Cuisine, a renowned manufacturer of fresh artisanal foods. By joining forces, Freshly and Kettle Cuisine were able to offer customers an even more diverse menu of high-quality, chef-prepared meals.

However, as Freshly adapted to the evolving landscape of the direct-to-consumer (DTC) meal sector, it faced the need for strategic restructuring to ensure long-term sustainability. As a result, the company made the difficult decision to lay off employees and close several facilities across the country.

Facility Closure Details

The closure of Freshly’s facilities had both operational and financial implications. By streamlining its operations, Freshly aimed to reduce costs and optimize its resources in a challenging market environment. While these strategic moves were undoubtedly difficult for all parties involved, they were necessary to create a more sustainable path forward for the company.

It is important to recognize that these decisions were not taken lightly, as Freshly deeply values its employees and the contributions they made to the company’s success. The layoffs and facility closures were unfortunate but necessary measures to ensure Freshly’s ability to navigate the changing landscape of the DTC meal sector.

The image below provides a visual representation of Freshly’s partnership with Nestlé and L Catterton:

Partnership Highlights

New era for Freshly
Integration with Kettle Cuisine
Expanded product offerings

Wider assortment of fresh food
Enhanced dining experiences
Access to chef-prepared meals
Increased market reach

Despite the challenges faced by Freshly, the partnership with Nestlé and L Catterton marked an important step forward in the company’s evolution. By capitalizing on the strengths of these strategic partners, Freshly aimed to position itself as a leader in the DTC meal sector and continue providing customers with convenient, nutritious, and delicious meal options.

Challenges Faced by Other Meal Delivery Companies

Freshly is not the only meal delivery company grappling with the challenges posed by the pandemic and the ever-evolving market conditions in the industry. Some of its competitors have also faced their own set of obstacles. Two prominent examples are Blue Apron and HelloFresh.

“The challenges faced by Freshly highlight the overall difficulties in the meal delivery sector and the need for companies to adapt to changing consumer preferences and financial conditions.”

Blue Apron, a popular meal kit company, has long struggled to achieve profitability amidst intensified competition. In response to ongoing financial pressures, the company recently announced a downsizing of its corporate workforce by 10%. This move reflects the need for cost reduction and operational efficiency to navigate the unpredictable landscape of the meal delivery sector.

HelloFresh, another key player in the industry, has also encountered its fair share of hurdles. Recently, the company had to close its Bay Area production facility, resulting in operational challenges. Additionally, HelloFresh experienced a decline in adjusted EBITDA, further underscoring the difficulties faced by meal delivery companies in balancing growth and financial stability in a highly competitive market.

These instances demonstrate the pervasive nature of the challenges encountered in the meal delivery sector. Companies in this industry must constantly adapt to evolving consumer preferences, economic conditions, and logistical complexities to remain competitive and sustainable. The ability to navigate these challenges requires strategic decision-making, innovation, and a deep understanding of consumer demands.

Competitor Challenges at a Glance:

Meal Delivery Company
Recent Challenges

Blue Apron
Downsizing corporate workforce by 10% due to financial pressures

Closure of Bay Area production facility and decline in adjusted EBITDA

It is evident that meal delivery companies face an arduous journey filled with obstacles and unpredictability. To thrive in this sector, companies must continuously adapt, innovate, and stay attuned to both consumer preferences and the financial climate.

Final Orders and Closure Details

As Freshly prepares to close its doors, the company has provided important details for its customers. If you are a Freshly customer, you still have the opportunity to place final orders until January 17, 2023. This means you have a limited time to enjoy your favorite prepared meals before the closure.

It’s important to note that the final date of shipping for Freshly orders is set for January 21, 2023. This means that all orders placed before the cutoff date will be processed and shipped to you, ensuring you receive the meals you have come to love.

While it is undoubtedly a sad moment for Freshly and its loyal customers, this closure provides an opportunity for you to explore alternative meal delivery services. With the deadline in mind, you can take the time to research and choose a new provider that fits your needs, preferences, and budget.

Freshly’s closure marks the end of an era for the company. It’s a time for customers and employees alike to reflect on the convenience and joy that Freshly brought to their lives. It’s also a time to embrace new beginnings and explore the exciting options available in the meal delivery industry.

Remember, Freshly may be closing its doors, but there are still many other providers out there ready to serve you with delicious, convenient meals. Take advantage of this transition period and find a new meal delivery service that will continue to bring healthy and tasty options to your doorstep.

Below is a visual representation of Freshly’s closure details:

Important Dates

Final Orders
January 17, 2023

Final Date of Shipping
January 21, 2023

Customer Action Plan:

Place your final Freshly orders before January 17, 2023.
Take note of the final shipping date: January 21, 2023.
Research and explore alternative meal delivery services to continue enjoying the convenience of prepared meals.
Embrace new beginnings and select a meal delivery service that meets your needs and preferences.

Transitioning to Factor for Meal Delivery

In light of Freshly’s closure, we have partnered with Factor, another leading meal delivery service, to ensure that our valued customers can continue enjoying nutritious and convenient ready meals. This collaboration offers a seamless transition for Freshly customers, allowing them to access the same high-quality meals through Factor’s platform.

To make the transition even more enticing, we are pleased to present an exclusive discount offer. As a Freshly customer, you can receive a 50% discount on your first box from Factor. This special offer allows you to explore Factor’s diverse menu and experience the convenience of having prepared meals delivered right to your doorstep.

Why Choose Factor?

Factor is renowned for its commitment to providing fresh, chef-prepared meals that cater to a variety of dietary preferences and restrictions. With a wide range of flavorful options, including organic, gluten-free, and low-carb choices, Factor ensures that there is something to suit every palate and health goal.

By partnering with Factor, we have taken great care to ensure that our valued customers have a seamless transition from Freshly to Factor’s service. The combination of our commitment to quality and convenience with Factor’s expertise in meal delivery allows us to continue providing you with the exceptional service you deserve.

With Factor, you can expect:

A diverse menu of chef-prepared meals
Flexible meal plans tailored to your needs
High-quality ingredients sourced from trusted suppliers
Contactless delivery to your doorstep
Convenient and easy-to-follow heating instructions

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to transition seamlessly to Factor and continue enjoying delicious, chef-prepared meals delivered fresh to your door.

Take advantage of the 50% discount on your first box by simply visiting the Factor website and using the promo code FRESHLY50 at checkout. This exclusive offer is our way of thanking you for your loyalty and ensuring that you have access to exceptional meal delivery services.


Meal Options
Varied menu incorporating different dietary preferences
Wide selection catering to diverse dietary needs

Ingredient Quality
Fresh, high-quality ingredients
Hand-picked ingredients from trusted suppliers

Timely shipping to your doorstep
Contactless delivery for added convenience

Customizable meal plans to fit your schedule
Flexible subscriptions to suit your lifestyle

Make a smooth transition to Factor today and continue enjoying hassle-free, nutritious meals that support your busy lifestyle and health goals.

Impact on Employees and Industry

Freshly’s closure has had a profound impact on its employees, with hundreds facing layoffs across multiple facilities. The sudden shutdown of the company has left many dedicated individuals without employment and uncertain about their future in the meal delivery industry. This unfortunate situation highlights the challenges that employees face when companies cease operations.

Additionally, Freshly’s closure serves as a reminder of the ever-changing landscape of the meal delivery industry. As consumer preferences and economic conditions evolve, companies in the industry must continually adapt to stay relevant and successful. The closure of Freshly is just one example of how businesses in this sector must navigate the ups and downs of the market.

Comparison of Employee Layoffs in Meal Delivery Companies

Number of Layoffs


Blue Apron
10% of corporate workforce

Bay Area production facility closure

As seen in the table above, Freshly is not the only company in the meal delivery industry to experience significant employee layoffs. Other major players, such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, have also faced their own challenges and had to make difficult decisions regarding their workforce. These layoffs demonstrate the impact of industry-wide changes on employees and highlight the need for continual adaptation and innovation within the sector.

“The closure of Freshly and the resulting layoffs serve as a testament to the volatile nature of the meal delivery industry. Companies must be prepared to adapt to changing consumer preferences and economic conditions to safeguard the livelihoods of their employees.”
– Industry Analyst

Despite the hardships faced by both employees and the industry as a whole, there is optimism for the future. Companies that can pivot, innovate, and address the challenges head-on are likely to emerge stronger and continue to serve the needs of consumers in this dynamic market.

Lessons Learned from Freshly’s Closure

Freshly’s closure serves as a valuable learning opportunity for businesses in the DTC meal industry. This unfortunate event sheds light on the importance of sustainable profitability and the need for careful financial planning in this competitive market. To navigate the challenges faced by Freshly and other companies in the industry, it is crucial to prioritize constant innovation, implement effective customer retention strategies, and adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

One of the key lessons from Freshly’s closure is the need for businesses to evaluate and refine their business models. This includes reassessing factors such as pricing, product offerings, and target markets to ensure viability and profitability. It’s important to regularly analyze customer acquisition costs and retention rates, making adjustments as necessary to optimize growth and minimize churn.

Furthermore, Freshly’s closure highlights the significance of staying ahead of industry trends and consumer preferences. In a sector that is constantly evolving, businesses must continuously innovate and introduce new offerings to meet the changing needs and expectations of customers. This may involve developing new meal options, exploring sustainable packaging solutions, or implementing technology-driven enhancements to streamline operations.

“Freshly’s closure highlights the importance of sustainable profitability, careful financial planning, and constant innovation in the DTC meal business sector.”

“Companies in the DTC meal industry must evaluate their business models, customer acquisition costs, and growth plans to successfully navigate the evolving landscape.”

Additionally, Freshly’s closure emphasizes the significance of effectively managing customer retention. By implementing strategies to enhance customer satisfaction, address feedback, and personalize the experience, businesses can foster long-term loyalty and reduce customer churn, contributing to sustained success in the industry.

“Fostering customer loyalty through personalized experiences and exceptional service is essential to long-term success in the DTC meal industry.”

Overall, Freshly’s closure serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by businesses in the DTC meal sector. By learning from these experiences and applying the lessons shared here, companies can position themselves for success by adapting to the evolving landscape, focusing on sustainable profitability, and delivering an exceptional customer experience.

The Future of the Meal Delivery Industry

Despite the challenges faced by Freshly and other meal delivery companies, the future of the industry remains promising. The demand for convenient and nutritious meal options is still strong, and consumers continue to value the convenience and time-saving benefits that meal delivery services offer. As we look ahead, it’s clear that the meal delivery industry will continue to evolve to meet the changing needs and preferences of consumers.

One of the key industry trends to watch is the rise of personalized meal plans. Consumers are increasingly seeking tailored options that align with their specific dietary preferences, whether it’s vegan, gluten-free, keto, or other specialized diets. Meal delivery companies that can offer customizable menus and cater to individual preferences will have a competitive edge in the market.

Additionally, the future of the meal delivery sector will see a focus on sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the environmental impact of their food choices, and this awareness extends to meal delivery services. Companies that prioritize sustainable sourcing, packaging, and delivery methods will resonate with eco-conscious consumers and gain their loyalty.

Furthermore, technological advancements will continue to shape the industry. From improved delivery tracking systems to innovative packaging solutions, technology will play a pivotal role in enhancing the overall meal delivery experience. Expect to see more seamless ordering processes, integration with smart home devices, and the use of artificial intelligence to personalize meal recommendations.


Is Freshly going out of business?

Yes, Freshly, the leading direct-to-consumer (DTC) prepared meal service, has announced that it has ceased operations.

What were the early reasons for optimism with Freshly?

Freshly initially seemed promising, as it identified a gap in the market for easy, healthy, and cost-effective prepared meals. Co-founder Michael Wystrach’s solution gained popularity, leading to significant early success.

What is the timeline of Freshly as a company?

Freshly had a rollercoaster journey from its founding in 2012 to its closure in 2023, including headquarters relocation, funding rounds, and acquisition by Nestlé in 2020.

Why did Freshly shut down?

Freshly faced profitability challenges common in the DTC meal service sector, such as rising logistics costs, low average order values, and high customer acquisition costs. The post-pandemic era also led to changes in consumer behavior.

What was Freshly’s partnership with Nestlé and L Catterton?

After Nestlé acquired Freshly in 2020, a partnership with L Catterton formed, with the goal of offering a wider range of fresh food products. However, this partnership ultimately led to layoffs and facility closures.

What challenges have other meal delivery companies faced?

Other meal delivery companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh have experienced challenges, including downsizing, plant closures, and declining profitability.

What are the final orders and closure details for Freshly?

Freshly is accepting customer orders until January 17, 2023, with the final shipping date set for January 21, 2023.

Can customers transition to another meal delivery service?

Yes, Freshly has partnered with Factor, another meal delivery service, to ensure continued access to nutritious and convenient ready meals.

What is the impact of Freshly’s closure on employees and the industry?

Freshly’s closure has resulted in significant layoffs for its employees, highlighting the challenges faced by the meal delivery industry as a whole to adapt to changing consumer preferences and economic conditions.

What lessons can be learned from Freshly’s closure?

Freshly’s closure emphasizes the importance of sustainable profitability, financial planning, innovation, and adaptation to market conditions in the DTC meal business sector.

What does the future hold for the meal delivery industry?

Despite the challenges faced by Freshly and other companies, the meal delivery industry still has promising prospects as the demand for convenient and nutritious meal options remains. Adaptation and innovation are crucial for future success.

The post Is Freshly Going out of Business? appeared first on Zac Johnson.

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