Plated is one of the meal kit giants in the country today. The company is based in New York and has been around since 2012. It only took the business two years to become an established delivery service with a humble start.
The company is considered one of the industry leaders today. Its main strength is in the flexible menu options with so much variety. Busy moms and home cooks love the meal kit program, but is it really worth the hype?
Plated in a Nutshell
One of the reasons why Plated became such a huge hit is that it provides people all the help they need so they do not have to go get groceries for a week or more. If you do not have time to think about what to cook or even remember a recipe, you may have considered contacting Plated for their delivery service.
If you have tried other companies before, you most probably know how Plated works. It is pretty simple where you choose the food you would like to eat or prepare. By this time, you already know how many people will consume the food. You will then have to specify the frequency of the meal deliveries.
The company has a subscription service, which is quite flexible because the customers can change their meals according to their schedule and preferences. Another great thing about Plated is that it offers seasonal recipes with sustainable ingredients of the highest quality.
One common issue with many meal delivery services is with customer service. However, Plated wants to be different by making sure that its patrons are satisfied not only with the food but also with the delivery. The customer service team is always on standby to assist new and existing clients regarding the recipes, payment information, and more.
How the Meal Kit Program Works
Before you start, you need to create a Plated account. The whole procedure is relatively easy, whether or not it is your first time dealing with a meal delivery service. Here are the steps:
- What do you like to eat? When you sign up, you need to provide the foods that you like to eat. There are a lot of options from vegetarian to fish to meat.
- How many servings do you need? The next step will let you choose how many meals you need (or want) in a week. You will also have to specify how many people will eat the ordered food. Currently, Plated only supports up to four servings, which you can order four times weekly.
- When do you want the food to be delivered? Finally, the last step of the sign-up process is to choose the day when the package will be sent to your address. After that, you can proceed to checkout and pay.
In the second step above, the total price will either decrease or increase, depending on the number of servings you choose. Be sure to go through them before you check out so you know you picked the right option for your budget.
How Much are the Plans?
When it comes to the cost, there are certainly more inexpensive options around. As mentioned, the price depends on how many servings you would like to order for one meal. Here are some examples:
Ordering two servings will mean that you will need to pay $11.95 per serving and a total of $47.80 if you want two recipes.
Using the same example above, you will pay $71.70 for three recipes. If four, the grand total of your order is $95.70.
A unique feature that you will not see in its competitors is the three-person plan. In this plan, the cost per serving is only $9.95. If you order meal kits for two weeks, your meals will cost $59.70. Three kits are priced at $89.55, while four recipes amount to $119.40.
Note that a family of four will have to pay the same price as above. The only difference is in the number of meals they will order: $79.60, $119.40, and $159.20 for two, three, and four meals respectively.
Your first order with Plated will get a discount. The percentage varies depending on the ongoing promotion but you can get up to 40% off on your first four weeks of delivery. Shipping is not free unless you choose a meal plan that is over $60.
What are the Available Meal Types?
As mentioned above, you will have to provide the foods you like, as well as the number of meals every week. The good thing about your chosen option is that you can change it anytime you want. Plated will generate a few selections for you based on your specified preferences. It presents 20 recipes, which changes each week.
Different meal options should suit your taste and even dietary restrictions. Even the picky eaters will find something that they will like through Plated. However, if you are a vegan, you will discover that this meal kit delivery service does not cater to you.
Aside from meat, seafood, and vegetarian, other options that you can choose from are:
You will certainly love that Plated includes detailed information about all the recipes – even their origins. More importantly, you will get the nutrition facts of each meal option, such as their calories, fat and protein content, and carb count. If you are allergic to a certain food item, Plated also provides a list of the allergens on each recipe.
If a particular dish interests you, you can get its ingredients, along with the needed equipment. This way, you can determine if you can copy the recipe at home.
If you are a picky eater, you will love that the ingredients you will receive are usually incredibly fresh and crispy, especially vegetables. However, a few customers have mentioned that they had a few problems here and there with some leafy greens, which arrived wilted.
Plated meals can be prepared anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour (or more). The company emphasizes its commitment to finding the best quality ingredients for their customers. Therefore, they strive to provide only natural, organic, and fresh ingredients as much as possible.
All meats are free from antibiotics and the fish come from environment-friendly fisheries. One main concern with meal prep subscriptions is in the packaging, especially with the huge amounts of deliveries they perform daily.
According to the company, they make sure their packaging will not damage the planet. The suppliers of the cardboard are a part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. Plus, the boxes have a denim or jute insulation, which are both compostable and recyclable.
If you have any questions, the first thing that you will probably do is to look at the FAQ section of the company’s website. Plated has prepared an extensive Frequently Asked Questions page, which can give you a few solutions and answers to the most common inquiries.
Categories in the FAQs include subscription and delivery, packaging, and cooking and ingredients. There are indeed a ton of questions and answers on this particular page of the website. However, if you cannot find what you are looking for, the best way to receive an answer is to call the company. You can also reach their support team through email and live chat.
When you get your delivery, it does not need your signature. You can expect it to arrive around 8 PM but most customers say that deliveries often arrive by 5 PM. The insulated boxes can keep the food fresh until midnight.
Pros and Cons in Detail
Currently, the company delivers several areas in the continental US, which is to be expected with such delivery services. However, Plated does not include Hawaii and Alaska, which is a huge disappointment for those who live there. Even large cities in Texas, such as San Antonio, do not receive anything from Plated. It does have many advantages though, which is why this company remains to be one of the most trusted meal kit delivery service providers in the country.
Here are the top things that you will like about this service:
- The menu is great. There are endless choices and you will not get tired of the options because they keep changing every week.
- You will receive recipe cards that you can save and follow anytime you want. All the cards come with pictures and instructions so you can cook without problems.
- The food quality will meet your standards, even if you are a discerning customer. You will get fresh ingredients, whether it is meat, seafood, or produce.
- You can choose the day of the week when your orders will be delivered and you can expect them on time.
- The customers’ orders are well-packaged to ensure the security and freshness of the items in the box.
- When ordering, you will get the meals in a separate plastic bag where they are grouped together based on the recipe you plan to do. Also, every item has a label so you know what you are looking at.
If you like the above details, here are the essential things to know that may make you want to think twice about using Plated’s services:
- The pricing is a little steep. Although the meals are not as expensive as you may see them in general, you end up paying more than you may be willing to. For instance, ordering for two means $47.80 where ordering every week will cost you over $190. While it may not be too pricey, that amount is only equivalent to meals good for three days per week.
- Plated does allow customers to skip or even cancel their subscriptions anytime they want. However, it is important to remember that the company will automatically charge you if there are weeks that you do not skip and you do not make any necessary adjustments.
- Free shipping is only possible if you order a meal plan for $60.
- The company delivers to 95% of the US. There are some areas, including major cities, which shipping is not supported.
- If you are looking for a lot of dessert options, you will be disappointed because there are only two available at the moment.
For some people, it may be annoying that every single item is wrapped in plastic. For instance, one corn on the cob will be individually wrapped to separate it from the rest. However, some customers also like this idea because it ensures the freshness of the ingredients.
Customer-Favorites: Top Plated Meal Choices
While the options change every week, there are meal selections that impress many customers. The recipes are quite creative so you can come up with meals that you and your loved ones will appreciate. Among the favorites of those who have tried the service, as well as those who have been long time Plated customers, are the following:
- Seared steak
- Cuban beef peccadillo
- Prosciutto pizza
- Red pepper and cheese empanadas
- Chicken horiatiki
- Spicy crunchy shrimp bowls
- Sicilian turkey meatballs
- Saucy meatball sliders with Caesar salad
- Duck fried rice
- Turkey larb bowls
- Taiwanese chicken lettuce wraps
- Salmon burgers
- Roasted codfish
- Sweet corn and potato chowder
A typical Plated meal can be anything from seared steak with butternut squash or salmon burgers that come with watercress and chive aioli. Preparing the meals does not truly require a lot of time. You also do not have to be an excellent cook or a professional chef.
You can have the meals done in just 45 minutes or less. However, some consumers say they take a bit longer, although it would depend on the person as well as the recipe.
Note that when you order at Plated, there are some recipes that state “Ingredients Not Included,” which may be discouraging especially with the company’s price point. You will need to provide items, such as kosher salt, baking sheets, canola oil, or olive oil among others.
What Other People are Saying
A lot of reviewers online have shared their opinions about Plated. Some are from the past customers while others are from the expert critics. Many sites have praised the company for its innovative recipes; others have mixed feelings about Plated:
- The Kitchn stated that the meal options were healthy with plenty of leftovers for most orders. Add a dessert and you will be happy with the portions since they are quite satisfying. Perhaps one area that Plated may want to improve on is the pricing, which the reviewer thought to be expensive. Packaging is also too much, especially because the items were wrapped individually.
- For the Business Insider, Plated is a great option for beginners in cooking, as well as those who want to start modifying their eating habits to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
- Money Under 30 did have positive things to say about Plated. The reviewers were impressed with the meal options and food quality. They were also happy with the company’s determination to stay sustainable while offering natural and organic ingredients. Onto the negative side, they thought that Plated has expensive service and the cooking process can take too long for those who are crunched for time.
- For Aging in Place, the reviewer gave 3.5 stars as the overall rating for Plated. The quality of the food and the delivery service received four stars while value and ease of prep both got three stars.
As with any review, always take the opinions and statements with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, the reviewers do agree on a few points, which can be the areas to look into if you do decide to pay for the delivery service.
Plated vs. Other Home Delivery Services
To determine if this company is well worth your money, it makes sense to figure out how Plated fares against its top competitors. Plenty of meal plans are around today, which is why you may want to look into the following criteria when comparing Plated and other companies:
Price: Plated has meals starting at less than $10, which is a bit more expensive than the other choices, such as Blue Apron with only $8.50.
Branding: The company does have a unique branding when you compare it with its competition. It does not focus on providing meals for busy families who are looking to save on making their dinner. Instead, Plated considers itself as a high-end option that provides foods that meet gourmet quality. It aims toward home chefs who do not want to spend more than an hour on preparing their meals.
Comfort level: Unlike other companies though, Plated has its meals designed for reasonably seasoned cooks. Therefore, if you do not like to work on a ton of ingredients and you simply want to have dinner on your table very quickly, Plated may not be the best choice for you.
Plan variety: When it comes to different dishes, Plated is the winner. With several selections every week, you virtually have no restrictions when it comes to your meals.
If you have tried other meal kits before, you can tell that Plated has a slightly more sophisticated selection. The cooking techniques are much more involved and a range of flavors is offered to cater to different tastes. The only thing to know now is whether or not this meal kit is right for you.
Is Plated For You?
If you love to have variety in your food, Plated is a good option since it has selections like Greek, Italian, American, and Thai dishes. Also, you will like this meal kit delivery service if you do not mind paying more while gaining extra time for other things. You no longer have to go to the grocery stores to find ingredients for your next meal because Plated will accomplish this task for you.
Plated is mostly designed for busy people and those who only want to spend about 40 minutes or less when cooking. However, it may not be for you if you are single and you are not fond of leftovers. Also, since there are two desserts only, you may want to look elsewhere if you want more options in this category.