Ease of Use
Once you’ve chosen your Plated meals, you can find out more about each one by clicking on the “Quick Facts” button at the bottom left of each recipe. Each meal has its own story attached which details the ingredients you can expect to receive, along with those you need to supply yourself, how long it will take to prepare and how many calories are in each serving. Items not included in your Plated meal kit include salt, pepper, oil, and eggs. Although some other meal delivery services will package up eggs, their fragility and the amount of mess they cause when broken, mean we actually prefer Plated’s approach, even if it does add a cent or two to the overall cost.
Sending fresh ingredients all over America is no easy feat so pretty much every food delivery service needs to use a fair amount of packaging. Plated is no exception but, in order to compensate, have dedicated themselves to using only environmentally friendly packaging. Inside of plastic cushioning your delectable ingredients, Plated use compostable jute or denim while all plastic bottles are also recyclable. Choose a delivery time between 8am and 8pm Monday to Sunday and fill your home with the fragrance of fine dining without filling your dustbin with single-use plastic.
The components for each individual meal are packaged separately, making it easy for you to transfer the contents to your fridge and figure out what you need each evening. Unlike some meal delivery services, not only do Plated wash all the ingredients for you prior to packaging, they even pre-prepare some items so you don’t have to dirty a grater just for a couple of carrots.
While complete kitchen newbies may struggle a little with phrases like “diced” or “cubed”, the colorful recipe cards do give some indication of what these finished products are supposed to look like. Overall, customers can select easier recipes if they feel over-faced, while the more experienced chef can find a recipe that will give them a challenge as well as some inspiration.
The deviled eggs are in the detail and Plated recipes certainly have that, specifying every piece of equipment and additional ingredient you’ll require to complete each meal. Simple, straightforward and the results speak for themselves.
People wishing to stick to a strict vegetarian diet may be disappointed by the options available, with only four vegetarian recipes available for the week we researched this Plated review, the variety is nonetheless good, although Plated could do with incorporating a few more seeds, legumes, and nuts into their menu. Gluten-free customers are better catered for, with over 50% of the available meals containing no gluten ingredients – a considerably better percentage than many of Plated’s competitors manage to assemble.
For the typical omnivore, however, the range is staggering, encompassing fish, white meat and red meat with vegetarian options available if you want a more balanced diet. All the ingredients are locally sourced, where possible, while the meats are all antibiotic free and vegetables seasonal. The variety of the Plated menu is exceptional considering the quality of the ingredients and how difficult it can be to source good quality components.
They say variety is the spice of life and you’ll definitely spice up your diet with meals from Plated. In any given week, you could enjoy dishes from Italy, Mexico, China, and Greece. With so many different dishes to choose from, there should be no reason repeat any one component, even if you stay with the service for six months or more.
The Plated menu certainly offers one of the best in terms of scope and ingenuity but don’t be put off simply because you need to cater to the tastes and preferences of your children. There is still plenty of variety in the family-friendly recipes, including a variety of meats, fish and vegetarian options.
Although in some instances, the healthiness of the dish is compromised by the inclusion of artisanal ingredients, if you’re not on a strict diet, they’re perfectly acceptable, giving a nice balance of proteins, cholesterol, fats, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. Each recipe is designed to tantalize your taste buds as well as fill your stomach and give you a balanced diet.
As one of the only meal delivery services that include desserts in their menu, Plated adds an extra element to the taste experience. Desserts are designed to complement the main meals available in their weekly menus and also introduce customers to the delights of conjuring up a sweet delicacy to top off the meal.
With carefully selected ingredients making up each Plated meal kit, the quality is evident in the taste and texture. Hormone-free meats are combined with locally grown, seasonal produce to create delicious culinary mashups and traditional fare. The freshness of the ingredients is also key to creating a cornucopia of flavors, even in the simplest comfort food offering.
Plated meals include everything from time-honored favorites to much-loved takeout dishes, like fried rice. The great thing is, however, the portions are generous and the takeout-inspired fare tasty but without the lashings of unhealthy oil. Go easy on the spices and savor the results.
Customers can choose between two, three or four servings per evening and from two to four evenings per week. Plans costing over $60 per week are delivered free of charge, while any Placed plans costing less than have an additional shipping fee of $7.95 which is quite reasonable when compared to other meal delivery services that cost around $10.
Another thing that impressed us while researching for this Plated review was that the company are one of the few within this genre that offers a live chat service as well as an FAQ section on their website. Those super busy humans who are rarely in one place long enough to log on to their accounts will find the Plated app, which is compatible with both iPhone and Android, a great way of managing their delivery dates and menu preferences.
The app is a great way to manage your subscription, although Plated’s well-organized website makes it equally manageable without. Simply go to the Weekly Menus page and skip as many weeks as you choose. Not only won’t you be charged for missed deliveries, but you can also make changes up to six days before the scheduled delivery date. Similarly, you can swap the time and date of your delivery as much as your schedule demands. Plated have made a big effort to ensure consumers aren’t inconvenienced by delivery schedules, extending their delivery period to 8pm to accommodate the unpredictability of shipping and courier services. You can also track your delivery online so you know when to expect your culinary surprise.
While some rival companies make the cancellation process unnecessarily complex, Plated has streamlined the system. Customers can cancel their subscription via their Account page at any time. If the cancellation request comes through after an order has already been confirmed, you will still receive and be billed for this box, but all future orders will be made null and void.
To ensure you’ll have everything you need to complete a Plated recipe, the company provides a list of ingredients and consumables that aren’t included in the box. For example, if you want to make Pesto Minestrone with Ditalini and White Beans, Plated let you know that you’ll require a 10” pot and a potato masher, as well as salt, pepper, and oil. It really doesn’t get much more convenient nor more flexible than that.
Having said that, the Plated food delivery service is actually priced pretty reasonably when compared to some of its rivals. Admittedly, both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are slightly cheaper, but Green Chef prices start at $11.99 per portion, working out just a tiny bit more expensive. Other companies that specialize in organic and sustainable food sources or specific diets, like vegetarian or vegan tend to be even more costly. Purple Carrot is dedicated to supplying vegan dishes, for which prices start at $12 per portion, while Peach Dish servings start at $12.50 for a variety of meals, including omnivore and vegetarian.
Those companies at the lower end of the financial scale, like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron, are, according to a recent report, battling to cover their overheads, so price hikes are all but inevitable. A representative from the market research company, NPD Group compared the meal kit industry to the dot-com boom of the Nineties, saying there are “Lots of competitors jockeying for market share and no focusing on the bottom line”. So, you can get cheaper than Plated but for how much longer is anyone’s guess.
Compared to purchasing the same ingredients and creating the dish yourself, Plated meals are very competitively priced and you would be hard-pushed to come up with the same quality of ingredients for the same price. Not only can Plated save you money, but it also saves you time and energy and reduces your food waste. All in all, pretty good value for money.
A wide variety of menu choices are available each week, making it easy for customers to adapt their weekly orders to suit their specific preferences and dietary requirements. There is plenty of choice for gluten-free, vegetarian and family-friendly recipes, making Plated one of the most flexible services around.
As market leaders in terms of customer service, Plated is one of the few meal delivery services to go the extra mile and offer live chat online. Furthermore, their well-designed website and handy app make managing your account quick and easy. Unlike some companies, Plated even makes the cancellation process simple and straightforward.
Each meal is accompanied by a colorful recipe card that gives easy to follow instruction on how to prepare the meal, as well as details about the calorie content and other nutritional information. Plated also impressed us with their commitment to the environment and their dedication to using recyclable materials in all their packaging.
Overall, Plated meal delivery is impressive, combining a high-quality product with consumer flexibility and a high standard of customer care.