Offers a Premium Meal Menu & Desserts"F" Grade with the Better Business Bureau4
Plated is a meal delivery company headquartered in New York, New York. They are the self touted “Whole Foods” of meal delivery services and ship more than 10,000 meals daily from fulfillment centers across the United States. Their focus on quality over quantity landed them on Shark Tank and they are now backed by Kevin O’Leary along with several others. If you’re looking for a more “all-inclusive” meal delivery service then Plated seems like a good choice offering upgrades that include premium ingredients and desserts.
What We Like
We really like the option to upgrade your meals to include premium ingredients or desserts. Getting yourself familiar with premium ingredients and experiencing the steps needed to prep and execute not just savory but also sweet dishes will make you a more, well-rounded home cook.
One of the dishes we prepared in particular, an Asian Marinated Steak, included a steak came from the legendary meat purveyor, Pat LaFrieda. Being very familiar with Pat LaFrieda and the extra love and care that goes into their products totally justified the expense for us. Having this steak on your plate is something a chef at any level would want to brag about.
What We Don’t Like
The proteins we received from Plated were consistently good and sometimes impressive but the produce left something to be desired. On more than one occasion we found ourselves discarding portions of produce that we were not worthy of landing on the plate. Their ingredients must also be washed adding an extra step prior to prep.
We felt like the recipes were accurate and easy to follow for the most part but while cooking the steak from Pat LaFrieda we were given cooking temp but not time. This might not seem like a big deal but it did make us check and recheck the steak which is something we would recommend against doing, especially when pan searing a high quality steak and trying to form a nice crust.
The Bottom Line
Overall we felt like Plated was a bit less organized than other services we tested and while the proteins excelled in some cases the other ingredients or instructions left something to be desired. We do however like the fact that home cooks who subscribe to Plated’s meal delivery willing to spend a bit more will be exposed to high quality proteins and learn how to prepare desserts.
Plated Meal Plans & Pricing
Plated’s meal plans are provided in weekly subscriptions with the option to start and stop at any time with no commitment to continue buying for any period, which is clearly stated on their selection page.
Every week you can keep the recipes we recommend or easily choose new ones.Skip weeks, change plans, or cancel anytime.”
Customers are able to modify their subscription and meal plan choices through their account page in the event a user wants to change from 2 Dinners to 4 Dinners for example or change their delivery date.
All Plated plans are designed for only 2 people and differentiated by how many meals each week you’re receiving. We find their plans somewhat limiting in that they do not offer a pre-packaged family plan or option to increase the number of people fed for each dinner easily on their website. There are instructions directly below Plated’s 3 main plans for family meal planning but we find this a hassle when compared to competitors.
“PLANNING FOR YOUR FAMILY?”
Let our customer experience team know what you need and we’ll take care of the rest.Call us at 855-525-2399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
There’s also no economies of scale for those customers who want more meals, e.g. buying more meals does NOT mean you’re getting each meal at a lower price. However, there is a benefit to moving up from the 2 dinner plan to the 3 or 4 dinner plan as the 2 meal plan charges a $6 shipping fee where the others do not. Here’s how each plan breaks down.
Plated 2 Dinner Plan
This plan is the smallest both in number of meals and cost to the customer. At $12 per meal you’re receiving 2 different dinners for 2 people, so a total of 4 meals will be sent to your door. Now in this plan and this plan only, you’ll have to pay an additional $6 shipping fee rather than your total weekly cost being $12 x 4 = $48, it is ($12 x 4) + $6 = $54. Something to consider when both choosing what plan you’ll be using through Plated or when choosing between meal delivery providers.
2 Dinner Plan Specifics
- People Fed: 2
- Total Dinners: 4
- Price Per Meal: $12 per person ($13.50 w/ added shipping cost)
- Price Per Week: $48 per week
- Shipping: $6
- Total Weekly Cost: $54 per week
It should be noted that when evaluating price per meal, we don’t view Plated’s 2 Dinner Plan as a $12 per meal cost because of the added shipping cost. Instead, this plan should be looked at by total cost, in this case $54 per week divided by the number of total meals (4), which equates out to $13.50 per meal rather than $12.
Plated 3 Dinner Plan
This plan features 3 meals per week for 2 people and is what Plated claims as their “Most Popular” of their 3 meal plan options and we believe them because it’s the cheapest plan where the customer does not have to pay the $6 shipping fee that comes with the 2 meal plan. With this plan at $12 per meal you’re receiving 3 different dinners for 2 people, so a total of 6 meals will be sent to your door.
3 Dinner Plan Specifics
- People Fed: 2
- Total Dinners: 6
- Price Per Meal: $12 per person
- Price Per Week: $72 per week
- Shipping: FREE
- Total Weekly Cost: $72 per week
Plated 4 Dinner Plan
Plated also offers a 4 dinner plan which is their largest and most expensive option. You also not pay a shipping fee with this plan, just like their 3 dinner plan, but even then the cost is starting to reach the top of our competitor landscape. At $96 per week you’ll have 4 meals for 2 people, so 8 total dinners, delivered to your door.
4 Dinner Plan Specifics
- People Fed: 2
- Total Dinners: 8
- Price Per Meal: $12 per person
- Price Per Week: $96 per week
- Shipping: FREE
- Total Weekly Cost: $96 per week
Plated Shipping & Delivery
As mentioned earlier, meal delivery through Plated is mostly free unless choosing the smallest of the 3 dinner options (2 Dinner Plan). When navigating through checkout, the customer has the option for 2 delivery days, Saturday and Wednesday, which is common amongst most providers. It should be noted that customers are not given the option to schedule their delivery for several weeks out and only have the option of the upcoming Saturday or Wednesday. This is important in the event you’re going on vacation or simply don’t want your delivery to come for 2 weeks and in this case you’ll have to come back to the website and make your order prior to the week you want it delivered.
Delivery is commonly handled by FedEx unless in remote locations and deliveries are expected anytime between 8am and 8pm, though Plated states that most deliveries are received between 12pm and 8pm. Plated has several shipping centers across the US and meals are packaged and delivered to you from the closest location to limit transit time. In the event your meals have a longer distance (time) to travel, Plated will compensate by adding more insulation or ice to insure freshness. Plated claims that food will stay fresh inside your delivery box at your doorstep until midnight (12am) of the day your food is delivered.
What’s in the Box!?
All Plated boxes use insulation provided by TemperPack for environmentally friendly insulation to keep your food fresh and at its preferred temperature. Ingredients are all individually packed and non-toxic gel packs are used to keep things cool.
Plated claims that each box will arrive with everything you need to cook your meals but like most providers they lean on the customer to have a few general items at their home to complete each meal. Plated requires customers to have the following common cooking items.
- Salt (Kosher or sea salt)
- Olive oil
- Vegetable oil
A nice perk for Plated’s meals is that all ingredients come pre-portioned so you can leave the measuring cups in the cabinet (unless using any of the common items listed above). Finally, you’ll receive a Plated recipe card to help walk you through the process of preparing your meals. Click on our Recipes tab for more information on Plated’s recipe cards.
Plated Meal Options
Plated provides its customers with 3 primary options when selecting their food.
- Menu for the Week
- Chef’s Table Specials
Menu for the Week
With any subscription, customers get to choose their meals from the standard menu for the week options. Here Plated provides 7 different meal options in which customers have the option to select 2, 3, or 4 of the 7 depending on their subscription selection (go to Plans & Pricing tab for more information on subscription options). Dinner options typically include 3-4 that include a protein (meat) while the remaining do not.
Additionally, Plated creates and schedules their menus 4 weeks in advance where each week begins on a Sunday and ends on Saturday. This makes it easy to look ahead and plan meals way in advance or just get excited about what’s to come in later weeks.
Chef’s Table Specials
Plated offers an added touch with its Chef’s Table options. These meals elevate the experience by bringing specialty cuts of meat and high quality market-priced seafood. However, this taste comes at a premium cost and Plated charges an additional $18-$24 per dinner for meals selected from this menu.
Here are a few examples of high end Chef’s Table dinners:
- Seared Tilefish with Tomato Vinaigrette, Peanut Potatoes, and Green Beans
- Seared Skirt Steak with Romesco Sauce and Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms
- Balsamic-Glazed Sirloin Steak with Potatoes, Leeks, and Mustard Aioli
- Seared Scallops with Spring Pea Risotto and Micro Greens
It should be noted that the Chef’s Table menu is updated bi-weekly rather than weekly like Plated’s standard menu. So, if you’re interested in having these premium meals regularly, limit yourself to 1 per week or you’ll find yourself empty-handed on week two.
Another nice addition to the Plated menu is their availability of desserts to be added to your box. For just $4 per serving, which is a price we’re quite content with given the high price of their regular dinners, you can have decadent and delicious desserts added to your box. The dessert options seem to be updated weekly along with the regular menu though we did see instances where deserts were duplicated for two weeks at a time.
In the Desert menu you’ll find treats like:
- Pound Cake Parfaits with Blueberry Compote and Cream
- Chocolate Tartlets with Caramel and Pretzel Crusts
- Chocolate Bark with Goji Berries, Coconut, and Pistachios
Plated recipes are inspired by The Plated Cookbook written by Elana Karp and Suzanne Dumaine. All Plated recipes and Plated Cookbook recipes share the philosophy that cooking should be fun and each meal is designed to allow just that.
Plated recipe cards have a clean, white, minimalist design that features the images of your soon to be food as the centerpiece of visual appeal. The front of the card features a large image of your dinner and two small text blocks. The first text block being “Glossary” which provides a small bit of educational or historical information about your dish, and “Cooking Tip” that gives the cook an added bit of advice for meal preparation and some foresight before they begin. The front of the card also features the cooking time, number of servings, and calories per serving. We always recommend reading the entire front and back of the card before you begin cooking.
The back of the card follows the same design style with a column to one side of the card providing useful information and the rest of the card showcasing step-by-step instructions with corresponding images. The column of information details ingredients and quantities of each as well as what cookware, utensils, and staple ingredients you’ll need to have handy from your home supplies. Again, always read the entire card before starting.
The recipes themselves are easy to follow and fairly descriptive. The pictures help as well to get a good idea for what each step should look like. What we didn’t find on the card or recipe is the perceived difficulty of the recipe which is something we find helpful in other providers recipes like Blue Apron.
We’ve found through our own research that customers find Plated’s recipes on the more difficult side to cook and that they also take a little longer than other providers, averging around 1 hour per dinner in cook time.
Plated’s delivery service is fairly straight forward without too many extracurriculars to focus on.
Plated was founded in 2012, is headquartered in New York, New York, and has between 201-500 employees according to linkedin.com.
22 West 19th Street
New York, New York 10011
Food Quality & Source
It should be noted that all of Plated’s food is packaged in a allergen-free location and each food item is packaged individually so those people with allergy restrictions can still order meals and leave out items if needed.
Their ingredients are sourced locally, so they say, and they claim are picked from responsible farmers and food growers. Plated’s meals ARE NOT 100% organic but their seafood is 100% domestically sourced, their meats are 100% free of antibiotics and beef free of any added hormones.
The Plated Cookbook
In addition to their weekly subscription based food delivery, Plated sells a cookbook for those that want to get more adventurous and create their own food adventures. The book is written by Elana Karp and Suzanne Dumaine who have been with the Plated team since 2012 and 2013 respectively. The book features meal recipes from brunch to dessert to thanksgiving dinner and can be pre-orded on Plated.com through various book retailers online.