When meal kit deliveries first came onto the scene a few years ago, the meals were relatively simple. But today, so many new companies have entered the market that there is now a wide array to choose from. Basically, you order your meals on the meal kit delivery company’s website, choosing among meals that have been created by professional chefs.
The top competitors in the market can deliver to most United States zip codes, and everything arrives in packaging that helps to keep it fresh for an additional 24 hours after the time of delivery (or another four to five days in the refrigerator). It can be a bit overwhelming to decide which meal kit delivery system to choose, so we’re making it a bit easier for you by comparing two of the most popular meal kit delivery systems on the market: Blue Apron and Plated. Here’s our breakdown.
In the battle of cost, Plated comes out to $12 per serving for a two-person plan and $10 per serving for a 3- or 4-person plan. On the other hand, Blue Apron is slightly cheaper at $11 per serving for a two-person plan, and $9 – $10 per serving for a family plan, which feeds four people. The cost difference isn’t much, but Blue Apron ekes out ahead with slightly lower prices. Let’s take a look at some other factors.
Winner: Blue Apron
Variety is the spice of life, and if one of the reasons you’re opting for a meal kit delivery plan is that you want to eat something different every day, you may end up preferring Plated. Plated offers 20 dishes per week, regardless of which plan you choose to utilize. Blue Apron only offers eight dishes if you have the Classic Plan, and only four dishes if you have the Family Plan.
In both Blue Apron and Plated, you’ll find dishes that suit your palette, whether you like poultry, beef, or seafood, whether you’re a vegetarian, pescatarian, or omnivore. However, Plated has a lot more diversity, featuring many vegetarian meals, low-calorie dishes, kid-friendly choices, and even gourmet options.
Quality of Food
With both Plated and Blue Apron, you’re getting high-quality ingredients and farm-fresh produce. Blue Apron has stated that all the meats they use in their meals have no added hormones, and the seafood is are sustainably sourced. Plated also uses 100 percent antibiotic-free meats, beef with no added hormones, and sustainably sourced seafood.
Whenever possible, both companies include organic ingredients. Both meal kit delivery companies have tasty recipes, but you may find that the options on Plated are a bit more sophisticated.
Quality of Box
Shipping fresh produce and other perishable items certainly requires a heavy-duty box that is up to the task. Both companies deliver your meal ingredients in a carton box that’s specifically designed to store food and is labelled as such. All protein that requires extra ice is placed at the bottom of the box where it can stay the coldest, even if the box is sitting on your porch for an afternoon.
However, one difference between Plated and Blue Apron is the organization inside their delivery boxes. Plated sorts every ingredient and places it in an individual plastic bag, so you don’t have to do any sorting on your own. Blue Apron, on the other hand, doesn’t label most of the ingredients you receive, and the only ingredients that are individually wrapped are small ones, such as spices and seasonings. When cooking a Blue Apron meal, you’ll have to account for the time it takes to sort all the ingredients yourself, matching each one to the correct recipe.
Difficulty Level of Cooking
Both Plated and Blue Apron give you easy-to-follow recipes that should make cooking a breeze. Those who are total beginners in the kitchen may prefer Plated, which offers slightly simpler recipes and has the benefit of sending you all the ingredients individually wrapped.
Blue Apron is geared toward those who have at least a little know-how in the kitchen, but are looking for ways to expand their cooking horizons and their meal options.
App and Website Ease of Use
Both companies offer a website and an app, on which you can register for a plan, make changes to your plan, select the week’s dishes, make payments, and more. Both companies utilize a pretty user-friendly platform that is easy to navigate. You can also skip a week or cancel anytime.
Drinks, Desserts, and Other Add-ons
Many would argue that a good meal isn’t complete without some add-ons, like a glass of wine or a slice of dessert. Plated offers two different desserts every week for an additional $8 each.
Blue Apron offers an impressive wine selection, and the site will even recommend specific wines to go with the meals you’re ordering. Blue Apron also has a retail section on the website, from which you can purchase cookware, cooking utensils, and other kitchen tools.
Winner: Blue Apron
Sign Up Bonus
Currently, both Blue Apron and Plated are offering new users a sign-up bonus. Plated is offering new customers up to $50 in savings when they sign up, while Blue Apron promises $20 off your first three boxes for a total $60 in savings.
Winner: Blue Apron
While both meal kit delivery services have their strengths, it seems Plated is the winner here. While it is slightly more expensive than Blue Apron, Plated offers benefits that make up for the cost difference. With more meal variety, a more intuitive packaging strategy, and simple recipes that even beginners can cook, Plated is more likely to suit the average home chef.
Overall best: Plated
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