The Final Wrap up : Blue Apron vs. Plated

So we’re a couple of weeks out past those reviews and I wanted to share a summary of how I felt about the services.

Menu Choice:

Figuring out what you are going to eat each week can be a pain, and frustrating. Meal planning services make this easier. However the services handles the meal selection process differently.

Blue Apron uses your preferences to select 3 meals of the current menu to deliver. There is no way to swap out meals, even if there is something more interesting on the menu. For example, I’ve chosen not to get seafood dishes delivered, so they decide to send me vegetarian dishes. Sometimes, I’d prefer to have the fish option over the vegetarian option, or I’d rather take a vegetarian option over lamb. There isn’t a way to make this choice, and there is no built in intelligence that uses my previous choices to guide future menus. This is a missed opportunity.

Plated lets you select from all of their options, picking out a minimum of 2 plates of each meal, this means I can pick out what works for us and have it delivered, even adjusting to pick up 4 plates of one meal, and 2 of another if I wish. This could be fun for a dinner party.Plated also offers desserts on order.

Winner: Plated

Convenience

Both services offer superior meals without planning, shopping, and prep. However the convenience ends there. Most meals take between 35-40 minutes to make, the ones on the easier end are sandwiches like patty melts or burgers. Small bottles of uncommonly used vingers and small packages of spices made it easy to assemble the meal when the time came. I still had to do chopping and measuring, soaking and prepping of ingredients, but this was the difference between being an “assembled” meal like Dinner’s Ready or Dream Dinners.

So it’s more convenient to cook, but less convenient to eat, as you still have prep and cooking time. Also you get the number of servings you need, no more no less. It’s convenient to not have leftovers.

Winner:Tied

Cost:

Blue Apron is $10 per person per meal and includes shipping. Plated ranges from $12-$15, depending if you sign up for a subscription or of you just order as a one off. Plated shipping is free at $50.

It’s more expensive then going out and buying the ingredients on your own. In fact, if you shopped the way they ship you ingredients, it’s much cheaper to do your own shopping. After my Blue Apron meal came in with the 3 brussels sprouts and 1 beet for a meal, I understood how much I normally over bought for groceries. So I recreated one of my plated meals, the Turkey Sausage with Butternut Squash and Broccoli Rabe. Instead of using broccoli rabe I opted for Kale. I’d say It turned out well :

The cost: 7.50 for all the ingredients needed to make this for 2.

Winner: Cooking at home.

Bottom Line:

The Blue Apron meals were not as good as the Plated meals. Both services were two expensive to use regularly, though I may use them occasionally. Blue Apron offers up their recipes for free, and I can see adding them to my cooking repertoire, even if I’m not buying the box.

I’m planning on trying out a few other services, to see if they are different. Including Shwans and Dinner’s Ready. It’ll be a few weeks though.

In the meantime ’m going back to my beloved Gathered Table, which gives me auto generated weekly menus based on their library and the recipes I have added to the site. It gives me shopping lists , gives me variety in my weekly meals and even helps me adhere to paleo or gluten free eating.

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