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Blue Apron vs. Plated9 minute read

9 minute read

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Updated for July, 2019

Blue Apron

4 Stars

Plated

4 Stars
Blue Apron Plated
Easy meal in a traditional American style
using locally grown produce.
Overall Rating
Try new and interesting meals without
research and planning.
Points must go to Blue Apron
with their "opt-in" service.
Ease of Use
If you do have some dietary requirements, Plated has
a service that will be more to your liking.
Homely appeal of its meals, providing mostly
local produce and familiar meat.
Quality
Focuses more on the "gourmet" side of the meal.
Mostly consist of traditional American
recipes, made with local produce.
Variety
More diverse selection of meals that you can choose from.
Takes into consideration those who have not cooked
before or worked in the restaurant industry.
Ease of Prep
May have a problem with the wording of their recipes.
Get Started with Blue Apron Get Started with Plated

Review: Blue Apron vs. Plated

Blue Apron
Plated

Blue Apron’s site itself is one of the easiest to use among its competitors, with a clean interface and stunning four-color recipe illustrations. Along with clear instructions accompanied by an Instagram-worthy dish shot, each recipe comes with a brief video on cooking techniques to make the dish at hand less challenging…and spotlighting the gadgetry available in its online store.

Most seniors, however, are not so interested in 17-second spots on how to dice a sweet potato or peel a carrot as they are in fat grams, sugar, and sodium content. And online Blue Apron recipes simply offer the number of calories and the first few paragraphs of directions. To “Get Cooking,” as the site copy reads, you must give the company your credit card and personal info before they share anything more.

Plated’s site is equally problematic for the prospective older customer. In its defense, it has a streamlined sorting system that groups meals by categories. Depending on your dietary preferences, you can filter your choices by main protein source and view dishes featuring meat, seafood or vegetarian. A few extra tweaks and you can search under gluten-free, low-carb, quick-prep, stovetop-only or “under 600 calories” options. These do help the subscriber regulate carbohydrates and calories when time gets tight and patience wears thin. In theory, this should be able to tell most people what they need to decide on dinner.

That said, the Plated home page is heavy on slick copy and stunning visuals but light on actual information…and it isn’t the only page on the site with that issue. Again, the biggest potential dealbreaker for seniors is the difficulty in accessing full nutritional information. The menu offers basic facts like the number of calories, protein, total carbs, and total fat. But with Plated’s decidedly more exotic repertoire makes it hard even to guesstimate the sodium in spice-drenched recipes. Sugar in the weekly two-dessert option is also a major issue for the aging population. and it is nearly impossible for seniors with dietary restrictions to determine whether they can even eat a dish at all. Factor in the effort needed for multiple meals a week, and planning a Plated delivery can be more trouble for diet-challenged seniors than it is worth.

It is worth noting that Blue Apron packs its nutrition cards the delivery box’s condiment container, making it more challenging to make full use of that information in the future. For some seniors, this tips the “ease of use” category in Plated’s favor.

On the subject of delivery containers, the unboxing process needs to be as streamlined as possible to compensate for the new complications it brings to customers’ lives. The meal kit cook is trading trips to the grocery store and time planning meals with regularly disposing of large, ungainly boxes.

Both companies deliver insulated boxes of the same size. Plated arrives at the door in neatly organized, clearly labeled paper sacks of individual meal kits, separating only meat and seafood with icepacks. Blue Apron kits are packed loosely in the box, leaving the customer to figure out what goes with what. While unpacking groceries is a part of any trip home from the supermarket, a senior negotiating several meals from the week will not remember the ingredients of each dish and be obliged to spend extra time consulting the enclosed recipe card to sort everything out. This increases the chance of not noticing a missing ingredient until the last minute.

Both companies have garnered recent mixed reviews on the quality of their food – Blue Apron on wilted vegetables and Plated for suddenly-reduced portions after being acquired by the grocer Albertson’s. For an older adult, a carefully proportioned ingredient of a lesser-than-expected quality can waste the entire meal. Time will tell if these reviews are isolated incidents or if the services are experiencing growing pains from their early 2010s’ beginnings.

Blue Apron and Plated both offer inventive recipes which most novice cooks would never dream up on their own. And they both have their own fresh takes on international cuisine. While Blue Apron spotlights some impressive pan-Asian fare, it strengths lies in the delicate balance between the familiar and the exotic.  Plated unmistakably holds court in connoisseur territory and sells itself on the freshest possible produce, meat, and fish – though they both market themselves heavily on sustainable food sourcing. For the older consumer, the choice between the two depends on one’s level of comfort with the unknown.

Blue Apron offers bottom-of-the-line pricing among the top meal kit companies at roughly $10 per serving. Plated averages out at $12 per serving, making it neither a budget option nor the very highest price point in the industry. But with a minimum $60 order required for free shipping, consumers will ultimately spend the most at Plated regardless of the chosen meal plan.

The common denominator, however, is ease of preparing a recipe. Blue Apron and Plated both enclose large recipe cards with step-by-step directions. And when it comes to pre-preparation tweaks, little things can mean a lot. Plated encloses a segment of cloves for the customer to gently crush and peel. Blue Apron, on the other hand, not only expects home cooks to smash a large garlic clove themselves, but encloses the same clove in the delivery box for two separate recipes.

On the heels of Plated’s recent acquisition by Alberton’s, there has been an uptick in their customer service and delivery issues. Reviewers complain that the once-consistent company no longer responds to queries. In theory, both competitors get their fair share of mixed reviews on their customer relations department to the point that none of them stand out as particularly stellar or atrocious. While Blue Apron has received bad reviews on late deliveries and wilted produce for a more extended period of time, Plated is currently receiving a rash of multiple complaints about missing ingredients…a greater consequence for seniors who may find themselves unable to complete the dish. It may behoove seniors be wary of that company while Plated and Albertson’s work out the transitional bugs in the system.

While both services offer free cancellations in theory, consumers have reported significant issues with cancelling Blue Apron. While the latter has created minor complications trying to discontinue the service, Blue Apron in particular has inspired a series of blog and YouTube entries on hacks to cancel its service once and for all. Discontinuing Blue Apron’s service requires calling an 888 number or shooting a message to a dedicated email address by the “changeable by” date reflected in your account settings…then wait for yet another email with instructions on how to complete the cancellation process. In fact, all that will happen is an automated reply with a link which Blue Apron could have been provided in the first place. This cancellation link sent via email, reviewers complain, could easily be added to the website. Many of them recount having to specify a reason for cancelling the account and repeatedly answer “are you sure” inquiries.

Judging from the complaints, even that process isn’t as easy as it sounds. First, a credit card is required to open any account – even to redeem a gift card meal from someone else. When the gift card runs out, customers complain, Blue Apron continues to sending meals and charging the account without express consent. Deliveries can only be skipped – not stopped altogether without going through the cancellation process. And that requires a whole new email instructing them to stop your account. For these reasons, Plated offers a clear advantage for older consumers who prefer not to deal with customer service teams.

While both services offer free cancellations in theory, consumers have reported significant issues with cancelling Blue Apron. While the latter has created minor complications trying to discontinue the service, Blue Apron in particular has inspired a series of blog and YouTube entries on hacks to cancel its service once and for all. Discontinuing Blue Apron’s service requires calling an 888 number or shooting a message to a dedicated email address by the “changeable by” date reflected in your account settings…then wait for yet another email with instructions on how to complete the cancellation process. In fact, all that will happen is an automated reply with a link which Blue Apron could have been provided in the first place. This cancellation link sent via email, reviewers complain, could easily be added to the website. Many of them recount having to specify a reason for cancelling the account and repeatedly answer “are you sure” inquiries.

Judging from the complaints, even that process isn’t as easy as it sounds. First, a credit card is required to open any account – even to redeem a gift card meal from someone else. When the gift card runs out, customers complain, Blue Apron continues to sending meals and charging the account without express consent. Deliveries can only be skipped – not stopped altogether without going through the cancellation process. And that requires a whole new email instructing them to stop your account. For these reasons, Plated offers a clear advantage for older consumers who prefer not to deal with customer service teams.