Sunday, August 14, 2016

Blue Apron vs Plated + BistroMD


This is a strange combo of meal services, but it’s what I naturally ended up trying the past year.  I am a really big fan of home meal delivery services.  I use to order from Organic Grocer and a bunch of other sites.  I’ve tried Door to Door Organics, the Healthy Snack Store.  The list goes on.

Over the last year I’ve been using Blue Apron but the entire time I’ve secretly been crushing on and dying to try Plated.  I’ll tell you how I got a chance to give them both a try below.  And in between I didn’t feel like cooking clean to drop a few pounds so I used BistroMD and that’s how they ended up on this list.

All 3 companies boast good healthy clean food.  The only difference between Blue Apron/Plated and BistroMD, is that BistroMD is ready prepared by chefs and are much more calorie restricted in order to lose weight.  As a mother, a shopper, a cook, a busy woman who has a lot of career success (which means A LOT of hours put in away from home), this is what I thought of all 3 systems.


Blue Apron

I’m going to end up the suspense here and just say that between Blue Apron and Plated, this is my favorite.  We use the family meals that serve 4 people and we get the full delivery 4 days a week.  As mentioned above we’ve been using them over a year.  A couple times we’ve had meals that weren’t mind blowing, but have always been good.  We’ve never received anything un-editable.


And with the massive amounts of deliveries we’ve had – we have had one slightly cracked egg.  And who cares because I raise organic free range chickens so I just grabbed another.  We had one recipe card missing and again, who cares.  They have them available online so that was an easy fix.  And one time we had a substitute ingredient and again, no biggie.  I was slightly sad about that one though because it was a really cool vegetable, Kolhrabi.  We ended up with a turnip instead, but the meal was one of the best I ever had.  The Vegetable Bibimbap.  My first bite in I didn’t care about the swap out.


We’ve cooked an insane amount of recipes.  Just recently we’ve made Crispy Cod, Cheesy Stuffed Peppers, Moroccan Pitas, Provencal Seared Chicken, Southwestern Cheeseburgers… the list goes on.  The ethnicity mix has been awesome.  I cook.  I cook a lot and I’ve cooked quite the variety of things.  But I hadn’t cooked Indian food or Moroccan food.  And I hadn’t really dove into Asian foods and didn’t realize it until we started Blue Apron.  This has really helped me branch out with recipes I look for online and with my cooking skills.


Plated

So, Blue Apron and Plated are from the same company.  They are trying to hit two different levels of home chefs and they are trying to hit two different demographic groups.  Which as a business is pretty smart.  Blue Apron is aimed towards more of low middle income and up plus the average home cook and Plated is no doubt trying to attract the upper middle income and higher who thinks they have some skills in the kitchen.

But the food is pretty much identical except Plated tries to go a little more exotic with ingredients which doesn’t necessarily equal better.  I would say that after my experience with Plated the thing I don’t like is the lack of interest a kid would have with the family meals.  No kid wants to eat shrimp lettuce wraps.  Not your typical toddler anyway.  If your kids are into it, super congrats on kids with a high end palette but also good luck with those future food bills.


I actually ended up using our food for a dinner party.  What happened with my first order is I was SO EXCITED about the choice of meals, the ability to upgrade to things like lamb and duck and you can add desserts!!  I decided to swap and give Plated a try from our usual Blue Apron.  Since I looked last year they had a family meal plan.  Already I was pretty peeved that it’s actually 3 servings.  So they don’t give you an abundance of food like Blue Apron where you are happily eating leftovers for lunch at work and saving even more $$ because you don’t have to go out of pocket for lunches.  And I have a family of 4.  What happens when my boys are bigger and eating us out of house and home?  We need 4 servings.  Families need 4 servings.  Teenage boys eat like zombies.

What I hated is that the second you changed to the family plan, you only had 4 choices.  Some of the BEST stuff was off the list.  There were no options for upgrades and you couldn’t add desserts!!??  I was immediately agitated.  Everything that made me put in my card and order was swiped away the second I changed my meal plan type.  I cancelled and of course they still sent my first week of food which was average.  My avocado was so overly ripe that it was like yogurt inside and had been smashed by something in the box.  It was disappointing but now I can stop thinking “the grass is greener.”  The dinner party went great where we unloaded all of the food so that’s cool.  I didn’t have to go out and shop.  But without massive improvements on choices and servings for families I won’t be back at all.


BistroMD

This was severely disappointing because again, I had this on a pedestal for years.  I found out about BistroMD 7 years ago and always wished I could afford to try them.  For a full plan with snacks you will drop $240 a week.

The riskiest part for them is that before you even receive your first week of food you are locked into your second and it’s charged and practically shipped at the same time.  So if you hate it or have a reaction, you’re out $480.  I can’t imagine that doesn’t backfire.  If you get something that is terrible and you ordered it in your second box, you’re stuck eating it.  And that absolutely happened to me.


My food came and I tried to appreciate it.  I found out very quickly that they make everything similar to fit into all of the plans.  So I thought I was going to get well seasoned amazing gourmet diet food because I was on the traditional women’s program and paying $9.00+ per meal.  No.  I had bland unsalted food that fit right into the low sodium diets and silver plans.  I had vegetables that were terrible.  They didn’t have their own flavor anymore.  I don’t know what happened.  And the texture was WAY off.  I was eating the chicken crepes for breakfast and it was all moosh (no crunch for balance) so I was really nauseated but trying to eat it because it was that or starve.  I had no other food option because I was on my way to work.  I was sick to my stomach for hours after.  I’ve had incredible clean food.  I don’t need salt and butter.  Something was certainly off.

Then there was the reaction that I was having.  I was having MASSIVE stomach pain and bloating after eating the meals and snacks.  Turns out everything is packed with whey protein concentrate and isolate.  I mean what the crap!!??  That made me furious, I’m not going to lie.  It was in soups and every meal.  HELLO!  That makes everything bland, oddly textured and tons of people have reactions to it.

It’s been 4 weeks since I’ve eaten the food and I’ve been taking a prescription for my stomach and I still have issues.  I’m waiting for that to clear up.  I’m uncomfortable and bloated 24/7.  And I’m sitting on $200 worth of food that I don’t have the heart to throw out and also don’t want to pass along to someone because I don’t want to torture people I care about.  I wouldn’t want to make people I hate eat that stuff.  It’s just all wrong.