Everything’s better in a box: food delivery experiment

ScratchDC meal

Since I love to cook, I’m always on the lookout for new recipes and options to make meals easier, more tasty, and fun. And although I don’t mind spending an hour putting dinner together, there are some days when I just won’t have gotten to the store to get everything I need, or I come home not wanting to start from scratch.

But these days, food delivery services of all kinds have been popping up to help both seasoned cooks and amateurs pull together something fabulous in just half an hour or so. I remember when I was younger and the idea of home grocery delivery was a novelty still, and now I regularly order from Peapod Giant when I need a bunch of stuff at once. Then when CSAs started to catch people’s attention and the slow, local, and organic food movements became trendy, businesses like Washington’s Green Grocer have become easier than ever to find. (Thank you, WGG, for recently adding a “single” size box to your inventory – it’s a lot of produce otherwise for one person!)

Chicken curry and naan from Plated

But in addition to being able to order a whole fridge full of produce and meat, there are now a  few other options out there take it one step further – entire meals prepped and delivered to your door, ready for you to cook. I first tried ScratchDC about a month ago – and loved everything from the personal delivery to my office to the adorable packaging and the bonus cookies ready to bake inside. Here’s how it works: each week, ScratchDC posts their meals for the week, and you can go on each day and order what you want, where you want it delivered, and when, up to 20 or 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook. I tried a chicken lemon basil fettuccine with peas that made enough for three meals. All of the ingredients were fresh, local, and individually packaged in the simple brown box, and the recipe sheet had exact instructions, and told you where the food was sourced from.

ScratchDC even followed up and asked for my feedback on the dish…and of course, you get to keep the recipe to try again or tweak.

Mole chili and quesadilla from Plated

Next up, I checked out Plated, which serves on the East Coast. To order from Plated, you again check out each week’s dishes, but then you must pick a minimim of four plates – two of one dish, or one of each kind, or even more. The delivery comes all at once – so I got mine on a Tuesday, all packaged up in one of those space bags with ice packs. I had two plates of a chicken curry, and two of a mole chicken. Again, great recipe cards, and the instructions are precise. The only complaint I had was that the chicken was bone in, so it was a bit annoying to eat it that way for a curry. Other than that, the dishes turned out fabulously. My coworker ordered from Plated as well, and loved her meals. Moreover, their use of referral links gets you and friends free plates when ordering.

Lastly, I tried Graze box, a fun little weekly snack pack for $5 with a variety of healthy (with some treats thrown in) treats like nuts, trail mixes, granola bars, and more. Three of us in the office get it now, and love it. Graze is perfect to throw in your bag for travel, conferences, or to head out on a hike or picnic.

Graze boxes

The great thing about all of these services is that they’re customizable to your needs, taste buds, and schedule. You don’t have to order every week, and you can swap things out, or have leftovers for days if you want. All of the businesses have also had great customer service so far – especially on social media.

Have you tried any of these food delivery services, or others? What do you think?


4 thoughts on “Everything’s better in a box: food delivery experiment

  1. A friend of mine just gave us a week of Blue Apron, which is similar to Plated and Scratch. Blue Apron ships three meals worth at a time, and include every ingredient and nice glossy color recipes. I found this was really a great service – saved me from having to go shopping, think about what I was cooking (or whether I had all the ingredients) but with just three days of food, I had plenty of room to order in, go out, or just make something from my own fridge a few days a week as well. Overall I was pretty impressed with the recipes and the quality of the ingredients. And the price is good too – just $10 per person per meal.

    I know, I sound like a shill for the company, but really I’m not – I just liked the service.


  2. GoBites looks amazingly similar to Graze; I use their monthly delivery & love the flexibility to pick what little snack boxes I get, and the option to delay delivery if I’m on an extended trip for work and won’t need another shipment at the same time. Great company, great customer service, delicious all organic options that you can narrow when selecting simply by picking if you’re on particular diet type (e.g. gluten free, etc.).


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