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      March 26, 2019

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  6. Blue Apron
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Gourmet Station vs Plated

Best Meal Delivery Programs

To help you find the Best Meal Delivery, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Gourmet Station and Plated.

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Who is the best Meal Delivery company? Are you looking for a way to simplify dinner after a long day at work? Using a meal delivery service has become an easy way of getting nourishing, flavorful food on the table without the hassle of grocery shopping.

Of course, the most popular reason for using a meal delivery company is the convenience. Customers love being able to order their favorite entrees, side dishes, or even appetizers and desserts, and to choose how much cooking they'd like to do. Some meal delivery services are reheat-and-eat, while others provide you with all of the ingredients you need to create a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen.

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Best Reviews

2019

Meal Delivery Reviews

3.5 stars
Gourmet Station

GOURMET STATION Visit Site

Cost:

From $79.99 and up

Gourmet Station has been offering meal delivery since 1999, with more than 100,000 customers in their two decades on the market. Many of their choices are focused on gift-giving, providing upscale dinner options that can be used for employee rewards and incentives and client gifting or for holidays and other events. Of course, all of their selections are available as a personal indulgence for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays.

The easiest way to shop the Gourmet Station website is by category: Dinner Gifts, Occasion Dinners, Meal Plans, Gift Certificates, Monthly Clubs, or Soup & Appetizers.

Dinner Gift options are impressive:

  • Occasion Dinners for Two - priced at $109.99, you get a card, white cloth dinner napkins, a floating candle and free gift packaging, in addition to your choice of four-course meals (Americana, Parisian, Tuscan). You'll get to choose the bread, soup, entree, and dessert, as well as a coffee or tea and candy.
  • Four-Course Gourmet Dinners for Two - for $99.99, you can select from Parisian, Tuscan, or Americana options (the same as the previous package, minus the extra gift items like the candle).
  • Three-Course Gourmet Dinners for Two - priced at $89.99, you'll get to choose an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert.
  • Gourmet Dinners for Two - if all you need are the entrees, you'll pay $79.99. Choices include Chicken Cordon Bleu, Lemon Dill Salmon, Mushroom Ravioli and more.

Other selections in the Dinner Gift category include Wagyu (Kobe) Steaks and Steak Dinner Gifts and Dinner of the Month. This last option can also be found in Gourmet Station's Monthly Clubs: if you want a regularly-scheduled meal delivery for yourself or for a lucky gift recipient, the possibilities range from Soup or Dessert of the Month to full 2-, 3-, and 4-course dinners.

On the other hand, if you're specifically looking for meal delivery services that help you with dinners during the week, you'll want to look at Gourmet Station's Meal Plans. These are packaged for one person, for five meals a week. You'll be able to select from Tuscan, Parisian, Cajun, Americana, and International menus. For $144.99, you'll choose five entrees from the categories of Pasta, Beef, Pork, Seafood, and Poultry. Each entree comes with a side vegetable, but you don't get to choose which one you get; depending on the menu you select for the entree, you may get Oven-Roasted Tuscan Veggies, Creamy Spinach & Artichokes, and so on.

All entrees come deep-chilled and should be refrigerated on the day they're delivered. You should eat your entrees within 3 days; otherwise, you can freeze your entree and reheat at a later time. Gourmet Station's meals need to be reheated in an oven, not a microwave. This allows the full flavors and textures of the gourmet meals to be retained, but might be less convenient for people who want to be able to heat up their food more quickly or who don't have a full kitchen.

Standard delivery means that your meals will arrive via UPS on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with the exception of major holidays. You can schedule special-occasion deliveries even months in advance, but you'll still be limited to those three days of the week due to UPS' scheduling.

Gourmet Station meal delivery is a good choice for people looking for restaurant-quality food, either for a special occasion or for those weeknights where no one wants to cook. But, for customers on a special diet or a limited budget, this service probably won't be the ideal fit.

Visit Site

2 stars
Plated

PLATED Visit Site

Cost:

From $9.95 to $11.95 per serving

Shipping is free on plans over $60

Plated isn't your average meal delivery service. While they definitely can save you time and bring healthy meals to your table, their main goal is helping you become a more confident cook by expanding your culinary knowledge and maybe even your palate too. Every weekly menu includes choices like Steak Gyros, Salmon with Salsa Verde, or even desserts like Napoleons or Fig Shortcakes - all with fresh ingredients and simple instructions that lead to a finished product in an hour or less.

To get started, you'll need to decide how many servings you want per meal (2, 3, or 4), and how many nights per week (2, 3, or 4) you'd like to have a Plated entree on your menu. For a family of two that only wants two meals delivered each week, the price is usually $47.80. On the larger end of the spectrum, getting four 4-serving meals per week is typically priced at $159.20. At the time of our review, there was a promotion offering a 25% discount on the first week of meal delivery.

Plated doesn't give you a specific plan for your service - in other words, you won't find options for a menu that includes just vegetarian options, or gluten-free foods, and so forth. Instead, you'll choose among 20 different recipes (including dessert) from each week's menus. But, you can tailor your subscription to show you choices that meet your preferences (such as dessert-seeker, seafood lover, omnivore, and so on) from those 20 possibilities.

Plated has one of the widest delivery day ranges we've seen: every day but Sunday. Your box should stay cold until midnight on your selected day of the week, so there's no need to rush home from work to stick things in the fridge. As with comparable services of this type, your delivery includes everything you need to create your selected meal or dessert choices, including seasonal produce and specialty items that you might not even have at your local supermarket.

On the other hand, Plated has one of the most disappointing customer satisfaction policies we've seen with a meal delivery service: if you are dissatisfied or something is missing from your delivery, Plated "may, at [their] sole discretion, issue a credit." We found more than a few customers ranting how their delivery included moldy food, and Plated's answer was to give them a credit for just $12. Plus, many reviews of the Plated service said that the recipes were "just okay" and the ingredients weren't nearly as premium as they'd expect from a meal delivery company.

Another frequently-mentioned issue with Plated is their gift cards. Unfortunately, gift card recipients have to enter their credit card information to use their gift credit - and some of them then found themselves subscribed as a paying customer to a service they never wanted. That's not a great way to keep gift-givers happy.

Compared with other meal delivery services, Plated has a few unique features. But, their track record is definitely less-than-impressive, especially when looking at their refund policy (or lack of it). You'll probably find a meal delivery plan that's better to you and for you by selecting a service with a higher rating.

Visit Site

Continued from above

As these services have grown in popularity, the types of meals and plans has expanded as well. Has your doctor recently put you on a special diet, and you're not sure how to incorporate it into your lifestyle? Whether you're adapting to a diet that's low in carbs, diabetic-friendly, or even gluten-free, you'll find a meal delivery program that can help.

Are you interested in becoming a vegetarian but unfamiliar with how to create a balanced meal? Once again, there's a meal delivery service for that - use it for a few weeks to get ideas of lunches and dinners that you can recreate, or for as long as you like as you adapt to your clean, green way of eating.

As you consider which meal delivery service is best for you, you'll quickly see that they vary greatly when it comes to price, preparation, and types of food offered. Keep these criteria in mind as you decide which company fits your needs:

  • Reputation. What do past and current customers have to say about the meals they received and the overall experience, from ordering to delivery?
  • Cost. What will you spend for the meal delivery plan you choose, whether you opt for a la carte entrees or regularly-scheduled weekly or monthly shipments?
  • Variety. Does the meal delivery provider have an appetizing range of flavors and cuisines to choose from? Will you be able to select meals that you'll actually want to eat?
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. If you're unhappy with the service, the quality of the food, or the condition of the meals at the time of delivery, can you get a refund or a replacement?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best meal delivery services available today. We hope these reviews help you find the service that puts the food that you're craving on the table right away!

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