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Created in 2003, Personal Chef to Go aims to bring you healthy Prepared Meals that are ready to eat in 3 short microwave minutes - no need to plan menus, spend time at the supermarket, or even slave away in the kitchen.
Over the past few years, though, this provider seems to have reduced the number of available options for delivery. Several years ago, their menus included choices targeted towards individuals, couples, and families. During our most recent ordering experience, however, their Prepared Meals packages were limited to the following:
Doing the math, Personal Chef to Go's cost per serving is much higher than almost every single one of their competitors, at $13.80 to over $15 per meal.
Many customers will be put off by having to enter their email address and zip code to access information about available meal plans and pricing. But, once you've done so, you'll see that your first decision is between the Chef's Choice or Your Choice plans. As you might guess from the names, the Chef's Choice provides you with entrees selected by Personal Chef to Go, while Your Choice gives you the decision-making power according to the meals that fit your preferences in taste. Those are determined by your filter choices; you can ask not to receive any meals that are prepared with tree nuts, dairy, beef, soy, pork, shellfish, fish, or gluten.
The weekly menu consists of a total of 12 options. Depending on the taste preferences you set, your choices could be very limited if you only have a dozen possibilities and you don't want certain ingredients.
The user experience on the Personal Chef to Go site wasn't impressive. The photos for the weekly menu items were unappetizing, and none of the entrees had any customer reviews to give us an idea of how the food tasted. But, we liked that every Prepared Meal showed very detailed nutritional information, from ingredients to calories and sodium content.
All of Personal Chef to Go's Prepared Meals ship on Thursday, with delivery on Thursday or Friday, depending on where you live. Unlike most services, this provider does not allow you to change when your package will arrive. Your meals arrive fresh and are expected to stay unspoiled under refrigeration anywhere from 10 to 12 days.
The most positive aspect of getting your Prepared Meals through this company is that their customers really like them. We didn't find hundreds of reviews to consider, but those we read were almost 100% positive: not only with the food quality but also with the delivery and convenience overall.
But, at the end of the day, you'll pay a higher price for less variety when using Personal Chef to Go. We think you'll probably find a more suitable fit for your wallet and your palate with one of the higher-ranked businesses in our review.
Plated takes a slightly different approach to Prepared Meals. Like many services, they send you fresh ingredients and recipes to prepare, but their primary aim is to help you gain confidence in the kitchen by broadening your culinary horizons - and maybe your taste buds, too.
Weekly menu options include dishes like Salmon with Salsa Verde and Steak Gyros. There are also dessert choices, such as Fig Shortcakes and Napoleons. Each recipe can be made in an hour or less.
The main decisions you'll need to make are how many servings you'd like each meal to provide (2, 3, or 4) and how many meals you'd like to prepare each week (again, choosing from 2, 3, or 4). A two-serving, twice a week plan is regularly priced at $47.80. The largest plan, with four servings per meal, four times a week, costs $159.20. When we visited Plated, they were offering a 25% discount promotion on the first week's delivery, for all of their various plan configurations.
This service doesn't come with specific plans for people who want gluten-free entrees or vegan desserts - rather, you choose from 20 recipe options, including main courses and treats, from every weekly menu. However, you are able to customize your subscription in a few ways, like omnivore or seafood lover, so that you're only shown the choices among the 20 that meet those criteria.
Plated offers the most flexible delivery schedule we've found, with deliveries possible every day except Sunday. Your shipment is expected to maintain its refrigeration through midnight on delivery day, so you won't have to rush home to get your ingredients into the fridge.
Unfortunately, Plated also has one of the weakest customer satisfaction policies in the industry. If something is missing from your package, or if you're unhappy for any reason, Plated says that they may, at their sole discretion, issue you a credit. That would be fine if there were no issues with their deliveries, but with a significant number of customers receiving moldy or otherwise spoiled ingredients, the $12 credit that Plated offered them was nowhere near enough. In addition, many customers said that the recipes weren't anything to rave about, and that the ingredients received were commonly available at their local supermarket - not the high-quality items they expected from a premium Prepared Meals service.
Finally, we saw several complaints that referenced Plated's gift cards. In order to use a gift card, the recipient has to provide their own credit card information to the company - which inadvertently left some of them as subscribing customers to a service they didn't want. That isn't a good way to make gift-givers or recipients very happy.
In comparison with the competition, Plated does have a unique approach to delivering Prepared Meals. However, their reputation with their customers doesn't leave a good taste in our mouth - literally or figuratively - especially with such a lackluster approach to returns and refunds. Choose a higher-ranked service to get fresh ingredients and recipes you'll actually enjoy.
Best Prepared Meals
To help you find the Best Prepared Meals, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Personal Chef To Go and Plated.
Who has the best Prepared Meals? How many times have you come home after a long day and stared blankly at your refrigerator or pantry, trying to figure out what to eat? Or stopped at the drive-thru for fast food because the thought of coming up with something for dinner was just too much?
You're not alone. For people who'd like the convenience of fast food with the benefits of home cooking, Prepared Meals are the answer. For every imaginable palate and preference, there's a prepared meal service that can help. Several of today's most popular services send you high-quality, often organic ingredients - including fresh produce like shallots and herbs - saving you the hassle of planning your meals and going to the store.
If you have a loved one that needs to start eating a special diet for diabetes or other medical issues, you can choose a prepared meals company that offers ready-to-reheat meals packaged similarly to a TV dinner and that have been carefully created by nutritionists specifically for that condition.
On the other hand, maybe you've been tasked with bringing a mind-blowing main course to an important company function, but your skills in the kitchen are limited to boiling water and burning toast. No problem: just choose a Prepared Meals service that focuses on gourmet-level, special occasion entrees like chicken cordon bleu or even surf-and-turf.
When deciding which company is a good fit for your delivery of Prepared Meals, you'll soon notice that there's a wide variety to choose from. How do you select the one that's best for you? Here are some things to consider as you look at each service:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Prepared Meals Delivery Companies available today. We hope these reviews help you find the right company to deliver the kind of meals you want, directly to your doorstep!
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