PlateJoy partners with Instacart to launch Chicago home cooking service

by Andreas Rekdal
July 28, 2016

Cooking at home just got a lot more convenient.

Home cooking startup PlateJoy announced on Thursday that it is launching its service in Chicago. The company is partnering with Instacart to offer delivery of the groceries needed to cook its personalized recipes.

“Chicago is obviously a city where a lot of healthy people tend to congregate, and it’s also really up-and-coming in the food scene,” said PlateJoy CEO Christina Bognet. “There’s a lot of different companies that cater to people with very specific dietary restrictions and health goals, so PlateJoy is following alongside a lot of other companies working toward the same goal.”

A member of the Y-Combinator class of 2015, PlateJoy builds personalized meal plans based on an individual’s nutritional needs and preferences. After taking a three-minute quiz, users receive weekly menus with custom recipes and a shopping list to bring to the store — or give to an Instacart shopper.

In addition to food preferences, PlateJoy’s menus also take into account the time constraints and kinds of kitchen appliances the user has available to them. If you don’t have a blender, for instance, you won’t get a recommendation for a dish that requires one. By indicating a grocery store of choice, users can also get substitution recommendations for ingredients that may not be available at that particular store.

A graduate of the neuroscience undergraduate program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Bognet said the idea for PlateJoy came about because she was looking for ways to help people lead healthier lives.

“After graduating I became a healthcare consultant, and I started to realize that prevention is actually the key to treating so many diseases,” Bognet said.

Recognizing how weight contributes to a number of chronic diseases like diabetes — and drawing on her own experience losing 50 pounds by reading up on nutrition and modifying her diet — Bognet decided that the best way to have an impact would be by making it easier for people to cook healthy meals at home.

PlateJoy’s meal database can accommodate a host of dietary restrictions, including allergies as well as paleo, vegan and vegetarian diets. It contains thousands of recipes, with new content added regularly. Recipes that don’t receive good reviews by users are either tweaked or removed from the database.

Memberships to the meal-planning service cost $59 for six months. In addition, users cover the cost of ingredients and Instacart’s delivery fee, which typically comes to around $7 per delivery.

Images via PlateJoy.

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