It appears we've now reached a point where people are asking "Another grocery startup?" There's already Blue Apron, Boxed, and Relay Foods (not to mention AmazonFresh), and, yet, now there's another entrant in the game. Introducing PlateJoy, launching today in San Francisco and Boston.
The brainchild of Christina Bognet, an MIT grad who studied neuroscience and writing, PlateJoy aims to put grocery shopping on autopilot, helping users plan healthy meals, guide them with recipes, and assist them with shopping. The ingredients are delivered by partner grocers: PeaPod in Boston, Safeway in San Francisco, and Whole Foods in both locations.
Bognet said she created PlateJoy, which has three full-time workers, because of her own unhealthy habits. Fifty pounds overweight during her junior year, she began using a diet delivery service that provided her with low-calorie frozen meals. When that proved tiring and expensive, she began shopping at Whole Foods, learning how to cook and pay attention to the meals she was eating. She said a year after she graduated, she was able to shed those 50 pounds but was "working crazy hours" as a consultant.
"I repeatedly came home to an empty refrigerator," she told Fast Company. "It started to really frustrate me. I thought it was backwards with all this technology that exists today, nothing could automate this entire process."
When users first join PlateJoy, the service asks them questions about their diet, lifestyle, number of people in their household, and the stores they shop at. Users are then able to personalize what they want to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as snacks and desserts. Bognet said the cost varies by meal and household size, but for an average two-person household, breakfast and lunch, which should take about 10 minutes to prepare, cost about $5 per person while dinner, which should take less than half an hour to make, costs $7.