Instacart, the delivery service that allows Miamians to shop from Whole Foods Market, Total Wine, and Publix while still in their underwear, is now upping its game by adding a service that acts as a personal nutritionist, customizing your shopping list according to your preferences and nutrition goals.
PlateJoy, which recently launched in Miami and 22 other cities,was founded in San Francisco in 2012 by Christina Bognet, an MIT neuroscience graduate who successfully lost 50 pounds by modifying her diet.
Bognet says PlateJoy uses algorithms to fine-tune your shopping list. Information is gathered from an online questionnaire, asking about topics such as allergies and foods you don't like to eat. In all, there are more than 50 data points, including height, weight, and whether you're vegan, that go into generating a customized shopping list. The result: "Your meal plan is different than the person down the street. We're literally crunching the data," Bognet says.
The result is a custom-generated shopping list accompanied by tailored meal recipes. Then the ingredients are delivered to your door via Instacart. You can even customize the recipes. "You tell us if you like using a slow cooker or if you have only five or ten minutes to make lunch." The smart system even remembers what spices or herbs you may already have from a previous order and makes sure those are utilized.
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Bognet says she started the company after trying to lose weight while in college. "I tried meal planning and meeting with a nutritionist. I was spending so much time to lose weight. Instead of going to medical school, I started this. So much of the country is obese, and a major cause is simply not eating healthy. We're spending insane amounts on health care, and it all goes back to how people are eating."
Bognet must be doing something right. Her company boasts a host of investors, including Suicide Squad star Jared Leto. She says she randomly met the actor at a restaurant. "I didn't know who he was when I met him, but I was talking to him about PlateJoy. He said he was going vegan and he was really excited about the company. I gave him my card, and we got in touch and he offered to invest. For him, veganism is part of his life."
A PlateJoy membership costs $59 for six months and includes access to a personal nutritionist, cooking tips, and a custom shopping list with recipes tailored to your individual or family's needs. Customers pay for their groceries separately, and the Instacart delivery fee, which averages about $7 per order, is additional. Sign up at platejoy.com or instacart.com.