Battle of the non-demand food startups, round one: PlateJoy vs Blue Apron


We’ve seen plenty written lately about VCs potentially losing their patience with the over-funded food delivery space.

But as I’ve written before there is a huge distinction in this category that I too have been guilty of lumping together as one: On demand (Postmates etc) and Non-Demand (Blue Apron etc.).

Until recently, I totally got the appeal of the former, the same way I get the appeal of the on demand economy generally. When you need something right now– a taxi in a rainstorm during shift change or Indian food after the gauntlet of putting two toddlers to bed with a mountain of unwritten stories staring you in the face– you’ll pay any price as long as you can hit a button on your phone and watch it slowly inch its way to you. It’s like that time you lost your notes the night before a mid-term and would pay any price to have them right then, but could shred them the next day.

You don’t want to see the size of my monthly Postmates bill.

Non-demand however I fundamentally didn’t get, and indeed in this sector there is exactly one unicorn: Blue Apron. But I was stunned there was even that many. Really– I wondered– there are that many people who can plan to cook three nights a week but can’t Instacart the ingredients?

I had about a week of conversations with devoted users of these services– and people who seemed like me who wound up just wasting food because they didn’t ever have time or the energy to cook at the end of a busy day.

I wondered– is this a TiVo like situation? Where it just seems like a better VCR but once you use it changes the way you watch TV?

So I’ve decided to test all of the non-demand food players. The ones that rely on you to do the cooking.  Over a series of articles I’ll be setting them head to head and, ultimately, picking my own personal winner…

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