'Planted Table' Delivers Vegan Meals Without The Waste

A new startup is rethinking how to distribute meal kits. Not only does Planted Table offer a variety of vegan options, but they don't create any excess waste, with their program to pick up glass containers after customers are done with them.


May 21 2019, Updated 5:14 p.m. ET

A new meal delivery service in California is looking to eliminate all the waste commonly associated with subscription meal services. Even better? Their meals are all plant-based and vegan. Planted Table has created a new packaging system where all their food is delivered in glass containers. That's right: No plastic that will end up in a landfill. They even pick them up later! While limited to the Bay Area for now, it's a concept that could change subscription meals in a big way.

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Over 150 meal delivery companies have been established in the United States, headlined by national distributor Blue Apron. They send out eight million meals each month through three different distribution centers in California, Texas, and New Jersey. Many products are sealed in plastic bags, styrofoam coolers, and freezer packs that significantly adds up in waste.

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Companies have been utilizing recyclable packaging, but not everybody will follow that practice. Some people don’t live in areas where recycling is established, which is important to consider with delivery services. It’s also not ideal to try and reuse large boxes and freezer packs that come with the order.

Planted Table hopes to help out this issue by not giving the consumer any further obligations. All of their food is packaged in glass containers, and at the end of the week, the delivery service picks them right back up. Instead of customers reusing the containers, the company does to satisfy future orders.

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Since the company started just this year and is based in Oakland, California, they’re only offering delivery in the Bay Area. It’s unknown how far they can branch out to keep this method working seamlessly, but it provides another take on how to deliver food kits to consumers. For example, national services could accomplish this near their distribution centers.

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Another concept of Planted Table are the all-vegan options created by the startup’s founders, Lauren Mahlke and Megan Scott. Mahlke, a chef, and a plant-based nutritionist on-staff create a new menu every week. Scott, who handles public relations, tells East Bay Express that this is an easy way for “people [to] go plant-based who don’t know how.”

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All of their choices are prepared and ready to go immediately out of the glass container. Various portions are available from individuals to four-member families and based on lunch, dinner, and kids’ servings. Price ranges from $7 to $13 per meal, which must be purchased in bulk (at least three days, five for individual plans), and there’s options to add snacks, desserts, and smoothies.

Luckily, some food delivery services like Blue Apron provide similar take-back programs for their waste, but Planted Table showcases a unique idea without creating that waste in the first place. Providing plant-based food options also caters to the growing demand and is a good entry for those interested in trying it out.

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