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The Coolest Apps Started by Our Fellow Bostonians: PlateJoy

September 12, 2017

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In the third installment of our “Coolest Apps” blog series, I spoke with founder Christina Bognet about her app, PlateJoy.

Have you ever wished deciding what to cook for dinner–while ensuring it hits both your health and taste requirements–didn’t have to be so hard? Personally, I usually only hit one or the other: it’s either delicious (take-out Chinese or Annie’s Mac and Cheese), or it’s healthy (fish and spinach… blah), but very, very rarely, is it both.

Christina Bognet, who has a degree in neuroscience from MIT, has built an app that can send you personalized recipes optimized to fit your personal health requirements. It takes into consideration your metabolism, health goals and other factors while also obeying your taste requirements and preferences–chocolate almond butter quesadillas, anyone? (Fingers crossed my personalized nutritionist on PlateJoy sends me that recipe, first…)

Even better, for our wallets and the environment, PlateJoy remembers ingredients you’ve used in other PlateJoy recipes. It also ensures you use leftover ingredients in future recipes, because Bognet believes it’s imperative that PlateJoy “play its part in combating the 25% of groceries thrown out each week by the average American household.”

PlateJoy customizes recipes and a shopping list for you after asking personalized questions–including dietary restrictions, goals (i.e. weight loss or weight maintenance), time constraints, how many people you’re feeding, and whether or not you want leftovers.

Bognet initially wanted to become a doctor after graduating from MIT, but a few years ago, she had difficulty finding an affordable diet delivery service with high-quality ingredients while she was trying to lose weight (she lost 50 pounds). She realized that she could eat better by shopping for herself. “Finding healthy recipes, calculating their nutritional content, and grocery shopping… was a challenge,” Bognet said. “PlateJoy was created in 2013 to solve all that.”

Bognet explained that while many companies use a “one-size-fits-all” approach, her goal with PlateJoy was to create personalized algorithms to provide special recipes depending upon a person’s dietary preferences, allergies, taste preferences, and schedules. “[Since] our metabolism for different foods varies wildly from person to person,” she explained. “The future of nutrition is personalized.”

The cost, in my opinion, couldn’t be more affordable: Membership for 6-months is $69, and 12-months is $99. Membership includes unlimited meal plans, shopping lists, nutritional information, and nutrition coaching. PlateJoy also offers same-day meal-kit delivery through Instacart.

I do feel a bit like I’m cheating here by including this article in the series: Unlike the other posts, which so far have only featured apps that began in Boston and are still currently in Boston, Christina’s company began in Boston but now resides in California. But let’s hear her out. As Christina explained to me: “Boston was a great place to start a company over the first year or so, but I think San Francisco is the best place to grow a company after that. The majority of our investors and my entrepreneurial peers live in the Bay Area and it’s really helpful to have that network so close by. When I lived in Boston, I would often have to fly to San Francisco to have a particular meeting–now I can have that same meeting the next day, a 15-minute walk from my office.”

I suppose that’s fair enough. I think we can still lay claim to her, though, as both an MIT graduate and a former Boston resident who began her company in Boston. Besides, I think PlateJoy is something we can all be grateful for, regardless of it’s current residence.

**Have a suggestion for another app/inventor to be featured in this series? Comment below!