1. Why did we start Pure Plates?
- the misrepresentation of “healthy” food in the market place.
We wanted to provide a truly healthy solution based on the most recent information and studies relating to nutrition and nutrition research, basically provide food built around the way I eat. In providing this food we also want to help provide education and support for people in out community that are looking to make healthy change and better educate themselves on making healthy meal choices. Information is power and our dollars are “votes”, so where we choose to spend our money and knowing why we are buying is critical in changing food in the US.
2. What is our nutrition philosophy?
We believe that food is fuel and medicine to the body. That the quality of food we consume will dictate our health, mood, weight, sleep, illness and quality of life. We believe that processed foods, sugars, bad fats, bad carbohydrates, preservatives, etc. lead to poor health and poor quality of life. This is why we are committed to bringing you the cleanest, nutrient dense ingredients in our meals that we can provide. We try to remove the greatest allergens such as gluten, dairy and soy and provide good fats all to support the healthiest lifestyle possible.
3. What makes our ingredients different?
We are 100% Gluten Free utilizing mostly organic produce (local source when in season from organic farm co-op), all non-GMO grains, Clean meats free from steroids, antibiotics and hormones. Our salmon and shrimp are wild caught. We cook in healthy cooking oils such as organic extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut oil. We use Himalayan Crystal salt and Sea salt for our cooking salts. We go the extra mile to try and bring you the best, cleanest ingredients possible based on availability and season. We know that by doing this people will have access to truly healthy food with great transparency.
4. Where do we source our ingredients?
We source from a variety of vendors to meet our needs. Our produce comes from a local company that has created organic small farm co-ops. When in season it is local farmers but they have these coops throughout the country. We buy our meats from a distributor in Illinois that raises chicken, pork and beef free range and free from steroid, antibiotics and steroids. Our salmon and shrimp are wild caught. We source any of our grains, pastas, wraps, etc. from a specialty distributor that have contracts with small “gluten free” manufacturers of these goods. Additionally we buy direct on some of the small and obscure items.
5. Are your containers BPA free?
Yes our containers are BPA free, microwave safe and re-usable.
6. Can we order online or preorder?
Yes we have online ordering allowing you to pre-order your meals. We cook 5 days a week (M,T,W,F,Sat). When you order online, orders in by 7pm the night before will be available by 5pm the following cook day or you can schedule out to a future cook day.
7. Do you deliver?
Yes we do deliver but the distance is limited to the St. Louis Metro Area in Missouri right now. We are trying to develop the best process for this at a cost that is reasonable to our customers. When you do order for delivery, simply select one of the available delivery dates from the calendar and your meals will be delivered on the date of delivery selected between 5:00PM and 8:00PM
8. How many locations do you have?
We have 2 retail locations that carry meals on the shelf; Chesterfield & Kirkwood. We also have 4 delivery locations; O’Fallon, MO inside Integrity Training, Weldon Springs, MO inside Dudas Fitness, University City inside Catalyst Strength and Functional Nutrition and Central West End Inside Fitness Formula.
9. How often do we change menu items?
We generally add 2-3 new items every two months. We are changing that to provide fewer menu items but a greater rotation of items to meet our customers needs. We are looking to change 20%-30% of our menu every two months. More will come on this.
10. How do you measure your ingredients to ensure proper nutrition?
We strive to be very consistent in this regard; we weigh out our portions whenever possible with the exception of items that we must rely on based on “growth size” such as our poblano peppers in our Chili Rellenos. We try and pick peppers that are most equal in size in this regard but we are subject to mother-nature at times.
11. What is the real shelf life of your meals?
We date our meals based on the ingredients ranging from 5-7 days. We do this through shelf testing in the beta testing phase of a recipe. Due to the fact that we use mostly organic produce, no preservatives and can’t control the temperature control of the produce prior to our receiving, we do the best we can to cull through our produce daily to pick only the freshest of ingredients. To maintain freshness the chain of temperature control is crucial, not only in our kitchen and store but also when it leaves the store. Ideally the food needs to stay at a temp below 42 degrees at all times to maintain maximum freshness. If you take the meals and leave them in your car (especially on a hot day) you will impact the shelf life. This is why we offer insulated bags for sale in our stores to help with this temperature control.
12. How do you create/add new items?
We are always looking for ways to bring new flavors to our customers. The process is that we find or create unique recipes utilizing ingredients that meet our guidelines. Then we make the meals and modify to taste. Once we have the flavor we are looking for we then look at the nutrition. If a recipe does not meet our nutrition guidelines then we modify the areas that need adjusting. Once adjusted we taste test again. If the taste passes, then we shelf test the item. We typically will make 7 of an item that we believe should have a 7 day shelf life and will eat it each day to see consistency and shelf life. We weigh this against our database of “shelf-life” for the ingredients available and make an evaluation on either if it needs fewer days or if it meets our needs. Sometimes we have to change ingredients in order to get the desired shelf life. Once this has been completed then we will trial an item on the shelf and see how it sells and solicit consumer feedback. In all it takes about 14-18 days to create a new item that shows up on the shelf.
13. What is most important to us; price, convenience or quality?
Quality ingredients are number one. This is what we have based our model on. Even though not everyone may look at the ingredients the same way we do, it is the basis for our business and what we believe. We then look at price to see if we fall in an appropriate range for that item. Convenience is inherent to our business so we are fortunate that we have that piece covered BUT we are always looking to improve and offer more