Solo To Go - Only So-So
Mar 18, 2007 (Updated Mar 18, 2007)
Review by Mona Ladyconsumer
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Sturdy, leak-proof, stackable, microwavable.
Cons:No partitions, no vent, "interesting" method of closure.
The Bottom Line: Does all that it claims. But they need to redesign their lids, add a venting mechanism, and lower the price - by a LOT - before I'll buy them.
I was excited to be given the opportunity to evaluate a new product coming out soon from The Solo Cup Company. As someone who does, sometimes, enjoy the convenience of disposable plates and cups, I thought the Solo To Go deep dish plates, with attachable lids might be a nice product to have.
Recommend this product?
What are they?
These are deep, oval shaped plates made out of a flexible, but sturdy plastic. While the plate, itself is 8.94" X 10.18", the inside measurement (where the food goes) is a bit hard to measure due to the irregular shape. But it's slightly less than 8" wide, and 7.5" tall at its highest point, smaller than that at its edges. Approximately 1.5" deep, it holds 4 cups of liquid. It's a nice size, actually, for soup, or for heating leftovers. There are thumb grips on either side, convenient for carrying, especially when the contents are hot. There are no partitions in the plate to separate your foods. Too bad - that would be a great convenience for when you don't really want your foods to intermingle.
The lids are - ahem - "interesting". They're made out of clear plastic, which is nice. It means you don't have to guess what's inside (or open to take a peek). However, their method of closure needs a bit of rework. They're not intuitive at all. I actually had to (gasp!) read the instructions, and even then, I had to work with the lid quite a bit before I could consistently close it tight.
Basically, you have to close one side by lining up the grip on the lid to the thumb grip on the plate. OK - that part is easy, and intuitive. But then, you don't just push down on the lid to make a seal. If you do so, it won't be closed properly. You need to run your hand around the entire perimeter pressing the lid down onto the plate as you go. As you press, the plate and lid do make a nice seal. So that by the time you come all the way around, there's just one little spot left to close and you get to hear that "pop" sound, letting you know you have achieved closure. And once closed properly, it is truly closed. I filled mine with water, closed it, then tossed it around a bit. I'm happy to report there were no leaks, and the lid stayed tight.
But, once closed, I have to admit, the last thing I really wanted to do was open it again. But you have to, if you want to microwave the contents. Because there is no other way to open a vent. I would really prefer if this lid had some kind of built-in venting mechanism. Something you could turn, or slide to allow air to escape.
These items are meant to be used once, then tossed. They are not meant to be cleaned and reused, and they're not dishwasher-safe. They say they're microwavable, and my evaluation agrees. I heated several types of food in them and was pleased with the results. The food heats nicely, and the grips say cool. The lid did not warp, and the plate did not melt. Yes, this product passes my microwave test. But they're definitely not meant to go in an oven, on a stove top, or under a broiler.
As for storing food, these plates do stack nicely on top of each other, and are safe in the refrigerator. They are not recommended for use in the freezer, however. Basically, they're designed to bring lunch to work, or store/microwave some leftovers.
This product does exactly what it claims to do. It's a nice size, works well in the microwave, stacks nicely, and once you get the lid closed, is a leak-proof container. However, the suggested price of $2.39-$2.59 for a package of 5 plates/lids is a very hefty price to pay, for something I will use once and toss. As stated earlier, I do sometimes like the convenience of disposable items, but I buy them in bulk from Sam's Club. I'll pay a few dollars for 300 plates. Even if I have to double them up to add sturdiness, and even if some get wasted because they're used upside down to use as lids, I'm still only paying a few pennies per use. Solo's plates will end costing approximately 50 cents per use, and that's just way too much.
As for me, I'll stick to my cheapie plates, and/or wash a dish.
I am grateful to have received this product free of charge from SCC Grossman in exchange for my unbiased opinion.
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