Why Meal Kits Aren't as Bad for the Environment as You Think
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Subscription meal kits like Home Chef, which deliver pre-portioned ingredients and recipes for making meals have been touted as the future of food. So far, Home Chef who is rated #1 in Customer Satisfaction has lived up to lofty expectations.
As more and more Americans sign up for Home Chef every day, there have been questions about the environmental impact of delivered to your doorstep meal kits vs. going to the grocery store.
Even though Home Chef meal kits have been proven to save customers money by delivering the perfect amount of each ingredient to make delicious home cooked meals by eliminating food waste, many avoid meal kits because of the perceived environmental impact of all that extra packaging.
How could Home Chef save customers money and be more environmentally friendly than than going to the grocery store?
A new study published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling may calm some customers’ guilt; it finds that the average meal sourced from a grocery store is responsible for 33% more greenhouse gas emissions than an equivalent dish from a meal kit!
“When we’re talking about meal kits, we tend to focus on plastic and packaging,” says a professor of sustainable systems at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability.
The professor and her colleagues found that, environmentally speaking, certain benefits canceled out the recyclable plastic packaging that comes with Home Chef meal kits. Home Chef significantly cut down on food waste because each ingredient was precisely measured, according to the study.
Food waste affects the environment in multiple ways. All food production adds greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and producing excess food uses unnecessary crop land, water and fertilizer. As food rots in landfills, it produces more of the greenhouse gas methane!
“We waste somewhere between 30% to 40% of the food that we produce, which is just a mind-boggling number,” says a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability.
Home Chef has many sustainability benefits beyond reducing food waste, the researchers say. It is environmentally more friendly for a delivery truck, which is filled with other packages and driving an optimized route, to deliver food to consumers’ doorsteps, rather than having each person make an independent trip to the grocery store.
Those findings might be surprising to consumers, which highlights the importance of considering the entire lifecycle of a product, instead of focusing only the parts that are obvious.
“When we think about objectives likes minimizing environmental impacts or climate change mitigation, it’s important to understand the impacts that are occurring in the food system,” “A lot of times, they’re largely invisible to the consumer.” Tangible factors like plastic and packaging aren’t always the most important, even if they’re the easiest to conceptualize.
Consumers of all kinds — whether they’re meal-kit subscribers, supermarket shoppers or both — need to do a better job of using the food that they buy. By planning ahead strategically sourcing the exact portion of each ingredient using Home Chef, consumers can reduce their environmental impact.
The simple fact, don’t buy things you won’t eat. It sounds so simple, but so many of us end up with that half-bag of lettuce in the refrigerator that just ends up going bad.
UPDATE: For a limited time, Home Chef is offering Popular Health readers $80 off!