HelloFresh is a popular meal-prep subscription service, they deliver fresh ingredients to your door along with a recipe for you to prepare at home. The other week I was asked to review the HelloFresh service and try one of the three meal plans. Sustainability is pretty high on the agenda at HelloFresh, so I thought I’d dig into that a little deeper and asses just how environmentally friendly they are, as well as share my experiences.
Our Shopping Habits
For those just tuning in, we are a household of two adults (and one cat), Mr T, myself and Pickle. We live in Manchester city centre, both work from home and love to prepare dinner in the evening. We’re fairly ritualistic about preparing, cooking and dining at the table, this is something we both love to do, Mr T is a budding chef and I’m a than-willing taste-tester (plus it’s a great opportunity to catch up on the day). Our regular shopping comes from a mixture of the Unicorn Cooperative in Chorlton, the local high-street coop, local butcher, green grocers and zero-waste organic shop. All of which we walk to.
Now, of course this year has been a little different with some shops requiring pre-booked time slots, restricted access meaning queuing in the street and the whole mask, sanitiser situation. Nonetheless we have managed to continue our regular routine fairly seamlessly. That being said, I was pretty excited to try the HelloFresh service. I wanted to see if HelloFresh made life easier, if it was sustainable and if it helped us to experiment with new recipes.
Everything in the recipe boxes come pre-portioned which means everything in the box ends up on your plate, with very little going to waste. With food waste being such a huge environmental problem, it is easy to see how meal-prep boxes could be a viable solution for cutting down on excess food waste. HelloFresh source all the fresh produce from suppliers dotted around the UK, meaning the miles travelled are low, resulting in low carbon emissions.
HelloFresh commits to offsetting all the direct CO2 emissions caused by their internal operations and offices, plus all emissions from corporate travel and delivery to their customers. They do this by investing in green initiatives via partner company Planetly. By completely offsetting the carbon footprint of all deliveries made, they are supporting environmentally friendly projects throughout the world.
Our box was filled with ingredients, both fresh and packaged. So the sauces come in a sachet and the beans, tomatoes etc are in cardboard. I was a little sad to see so much of the sauce, pasta and other ingredients in plastic. Typically we would make our own sauce from scratch, so felt like pre-packed sauces were a bit of a compromise for us. Of course, if you’re pushed for time and don’t find joy in cooking, this would be an ideal solution. If only the sauce came in packaging that could be recycled.
HelloFresh customers waste 21% less food than those buying from supermarkets.
According to a University of Michigan study that explored how environmentally friendly a range of meal-prep kits are. It was found that opting for a meal-prep kit is in fact often more environmentally friendly than the average trip to the supermarket. The researchers at the School of Environment and Sustainability found that, on average, while kits provided by companies like Blue Apron, Sun Basket and HelloFresh often involve more packaging waste, the emissions for grocery store meals carried two kilograms more of carbon dioxide per meal than those of the meal-prep kits.
- Less food waste
- Easy to prepare
- Encourage you to explore and try new recipes
- Very convenient for busy individuals and families
- Varied meal options
- Gluten-free recipes available
- Value for money
- Plastic wrapping and sachets
- Local grocery stores miss our on customers
My concern main concerns were that local, small companies might miss out on regular custom, plus the plastic packaging was an issue. This service would be the ideal choice for anyone with limited time, who wants to try new recipes, or who finds cooking a challenge (as the recipes were super easy to follow). Overall, HelloFresh are making great in-roads into cutting down on excess food waste, they offer a convenient and quality service at an affordable price.