A meal kit delivery service offers the ultimate convenience. It provides a way for people to eat well without worrying about meal planning, preparation, and grocery shopping. There is now an extensive range of companies offering meal kit and prepared meal delivery services and this type of service is rapidly growing in popularity.
However, as much as a meal delivery service is convenient, there is also the very real issue of the packaging that is used by meal kit delivery services. Meal kits can involve separate ingredients that are wrapped in plastic, plastic containers and bottles, meal kit cartons, delivery boxes, insulating materials, and ice packs.
If you are focused on reducing your carbon footprint and only making environmentally friendly choices then this type of packaging might well be a deterrent. We are happy to advise that not all meal delivery services are the same. There are some environmentally aware companies that are going to great lengths to ensure that their services are sustainable, eco-friendly and have as little impact on our earth as possible.
Following are the top three companies that we believe provide the eco-friendliest meal kit delivery services:
1. Sun Basket- one of the best option for recyclable packaging
Sun Basket is another company that provides all-organic ingredients. They have established an amazing network of suppliers who not only provide organic ingredients but also incorporate environmentally friendly and sustainable farming and livestock rearing practices. Sun Basket is involved with Feeding America and local food banks so that they can give back to their local community.
In terms of their packaging, Sun Basket has gone a step above most other companies by only using packaging that is 100% recyclable or compostable. This includes everything – the box, insulation material, icepacks, plastic bottles and bags, any paper wrapping, etc. With Sun Basket you do not need to worry about any of your meal kit delivery packaging adding to our landfill problem.
Following are some examples of the meals available from the Sun Basket menu:
- Gingered Steak Stir-Fry with Steamed Vegetables
- Italian Sausages with Green Harissa and Summer Vegetable Skewers
- Fresh Fettuccine Primavera with Creamy Feta Sauce
- Shakshuka with Toasted Pita
2. Green Chef – Green in name, Green in nature
For those who have made the environment a priority, Green Chef is a company that will appeal for many reasons. The name Green Chef was chosen because the word ‘green’ embraces Green Chef’s mission and philosophy. The company was founded on the belief that the service should be sustainable and environmentally friendly and that they should prioritize green innovation. Green Chef is fully approved as an organic company by the USDA. This means that their ingredients are organic, sustainable and are sourced from locally operated farms that have embraced environmentally friendly practices.
Green Chef has made the very big promise to offset 100% of its carbon emissions including the shipment of every box that is delivered. Their packaging is recyclable, reusable and compostable wherever possible. Green Chef is in our mind, the number 1 eco-friendly meal kit option.
Following are some examples of meals available from the Green Chef menu:
- Lemon Mustard Chicken with Roasted Garlic Potatoes and Green Peas
- Honey Glazed Pork Meatballs with a Vegetable Stir-fry
- Mushroom & Tomato Linguine
- Sun-Dried Tomato Flatbreads with a Balsamic Reduction and a Kale Salad
3. Blue Apron Eco-Friendly packaging
Blue Apron is the first meal kit company in the US, and they are committed to making more eco-friendly choices available.
When it comes to their ingredients, Blue Apron works with more than 100 family-run farms that use sustainable farming practices, such as Reeves Farm, Vermont Creamery, and Sun Noodle.
When it comes to the packaging, over 85% of Blue Apron packaging is recyclable by weight. The company has also teamed up with How2Recycle to implement its industry-approved, easy-to-identify recycling label program to reduce the amount of recyclable material.
Following are a few examples of meals from the Blue Apron menu:
- Miso-Maple Salmon with Sesame-Roasted Cabbage & Garlic Rice
- Vadouvan Tofu & Coconut-Ginger Curry
- Beyond Beef & Sweet Potato Chili with Lime Yogurt & Homemade Tortilla Strips
- Korean Pork & Rice Cakes with Bok Choy
4. Hello Fresh – taking recycling packaging seriously
It is great to see one of the original and largest meal kit companies in the USA taking recycling seriously. Hello Fresh has been working with Cascades Inc. in order to be able to provide an eco-friendly delivery box in the form of the northbox™ insulated containers. This new type of box includes in-built insulation that ensures the freshness of the ingredients. The rest of the Hello Fresh packaging is fully recyclable.
Following are some examples of the meals available from the Hello Fresh menu:
- Pork Sausage Spaghetti Bolognaise
- Chickpea Tinga Tacos with Monterey Jack Cheese, Poblano Pepper & Lime Crema
- Italian Pepper Steak Sandos with Melty Mozzarella & Roasted Potato Wedges
- Balsamic Veggie Flatbreads with Zucchini, Sunflower Seeds & Lemon Basil Ricotta
When you are looking for a meal kit service that is focussed on implementing good environmental practices there are quite a few things that you should consider.
- The box: you will want to check that your box is fully recyclable and that it can be easily broken down and put aside for recycling.
- Insulation: Most deliveries will include insulation of some description inside the delivery box. The type of insulation can range from cardboard to soft material. It is a good idea to check with the company that its insulation can be recycled or composted.
- Ice and gel packs: most deliveries will include gel or ice packs of some description. It is a good idea to check as to what sort of cooling agent the meal kit service will use. Dry ice evaporates so it does not need to be recycled. Gel ice packs can be cut open so that you can empty the contents into the trash and recycle the plastic. There are some ice packs that are not able to be recycled but you can keep these in the freezer and reuse them.
- Paper packaging: paper packaging is generally recyclable, and the company should advise if otherwise.
- Plastic packaging: all plastic packaging should be marked with a number surrounded by 3 arrows in the shape of a triangle. The number indicates the type of plastic and how it can be recycled. Most companies are trying to only use plastics with numbers 1 and 2 as they are the easiest to recycle.
- Eco-friendly company decisions: as the environment becomes more of an issue, it is important to check with your meal kit delivery company that they are making sustainable and environmentally friendly decisions. This could come in the form of offsetting the carbon emissions of every delivery or only working with suppliers who implement sustainable and eco-friendly practices.
As the industry has rapidly expanded it can be difficult knowing where to begin. Our reviews are often the best place to start as they mean that you can avoid wasting your time researching companies that are not well suited to your needs.
In this review, we have focused on the companies that offer services that are doing their best to reduce their impact on the environment. If environmentally-friendly practices are a priority, then our review is a great place to start. By using our review, you will immediately know the top three companies that offer the best eco-friendly services.
Only you will know what your priorities are, but you will find that our top three recommended companies are well and truly going the extra mile for the environment. It is understandable to have concerns about using a meal kit delivery company due to the perception that they use an endless array of packaging. But times have changed and so have many of our meal kit companies. You can now find companies who have made sustainable and environmentally friendly practices a priority.