If you have ever felt guilty about throwing away all that packaging after your meal kit deliveries, you are not alone. More and more people are trying to make better choices for the environment and some of them are avoiding meal kits because they have rarely been regarded as an eco-friendly choice. However, as it turns out, there may be nothing to feel guilty about.
A recent study conducted at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability compared the environmental impacts of Blue Apron meal kits and grocery shopping and the results were surprising to many. Namely, this study revealed that meal kits may be a more planet-friendly solution on several levels. If you are wondering how this is possible, here are the details.
More Plastic Waste But Less Food Waste & Gas Emissions
Researchers conducted a comparative analysis using Blue Apron as a meal kit representative and a chain grocery store as a common source of groceries. The sample included 5 meals that contained 3 different animal proteins.
Meal kits produced more plastic waste than grocery shopping. This makes sense since even tiny bunches of herbs come in individual packaging when you purchase a meal kit. In comparison, grocery shopping allows you to reduce the amount of plastic waste by skipping unnecessary plastic bags and even bringing your own containers.
As expected, food waste was virtually eliminated with Blue Apron meal kits since all the ingredients were pre-portioned and used up while cooking. This is hardly the case with traditional grocery shopping, as it is often not possible to get ingredients in the exact quantities that recipes require. It should further be noted that very few people only buy the food they need and avoid filling their carts with extra items that catch their eye. Therefore, traditional grocery shopping inevitably equals plenty of food waste.
What is interesting is that meal kits do better in the transportation department as well. Obviously, it is common for people to get into their cars specifically to pick up groceries. On the other hand, numerous people get their meal kits from one meal kit truck. Therefore, with meal kits, gas emissions produced in multiple individual trips to the store are replaced with only one truck’s gas emissions.
The list of reasons why meal kits are more eco-friendly than grocery shopping goes on. It further includes such factors like refrigerated storage and manufacturing losses. Essentially, they beat grocery shopping in nearly all key categories.
While more research is certainly needed, these results are truly eye-opening. Combined with the fact that many meal kit services like Blue Apron are switching to more eco-friendly packaging, they seem to indicate that meal kits are not only a more convenient way to shop and cook – they may be doing a favor to the planet as well.