5 Eco-Friendly Meal Kits for Convenient Sustainable Cooking (2022)

Eco-friendly Meal Kits - Stock Image from Canva

Meal kit delivery services are a type of subscription service where members receive packs of pre-portioned, and sometimes partially cooked or prepared, ingredients to cook themselves.

This takes the stress out of food prep and makes it quick and easy to eat delicious, healthy meals at home.

Eco-friendly meal kits are not only convenient but they also make cooking fun and easy – without harming the environment!

What Are Eco-Friendly Meal Kits?

Ideally, meal kits provide a way for people to eat healthy without worrying about meal planning and grocery shopping.

Sustainable meal delivery services deliver ready-to-cook meals to your door. The ingredients are pre-portioned so that everything you need is right there and you can begin cooking with next to no prep time!

Sustainable meal kits are bundles of ingredients to make your own meal, whenever it is most convenient for you. A fresh, homemade, healthy meal – with none of the hassle! 

Some meal kit delivery services offer pre-cooked or partially cooked meals, but the idea is that these are not takeout or frozen ‘heat ‘n eat’ meals.

This kind of delivery service is steadily growing in popularity, especially now that people are encouraged to stay home due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Take a look at this video by CBC News to see exactly how sustainable meal kit delivery services work, and why people love them:

What makes these meal kits healthy and eco-friendly is that they’re nutrient-dense and they come in exactly the right proportions.

People no longer have to worry much about shopping for ingredients, planning meals around excess ingredients, calorie intake or food wastage!

What Makes a Meal Kit Eco-Friendly?

When consumers are focused on sustainability, they only care about paying for eco-friendly products and services. This then becomes a growing requirement for businesses to deliver tasty nutritional food, on time, while not compromising on eco-friendliness.

Let’s take a look at why lots of people prefer meal kits and what, exactly, makes them eco-friendly:

1. Recycled and Recyclable Packaging

The packaging used for eco-friendly meal delivery kits is biodegradable, compostable, recyclable or made from recycled materials that can be recycled again.

Sustainable packaging is great for the planet. More and more sustainable meal kit delivery services are taking their packaging impact into consideration, and they’re using better materials and using less packaging all together.

The packaging used is completely minimized especially if the meals come pre-cooked and just need to be reheated before eating. This is almost impossible if the uncooked ingredients must be bought and kept separately before cooking.

2. Less Food Waste

If you’re wasting food, you need to think about it and reconsider your actions. When you’re at the grocery store, only buy food that you can manage to eat on or before the expiry date. Many people make poor buying decisions and buy food items that they don’t really need.

With proper meal planning, which is a huge advantage associated with eco-friendly meal kits, the risk for food wastage is significantly reduced. When you look at it this way, it makes meal kits cheap too!

Meal kits also provide precise portions, so you don’t end up with excess pasta (and no sauce) that end up going to waste.

Check out this super quick video by the UN Environment Programme on food waste and how to avoid it:

3. Fewer Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions occur from the farm level during food production to subsequent levels like processing and distribution. Overall, meal kit delivery services go a long way in reducing carbon emissions.

Only fresh and ready-to-cook ingredients that take minutes to prepare are used. The food is usually produced and consumed locally, taking very little time between food production and consumption.

Thanks to an effective short supply chain, less energy is spent on transportation and refrigeration. Sometimes cooling packs are used to keep the meal kits fresh before they reach their destination. These cooling packs have a minimal environmental impact as compared to refrigerated trucks and supermarket shelves.

4. Highly Convenient

What do you do after a long day at work when you crave a nice homemade meal but you don’t have the energy to cook? That’s where meal kits come in – helping you put together great meals without the hassle of preparing all the ingredients from scratch.

The pre-portioned ingredients and pre-cooked food usually take about 3-5 minutes to reheat. The meals are also calorie-controlled thus eliminating the need for you to keep counting how many calories each ingredient has.

Additionally, the meal kits get delivered to you eliminating the need to make multiple trips to the supermarket to get various ingredients. At the end of the day this also greatly reduces the environmental impact.

5. Eliminates the Risk of Overbuying

When you walk into a supermarket, the chances of you buying items that aren’t required are very high. A large portion of all the food you buy doesn’t make it to your plate and this accounts for a large percentage of global emissions.

Your poor purchase decisions lead to a few of the items being used and more of them ending up in a landfill later on, which is terrible for the environment.

Many impulse and unplanned buys are not enjoyed much when we leave the store. Eco-friendly meal kits take away the potential for confusion over what to eat, which leads to overbuying. Ultimately, there will be less wastage.

The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Meal Kits 

In as much as you may love cooking, the idea of shopping for food, and cooking items from scratch, isn’t always very appealing, especially if you’re short on time to prepare. Eco-friendly meal kits are great for those days as they’re easy and quick, but still healthy and eco-friendly!

They’re less wasteful compared to an equivalent meal prepared from scratch with supermarket products.

There are numerous direct and indirect benefits of eco-friendly meal kits to the consumer and the environment compared to conventional alternatives.

Let’s take a closer look at these benefits:

  • Allow you to prepare and eat healthy meals to cater to different nutritional needs
  • They save you so much time allowing you personal time to do other things and better yourself
  • The streamlined supply chain translates to a significantly lower overall carbon footprint
  • The foods are grown following mindful and sustainable gardening methods so the greenhouse gas emissions are significantly lower
  • Packaging is minimal, recycled and/or recyclable
  • Exact portions and no wasted ingredients, which means less food waste

Where to Buy Eco-Friendly Meal Kits

As more and more people embrace staying home and eating homemade meals, business-minded people have grabbed this opportunity for the long term. There’s a wide range of companies that offer sustainable meal kit delivery because who wouldn’t want pre-portioned ingredients delivered to them?

When looking for a good company that provides eco-friendly meal kits, focus more on companies that seem to be making an effort towards being more sustainable, as well as providing healthy and nutritious meals.

Here are some of the places where you can buy eco-friendly meal kits that best suit your needs:

1. Sunbasket

Sunbasket offers its customers a wide range of options to choose from and allows them to further customize their orders. The meals are not only fresh and flavorful but also fun to cook.

Eco-friendly Meal Kits - Screenshot of Sunbasket's Homepage

One thing we love about Sunbasket is that they focus on making their materials 100% recyclable or compostable including the icepacks, insulation materials, etc. They are also straightforward about where their all-organic ingredients are sourced.

2. HelloFresh

HelloFresh is another great company if you’re looking for healthy meals that are sustainably sourced. It places a huge emphasis on recyclable packaging and provides clear details about how you can recycle the various packaging components.

Eco-friendly Meal Kits - Screenshot of the HelloFresh Homepage

Their eco-friendly delivery box comes with built-in insulation that guarantees the freshness of the ingredients. The different meal plans available at HelloFresh include Veggie, Classic, and Family Plans, so there is a range of options to suit your preferences.

3. Green Chef

Green Chef takes green innovation seriously! Having prioritized sustainability, Green Chef offers USDA certified organic ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.

Eco-friendly Meal Kits - Screenshot of the Green Chef Homepage

Their ingredients are sourced from local farmers who have embraced environmentally friendly practices. The packaging is recyclable, reusable, and compostable. The Green Chef website provides details about the individual packaging materials and other ways shoppers can reuse them.

4. Purple Carrot

Purple Carrot only offers plant-based meal kits. These are ideal even if you’re following a strict vegan or vegetarian diet, plus plant-based meals are generally great for our health and have a lighter environmental impact too.

Eco-friendly Meal Kits - Screenshot of the Purple Carrot Homepage

Apart from caring for our health, Purple Carrot also takes environmental concerns seriously. Most of the packaging materials used are either recyclable or biodegradable.

With Purple Carrot, you never have to worry about the meals being boring or repetitive. There are numerous options made available to consumers every week.

5. Blue Apron

Blue Apron was one of the first meal kit services, and they have continued to be popular, which is not surprising at all. They have consistently provided high-quality recipes alongside tasty ingredients.

Eco-friendly Meal Kits - Screenshot of the Blue Apron Homepage

Additionally, with Blue Apron you never have to worry about the meal kit delivery packaging adding to the deep landfill issues. Their packaging is more than 85% recyclable by weight.

The only problem with Blue Apron is that they don’t cater to specific dietary needs, like gluten-free diets.

Final Thoughts on Eco-Friendly Meal Kits

Eco-friendly meal kits deliver portioned ingredients and are no doubt the future of food. They’re designed for minimal waste and environmental impact. Today’s generation is “woke” and for the majority, sustainability is a priority.

In the past, there were concerns that meal kits are very wasteful but over time this misconception has changed as studies prove that these services produce fewer emissions compared to shopping at the grocery store.

The packaging materials that they come in are recyclable i.e., the box, food protector, and paper cooler. These go a long way in reducing ice usage and shipping weight as well as lessening the overall carbon footprint.

Understandably, people have concerns about whether or not companies have made environmentally friendly practices a priority. They want to buy food from companies that go the extra mile for the environment – and the five companies we recommended do just that!

About the Author 

Dorine Njatha - Author of this article on Eco-friendly Meal KitsDorine Njatha is a passionate writer who has, for the past four years, enjoyed writing authentic content that captivates readers and delivers her clients’ vision into words – but never at the expense of providing an entertaining read! A lot of her SEO articles focus on balancing an informative aspect with SEO to help her client’s Google search rankings surge.

References and Useful Resources

EcoWatch: The Case for Meal Kits: Environment’s Friend or Foe?

Healthline: Sustainable Meal Delivery Services

Meal Matchmaker: Best Eco-friendly Meal Delivery

Table Debates: Environmental Impacts of Meal Kits Versus Grocery Store Meals

Frequently Asked Questions

How to choose an eco-friendly meal kit service?

The most important thing to look at is whether or not they prioritize implementing good environmental practices. Check what kind of material they use to make the box and how effectively it insulates the food. What kind of cooling agent do they use – ice packs or gel packs? Do they use paper or plastic packaging? Check out the full guide for more info.

How are the ingredients in eco-friendly meal kits kept fresh?

For starters, the ingredients are consumed locally thus eliminating the need for long-distance transportation which requires refrigeration. For the duration between production and consumption, the ingredients remain inside their boxes which keep them cool and fresh. Take a look at the full guide for more info on eco-friendly meal kit services.

Are the consumers’ dietary requirements taken care of in meal kits?

Yes. Most delivery services put the customers’ needs into consideration when putting together their meal plans. Depending on what your dietary needs and health goals are, you’ll get help putting together a comprehensive meal plan. People can also specify what they do not eat and it will not be delivered. Check out the full guide for more info.

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