Source: University of Michigan
Meal kit services, which deliver a box of pre-portioned ingredients and a chef-selected recipe to your door, are hugely popular but get a bad environmental rap due to perceived packaging waste.
Average greenhouse gas emissions were one-third lower for meal kit dinners than the store-bought meals when every step in the process, from the farm to the landfill, was considered, according to the study.
The main reason? Pre-portioned ingredients and a streamlined supply chain lower the overall food loss and waste for meal kits compared to store-bought meals.
Greenhouse gas emissions were estimated for every major step in the lifetime of the food ingredients and the packaging: agricultural production, packaging production, distribution, supply chain losses, consumption and waste generation.
Emissions differences between meal kits and store-bought meals are influenced by three main factors: food waste, packaging and the supply-chain structure, which includes transportation logistics
Emissions tied to household food waste from grocery meals exceeded those for meal kits for all five meals. The difference was attributed to meal kits pre-portioning ingredients, leaving fewer ingredients that are later wasted.