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Home-delivered meal kits are greener than previously thought

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.


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