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The Best Meal Delivery Services for Sustainable Living

Go green with sustainably-produced meals from these eco-friendly companies.

Clayton Tarantino

March 14, 2022

Americans have been thinking green. According to the alternative fuel company Genomatica, 85% of Americans have thought as much or more about sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic than before the pandemic's onset.

Sustainable living is the practice of choosing habits, products, and services that promote environmental security for future generations. A bit more than just recycling—and a bit less than living off the grid—people who practice sustainable living consume products and services at a rate that allows the materials time to replenish. A sustainable life can be lived in a lot of ways: a driver who switches to electric, a fashion fan who buys longer-lasting garments, or a foodie who sticks to responsibly-sourced ingredients.

To practice sustainable living, you don’t have to uproot your entire life: instead, start with what’s on your table. One of the easiest ways to live green is to source your meals from environmentally-friendly meal delivery companies.

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To help you narrow your shopping list, we’ve gathered some of our favorite sustainable meal delivery companies on the market.

Find out how you can make the world a better place, one bite at a time:

Companies Fighting Food Waste

Imagine the last meal you ate. Picture it served up on your plate, right before you took your first bite. Can you see it? Smell it? Now: imagine throwing out nearly half of your meal before touching your first bite. It might sound dramatic, but this happens every day in America. According to the USDA, roughly 30–40% of the US food supply is wasted.

Meal delivery companies can help fight food waste. Here’s how:

    • They send appropriately-portioned, customized meals directly to customers. If a customer accurately estimates their caloric intake and ingredient preferences, very little is wasted.
    • They ship ingredients fresh, thanks to a weekly resupply schedule. No food has to go bad, as meals are designed to last a week once refrigerated.

Check out two of our favorite meal delivery kits that prevent food waste:

    • Home Chef: Home Chef's variety of premade and ready-to-cook meal boxes are perfectly packed for families of 2, 4, or 6.
    • Factor: Factor customers work with a nutritionist to build delicious meals that satisfy their unique needs.

Companies Shrinking Their Carbon Footprint

You may have heard green companies and conservationists use the term “carbon footprint.” A person’s carbon footprint is an estimate of the greenhouse gasses (i.e. gasses that increase adverse climate change) it takes to maintain their standard of living. Generally speaking, the fewer products and services you consume, the lower your carbon footprint.

Traditional grocery shopping adds to the gasoline you consume, both directly and indirectly. For most shoppers, they have to drive to the grocery store, select ingredients that were individually shipped in climate-controlled shipping containers from all across the world, and then drive home.

The meal delivery model is cleaner. Meal delivery companies receive ingredients straight from the source, package them by menu item or meal, and send the contents directly to customers.

These meal delivery companies are committed to reducing their carbon footprints:

    • HelloFresh: According to the HelloFresh website: “Our carbon footprint is 25% lower than that of meals made from store-bought groceries, thanks to a streamlined supply chain and more efficient distribution, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a University of Michigan Study.”
    • Marley Spoon: Marley Spoon is completely transparent about the sourcing of their ingredients. Customers can learn exactly how their meal made it into their box, often down to the specific region or farm.

Companies Sourcing Sustainable Ingredients

Meal delivery companies often source their ingredients from one of two types of eco-friendly farms: organic and sustainable.

Sustainable farms grow crops, raise cattle, catch wildlife, and use energy sources renewably. A sustainable fishery, for example, would carefully track the fish populations in the areas where they catch. In spots with a booming population, the fishery can catch more; in areas that are struggling, the fishery would leave the population alone to grow its numbers.

These two meal delivery companies are dedicated to green ingredient sourcing:

    • Green Chef: Green Chef is a USDA-certified organic company. Many of the ingredients Green Chef ships its customers are organic, sustainable, or a combination of the two.
    • Sunbasket: Sunbasket offers a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan options, both of which are inherently sustainable meal options. Vegetarian and vegan meals use fewer natural resources to produce because farmers can focus on growing crops instead of using crop yields to feed cattle.

Companies Offering Recyclable Packaging

Meal delivery shipments include a lot of packaging: individual wrappings for meal ingredients, insulation, cold packs, and a large cardboard box to contain it all. Green-minded customers might be conscious of the wasted materials associated with shipped meals, but there’s no reason to worry: most of these materials are curb-side recyclable.

Instead of using styrofoam and nonrecyclable plastic, the following companies are committed to shipping meal kits made of mostly recyclable materials:

    • Blue Apron: Customers can recycle the following materials right along their curbside: the primary cardboard box, cardboard inserts, rigid plastics, bottles, cans, and additional components.

Go Green with Meal Delivery Kits

You don’t have to sacrifice every creature comfort to live a more sustainable life. To get your sustainable start, try ordering a meal delivery kit.

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