Meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh promise gourmet meals without the hassle of shopping for ingredients. But the environmentally conscious consumer may feel guilty about seeing all the plastic and cardboard it takes to bring that Pork and Veggie Bibimbap to their doorstep.
That guilt may be misplaced, according to a new study. The researchers argue that, pound for pound, meal kit delivery services have a smaller carbon footprint than equivalent meals bought from a grocery store and prepared at home.
The study, published Monday in the scientific journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, examines the whole life cycle — from farm to garbage can — of meal kits and their grocery store equivalents, and finds that, on average, store meals produce 33% more greenhouse gas emissions than their equivalents from Blue Apron. Much of the reduced emissions stems from less food waste and a more streamlined supply chain, according to the study.