HelloFresh’s Appetite for Lower Carbon Footprint

05 May 2022 by Camilla Thomson
blog author

HelloFresh meal kits prepared in the comfort of your own kitchen emit fewer carbon emissions than meal ingredients bought from the supermarket, according to a new study.

A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was conducted recently to scrutinise every aspect of the life cycle of ingredients from farm to fork, such as production, manufacturing, distribution, use and end of use (recycling or disposal).

The LCA, which was compliant with the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards, was overseen by an independent panel of three experts and was conducted across Germany, Austria, Australia, the USA, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, where more than 80 per cent of the overall meal kit volume is produced.

The assessment highlighted the lower carbon emissions emitted by HelloFresh compared to similar supermarket ingredients and noted a carbon reduction of 25 per cent over the whole life cycle.

It looked at vegetarian, beef and chicken meal categories, flagging up the difference between ingredients, with HelloFresh emitting 3.7kg CO2e for one meal compared to 5.0kg from supermarket ingredients.

The LCA study showcases ingredient efficiency for the meal kits as exact ingredients are used and food waste is therefore considerably lower, reducing the impact on climate change.

The company uses a data-driven subscription business model which enables it to know what customers want to eat weeks in advance, either through orders already placed or via predictive algorithms.

Using this technology to purchase the exact quantity of ingredients, enables a reduction in unnecessary food waste, which is key to lowering emissions. Around a third of all food produced is wasted or lost worldwide, contributing to between six and 10 per cent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, through wasted labour and resources.

HelloFresh sources fresh produce directly from farmers and then ships directly to the consumer to reduce logistics, storage and facilities for lower emissions across the shorter supply chain.

In addition, it is offering more vegetarian and vegan recipes across its 17 global markets as beef has higher emissions than chicken, which in turn emits more carbon than vegetables.

The company’s emission reduction strategy reaffirms its commitment to investing in green energy and has seen an increase in the share of green electricity at its distribution centres soar from seven per cent in 2019 to 51 per cent in 2021.

Communities also benefit from HelloFresh’s strategy, with 10,000 unsold meals donated to charities in 2021 to support those facing a food shortage or insecurity. The company launched its “Meals with Meaning” program in the UK last October and has already donated 1.5 million dinners in the US through the same program.

Camilla Thomson, Interim Practice Lead, FMCG & Manufacturing at Acre, said: “Having been a customer in the past, I was impressed with the waste reduction by receiving the exact amount of ingredients I needed for each meal.

It’s impressive to see how using data analytics tools can be used to help the consumer focussed industry reduce their carbon emissions.”

Camilla has joined Acre as an Interim Lead to help grow the interim function. As the contract market within Sustainability takes shape, Camilla can provide flexible support to clients who may face challenges or embark on new projects related to Sustainability.

Prior to joining Acre, Camilla spent 7 years in Technology interim recruitment working with clients across various industries. Her career to date has been focused on business development and growing contract teams internally.

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