Food waste is a staggering issue in the United States. Recent studies reveal that Americans discard almost half of their food. Astonishingly, about 40% of the food supply gets purchased only to end up in the trash. This translates to a whopping 156 billion dollars worth of waste annually. The good news is that there are effective ways to counteract this issue. Meal planning and meal kit services like meal delivery services can be an integral part of the solution.
Dana Gunders, a scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s food and agricultural program, noted, “As a country, we’re discarding every other food item that crosses our path. That’s money and invaluable resources wasted.” Notably, food waste is the predominant occupant of landfills and is responsible for 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
While many individuals assume that utilizing meal kit services might be pricier than organizing their own meals and purchasing the necessary food items, they might be overlooking the larger picture. On the surface, you might spend under $10 per serving when preparing a meal with groceries you procured yourself, compared to perhaps $12 per serving with a meal delivery service. However, considering the long-term costs tied to household food waste – purchasing food that remains unused and subsequently gets discarded – these services might not only reduce our carbon footprint but can also be economically savvy in the long run. By leveraging meal delivery services, households can make strides in mitigating food waste and its subsequent environmental impact.
The True Cost of Food Waste
Preparing a delightful meal at home often means scouring recipes, compiling a shopping list, and then checking what you already have in your pantry. All this even before setting foot in the grocery store. This not only consumes valuable time but, as the saying goes, time is money. However, the true cost associated with grocery shopping extends beyond this.
A new study highlights how, if you require a specific spice, oil, or grain, it’s often not feasible to purchase the exact quantity you need from your local store. Instead, you find yourself buying a full bottle of sunflower seed oil or an entire jar of smoked paprika. This inevitably leads to food scraps like the unused half of a butternut squash that finds its way to the trash after making soup.
Enter meal delivery services like Blue Apron, Marley Spoon, and Hello Fresh. These services are tailor-made to curb such wastage. They send the precise amount of each ingredient needed straight to your door, ensuring less food waste. From spices to oils and herbs, you receive the perfect quantity based on the portion size you select. No more. No less.
The stark reality is that the average American household discards groceries worth $2,200 annually. This figure doesn’t even factor in the leftovers from restaurants or delivery which, more often than not, are also disposed of. But imagine the savings – both financial and environmental – if you were to reduce food waste at home using meal delivery services. It’s a deliciously efficient way to potentially save thousands of dollars yearly and simultaneously contribute to decluttering our landfills.
Still need convincing about the importance of minimizing food waste?
Consider this: In America, 42 million individuals, including 12 million children, are classified as “food insecure”. The U.S Department of Food and Agriculture defines food insecurity as “the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle.” Every day, 1 in 8 Americans grapple with this challenge. Shockingly, the amount of food wasted in a single year by Americans can feed 274 million people on a 2,000-calorie diet. That’s a staggering 84% of the U.S population!
While donating food scraps or excess items from your shopping list to food banks is a commendable act, it’s not always feasible. Timing and logistics can hinder the efficient redistribution of much-needed food. However, with fewer food scraps through the use of meal delivery services, you can channel the money saved into supporting nonprofit organizations. Donations to establishments like The New York Food Bank and Meals on Wheels can make a tangible difference, aiding in the battle to end hunger in America.
Meal Delivery Service Options
Meal delivery services, now a common sight, are revolutionizing the way consumers approach home-cooked meals. They provide a delightful blend of exciting, nutritious, and scrumptious recipes tailor-made for the home kitchen. Accompanied by detailed recipe cards, often enriched with visual aids, these services pave the way for culinary exploration. They enable individuals to hone their cooking skills, dabble in diverse dishes, and significantly reduce the amount of food left uneaten, aiding in food waste reduction at the consumer level.
Such services play a pivotal role in aiding individuals to adhere to their nutritional and weight management aspirations. The meals are curated with precision, ensuring standard portion sizes, which curbs the tendency to overeat. For those venturing into vegan or vegetarian lifestyles, the transition can sometimes be daunting. Navigating the grocery store meals section or crafting appetizing meat-free and dairy-free recipes can be a challenge. The pitfall? Resorting to monotonous and bland food, which can deter one from persisting with their new dietary choice. However, meal delivery services like Daily Harvest come to the rescue. They’ve meticulously curated a selection of delightful plant-based recipes, eliminating the guesswork and ensuring that consumers get to savor rich and varied flavors. In doing so, not only do these services help in reducing much food waste, but they also play a part in lessening carbon dioxide emissions, given the minimized waste at the consumer level.
Check out our favorite meal delivery services.
Here’s a quick guide to the best meal delivery services for different diets and lifestyles:
This meal delivery service is great for a variety of diets and lifestyles. You can customize your portions and choose between plant based or meat dishes. There are even tons of family-friendly options. All recipes take 3o minutes or less to whip up.
Best for: Families, couples, anyone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time cookingVisit Hello Fresh
If you love tocook and are just looking for convenient ways to save time grocery shopping and reduce food waste at home Every Plate is a great option. The menu options are updated every week and the recipes are created by expert chefs around the globe. You’ll learn new culinary skills with their recipe cards and expand your taste bud horizons.
Best For: Anyone who already loves to cook or wants to learn new culinary skills from expert chefs at homeVisit Every Plate
This healthy meal delivery service is a convenient no-cook option. Yep, that’s right! The Splendid Spoon delivers smoothies, juices and other super clean breakfast and lunch options straight to your door. If you want to try a whole food cleanse but don’t want to put in the work to plan your meals or even whip them up, try the Splendid Spoon.
Best for: Cleanses, breakfasts, lunches, vegans, vegetariansVisit Splendid Spoon
You’ve probably heard of this meal delivery service before. It’s one of the most popular meal delivery services on the market. Blue Apron is also serious about reducing food waste. They partner with farmers who are dedicated to the highest quality ingredients while reducing food waste and regenerating farming land. All the produce is non-GMO, the meats are antibiotic and hormone free.
Best for: Families and anyone serious about reducing food wasteVisit Blue Apron
Once you’ve unloaded all your groceries, here’s how to properly store your ingredients and the best temperature to set your refrigerator to. Setting your refrigerator to the best temperature and learning where the best places to store certain ingredients in the fridge will keep your groceries fresh a lot longer.