Forget Convenience, Meal Kits Biggest Plus Might Be Cutting Food Waste

The Lempert Report
October 20, 2016

Cooking with a meal kit may waste 62% less food than grocery store ingredients.

The U.S. meal kit delivery market is on track to generate approximately $1.5 billion in sales this year and grow to a multi-billion-dollar market over the next five years, according to a recent report by market research publisher Packaged Facts entitled Meal Kit Delivery Services in the U.S. 

Blue Apron is giving us yet another reason to try their offerings: cooking with a meal kit may waste 62% less food than grocery store ingredients. 

Each Blue Apron meal comes with the exact amount needed for each ingredient.  

Fast Company reports that the company asked BSR, a nonprofit focusing on sustainability to look at the data, and calculate how much food actually stayed out of landfills. BSR studied a week of Blue Apron meals, measuring how much food came into the company's facility and how much was left as waste after prepping the meal kits and donating some extra food to a local nonprofit. Then they compared that to the average waste for those ingredients—based on USDA numbers—in grocery stores. The Blue Apron facility threw out 5.5% of food; grocery stores threw out 10.5%.  

They then surveyed 2,000 Blue Apron customers to find out how much they threw out in meals that week—maybe they didn't like a particular ingredient, or they didn't eat a full meal. Compared to USDA food waste stats for the same ingredients, home cooks threw out 7.6% of the food in Blue Apron meals, and would throw out an estimated 23.9% to make the same meal from store bought ingredients. 

The findings of BSR says it all when they calculated the entire path from Blue Apron to the home kitchen - 62% less food is wasted at Blue Apron's food prep facility and by consumers than the same meals cooked with grocery store ingredients.