Study Confirms: HelloFresh Meal Kits Cause Lower Carbon Emissions Than Meals From Supermarkets

Apr 26, 2022 12:15 PM ET
Press Release
  • Meals from HelloFresh meal kits have an average of 31% lower carbon emissions than meals with ingredients from supermarkets in the United States
  • ISO 14040 compliant Life Cycle Assessment analyzes environmental footprint of meals across the whole value chain of meal kits and supermarkets
  • Ingredients are by far the biggest contributor to emissions, followed by distribution

NEW YORK and BERLIN, April 26, 2022 /3BL Media/ -  Today, HelloFresh published a technical summary of its ISO 14040 compliant life cycle assessment (LCA)[1]  showing that meals from HelloFresh have significantly lower carbon emissions than cooking meals from supermarkets. Insights gained from this critically reviewed study are part of HelloFresh’s newly published Sustainability Report which displays the progress of the groups’ ambitious sustainability strategy.

Lean on-demand supply chain enables more sustainable food solutions than supermarkets

The in-depth life cycle assessment analyzes the environmental footprint across the whole value chain from field to fork in seven HelloFresh markets (Germany, Austria, Australia, USA, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) covering different meal categories, including vegetarian, beef and chicken dinners. The analysis considers the entire supply chain including food production and delivery. Globally, the study’s results show that an average meal from HelloFresh has 25% lower CO2e emissions compared to the exact same meal prepared with ingredients purchased from a supermarket. One meal from a HelloFresh meal kit causes on average 3.7 kg CO2e emissions compared to 5.0 kg per meal cooked with supermarket ingredients.

In the United States, the study indicated an even greater impact in which cooking meals using HelloFresh meal kits have an average of 31% lower carbon emissions when compared with meals using the exact same ingredients from the grocery store. This proves that HelloFresh's direct-to-consumer model - with ingredients in exact quantities - is efficient and its meals have a lower climate impact than meals prepared by buying comparable food at a supermarket.

The study also reveals that ingredients are by far the biggest contributor to emissions, followed by distribution. The main differentiator between the meal kit providers and supermarkets is HelloFresh’s data-driven subscription business model that enables forecasting weekly customers’ food demands which results in lower volumes of unsold inventory and food waste. Additionally HelloFresh’s  significantly shorter supply chain eliminates unnecessary middlemen and logistics.

Carbon emissions: Well on track to achieve the 2022 goal

In addition to the LCA study, the HelloFresh 2021 Sustainability Report shares the groups’ key sustainability achievements. Compared to the 2019 baseline, HelloFresh had achieved a 48% reduction of CO2e emissions by the end of 2021 from its production facilities on a per euro revenue basis.  Therefore the company is well on track to achieve the ambitious 60% goal set for the end of 2022. Investing into green energy is a key pillar of HelloFresh’s emission reduction strategy. The share of green electricity consumed in HelloFresh’s distribution centers and offices increased to 51% in 2021 from 7% in 2019.

“With sustainability playing a fundamental role in the HelloFresh operations and consumer experience, we continue to invest in sustainability-related efforts that have ​​measurable positive impacts on the environment and our business,” said Jeff Yorzyk, Director of Sustainability, HelloFresh US. “While the life cycle analysis verifies that cooking with HelloFresh causes less carbon emissions than cooking with ingredients from the supermarket, it also identifies several key areas for HelloFresh to focus on for future improvements, especially related to recipe design and ingredient sourcing.”

Ongoing efforts to reduce food waste

In 2021, over 11,000 US tons of unsold, fresh edible food were donated to charities that help support communities facing food insecurity. This represents 68% of the total surplus food from HelloFresh operations, and a very small percent of the total food purchased. In addition to donating surplus food, HelloFresh donated 1.5 million meals throughout the US as part of the company’s “Meals with Meaning” program, which was also launched in the UK in October 2021.

Find the full Sustainability Report here.

About HelloFresh

HelloFresh SE is a global food solutions group and the world's leading meal kit company. The HelloFresh Group consists of six brands that provide customers with high quality food and recipes for different meal occasions. The Company was founded in Berlin in November 2011 and operates in the USA, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France, Denmark, Norway, Italy and Japan. In 2021 HelloFresh delivered almost 1 billion meals and reached 7.2 million active customers in Q4 2021. HelloFresh went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2017 and has been traded on the DAX (German Stock Market Index) since September 2021. HelloFresh has offices in New York, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto, Auckland, Paris, Copenhagen, Milan and Tokyo.

[1] The LCA Study was peer reviewed by an independent panel of three experts in conformity to the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards for public disclosure of results. A technical summary of the study including details of the basis of our comparative claims can be found at this link.